U.S. Secretary of Labor Tom Perez (left), Acting Assistant Secretary of Employment and Training
Administration Eric Seleznow, Gateway Technical College President Bryan Albrecht and
MATC President Dr. Michael L. Burke at Gateway Technical College.
RACINE– U. S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez visited Wisconsin as part of a Midwest stop on Wednesday. Secretary Perez visited Gateway Technical College's iMET Center in Racine to follow up on the innovative training programs planned as a result of Labor’s recent $23.1 million grant to the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS), announced in September.
Wisconsin employers and workers will benefit from the grant program’s statewide investment in Information Technology (IT) career pathways, which develop advanced IT competencies to support every sector of the state’s economy, including business, health care, hospitality, manufacturing and others.
The successful grant application is the third installment of a multi-year, nearly $2.0 billion federal community college initiative designed to increase credential attainment in high-priority economic sectors. In the previous round, the technical colleges won an $18.3 million grant to expand innovative programs that produce high-skilled workers in advanced manufacturing.
“The cream rose to the top and you (WTCS) were at the top,” Secretary Perez told a panel of employers, students and WTCS leaders on Wednesday. “Two-year colleges are the gateway to upward mobility for diverse populations,” he said. Secretary Perez also commended the state's technical colleges for a grant proposal that was demand driven, industry driven and a developed on a partnership-based model."
“All 16 of our colleges are energized about this grant and the opportunity to deliver innovative IT skills instruction for students, and skilled workers for our employer partners,” remarked WTCS President Morna Foy. “Northcentral Technical College has an outstanding team in place to coordinate our efforts.”
Wisconsin’s technical colleges received one of the largest single awards and the collaborative is one of the few applicants to successfully receive back-to-back grants. MATC received $2.09 million for the college's Computer Support Specialist associate degree program.
MATC President Dr. Michael L. Burke and School of Business Dean Mohammad Dakwar participated on a panel with Secretary Perez.
"This grant is a game-changer that helps MATC address a persistent pall that has fallen over our community," said Dr. Burke. "The grant also helps advance a commitment by MATC and the WTCS to increase completion rates among students."
Dakwar shared, "This grant is a smart invesment in the state's technical colleges and our community. The resources are needed to benefit students and provide a hands-on skill set to help move them forward."
The Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) offers more than 300 programs awarding two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas and short-term technical diplomas and certificates. In addition, the System is the major provider of customized business solutions and technical assistance to Wisconsin’s business and industry community. Nearly 370,000 individuals access the technical colleges for education and training each year.