As we begin this new calendar year, I thought I would start a short series of blog posts on the effects of Wisconsin’s Technical College System. Unbeknown to many, the technical colleges have success measures in place and data to evaluate effectiveness, and I will examine some of these in this series. Did you know that Wisconsin’s Technical College System serves nearly 370,000 students each year? This is the largest higher education system in Wisconsin. And, nearly 9 of every 10 technical college graduates live and work right here in Wisconsin. This is not the typical “brain drain” we often hear about when the subject of college graduates is brought up.Fox Valley Technical College is currently serving more students than any other technical college in the state; and that we believe is due to our strong partnerships with local employers, the K-12 schools, and the community. In fact, of the 52,000 people served by FVTC programs and services last year, over 24,000 of those individuals were employees in local companies and organizations whose employers contracted with the College to provide customized training and help build the skills of their workforce.
Every day I continue to be impressed by the stories of our faculty working hand-in-hand with area employers on a wide range of initiatives to both strengthen our employment-focused curriculum and help address their needs for a skilled workforce. This is a working partnership that’s core to our mission and purpose and without question, mutually beneficial. Equally as impressive are the stories I hear about the success of our graduates. They are everywhere, in virtually every industry in our community. There has never been a more critical time for technical education in our State due to the skills gap that is clearly hampering our economic growth. Great jobs are out there for individuals with the right skill sets. Do you see new opportunities for building the region’s workforce that we might explore further?