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For Immediate Release:  November 14, 2013
Contact:   Conor Smyth, 608-266-2991, conor.smyth@wtcsystem.edu


Technical College System Board honors J.P. Cullen & Sons;
focuses grants program on key priorities

         MADISON - J.P. Cullen & Sons, a Janesville-based commercial contractor, received the "Futuremakers Partner Award" from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) Board during its meeting at Blackhawk Technical College in Janesville.

         John Schwantes, vice president of the WTCS Board, presented the award to Mark Cullen, chairman of the firm’s board. "Blackhawk and Cullen mutually benefit from this powerful partnership, built and sustained over generations," Schwantes said. "It’s typical of the collaborative culture our colleges and System strive to achieve with local business partners."

         Mark Cullen took the opportunity to announce the establishment of a $25,000 scholarship fund for Blackhawk students in a variety of program areas. Dan Cullen, a fifth-generation member of the J.P. Cullen family business, presented a check to Blackhawk President Dr. Tom Eckert.

         "We are very proud of our company’s long time support of educational initiatives. We are big believers in the Wisconsin Technical College System because so many of our employees work in the technical trades," Mark Cullen said.

         Cullen’s project managers and tradespeople serve on Blackhawk’s advisory boards for construction-related trades, ensuring that the college’s graduates have the skills needed by local industry. Cullen routinely hires Blackhawk graduates. "I have enjoyed my relationship with Blackhawk for a long time. Working with the college has allowed me to see how hard the instructors work and how passionate they are about education," Mark Cullen added.

         In other board action, the WTCS Board approved sweeping changes to a grants program to target specific priorities of the Board. The restructuring will focus nearly $22 million in annual funding for Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges on areas including core industries, new markets and the creation of career pathways consisting of "stackable” technical college credentials. In addition, the highly regarded Workforce Advancement Training grants from the state will continue. Grant applications for most categories are due in February 2014 to the technical colleges, with award notifications in March.

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About the System:
The Wisconsin Technical College System 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 training and technical assistance to Wisconsin’s business and industry community. Nearly 370,000 individuals access the technical colleges for education and training each year.