Manufacturers Finally Go To School

Today’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel featured an article in their business section about the manufacturing center being developed at Arrowhead High School out in Waukesha County.

This is something that I’ve advocated for sometime…business leaders getting out of their corner offices and working with educators to provide the education necessary for the next generation of employees. Too often we’ve seen business leaders kvetch in the media about how they can’t find skilled employees…as if the world owes them those employees…and they don’t have any responsibility to participate in training them or providing educators with the resources necessary to train our young people.

Now before you all think I’ve gone soft because I am not finding fault here…I suggest the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce continue to rally their membership and bring this type of Design Engineering Manufacturing Center to the Milwaukee Public Schools and the Milwaukee Area Technical College…and bring a list of the skills that future employees will need…school admins aren’t clairvoyant you know!

Some highlights from the article:

Area companies have worked with the school to establish the new Design Engineering Manufacturing Center, which opens Sept. 1.

The 10,000-square-foot facility is a public-private initiative aimed at boosting high school students’ interest in manufacturing and engineering careers.

It opens as a recent economic outlook survey by Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce showed that labor availability is the No. 1 business concern for one-third of the state’s chief executive officers. Nearly 70% of the CEOs said they were having trouble hiring, and more than half said the reason was a lack of qualified applicants.

The new facility will have engineering, design, manufacturing and product innovation laboratories, with the amount of equipment increased as money becomes available.

Meant to replicate a modern industrial workplace, the facility has natural light and uses design elements to promote flexibility and collaboration.

Machines will be placed on wheels so they can be moved in and out of the facility as needed.

School officials authorized $2 million for the project’s first phase, which includes the infrastructure and furnishings. About seven area manufacturers and several individuals have pledged a total of $250,000 in cash and other support.

Business executives from Ace Precision Machining Corp., Bradley Corp., Dorner Manufacturing Corp., MidWest Engineered Systems Inc., and Price Engineering have provided financial support and industry guidance for the initiative.

“Wisconsin businesses need to dig deep and partner with our high schools to show students what it’s like to work in modern-day manufacturing environments, which are light years ahead of where they used to be,” Mullett (Bryan Mullett, chief strategy officer at Bradley Corp.) said.

“Our industry has gone through a renaissance of sorts. Today’s manufacturing facilities are clean, inviting, and incorporate cutting edge technology like computerization, automation and robotics. The opportunities for creativity, collaboration and career satisfaction and growth are abundant,” he added.


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3 thoughts on “Manufacturers Finally Go To School

  1. Of course, on the flip side, unions used to be able to provide much of this training that now seems to be so lacking.

  2. This is not a new idea.

    Thirty or more years ago, my employer was involved in a formal program, after school on our company premises, for high school students simulating a small company but actually making and selling a real product. l was the “numbers” guy advising the student CFO on the financial or accounting aspects.

    Also, it brings back memories of my south side youth in the 1940s and the old “Boy’s Tech” in Milwaukee which was a bold and progressive educational step begun in 1906. It has since been rebuilt, transitioned to a coed status, and is now known as Bradley Tech.

    Unfortunately or fortunately, I chose to enroll at South Division upon graduating from Vieau Elementary, but some of my classmates chose “Boys Tech.”

    For a read on the history of “Boys Tech” see MPS:

    On a personal note, thanks Ed, for the prompt to my memory for a visit to the “school days.”

    Sing along:

  3. Certainly agree, Ed, that employers have some obligation in the training of skilled or specialized workers–before and after the need has passed.

    Specialization of any kind is a skill that involves a commitment of time, energy and resources that precludes other opportunities. When a need passes, the employer has a responsibility to those workers who made that commitment.

    We often see huge bail out packages for CEOs and other company executives which usually follows not just obsolescence but failure. Companies owe much more to skilled workers who did their jobs well, but are no longer viable.

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