News Release

Published on Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Governor Jim Doyle recently announced that 13 Wisconsin Technical Colleges will share more than $700,000 in grant funds from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) in the form of Workforce Advancement Training grants. Of that funding, Western Wisconsin Technical College received $33,214 to work with two local businesses.

“We are very excited to receive this support from the state,” said Dr. Lee Rasch, president of WWTC. “This investment will help us in our mission to develop community partnerships that improve the economic vitality and quality of life in the areas that we serve.”

Under the training grants, WWTC will work collaboratively with Midwest Security Insurance Companies of Onalaska, and D&S Manufacturing of Black River Falls to enhance the skills of incumbent workers. The goal is to increase productivity, increase job security, and provide advancement opportunities within the two companies.

Midwest Security Insurance Companies, a UnitedHealth Group Company, has approximately 300 employees in the area. The advancement grant will allow for customized training in insurance pre-licensing, leadership (new positions), customer service, and sales and marketing. The training will be offered onsite at Midwest Security and at the WWTC
La Crosse Campus.

“Continued education and training are the foundations that allow an enterprise to continue to grow,” said Frank Vierling, chief operation officer at Midwest Security. “The ability to partner with the locally available education resources at WWTC is one of the reasons why we love being able to operate in the La Crosse area.”

D&S Manufacturing is a custom metal fabricator that employs 155 people. The grant will provide their employees with training in systems integration and IT, mechanical design software, blueprint reading/machining, and project management. The training will take place at the D&S plant and at the WWTC Black River Falls Campus.

“This training will assist us in improving our employee skills, increases our overall efficiency and enriching their job responsibilities,” explained Frans Carlstrom, operations manager at D&S Manufacturing. “By increasing our understanding of the potential gains of new technology and implementing process improvements we hope to reduce cost and lead times to gain a competitive advantage.”

As part of Governor Doyle’s Grow Wisconsin initiative, the Workforce Advancement Training Grants are designed to enable businesses to access world-class training on a local level.

“In today’s global economy, the competition is across the ocean, not just across county or state lines,” Governor Doyle said. “These grants enable businesses to take advantage of the world-class training opportunities provided by Wisconsin’s great technical college system and help ensure that Wisconsin continues to have a highly-trained, highly-skilled workforce that’s producing the best quality products.”

WWTC’s Business and Industry Services division specializes in customized training aimed at increasing productivity and profitability through employee skill development. For more information about programs and services at WWTC, please call 608.785.9200 or visit the WWTC Web site at