WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAU) - Several state and local government officials joined businesses and Mid-State Technical College in an effort to show young people some possible future careers in manufacturing.
It’s called the Heavy Metal Bus Tour, and took 8th, 9th, and 10th grade students to several Wisconsin Rapids area manufacturers to see what they make and how it’s done.
Governor Scott Walker emphasised to the students they can get into the job market with less than a four year degree and still have a decent paying career. “The average pay for manufacturing is $52,000 a year. That’s 25% higher than the average pay for all other workers in terms of the whole state. So it shows there are great career opportunities in manufacturing. We just need to make sure there’s more people ready for them. Getting these kids interested early on is key to that.”
Walker’s most recent budget funds some changes so that schools, businesses, and government can reach out to young people to start planning their futures now. “We put money in the budget to start as early as 6th grade for academic and career plans to start kids thinking early about that, and we want to continue to work with not only curriculum, but even taking existing things in science and math and working with schools to make adjustments so they start incorporating math (and science) in a way that relates to some of the manufacturing positions that are open.”
The Governor says new programs will help students learn the right skills in middle and high school, while earning them credit beyond that. “We’ve been working with DPI on that as well as to working with the technical college to get more dual enrollment programs so kids can get credit for graduation at the same time they get credit for technical college.”
Tour stops included Domtar Paper Company, Corenso North America, Mariani Packing Company, and ECC Corrosion, and is all part of the state’s recognition of October as Manufacturing Month.