When a reporter asked U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin about reports that most of the new jobs being created across the country were low-paying jobs, the first-term Democrat from Wisconsin was able to point close by for a solution.
Baldwin toured Chippewa Valley Technical College’s NanoRite Innovation Center and Manufacturing Education Center on Thursday, Jan. 17, then held a press conference for local media.
“In talking with instructors here, it sounds like people are able to start right out of the technical college, with high-paying jobs,” Baldwin said.
It’s just a matter of getting the training in the fields that have good-paying jobs to offer.
“One of the things that have been widely discussed is the skills gap,” she said, referring to the problems manufacturers have finding trained workers with the skills to fill their open positions.
“The technical colleges throughout the state, including Chippewa Valley, are playing an instrumental role in closing the skills gap,” Baldwin said.
Baldwin toured areas like the new Welding program facility, seeing the high technology, like the robotic welders. She saw on a computer screen a microscopic-sized part made in the Advanced Micro-Machining lab, where Instructor Steve Michaud spoke about the jobs of tomorrow.
“We are preparing our students for jobs in, for example, the medical part field, where there is a huge, huge demand for these parts,” Michaud said.
Baldwin also toured the business incubation center at NanoRite, getting reports of how companies like Super Vitamin D are preparing to fill the need for people who are unable to absorb vitamin D through their diet, by marketing an innovative vitamin D patch. She learned how the wireless sensors made by Evrisko can help owners manage buildings to save energy.
CVTC instructors John Wagner and Hans Mikelson showed Baldwin the cleanroom at NanoRite, which is being used not just by CVTC students, but by UWEC students as well, and is also one of the few commercially available cleanrooms in the state. The instructors explained how private companies have used the facility for product development research.
Baldwin noted that to learn about such things was why she came.
“I was really very interested in catching up on what’s going on at NanoRite,” she said.