DWD Highlights Wisconsin Fast Forward Technical Education Equipment Grants with Visit to Delavan-Darien High School
Visit coincides with Gov. Evers proclaiming October as Manufacturing Month
DELAVAN – A dramatic surge in technical education is occurring in the Delavan-Darien School District, and funding from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development's Wisconsin Fast Forward program has helped make the growing participation possible, school district officials say.
With Wisconsin Fast Forward Technical Education Equipment Grants, the district has been able to purchase various machinery including a CNC mill, water jet cutter and an aquaponics tank to raise tilapia fish.
"The new equipment has really hooked a lot of our students and gotten them interested in technical education," said Mike Rick, Career and Technical Education Coordinator at Delavan-Darien School District where nearly every student takes at least one CTE class.
In last five years, Rick said, technical education has expanded dramatically, from a few hundred students to more than 600 students.
DWD Secretary-designee Amy Pechacek Thursday visited Delavan-Darien High School to see the new technology provided through a DWD-funded Wisconsin Fast Forward Technical Education Equipment Grant. Delavan-Darien School District has received more than $91,000 through the program since 2019, with the most recent grant awarded to the district in April 2022.
"Manufacturing is the backbone of Wisconsin's economy, accounting for nearly $65 billion in economic output in 2019. DWD is focused on continued growth by preparing the workforce employers need through partnerships with educational institutions. Together we are laying the groundwork for skills that put individuals on the path to family-supporting jobs in high-demand industries," said Sec. Pechacek.
Technical Education Equipment Grants reimburse school districts for the purchase and installation costs of technical education equipment used in vocational training and technical education in advanced manufacturing fields, including costs for equipment operation software and instructional materials. The grant program helps students transition from high school into the workforce by supporting technical education and reduces higher education costs by providing dual enrollment credits, industry-endorsed certificates, and technical endorsements on high school diplomas.
Delavan-Darien senior Parker Krablean, 17, is currently in DWD's Youth Apprenticeship program learning plumbing skills at Southern Lakes Plumbing and Heating in Elkhorn while going to school.
"I love it. The guys are fantastic: they explain their work. I couldn't wait to get on the job site," Krablean said.
DWD recently announced that a new round of available grants and is encouraging school districts across Wisconsin to apply for up to $50,000 in funding to purchase technical education equipment. A total of $700,000 is available and applications are due by 3 p.m. CST on Dec. 8, 2022.
For additional information, or to download an application, please consult the Grant Program Announcement and related grant program materials on the Wisconsin Fast Forward Grants website.
Wisconsin's Department of Workforce Development efficiently delivers effective and inclusive services to meet Wisconsin's diverse workforce needs now and for the future. The department advocates for and invests in the protection and economic advancement of all Wisconsin workers, employers and job seekers through six divisions – Employment and Training, Vocational Rehabilitation, Unemployment Insurance, Equal Rights, Worker's Compensation and Administrative Services. To keep up with DWD announcements and information, sign up for news releases and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.