GREEN BAY – Two Rivers resident Salvador Galaviz first turned to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College for help learning English.
He graduated with a bilingual welding certificate in June, when NWTC asked if he’d be interested in a scholarship that would qualify him for an even better-paying, in-demand manufacturing job. The scholarship in industrial maintenance covers tuition, supplies and housing, and he’s already thinking about how the support will help him and his wife get by until he completes his courses.
“I really appreciate that you guys are doing this for us, for the people that I know that are going to do this scholarship and study,” Galaviz said Monday at an event announcing new scholarship opportunities at NWTC. “It’s a great opportunity for people like me.”
Galaviz will receive one of more than 50 full scholarships funded by Xometry and the Greater Green Bay Chamber for the school year beginning this fall. Schreiber Foods separately will support another two scholarships for manufacturing students.
All 52 scholarships will be available to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College students enrolled in manufacturing programs this fall. NWTC has set up scholarship and grant request forms for the new scholarships, as well as for its existing programs that provide students more than $800,000 in tuition assistance each year.
“We have students within the community that wouldn’t be able to make higher education possible without these partnerships,” said Erin DeGrand, NWTC’s manager of Recruitment, Admissions & Enrollment. “Seeing a student’s excitement when they can come to school is just amazing. The more support we can get from the community, the more students we can help get the education of their dreams.”
Xometry, based in Derwood, Maryland, will provide the 50 scholarships to NWTC students this year and next year under a national program focused on five regions of the country. Students must be accepted into one of 27 qualifying programs which include data analytics, electro-mechanical technology, manufacturing operations management, mechanical design technology, supply chain management, machine tool operation, welding and electrical engineering technology.
Xometry runs a digital marketplace focused on advanced manufacturing services. Co-founder Laurence Zuriff said the company set aside shares in the publicly-traded company in a donor-advised fund to support initiatives like scholarships to equip the next generation of manufacturing workers with the technical skills for the job, without the burden of student debt.
The scholarships will be available on a “first come, first served” basis to students accepted to NWTC. College officials encouraged students to apply now as the fall semester begins Aug. 15.
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Manufacturers locally and nationally have a lot of jobs to fill. The National Association of Manufacturers estimates there were 1 million manufacturing job openings in April and projections from The Manufacturing Institute and Deloitte estimate unfilled jobs will grow to 2.1 million by 2030.
Dr. Colleen Simpson, NWTC vice president of student services, said the new scholarships exemplify how industry, employers and colleges can collaborate to provide more education, mentorship and access to high-wage jobs to the region’s increasingly-diverse population.
“I really applaud Schreiber and Xeometry for being innovative in their thinking to partner with NWTC,” Simpson said. “I encourage more companies in our region to think about how they can create strong partnerships with the technical community colleges.”
Schneider scholarships focus on supporting a diverse workforce
Schreiber’s two annual scholarships are specifically for students of color as the company seeks to close the racial wealth gap and make sure its workforce reflects the communities where Schreiber is based and the customers it serves. The deadline to apply is Aug. 5.
Jenene Calloway, Schreiber Foods’ vice president of talent development and chief diversity officer, said the company has long made it a priority to partner with local colleges to scale up and train workers.
The idea to offer a scholarship emerged from discussions with the company’s employees of color about how Schreiber could create opportunities for more people of color to qualify for higher-paying, in-demand careers. Calloway said the genesis of the idea exemplifies why diversity, equity and inclusion, together, make an impact.
“It really comes down to equity: All people having access to opportunities to develop and enhance their skills,” Calloway said. “One thing that often gets in the way for people of color is the lack of access and funding. This is an opportunity to provide funding to those members of our community so they have just as good a chance to be selected for those roles.”
Simpson said the cost of tuition is a “huge barrier” for many students, but not the only hurdle they encounter. She said the scholarships give NWTC a chance to intentionally support students of color from recruitment through the start of their professional careers. She said Schreiber’s scholarships, for example, includes an internship opportunity with the food manufacturer. The impact, Simpson said, will go far beyond the classroom.
“If we look at our community, we see our community is changing, but we have educational equity gaps and in the workforce,” Simpson said. “(Schreiber is) looking to change representation. They’re investing early into students of color who can turn into professionals of color. It will enrich the environment for us at NWTC and at each of these organizations.”
There are currently more than 24,000 students enrolled in training, certification and degree programs across more than 200 career fields. NWTC serves a region that includes Door, Florence, Kewaunee, Marinette and Oconto counties along with most of Brown County and small parts of Outagamie and Manitowoc counties.
In Wisconsin, the average Wisconsin manufacturing worker earns $74,252 in salary and benefits, said Ann Franz, executive director of the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance.
The alliance surveys its members annually to gauge their expectations for growth, hiring, skill needs, facility expansion and other metrics. This year, among 150 members that responded, 56% expected to expand their workforce this year while 91% expect difficulty recruiting employees. Machinists, welders, industrial maintenance and skilled trades are among the most difficult positions to fill, per the survey.
Those needs align with some of Schreiber’s, Calloway said.
“When we think about the skills needed for our company to be successful, they’re skills like technical skills, project management skills, lean (manufacturing) coordination skills,” Calloway said. “It’s about helping our operations run more efficiently and effectively. These three programs provide students with relevant skills to be successful in those roles.”
The alliance offers six, $1,000 scholarships to NWTC, part of the $55,000 in scholarships it awards every year. More funding for manufacturing and technical education will help workers get better jobs and companies grow, Franz said.
“The more investment in manufacturing scholarships, the better,” Franz said. “There’s such a great need.”
Contact Jeff Bollier at (920) 431-8387 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JeffBollier.