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For Immediate Release:  December 4, 2013
Contact:   Conor Smyth, 608-266-2991, conor.smyth@wtcsystem.edu


U.S. Secretary of Labor applauds Wisconsin’s technical colleges

         MADISON - U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez is visiting Wisconsin as part of a Midwest stop on Wednesday. Secretary Perez is visiting Gateway Technical College 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.

         "As American workplaces become increasingly interconnected, ensuring that workers have access to the IT skills and credentials that help safely and securely collect, store and transfer information is more important than ever," Secretary Perez told a panel of employers, students and WTCS leaders on Wednesday. "This investment will help prepare the Badger State’s economy and its workers for good-paying, middle class jobs," he said.

         "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. "President Lori Weyers and her team at Northcentral Technical College have done an outstanding job coordinating this grant effort."

         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.

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About the System:
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.