Center designed to meet the needs of Walworth County employers
Gateway Technical College’s new Reader Precision Machining and Manufacturing (RPM) Center on its Elkhorn Campus will offer state-of-the-art manufacturing education which leads to solid, family-sustaining careers.
So said the several officials who spoke at a ribbon-cutting for the state-of-the-art computer numeric control (CNC) training center located in the South Building on Gateway’s Elkhorn Campus, 400 County Road H.
“This is a special day for Walworth County,” Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch told the gathered audience of about 135. “This is a special day for the Reader family, and a great day for the state of Wisconsin. We are conquering the new frontier of manufacturing – that is what is happening here today.
“People who train on this equipment will then work in a room just like this. Not only will they be qualified to take these types of jobs, but they will also attain the family-sustaining wages that accompany them – real American dream stuff.”
The center is named after the Reader family, who founded and owns the Elkhorn-based Precision Plus, a leader in manufacturing Swiss-turned components. Mike Reader, president and CEO of Precision Plus, spearheaded the effort to create the 6,200-square-foot center by helping provide financial resources, industry expertise and leveraging equipment through industry connections and leadership.
“(The center) is borne out of the collaboration of a CEO of a local company who cares deeply about his community, and a technical college that plain gets economic development, that gets job creation and raising up leaders in the manufacturing economy of Wisconsin’s future,” said Kleefisch.
Gateway President and CEO Bryan Albrecht said the center will become a place where students can learn the skills for a solid career, and a place of innovation for students and industry.
“The opening of the RPM Center will become a catalyst for continued community engagement on the value of technical education, especially manufacturing programs,” said Albrecht.
“It also is a showcase on how public-private partnerships can work for our state. From the development of the CNC programs, to new curriculum and new ideas that are being generated, our private sector partners have helped us to become a better college.”
The center consists of 3,000 square feet of remodeled space already existing on the Elkhorn Campus, with 3,200 square feet of added space.
Reader said the center represents a “new chapter in the history of Walworth County.”
“We have seen significant investments in Racine County and Kenosha County … today, we are seeing a similar investment here in Walworth County,” said Reader.
He pointed out that manufacturing education today leads to solid careers and the skills gained at the center will benefit students and the community.
“Here at Gateway, you can learn most of the skills which can take you anywhere in the world you would like to go,” he said.
Several other area companies helped in the creation of the center through providing resources, industry knowledge, curriculum development and training for the state-of-the-art machines and technology.
In addition, Gateway was awarded a State of Wisconsin general purpose revenue grant for 2015-16 in the amount of $496,378 to expand the CNC Production Technician program to the Elkhorn Campus.