Northwood Technical College held a ribbon cutting and open house event [this week] recognizing Enbridge Energy and Cenovus Superior Refinery for their combined donations of $90,000 toward the purchase of a generator to power the new state-of-the-art mobile welding lab.
The initial funds for designing and building the mobile welding lab were secured through a Workforce Innovation Grant RESTORE project, however a generator for the mobile lab was not included in those funds. Enbridge Energy and Cenovus Superior Refinery stepped in to power the project by funding the generator for the lab through the Northwood Technical College Foundation.
“One of the major barriers for our students is transportation, which is not surprising as we cover 11 counties and 10,500 square miles,” said Kim Pearson, executive director for the Northwood Tech Foundation. “To overcome that barrier, we found a way to bring the training to them, rather than require them to come to the campuses.”
At the event, both Cenovus Superior Refinery and Enbridge Energy were recognized for their partnership and substantial financial contributions toward obtaining the generator.
“The Cenovus Superior Refinery supports the mobile welding lab initiative so that everyone, regardless of their location or barriers, can access training and careers of their choice,” said Matt Gunn, general manager, Superior Refinery. “We can’t wait to see the number of students that will thrive because of this program, and the gaps in the welding workforce that this will fill.”
“Enbridge is proud to support the Northwood Technical College as they create training opportunities for students in rural and tribal communities,” said Michelle Johnson, Enbridge community engagement strategist. “We’re excited to see how this mobile facility will expand options for learning across northern Wisconsin.”
After the ribbon was cut to commemorate the new generator, the 53-foot mobile lab was open for walk-though tours where attendees viewed the eight fully equipped welding booths used in the training. Some of the visitors also took advantage of the opportunity to try out their welding skills with a small project.
The purchase of the generator will not only allow for mobility in training, but also provide a power source at any location where direct access to electricity is not available. This means that more rural communities can receive comprehensive hands-on training in their own backyard without having to travel distances for these opportunities. Furthermore, this increased opportunity will support the growth of the manufacturing sector and fill skills gaps in the workforce benefiting communities and businesses alike.
The initial $750,000 for the design and build of the mobile welding lab was paid for through the Workforce Innovation Grant - RESTORE project.
The three-year, $1.2 million Restoring Employment through Support, Training, Outreach, Recruitment, and Education in Northwestern Wisconsin (RESTORE) project is funded by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. Northwood Technical College will provide an additional $1 million in grant support for training underemployed, unemployed, and special population individuals.
For more information on customized training with the mobile welding lab, please contact CustomizedTraining@NorthwoodTech.edu.
Northwood Tech is grateful for 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.
Northwood Technical College is a nationally top-ranked college and designated Silver 2023-24 Military Friendly® School that puts your Learning First. 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.
[PHOTO (left to right behind the ribbon): Aliesha Crowe, vice president of academic affairs; Kim Pearson, executive director, Northwood Tech Foundation/director, advancement; Michelle Johnson, community engagement strategist with Enbridge; Kate Van Daele, senior advisor, regional communications with Cenovus Energy; Liz Pizzi, associate dean of workforce and community development; Dan Miller, associate dean of workforce & community development; Karen Hooglund, dean of public safety; and Keith Burns, welding instructor.]