Eau Claire (WQOW) - An engineer shortage in Wisconsin has led UW-Stout to consider adding additional degrees in the field. Today, Chancellor Bob Meyer addressed the Education Committee of the Board of Regents to see what changes could be made. Meanwhile, we spoke with a local manufacturer to hear their take on the industry.
LPI of Plank Enterprises is a local manufacturer that hires engineers.
“Our equipment is specialized and it's used primarily for painting,” says Pete Paquette, the Director of Engineering at LPI.
Paquette says there is a shortage of engineers.
“It seems that the trend is that a lot of the manufacturing is coming back to our country from being done oversees, therefore, the need for more engineering jobs,” says Paquette, “one division of our company is Pro-Cise Manufacturing, the expansion there right now is growing greatly so we are looking for people in engineering disciplines.
LPI doesn't hire overseas, they look locally.
“UW-Madison, Platteville, probably the most people we have are from Stout, out of the engineering technology programs.
Eight years ago, Jesse Kukuk was one of those hires.
“I was at UW-Stout for engineering technology with a concentration in mechanical design,” says Jesse Kukuk, Project Engineer for LPI.
And while LPI does do a lot of on the job training, proper education is desired.
“Some of the engineering software that was used, initially when I went to stout, it wasn't the same software that was found in industry, it was a different software,” says Kukuk.
UW-Stout is currently working to add mechanical, electrical, and chemical engineering to their programs. It is an effort to provide the kind of skills employers are looking for, especially now that the demand is higher.
The Board of Regents is expected to make a recommendation on how to address the engineering needs of the region no later than February.
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