Manufacturing Leaders Looking for Next Generation of Workers in North Central Wisconsin High Schools

By: WSAW TV Channel 7 Journalist ~ Emily Davies

The unemployment rate is going down and there are still a lot of openings in manufacturing, but the industry is finding fewer people to fill those positions and that is why industry leaders are looking to the younger generation.

For some students like freshman Derick Seymour at Marathon High School, welding has them fired up and excited for their future careers in the industry, but for many in this generation, manufacturing is far from their minds. Students like sophomore, Blaine Schultz aren’t sure what they want to do for a career yet, while others like junior, Andrew Leydet have a different path in mind, for him something in the medical field, though both Schultz and Leydet do enjoy welding.

Welding Competition image“In the past, educational institutions tended to shy away from manufacturing education,” JARP Industries Quality Manager, Kevin Woolsey said, “some of the tech ed classes fell off the radar, but there are still a lot of really good high-paying jobs in manufacturing.”

Woolsey’s employer is just one of many manufacturing companies apart of the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturers Alliance and working to help bring in a new future workforce by visiting area high schools using a virtual welding competition.

“We’re looking to groom employees for the future,” said Woolsey.
As many baby boomers start to retire, aspiring welders and manufacturers are a necessity.

“Essentially what happens then is you’ve got to replace all of those jobs as well as furnish the jobs that you forecast to meet your market needs currently,” North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board Business Services Director, Derek Heinkkinen said.

Luckily for the industry, students like Seymour and freshman Jordan Schneeberger not only are getting high scores in the welding competition, they are excited and ready to get started.

“My dad’s a welder and I see him do stuff at home and it looks fun,” said Seymour.

“I signed up for basically every metals and shop class I could for this is my freshman year and just trying to get in there and like tech ed classes and it’s just really something interesting to get into,” said Schneeberger.

The competition will continue throughout the week of January 26, 2015 as it comes to Colby, Edgar, Rhinelander, and Tomahawk High Schools.



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