Open house at FVTC attempts to recruit skilled labor

Published: Oct. 5, 2021 at 8:42 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 5, 2021 at 9:04 PM CDT
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GRAND CHUTE, Wis. (WBAY) - October is manufacturing month and right now we’re seeing an extra push for skilled workers with many companies looking to hire.

On Tuesday, an open house was held to display some of those opportunities at Fox Valley Technical College.

For many area companies the college is a huge source, for finding skilled workers especially in the manufacturing and engineering sectors right now, which is why the school says the pressure is on to keep labs and classrooms full.

Machine Tool Instructor Jim Kitchen added, “2014, 2015, 2016, it was all crazy. You’d have four hundred job openings for 22 graduates. Well that’s a great number if you’re a graduate, right, not so good of a number if you’re an employer.”

The school says a recent survey reveals that 98 percent of graduates with manufacturing related degrees were hired within six months and three quarters have stayed in Northeastern Wisconsin.

The key for companies is having workers who know the latest technology.

“In particular process manufacturing where they are making an end product or packaging an end product or making a food product, any of those in which they’re going to need to use modern technology in order to be competitive,’ said Steve Straub, Dean of Manufacturing, Agriculture, and Construction.

More than a thousand people showed up for this open house.

Many who we spoke to say they’re aware of the need for skilled workers right now and they want to use this as an opportunity to see where they can fit in.

“Yes, I keep hearing there’s so many job opportunities and that the pay is great right out of college,” said Ava Mueller, a prospective student from Hortonville.

Instructors say some companies have even been willing to cover the cost of tuition.

Kitchen added, “Average starting pay is 21, 22 dollars per hour. Five years later nearly seventy thousand dollars per year on average. So it’s a pretty good career move.”

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