Trades & Engineering Enrollments Hit Record Highs

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NWTC’s finds success in approach to building workforce pipeline
NWTC’s finds success in approach to building workforce pipeline

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is hitting industry milestones, as full-time enrollments to its Trades & Engineering programs have increased 17%.

“Like most institutions, NWTC was not immune to the enrollment impacts that COVID-19 has had on higher education,” said NWTC Dean of Trades & Engineering, Amy Kox. “In order to effectively fill workforce gaps, colleges will have to adapt to the changing needs of their students and beyond. It is time to press the reset button on how we serve all entities through technical training.”

Addressing mindset shift within K-12 students

Reaching students before high school graduation has been a key element in the College’s approach. NWTC Coordinator of Recruitment and Outreach, Sarah Scharenbrock, identifies a shift in mindset that K-12 students now have on careers within trades. “As more students want affordable and quick pathways to their careers, graduating from a skilled-trades program could mean securing a high-paying job without taking on too much debt,” said Scharenbrock.

Employers are making continued education a priority

Companies like Xometry, Schreiber Foods and JBS are working with NWTC to remove financial and equitable barriers for students to pursue a college education within those industries.

In addition to providing more college pathways for students, Kox shares how businesses are also prioritizing continued education to upskill their own employees. “More employers are covering tuition costs and offering flexible schedules for their employees to take courses while working.”

Collaborative community partnerships

Organizations like Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance and Wisconsin Energy Workforce Consortium are joining forces with NWTC to help educate and bring awareness to career opportunities within industry. Some examples include creating new cohorts, networking events, scholarship opportunities, and more.

“This collaboration and willingness to adapt together is eliminating barriers that individuals might have had when considering higher education. Through these partnerships, we are providing our workforce the knowledge and resources to pursue sustainable, rewarding careers” said Scharenbrock.

NWTC’s Trades & Engineering Technologies offers over 90 certificates, technical diplomas, and associate degrees. The College continues to expand its offerings to meet workforce need. Some recent examples include Building Energy and Comfort Controls Certificate, Electro-Mechanical and Automation Certificate, and X-Ray Service Technician Certificate. 

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