Classes Open in New Innovative Worker Training Program Conceived by Granville BID, MATC

May 28, 2014

Milwaukee – Nearly 200 employees from the industrial hub of the Granville Business Improvement District have literally “gone to class” in a new innovative worker training program created by the Granville BID and Milwaukee Area Technical College.

The Incumbent Workforce Training Program offers 10 classes in a variety of disciplines identified by Granville BID employers as their most important training needs. Workers are paid for attending the sessions, held during late afternoon hours on work days. Businesses are not charged for the worker training.

The model program - the first of its kind in Wisconsin - is open only to members of the Granville BID, which has the most concentrated industrial employment base in the state. The courses were chosen based on a survey of more than 25 employers - covering the manufacturing, service, automotive and retail sectors - within the BID. MATC instructors teach the classes.

“We are extremely proud to partner with MATC in launching the Incumbent Workforce Training Program, which directly responds to worker education needs that our member employers have identified,” said Mark Krause, Chair of the Granville BID Board of Directors. “A well-trained workforce is critical both to the success of these companies and our goals as a business improvement district. We hope this program is duplicated elsewhere in Wisconsin as a way to strengthen our state’s entire economy.”

The IWTP is funded by a $15,000 Workforce Advancement Training grant awarded to MATC. The courses encompass four separate classes in computer software programs, a block of four classes in specific technical skills, and one course each in customer service skills and employee supervision. The computer classes each have 12 student slots. All others have 20 slots each.

Interest in the classes has been heavy. Waiting lists have formed.
The first “semester” of the IWTP runs from May 6 through late August. Classes are held at Busch Precision, 8200 N. Faulkner Road, Milwaukee Job Corps, 6665 N. 60th St., and the Granville BID offices, 7817 W. Brown Deer Road.

The IWTP addresses present and future challenges of both worker knowledge and availability, said Mike Mallwitz, President of Busch Precision. Its classes will help fill gaps in employees’ skills, and further their learning to fill the jobs of retiring workers.

“You take a skill and you build on that skill. This allows everyone who has a nice base of skills to go to the next level,” said Mallwitz, whose company will send nine of its 35 employees for training. “We’re excited to be part of it. We want to be good stewards, and hopefully improve the community in the process.”

MATC’s goals for the IWTP are twofold, said Sandra McClary, Senior Specialist, Business Development at MATC. First is for workers to gain additional skills to enhance their job satisfaction and security, earn greater income and apply for promotions. Second is for employers to be more successful and sustainable by having better-skilled employees.

“Longer term, we hope this pilot program will be an impetus to encourage other businesses to see the benefits of training their workforce,” McClary said. “Initiatives such as the Incumbent Worker Training Program provide them a cost-effective opportunity to be part of the solution.”

A new “semester” of IWTP classes is likely to begin in September. Plenty of additional potential courses exist. The October 2013 employer survey identified many other areas for desired worker training: welding, machining, CNC, communications, marketing, lean manufacturing, quality assurance, retail management and exporting/importing.

“We can tell by the interest already generated that this program is addressing an urgent need of many employers within the business improvement district,” Krause said. “We look forward to its implementation and early feedback from our members, so that we can hopefully return with an even better and more comprehensive training initiative in the fall.”

Created in February 2013 to spur economic development and revitalization of Milwaukee’s far northwest side, the Granville Business Improvement District contains more than 300 businesses covering a broad swath of industrial, service and retail market segments. The district hosts thousands of employees every work day, and is home to the most concentrated base of industrial employment in Wisconsin.

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