When Foxconn Technology Group’s arrival in southeastern Wisconsin became a near certainty at a White House announcement last July, a renewed emphasis was placed on technical education in the state.
A majority of that focus centered on the ever-deepening relationship between technical colleges and workforce development organizations, and how the two could combine forces to prepare Wisconsin’s workforce for the massive employment opportunity Foxconn presents with its creation of up to 13,000 jobs at its factory planned for Racine County.
Far less attention was paid to similar efforts being made at the high school level. But for the long-term health of Wisconsin’s economy and workforce, pathways set up by places like Lynde & Harry Bradley Technology & Trade School in Milwaukee, better known simply as Bradley Tech, could be just as important.
“It’s imperative that the state of Wisconsin, along with our partners in the private sector, engage with local school districts to ensure that students have the opportunity to receive skills training that will help them upon graduation,” said Vincent Rice, vice president of sector strategy development at Wisconsin Economic Development Corp.
Fortunately, Bradley Tech started revamping its curriculum to fit the job market more than two years ago. Milwaukee Area Technical College president Vicki Martin sits on the Bradley Tech commission, essentially the organization’s board of trustees, and said she has overseen a transformation of curriculum into an “early college model” at Tech.
“We have a very close working relationship,” she said. “Students can really explore hands-on which of those areas they want to go into in terms of career planning.”
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