Closing the Skills Gap
WCTC continues to address the manufacturing skills gap by providing short-term training programs, such as certificates along a career pathway. This allows a student to train quickly, acquire a certificate that focuses on a select set of skills, and enter the workforce. After a time, the individual returns to school – while maintaining employment – and earns a higher-level skill set within that set pathway. Each step improves career and earning potential and works toward developing skill sets needed by a specific industry.
Additionally, WCTC has been modifying its curriculum offerings, collaborating with local high schools and arming instructors with the tools needed to prepare students for evolving manufacturing and information technology (IT) jobs.
For example, the College began researching ways to further develop an Industry 4.0 partnership and curriculum that combine elements of smart manufacturing, automation and mechatronics, particularly as they relate to fluid power – both hydraulic (water or other liquids) and pneumatic (gas or pressurized air). In spring 2018, a collaboration was formed with National Fluid Power Association (NFPA) for the Fluid Power and Applied Mechatronics Training and Employment Network (FAMTEN), along with WCTC and Waukesha area high schools.
High school educators received specialty training for topics integrated into high school-level technical courses – similar to what is taught at the technical college – which can segue into the next level of education such as Dual Enrollment Academy or directly into a diploma program or associate degree at WCTC.
In summer 2018, WCTC hosted GenCyber camp for k-12 educators who are currently teaching IT or cybersecurity courses, or who would like to implement them in the future. Teachers were introduced to a variety of different career paths available to students, including the IT offerings at the technical college level. WCTC is a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education, a designation given by the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security.