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Western Technical College receives $5.75 million grant to strengthen advanced manufacturing partnership with WTCS colleges

LA CROSSE, Wis. – Western Technical College, in collaboration with eight other colleges from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), announced this week they received a $5.75 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. This substantial award, part of the department’s Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants, will span four years and aims to enhance advanced manufacturing education across the state.

The grant will primarily fund the integration of embedded, short-term credentials within advanced manufacturing programs and the development of corresponding Open Education Resources, marking a significant step forward in preparing students for the rapidly evolving manufacturing sector. By fostering closer ties between education and industry requirements, Western and its consortium partners are set to lead the way in developing a skilled workforce that meets the current and future needs of advanced manufacturing.

“This funding represents a transformative opportunity not only for our students but for the entire manufacturing industry in Wisconsin,” said Western President Roger Stanford. “By embedding essential credentials into our programs, we are ensuring that our graduates are job-ready from day one, equipped with the skills that employers are actively seeking.”

Western, along with its WTCS consortium partners, is committed to leveraging this grant to make a lasting impact on advanced manufacturing education and workforce development in Wisconsin.

“The impact of this grant extends beyond our classrooms,” said Josh Gamer, dean of the Integrated Technology division at Western. “It’s about strengthening our state’s manufacturing sector by aligning educational outcomes with industry needs. We’re excited to lead this initiative and set a new standard for technical education.”

Senator Tammy Baldwin who helped secure the funding from the federal government said Wisconsin’s technical colleges are vital in providing a skilled workforce in the state.

“Wisconsin’s technical and community colleges equip students with the education and skills they need to land good-paying jobs and grow our local economy,” said Senator Baldwin. “Wisconsin has a proud tradition of manufacturing, and this investment will help grow the advanced manufacturing workforce of tomorrow, meet businesses’ workforce demands, and expand the middle class.” 

This round of the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants provides $65 million to 16 colleges in 14 states to expand their capacity to provide training to meet the skill development needs of employers and help students obtain good jobs. These colleges will work in multiple sectors, including advanced manufacturing, healthcare, IT, and infrastructure-related sectors like construction, transportation, broadband expansion, and renewable energy.

This project is 100% funded with a Strengthening Community Colleges Round 4 $5.7 million training grant awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration. For more information about the Strengthening Community Colleges Training Grants program, visit www.dol.gov.

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