In May, the state of Wisconsin and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTC) are celebrating the success and future growth opportunities within manufacturing across the state.

Wisconsin’s technical colleges offer students the opportunity to prepare for great careers in manufacturing while developing the kind of employees that will lead the next generation of manufacturing into the future — a skilled workforce.

Manufacturing is a much different industry than it was even five years ago. Manufacturers are increasingly reliant upon technology to remain competitive.

This technology-driven work requires a skilled workforce to operate and maintain it to its full advantage. Wisconsin is uniquely prepared to serve the manufacturing industry, thanks in part to the flexible and highly-technical program offerings of WTC and the well-trained, hard-working and confident graduates. These programs, or majors, offered at the technical colleges span one to two years in length and are available for a wide range of careers.

Technical college students are finding that high-skill, high-technology manufacturing careers are not only increasingly available to them, but they can be very lucrative and very rewarding. In fact, upon program completion, students in manufacturing jobs receive an average annual salary of $44,447, compared to the average wage of $35,115 for all Wisconsin industry employees.

The opportunities are definitely available as well. The number of new manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin is expected to increase by 7,500 to 8,500 positions a year for the foreseeable future.

A recent survey conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found that in Milwaukee alone, 62 percent of manufacturing facilities expect to see an increase in employment, capital investment or facility space. Wisconsin firms are advanced and competitive and are creating opportunities for people who want to invest in their careers.

WTC is in very close step with the real world environment through advisory committees. The relationships forged between the colleges and industry help to create relevant training for strong placement, and help employers fill the jobs necessary to remain competitive in this economy.

This partnership allows the technical colleges to understand the needs of manufacturers and the flexibility to change or adjust curriculum to meet those instruction and delivery needs. While many Wisconsin companies are looking to grow, 38 percent are finding it difficult to find future employees with the appropriate mix of technical skills.

This partnership between the technical colleges, business, industry and labor is critical to sustaining and further developing Wisconsin’s manufacturing growth.

A complete list of programs is available, along with salary outcomes and related job opportunities at www.witechcolleges.org.

For more information about May is Manufacturing Month, visit www.mayismanufacturingmonth.info.