Waukesha County Manufacturing Alliance takes aim at skills gap

The Waukesha County Manufacturing Alliance recently completed the first round of its Schools2Skills tour for high school students at Arrowhead and Kettle Moraine School Districts. Tours this week will be conducted with Pewaukee and Mukwonago School Districts.
The Manufacturing Alliance is a program of the Waukesha County Business Alliance.
“We are hearing over and over again that Waukesha County manufacturers are concerned about the future of their workforce, so we came up with a solution: show our students that manufacturing is great career path,” said Suzanne Kelley, president of the Waukesha County Manufacturing Alliance. “We are working to show them that manufacturing is no longer dirty, unsafe and unskilled, but rather clean, safe, high-tech and highly skilled. These are great, family-supporting jobs, right here in Waukesha County.”
The first tours in the Schools2Skills program were held in February with Arrowhead and Kettle Moraine School Districts. Arrowhead students recently toured Generac’s Eagle facility, Ellison Technologies, and the job site of Harken’s new manufacturing plant. Kettle Moraine students toured at Generac, Harken, and Dickten Masch Plastics. Both group toured WCTC.
According to Kelley, the goal of the program is to inspire those involved to learn more about manufacturing careers available in Waukesha County, including career paths, salaries and the education required to succeed in today’s manufacturing environment. Additionally, the program is exposing students, parents and educators to the opportunities that exist for careers in the skilled trades.
The Schools2Skills program is designed to address the manufacturing skills gap. The program provides students, parents and educators the opportunity to explore and understand the careers that exist in manufacturing and the skilled trades to help meet the employment needs of local employers. The program is done in collaboration with the Milwaukee 7 and will serve as a model for other counties in the region.

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