News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Katie Glass, Executive Director of Marketing/Public Information Officer
Phone: 608.822.2411
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: June 23, 2022

Governor Evers visits campus to announce $2.9 million manufacturing education grant

Fennimore -

Fennimore, Wis. – Governor Tony Evers visited Southwest Wisconsin Technical College today to announce the College will receive funding through Governor Evers’ Workforce Innovation Grant program. The College is receiving a $2.9 million grant to fund its Advance Southwest Wisconsin project. The project will help the Southwest Wisconsin workforce excel and increase their career potential in the post-pandemic manufacturing sector by providing job site training, educational pathways, and advanced support. This is a two- and half-year project. The full project cost is $3,324,534. Of this, $2,879,299 is grant funding and $445,225 is match/in-kind. Southwest Tech will receive $2,137,632 plus $200,000 from partner employers for training.

“Today’s announcement is another great example of how student success is the top priority at Southwest Tech,” said Dr. Jason Wood, Southwest Tech president. “I am proud of our staff and faculty for working closely with our business partners in manufacturing, UW-Platteville, and CESA 3. Together we will use innovative solutions that best serve employers and improve employees’ lives. We are grateful to the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Home (DWD), and the State of Wisconsin for their tremendous support of the project.”

In the past ten years, Southwest Wisconsin’s population declined faster than the states’, a trend exacerbated by the pandemic. The already pinched workforce suddenly found itself also becoming child and healthcare providers. This reality hit the second largest employment sector, manufacturing, particularly hard. On top of supply chain bottlenecks, manufacturing employees put in overtime to make up for lost colleagues. The industry is still struggling to find employees. Manufacturing constraints reverberated across the rest of the economy. Many serve location-tied industries like agriculture. With manufacturers slowing their lines and reducing service, everyone else suffers.

To help identify the path forward from this disruption, Southwest Tech conducted dozens of focus groups and employer interviews. The feedback was nearly unanimous: manufacturers resoundingly reported that due to a limited workforce and the changing needs of the 21st century, more expertise is needed in the design, operation, and maintenance of advanced manufacturing technology.

Serving Crawford, Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, and Richland counties, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College will utilize these grant funds for their Advance Southwest Wisconsin initiative. This project will help businesses train more than 500 employees, hire more than 300, and promote dozens of incumbent workers over three years. The Advance Southwest Wisconsin initiative includes providing custom on-site upskill training and bolstering advanced technology expertise with coordinated industry support, which will include a new manufacturing and STEM youth apprenticeship program that will bridge the College’s technical programs with the University of Wisconsin-Platteville’s engineering programs, and offering targeted support to help the most at-risk employees overcome barriers through individualized instruction, childcare services, and transportation, among other supports.

“All levels of education in Southwest Wisconsin will be supported by this important funding. The 30 K-12 school districts, CESA 3, UW-Platteville, and Southwest Tech will be supported by this grant with the goal of engaging, educating, training, and retaining our graduates in the workforce in Grant, Iowa, Lafayette, Richland, and Crawford counties,” said Dennis Cooley, director of Business and Industry Services at Southwest Tech. “You can grow up here and have wonderful, fulfilling careers in a variety of occupations. We want our students at all levels to know you can find your dream jobs in Southwest Wisconsin.”

Gov. Tony Evers announced more than $6.6 million to support projects across 12 counties in southwestern and central Wisconsin. In addition to Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, Wisconsin Heights School District and the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County were awarded grants.


| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is one of 16 institutions that comprise the Wisconsin Technical College System. Southwest Tech offers more than 60 programs in a wide variety of disciplines. Courses are offered on campus, online, and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare students for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement. |

Contact: Katie Glass

Public Information Officer


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