As manufacturing evolves, workforce needs change
The 21st-century factory is a very different place than factories of a hundred years ago. With technologies and equipment constantly evolving, employers in the manufacturing sector need employees whose knowledge and skills are up to date. Likewise, students who hope to one day work in manufacturing need to become familiar with the cutting-edge technologies and methods being used in today’s workplaces.
Preparing students for 21st-century manufacturing jobs
By helping school districts provide students with the latest equipment and technological advancements, WEDC’s Fabrication Laboratories (Fab Labs) Program is helping to create a workforce that can meet the current and future needs of Wisconsin manufacturers, as well as helping students learn skills that will make them attractive to future employers. A fab lab is a high-tech workshop equipped with computer-controlled manufacturing components such as 3D printers, laser engravers, computer numerical control routers and plasma cutters.
In the first two years of the Fab Labs Program, WEDC and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker have provided more than $1 million in matching funds to help schools establish or expand their fab lab facilities. Because of the important role that fab labs play in student training and workforce development, Governor Walker’s 2017-19 budget calls for another $1 million in fab lab funding over the next two years.