Northwood Tech holds ribbon-cutting for new mobile welding lab

A new mobile welding lab is available at Northwood Technical College.
Published: May. 9, 2023 at 5:08 PM CDT
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RICE LAKE, WI. (Northern News Now) - A new mobile welding lab is available at Northwood Technical College.

Northwood Tech’s new mobile welding lab held its official ribbon-cutting ceremony on the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin Reservation Tuesday.

The lab is part of Northwood Tech’s expanding options for Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing training.

Students are able to practice hands-on skills and employers can have employees trained to upskill their abilities to receive their customized welding credentials.

Due to the fact the lab is mobile, power will either be supplied by a generator or power at the training site.

“With the launch of our mobile welding trailer, we will be able to provide training in our rural areas that are convenient for our students and business partners,” stated Liz Pizzi, Associate Dean, Workforce and Community Development.

The 53-foot mobile welding lab began its inaugural welding course in April with eight members of the St. Croix Tribe.

“The St. Croix Tribe asked Northwood Technical College to help them build their workforce with professional development and skills that would allow them to become self-sufficient in trades, which would decrease their need to utilize outside contractors. Northwood Tech responded in partnership, compassion, and support. This mobile welding training unit is a product of continuing partnership between the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin and Northwood Tech and is proof that bringing opportunity to people in their place creates success,” stated Janine McNulty, Higher Education and Community Development Research/Recruiter for the St Croix Tribe.

Dr. John Will stated, “We are excited to extend access to welding education throughout the area, and we greatly appreciate the partnership with the St. Croix tribal community to make this first training possible.”

The mobile welding lab is part of the three-year RESTORE (Restoring Employment through Support, Training, Outreach, Recruitment, and Education) project funded by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD).

This was part of a $10 million Workforce Innovation Grant under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act.

A partnership with Northwood Tech and Chippewa Valley Technical College was made with the RESTORE project.

Officials say the purpose of this was to assist regions of Wisconsin to address and solve the critical workforce shortage in the growing manufacturing industry.

In addition, providing highly trained individuals to fill current open positions.

However, the responsiveness to workforce challenges in the area will help sustain employability for manufacturing in the future.

Northwood Tech’s new mobile welding lab
Northwood Tech’s new mobile welding lab(Northern News Now)

“This mobile lab brings opportunity directly into our communities by allowing the training to come into schools, factories, and anywhere else needed,” said Missy Hughes, Secretary and CEO of the WEDC, the state’s lead economic development agency. “This is more than just a classroom or training tool. This is a place where careers and new businesses begin.”

“At DWD, we are pleased to see so many workforce partners put innovative approaches, such as this beautiful welding lab, into action,” said DWD Secretary-Designee Amy Pechacek. “All of this was made possible thanks to Gov. Tony Evers’ historic investment of more than $150 million in the Workforce Solutions Initiative. With record-low unemployment and record-high job numbers, this investment is helping employers leverage our homegrown talent and building in-demand skills.”

Dori Marty, Director of Grants and Resource Development for Northwood Tech stated, “It is so exciting to see an idea come into reality. The idea to have a mobile welding lab started a few years ago and the Workforce Innovation Grant made it possible.”

Employers can elect to have customized training for their employees or individuals can choose to enroll in courses.

Depending on the customized training for each session and/or individual, various credentials can be attained including:

  • Shielded Metal Arc Welding (7 credits)
  • Gas Metal Arc Welding (7 credits)
  • Flux Cored Arc Welding (6 credits)
  • Gas Tungsten Arc Welding (8 credits)
  • Welding/Maintenance and Fabrication (14 credits) Technical Diplomas
  • Stainless Steel Certificate (6 credits).

For more information on sessions and customizable welding credentials through Northwood Tech, you can email here.

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