Scholarship Provides Educational Opportunity for High-Demand Trade
Despite hard economic times in
some trades, the machine tool industry is projected to grow in the region,
offering high-paying jobs to skilled workers. The problem? There simply aren’t
enough qualified individuals to fill the positions.
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical
College’s machine tool operation program has the training required for many of
the open positions in the region, and now C.G. Bretting Manufacturing has
stepped up to help prospective students make education a reality.
“We’ve received a $10,500
endowed scholarship for high school students entering the machine tool operation
program,” said Deb Ellefson, college advancement associate at WITC-Ashland.
“That means we’ll be able award a $500 scholarship this spring for a student
starting in fall. It is extremely rewarding to receive this gift from Bretting
Manufacturing during a time when students need financial support more than ever
The $500 scholarship is
primarily aimed at high school students in the region, and applications will be
available online March 1 and at high schools in the region.
The need for a scholarship was
identified through the program’s advisory committee, according to machine tool
“We wanted to be able to
express the need for good machinists in the area – Bretting Manufacturing is
definitely willing to do that,” Kalin said. “It’s a nice thing for parents and
students to hear there’s a company that’s willing to support education.”
Kalin is quick to point out
that many of the businesses represented on the advisory committee are also
generous, from donating used equipment to materials to their time. In fact, the
advisory committee offers guidance regarding the curriculum of the program and
helps Kalin identify equipment needs, including the recent purchase of a Haas
VF1 Vertical machining center.
“We train our students to use
the same equipment they’ll be using out in the workforce. Our advisory
committee helps to make sure our students are fully prepared for the workforce
once they graduate,” Kalin said.
The MTO program is one of a
handful of WITC programs that can boost a 100 percent placement rate for graduates. In
fact, three of Kalin’s current students already have jobs lined up for spring.
“That simply highlights the need for workers in this region,” Kalin said.
“Employers are trying to scoop up the highest qualified students before they
even get their diploma.”