The Milwaukee Water Council and its partners today officially opened the Global Water Center, the United States’ first-of-its-kind collaborative business and academic research and commercialization facility focused on freshwater technologies.
The Global Water Center, located in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point Neighborhood, solidifies Milwaukee’s position as a world water hub.
The Milwaukee area holds a $10.5 billion stake in the market, which accounts for 4 percent of the world’s total water business.
“The opening of the Global Water Center is one of the most significant steps for the Water Council since it was founded in 2009,” said Rich Meeusen, co-founder and co-chair of the Water Council, as well as chairman, president and CEO of Badger Meter Inc. “One-fifth of the world’s population lacks access to clean water. By attracting new talent and collaborating together to develop new technologies, the Milwaukee region has the unique opportunity to address global freshwater needs and positions Milwaukee as the Silicon Valley of water technology.”
Grand opening celebrations will take place today with a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4 p.m., followed by the sold-out “Innovation Flows” gala. Open to the public, the ribbon cutting will include speakers from business, government and academia, including Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and United Nations Global Compact Cities program director Paul James.
After nearly 13 months of construction, the Global Water Center is located at 247 W. Freshwater Way. Formerly the intersection of 3rd and Pittsburgh Avenue, the street was formally renamed to Freshwater Way to symbolize the industrial evolution happening in the region.
For more, read a recent BizTimes cover story about the Global Water Center.
Meanwhile, in response to the growing demand for water industry professionals, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and The Water Council jointly collaborated to develop a water technician certificate that is being offered at MATC.
The certificate prepares students for careers in the rapidly-growing water industry. Courses also may be applied to MATC’s Environmental Health and Water Quality Technology associate degree and a number of other related associate degrees and technical diplomas. The certificate will accelerate the growth of stackable credentials in the water and enhance talent development for aspiring professionals.
“Having a strong educational foundation for future professionals is essential for the continued growth of this industry. MATC is committed to providing the education and training area residents need to secure employment in water careers,” said MATC president Michael Burke. “Milwaukee has taken the international lead in water initiatives. I appreciate the insight of leaders from the Water Council and Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board who were instrumental in the development of the certificate.”
“The bottom line is that this significant step only occurred because there was a strong commitment in collaboration between industry, education and workforce,” said Dean Amhaus, president and CEO of The Water Council. “Leveraging a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor; the Water Technician Certificate occurred because the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and Milwaukee Area Technical College, as well as Waukesha County Technical College and Gateway Technical College understood that their strength was through a partnership.”
The Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board was awarded a $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.