Technical College Plans Advanced Manufacturing Charter School

Lakeshore Technical College will use a $650,000 National Science Foundation grant to set up a new advanced manufacturing technology charter school.
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  • Lakeshore Technical College in Wisconsin is partnering with a nearby school district to create an advanced manufacturing charter school.
  • The school will provide students with apprenticeships, college credentials, and progress toward associate degrees.
  • The charter school will be the first of its kind in the state.
  • Lakeshore Technical College is using a recent $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to set up the school.

A Wisconsin technical college and school district are teaming up to create a new opportunity for students: An advanced manufacturing charter school aimed at providing real-world experience.

Lakeshore Technical College plans to use a recent $650,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to set up the advanced manufacturing charter school in partnership with the Cedar Grove-Belgium School District between Milwaukee and Green Bay. The partnership will also include employers, according to a Lakeshore Technical College press release.

The new charter school, dubbed the Rocket Academy Dual Credit Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Charter School (RADCAM TEC), will include dual credit courses, apprenticeships, job shadowing, and school-to-work opportunities, according to the release.

The charter school will allow students to graduate with a high school diploma as well as college certificates and technical diplomas, and courses can be applied toward industry-specific associate degrees at Lakeshore.

"This grant will have a significant impact on the community. It will provide students the opportunity to embark on a fast-track trajectory for education that will prepare them to graduate as workforce-ready advanced manufacturing technicians and be ready for additional industry-focused college coursework," Lakeshore President Paul Carlsen said in the release.

"Graduates entering the workforce will find themselves in high demand, earning much higher wages than the average high school graduate."

Community and technical colleges are often seen as key partners in training workers for high-demand jobs. A recent White House workforce development roadmap features funding toward registered apprenticeships and other initiatives where community colleges play a major role.

"At the heart of this effort is ensuring the full range of our education and training systems, including middle and high schools, community colleges, community organizations, unions, and more, work in lockstep with employers to prepare and place millions of students and workers from all backgrounds in sustainable quality jobs across critical sectors — including clean energy, semiconductor manufacturing, construction, healthcare, information technology, education and child care, and biotechnology," the White House roadmap release reads.

Advanced manufacturing jobs are key aspects of recent federal legislation like the CHIPS Act. BestColleges previously reported that community colleges in Ohio are partnering with Intel to train workers for a $20 billion semiconductor plant coming to the Columbus area.

Manufacturing is a vital industry in the Lakeshore community, according to the release, providing a third of high-demand jobs with a median annual wage of more than $60,000.