Sen. Baldwin talks closing skills gap - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Sen. Baldwin talks closing skills gap

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LA CROSSE, Wisconsin (WXOW)-- Senator Tammy Baldwin made a stop at Western Technical College Friday afternoon to learn about the plans to grow the manufacturing and industrial programs.

In November, voters approved a $79.8 million referendum to help fund projects to meet that goal.

One of the biggest projects highlighted Friday is the Integrated Technology Center. It will be an expansion and renovation of the current Applied Technology Center.

The project will allow industrial programs, like manufacturing and welding, to be under one roof and share classroom space and labs.

The president of western says the school frequently meets with area employers to hear about workforce needs. Sen. Baldwin says these industrial programs are vital in closing the so-called skills gap.

"Technical schools play a very, very important role in helping us bridge the gap in traditional manufacturing and 21st Century advanced manufacturing," Sen. Baldwin said. "We're seeing a lot of new things on factory floors that you wouldn't have seen in your father or grandfather's factory, if you will."

The plan is to open that integrated technology center in 2015.

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