Leaders encourage manufacturing careers

Area leaders encouraged students to consider careers in manufacturing during the second annual national Manufacturing Day celebration Friday.

Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and Buckley Brinkman, executive director of the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, visited Ultra Tool & Manufacturing in Menomonee Falls and Waukesha Metal Products in Grafton.

About 80 eight graders from John Long Middle School in Grafton toured Waukesha Metal Products in small groups and learned about the manufacturing industry from employees there.

Jeff Guysky, senior contract performance manager at GE Energy in Port Washington, served as a parent chaperone on the tour.

The eighth grade class was just being introduced to welding and metalwork at school, so the tour came at a good time, he said. And it’s important for his son, Trevor, to be exposed to his career options.

Trevor has never been to a manufacturing facility before, and he’s just starting to think about what he wants to do for a living.

“I thought (the tour) was pretty good—we got to see a lot of stuff we wouldn’t usually see in school,” Trevor said.

Kleefisch discussed the average salary of $52,000 the students could expect if they entered the manufacturing field. That’s about $10,000 more than the average Wisconsin worker, she said.
She asked students what they would buy with $100, and then asked them to imagine buying 520 of those things with the $52,000 salary.

“You could do this by choosing a career in manufacturing,” Kleefisch said. “You could make a choice that’s going to impact your finances long-term.”

State Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills) lauded Wisconsin’s manufacturing industry and told students they could fill the labor shortage in manufacturing.

“You are a step ahead because you’re saying ‘I’m thinking about my future, I’m willing to try new things,'” Darling said.

State Superintendent Tony Evers also joined the event at Ultra Tool, which introduced 100 students from Arrowhead, Kettle Moraine Lutheran, Germantown and Wisconsin Lutheran high schools to manufacturing.

Students toured Ultra Tool and learned about the manufacturing process. They also met with representatives from Waukesha County Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Moraine Park Technical College.

“The manufacturing industry is an important part of Wisconsin’s economy,” Evers said. “Throughout October, not only will we celebrate manufacturing, but we’ll also recognize some of the exceptional technical education programs we have in our public high schools that are preparing students for success after graduation.”

DWD Secretary Reggie Newson, WMEP Executive Director Buckley Brinkman and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch tour Ultra Tool.

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