Northwood Tech and the St. Croix Chippewa Indians of Wisconsin celebrated the graduation of students from the inaugural class for the mobile welding lab with a small gathering and feast to congratulate the six students for attaining their Shielded Metal Arc Technical Diploma and an oxy fuel and arc cutting processes course.
Classes began in April for the eight-week course which students attended for four days each week from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Not only were students in the welding lab, but also in the classroom completing other requirements for their technical diploma.
Bruce Songetay, cultural coordinator and first speaker/language advisor – St. Croix Tribe, provided an opening prayer for the event and the graduates. During the small gathering, students were individually called up to receive recognition for their technical diploma. Members of the tribal governing board were also present to witness the achievement of the students and congratulate them as well.
In response to his achievement, graduate Jeff Taylor said, “My experience in the Northwood Tech eight-week welding class was one of the funnest learning experiences I’ve ever had and has inspired me to further my education this coming fall.”
Janine McNulty, higher education and community development research/recruiter – St. Croix Tribe stated, “The experience of hosting the very first class in the mobile welding trailer here at St. Croix Tribal Community Center was truly an honor. Working behind the scenes with the staff of Northwood Tech and the welding students put me in a unique position of seeing both the institutional organizing, as well as the daily student struggle to achieve success. Northwood Technical College has stepped up, not just with vast programming, but placing their educational programs into the lives of the very people who so desperately need their services.”
Adding to McNulty’s sentiments regarding the mobile lab, programming, and overall experience, Aliesha Crowe, VP academic affairs stated, “The mobile welding lab allows Northwood Technical College to provide place-based workforce training throughout Northwest Wisconsin. We truly appreciate our partnership with the St. Croix Chippewa tribe to provide the first mobile training experience at the St. Croix Tribal Center. It was an honor for our team to participate in the graduation ceremony to celebrate the students who completed the technical diploma.”
The mobile welding lab is part of the three-year RESTORE (Restoring Employment through Support, Training, Outreach, Recruitment, and Education) project funded by the WEDC and DWD as part of a $10 million Workforce Innovation Grant under the Federal American Rescue Plan Act. The RESTORE project presented a partnership between the College and Chippewa Valley Technical College with the purpose of assisting regions of Wisconsin to address and solve the critical workforce shortage in the growing manufacturing industry while also providing highly trained individuals to fill current open positions. However, the responsiveness to workforce challenges in our area will also help sustain employability for manufacturing in the future.
The lab is part of the College’s expanding options for Industry 4.0 Advanced Manufacturing training. With eight individual welding booths, students can practice hands-on skills and employers can have employees trained to upskill their abilities to receive their customized welding credentials. Since the lab is mobile, power will either be supplied by a generator or a shore power at the training site.
Employers can elect to have customized training for their employees or individuals can choose to enroll in courses and attain various credentials. The mobile welding lab is a valuable resource for Northwestern Western to provide hands-on training and certification through place-based learning throughout the region. If you are interested in learning more about the mobile welding lab and customizable welding credentials through Northwood Tech, email CustomizedTraining@NorthwoodTech.edu.
Northwood Tech is grateful to all its community partnerships. Your support of the Northwood Tech Foundation is essential to student success. For information on how to contribute, visit www.northwoodtech.edu/donate.
A nationally top-ranked college and a designated 2023-24 Military Friendly® School, Northwood Tech serves the educational and career needs of more than 15,000 residents of Northwestern Wisconsin each year. With multiple campuses, Northwood Tech offers career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized business training, and a wide array of courses for personal or career enrichment. Northwood Tech is a member of the Wisconsin Technical College System and is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (www.hlcommission.org). For more information, call 800.243.9482 or visit northwoodtech.edu. Northwood Technical College is an Equal Opportunity/Access/Affirmative Action/Veterans/Disability Employer and Educator.