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A major goal of the Chippewa County EDC is to assist, provide, and collaborate in solving the skills gap issue especially in the manufacturing arena- with that in mind a manufacturing boot camp was launched this summer in Chippewa County, WI. Today, the team consisting of private sector manufacturers, educators, Workforce Resource, and the Boy Scouts of America, who worked to design the Chippewa County Manufacturing Boot Camp met to review the program’s success and steps moving forward. 

The Chippewa County Manufacturing Boot Camp is a unique six week program which provides customized training opportunities with both classroom and hands-on instruction related to manufacturing and was offered to participants who were boys and girls, ages 14-21. These participants attended classroom instruction for the first half of the day, earning certificates of OSHA 10, first aid/CPR, critical core manufacturing skills, and introduction to manufacturing lean principals.  These certifications directly benefited the participants no matter what line of work they choose to pursue but will specifically benefit the individuals in any manufacturing environment; and can be utilized in any advanced manufacturing program offered in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).  Furthermore participants in the boot camp benefited through career information and insight into the advanced manufacturing vocation.  Participants were exposed to practical, real, and meaningful hands-on experiences, new career and personal skills, opportunities to try leadership roles, a cooperative relationship between adults and youth, and service to others.  In addition, boot camp graduates were educated in the skills required for specific careers, job outlook, and the necessary educational background for those careers. Everyone had the opportunity to learn and improve soft skills through leadership training programs- emphasizing team development, and were provided an opportunity to engage in a program of activities that encouraged an understanding of work ethic, discipline, honesty, trust, and getting along with others. 

The Boot Camp had 20+ participants graduate and are workforce ready, and in 2017 the program will be expanded!  These local manufacturers hosted the inaugural program: Spectrum Industries, Alliance Plastics, Rex Systems Inc., PMI LLC, TTM Technologies, and Advanced Laser Machining.  

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