News Release

For Immediate Release

Contact: Daniel Wackershauser, Marketing Specialist
Phone: 608.822.2303
Mail: 1800 Bronson Blvd., Fennimore, WI 53809
Date of Release: July 25, 2023

New training equipment available to district manufactures

Workforce Innovation Grant makes purchases possible

Fennimore -
Jason Fiedler, electromechanical technician trainer at Southwest Tech, looks over one of the new Programmable Controller Systems.

Manufacturers in the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College district will have new training tools and expertise at their disposal. Recently, a variety of mobile training equipment was purchased through the Workforce Innovation Grant (WIG).

The equipment includes programmable logic controller systems, portable hydraulic trainers, portable pneumatic trainers, portable process control trainers, and a factory table top simulator. It all comes with a price tag of $1.2 million. In addition, 65-percent of the cost of the training for district employers is covered by the grant. “We have people lining up to take advantage of these educational opportunities,” said Holly Straka, WIG coordinator.

Jason Fiedler, electromechanical technician trainer at Southwest Tech, will be traveling to district partners and leading the trainings. The equipment, which is similar to what is on campus, will provide hands-on experience for the employees, along with Fiedler’s leadership. “I see a lot of need for it,” he said.

“Many companies can’t spare the employees’ time it takes to come to campus and train, so the fact that we are able to take the training on-site for them to learn, both with our instructors and on their own time is very beneficial,” said Straka.

The new equipment is more efficient and is able to travel well. The older equipment was much larger and not conducive to be mobile. Most of the new equipment can be set on a table top. “The goal of this grant is to help manufacturers with their workforce shortages,” said Straka. “We really want people to know that we can bring training directly to them. It is efficient and something that fits their schedule.”

“With historically low unemployment and a labor participation rate that outpaces the national rate, Wisconsin leads the way with workforce development strategies and solutions,” said Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek. “The Workforce Innovation Grant program, which is being implemented at Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, aids communities in developing innovative solutions to their workforce-related issues. This, in turn, opens up more opportunities for Wisconsin’s workforce.”

Each piece of equipment will be connected to its own laptop, allowing access to the necessary software.

The WIG helps fund the Advance Southwest Wisconsin project, which is helping the southwest Wisconsin workforce excel and increase their career potential in the post-pandemic manufacturing sector. It is providing job site training, educational pathways, and advanced support.

To schedule a training, or for more information, contact Straka at 608-822-2323 or

| Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, a finalist for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, 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, HyFlex and in a blended format. The college provides apprenticeship, certificate, technical diploma, and associate degree programs that respond to district workforce needs and prepare student for family-sustaining jobs and career advancement. |

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