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Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman Visits Blackhawk Technical College

October 4, 2019

Blackhawk Technical College welcomed Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Caleb Frostman to its Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton on Friday, Oct. 4. Secretary Frostman’s visit was a part of the college’s Manufacturing Days celebration. Nearly 1,000 high school students participated in the two-day event that included hands-on learning in advanced manufacturing. The goal of Manufacturing Days is to provide early exposure to the wide variety of advanced manufacturing careers available in our region.

DWD Secretary Frostman

October is Manufacturing Month, and for the third year, Blackhawk is proud to offer this unique opportunity to area students in cooperation with many business, education, and industry partners.

“Manufacturing Days allow students the opportunity to see and really get a feel for what's happening in our local manufacturers; many of which have global impacts. The tours highlight the opportunities for students to go into a number of different STEM-related careers,” said Blackhawk Technical College Director of Workforce and Community Development Mark Borowicz.

DWD Secretary Frostman agreed, “It is important that we make introductions between employers and students earlier and make them more often. We need to find ways to connect our youth sooner to the pathway of their choice. It is through partnerships with economic development, workforce development, K-12, government entities and the business sector that we can provide opportunities such as Manufacturing Days to show our youth the opportunities that await them.”

Through Manufacturing Days, businesses can inspire the next generation of innovators. In Wisconsin, there are 475,000 jobs in manufacturing; a $63 billion industry. Secretary Frostman travels throughout Wisconsin meeting with employers in all sectors learning how to remove barriers for residents to get into the workforce. Throughout his travels, he has learned that the largest challenge facing employers is finding a skilled and qualified workforce.

To address that challenge, the Department of Workforce Development aims to provide opportunities for young people; thus creating a robust pool of skilled workers. “We are investing in programs like pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, employment training, work-based learning opportunities, and reentry programs. There is a sense of urgency and we cannot afford, as a state, to let folks slip through the cracks,” said secretary Frostman. 

“Manufacturing Days is an excellent way to connect our students to high-tech, lucrative career opportunities. Blackhawk is proud to welcome the students to our Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton, where they will experience an educational environment to help them build the skills they need for manufacturing of tomorrow,” said Blackhawk Technical College President Dr. Tracy Pierner. There are strong opportunities for young adults to fill skilled vacancies in the 10,000 unique manufacturers in Wisconsin.

Secretary Frostman concluded, “We are just really, really pleased to be here today. Manufacturing is a place where we can grow, drive economic growth, and fill jobs that are open to help our manufacturers grow and help residents get into jobs that pay an annual average salary of $65,000.”
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