Wisconsin program using veterans to address worker shortage

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MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - A program in Wisconsin is using veterans to try and address the state's skilled worker shortage.

Officials say it could perfectly meet Wisconsin's manufacturing demand.

After Manitowoc Company announced it would be moving headquarters to Milwaukee, Action 2 News traveled back to Manitowoc County, where officials say the local economy will still be strong, especially in plastics, food production, and health care.

The problem, they say, is finding people to hire.

"We are always looking for people and we only envision to get difficult, more difficult," said Jim Trost of Jagemann Stamping Company.

It's why Manpower Group and Rockwell Automation teamed up to train talented veterans in Milwaukee.

They’re also reaching out to companies in Manitowoc County.

"Veterans make a terrific population for a lot of reasons that we all know: they're committed, they're responsible," said Kowlawski.

The Academy of Advanced Manufacturing trains veterans to be ready for day one of the job.

"So within a 12 week period of time, you have an individual walking out the door as a certified automation technician," said Kowlawski.

The company that will employ the veteran pays for the training, which is about $30,000 per person

Peter Wills of Progress Lakeshore believes it's a timely investment.

"If you have a program like this, that you don't have to go through three to six months of going through applications, trying to find the right candidate, trying to find the right skill," said Wills.

The program takes veterans from across the country.

It hopes to be employing 1,000 of them a year.

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