News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Kim Schmelz, External Relations & Alumni Development
Phone: 608.822.2379
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date: January 13, 2018

3Mgives grant awarded to Southwest Tech Foundation aims at growing a sustainable workforce

Fennimore -

3Mgives recently awarded a grant in the amount of $134,512 to the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College Foundation to facilitate a program between 3M (Prairie du Chien), Southwest Tech, and Prairie du Chien High School to build a “Grow Your Own” sustainable workforce program aimed at careers in manufacturing.


The partnership between Southwest Tech and 3M was initiated because of the current and future need for skilled labor in the workforce. According to the Emsi Q1 2017 data set, it is estimated that within a 70 mile radius of Prairie du Chien there are 1,780 positions related to the Electro Mechanical Technology field and that number is predicted to increase an additional 13% by 2021.


Derek Dachelet, Executive Dean of Industry, Trade and Agriculture stated, “Industry partnerships with 3M allows Southwest Tech to help fill the gap between a retiring workforce and the next generation of highly skilled technicians. The training and equipment supported by this grant enables local high school students a chance to learn industry-relevant skills and principles that apply to a number of in-demand careers.”


Upon receiving the grant the Southwest Tech Foundation purchased portable manufacturing learning platform trainers and laptops that will be used at Prairie du Chien High School. Southwest Tech instructor Stephen Goss will work with Ron Kucko, PDC Instructor, to ensure academic credibility and that course learning outcomes are met in order to allow for a smooth transition from the high school course to the Electro Mechanical Technology program at SWTC.  In addition, 3M in Prairie du Chien is committed to creating regional manufacturing career mentor partnerships, internships, and career exploration opportunities that will build the program and develop sustainable industry/education partnerships for long-term career and economic development.


3Mgives helps to build sustainable communities through strategic social investments and thoughtful engagement of 3Mers worldwide.  3M was one of the first companies to establish a foundation in 1953 and since that time the company has donated more than $1.45 billion in cash and in-kind gifts to non-profit organizations. Today, 3Mgives facilitates contributions from the 3M Foundation and directly from the company. By focusing on science, technology, engineering and math, 3M intends to encourage student interest and awareness in STEM at the K-12 level and build high performing and diverse global talent at the college/university level.

“We appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with 3M and the Prairie du Chien High School on this innovative project. 3M is passionate about finding creative solutions to grow their workforce and we feel fortunate that they are willing to make an investment and create partnerships to make that happen for current and future students,” said Kim Schmelz, Director of External Relations and Alumni Development at Southwest Tech.

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