In today’s climate, partnerships with technical colleges are more crucial than ever

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By Erin Eagan


For over 100 years, Wisconsin’s technical colleges have been working with local employers and adapting to meet their changing needs. In today’s climate, with a shortage of skilled workers across a number of industries, these types of partnerships between employers and technical colleges are more crucial than ever.

By working together, students are being trained with the necessary skill sets to help keep Wisconsin’s companies going strong now and in the future.


student welding
Manufacturing company saw need to get creative
Wisconsin Oven, an industrial oven manufacturer located in East Troy, was facing a need for skilled workers that had been impeding the company’s growth.

The company’s president and CEO, David Strand, had an idea for an innovative solution to help recruit the next generation of skilled trades workers — he just needed some assistance from the experts Gateway Technical College to make it happen.

In conjunction with Gateway, they created WOC U: Wisconsin Oven Universal Training Center, a formal training program where students can earn while they learn. As part of the training, students learn welding and mechanical assembly skills on-site at Wisconsin Oven while earning a $10/hour wage. “We pay their wages, we pay for their first semester of a Gateway degree and hope it’s an incentive enough for them to apply to Wisconsin Oven and get hired,” Strand explained in a press release. “They can continue with their degree, too.”

The training center has helped create a pipeline of skilled workers that Strand, who is a graduate of Gateway, hopes to continue for generations to come. “The fact that I was a student at a technical college, I know firsthand what the training can do,” he says. Strand hopes to attract high school graduates, unemployed, underemployed workers or those looking for a career change.

Working to meet your company’s needs
Wisconsin’s technical colleges have ties to employers in every sector and geographic region. From manufacturing to healthcare and everything in-between, the colleges’ instructors are certified and have both academic and real-world career experiences. They will work with your organization to address your individual needs and create customized options, including:

  • Training provided either on- or off-site
  • Flexible training times to work with your schedule
  • Online and hybrid learning

Wisconsin Oven is just one example of the many successful partnerships with proven results. According to a recent survey conducted by WTCS in August 2018, 98% of employers say their local technical college is important to the overall success of their business.

For generations, these relationships have helped support the viability of companies, like yours, that are the backbone of our economy. For information on how our colleges can help you, reach out to the employee training contact at your local technical college.