By Kris Leonhardt/Shane Fitzsimmons
Press Times/Star-News staff
GREEN BAY – To address the need for workforce in the area’s manufacturing industry, the Gene Haas Foundation has infused $500,000, assisting Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) in growing talent in northeast Wisconsin.
“This partnership with Gene Haas Foundation will provide financial support for our students and resources to ensure our community continues to thrive,” said Dr. Kristen Raney, NWTC president.
The funding will provide financial aid, academic coaching, recruitment and other “crucial academic needs” and is one of the largest donations in NWTC’s 111-year history.
“This is the second-largest donation NWTC’s foundation has ever received, so to have a half million designated to help students on a case-by-case basis in manufacturing fields is tremendous and that means that a student might be doing fine one week and come in one day and have lost childcare. We can get help to that student almost immediately, to help resolve the childcare issues so they continue in their manufacturing program,” Raney said.
“The flexibility that it provides us means that it’s individualized — the student needs. The impact of that will be felt almost immediately when students are admitted into the program.”
The Wisconsin Department of Revenue found that the need for manufacturing workforce has nearly doubled over the last two years, with 8,000-10,000 manufacturing jobs available at any point in time.
NWTC Dean of Trades and Engineering Technologies Dr. Amy Kox said that 25% of the businesses in the area are manufacturing.
“I can tell you that all of the manufacturers are looking for more machinists right now; we don’t have enough machinists. So, without this program, without educating people in this area, we wouldn’t be able to do the machining that we do. We wouldn’t be a leader in the nation for this type of work,” Kox said.
“So, I think manufacturing is key for us and we need to support these programs, and we need to find ways to get more people to understand that these are great jobs, these are clean jobs, these are high-paying jobs.
“Our manufacturing graduates are earning salaries between $45,000 and $70,000,” Kox said. “The need for skilled workers in these in-demand, high-paying career fields has never been higher.”
The Gene Haas Foundation is a private foundation of Gene Haas, founder and owner of Haas Automation, Inc. The Haas Formula One Team and Stewart-Haas Racing Team of NSCAR have supported the needs of local communities and manufacturing training programs throughout North America.
“The Gene Haas naming grant program was developed nine years ago to serve as an endorsement of the best CNC training programs in North America and now has expanded to Europe as well,” said Kathy Looman, director of education of Gene Haas Foundation. “We are very impressed with the team and level of training at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and proud to honor them with this grant.”
NWTC offers 34 certificates, technical diplomas, associate degrees and apprenticeships in manufacturing programs.
To learn more, visit nwtc.edu.