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Gateway nominated for innovative manufacturing training award

Gateway Technical College is again being honored for its innovative manufacturing training, this time as one of 30 nominees for recognition by the Great Lakes Manufacturing Council as benchmarks for the Talented Workforce Initiative.

Gateway is the only college in Wisconsin to be recognized with this nomination, which focused on the college’s many boot camps. All nominees will be recognized June 12 in Detroit at The Big M event celebrating the resurgence of manufacturing, and four will be presented with top awards.

“Gateway is proud to have received this nomination,” said Debbie Davidson, Gateway vice president Workforce and Economic Development Division. “Our industry-driven boot camp programs have provided employment opportunities for more than 250 individuals through a collaborative model that engages workforce development, education and employers.

“Employers engage in curriculum development, participate in mock interviews, provide staff for lab assistants and interview on-site job offers immediately following the student's completion ceremony. Companies who are seeking to fill skilled entry level positions are finding the boot camps meet their hiring needs and they view the College as one of their talent pool sources.”

Gateway, in collaboration with the Racine County Workforce Development Center, offer the innovative boot camps in a number of in-demand careers, including computer numeric control (CNC) machining, industrial equipment and systems technician and welding. The camps are an intense, 40-hour-a-week program focused on providing entry-level skills to the unemployed and underemployed. Camp frequency and industry focus are driven by area employer demand for specific types of skilled workers.

The council created its Talented Workforce Initiative to identify the most imaginative and effective solutions for building the region’s pool of manufacturing talent. The goal of the council’s outreach is to share the best ideas and approaches for resolving a critical workforce shortage which threatens nearly all manufacturers and communities in the bi-national Great Lakes economy. 

The 30 Great Lakes nominations included programs in seven states and two provinces, as well as four US and Canadian national programs.

“It is a truly impressive list of nominees and proof that educators and trainers are striving to meet the demands of a manufacturing sector rapidly transforming into knowledge-based enterprises,” said Ed Wolking Jr., president of the council.

Characteristics of the successful and promising initiatives included their ability to: 

  • Recruit or attract talented workers
  • Train or educate new workers
  • Retrain incumbent workers
  • Retrain displaced workers

Manufacturing makes the Great Lakes trading area home to the world’s fourth largest economy, with a combined annual output of nearly $6 trillion, according to the council.

The council has also been supporting the widespread adoption of the Manufacturing Skill Standards Certification process, designed to lead to a higher-skilled, more productive workforce. Gateway has worked hard to implement these standards in many of its training programs. The standards align to safety, quality, production and maintenance skills, all critical to manufacturing.

“These programs represent the breadth of initiatives to meet the looming workforce crisis in communities throughout the region,” Wolking said.  “They can serve as beacons for programs throughout the region.”

The Great Lakes Manufacturing Council is a bi-national organization dedicated to the success of manufacturing in the Great Lakes Region. The Council covers the provinces of Quebec and Ontario, and the states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota.

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