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(Milton, WI) Hillary Gavan, Beloit Daily News

Phase II of Blackhawk Technical College’s advanced manufacturing training center was completed this fall, giving students better laboratories, more space and updated curriculum and equipment.

“We are really excited about the opportunities we are able to offer for students, potential students and displaced workers,” said Dean of Advanced Manufacturing and Transportation Garry Krause.

In February of 2013, the college announced it had leased a building at 15 North Plumb St., Milton, to house several of its advanced manufacturing programs. The hope was that the space would bring all vocational programs closer together and allow for more collaborative projects between students.

The entire renovation cost about $12 million and the college entered into a 10-year lease at the location.

By the fall of 2014 half of the building had been renovated and new equipment was moved in. Three programs were moved to the campus including welding, computer numerical control (CNC) technician and industrial maintenance technician.

By the fall of 2015 five more programs were moved in including heating, ventilation, air conditioning/refrigeration; manufacturing information technology specialist; electromechanical technology; mechanical design and computer service


The advanced manufacturing training features modern science laboratories where students can learn practical science which can be applied to industry. In the loading dock area, for example, students can practice working with a crane to hook, rig and lift objects on uneven ground to place on even ground. In another laboratory, a beam is mounted below the ceiling where students can practice using pulleys to help lift heavy objects.

To keep up with demand, BTC has hired a new welding instructor as well as an additional computer numerical controlled machine technician instructor. There are 225 students at the advanced manufacturing training center this year.

BTC is continually upgrading its curriculum. Currently, it is seeking National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) accreditation for its CNC machine technician program.

There are also a number of embedded certificates within each program, so students can develop a niche in their respective industries.

BTC’s new partnership with the Milton School District will also help give students more opportunities. Students in the Milton school district can take gas metal arc welding, blueprint reading, and two math courses to earn a state approved certificate from BTC while attending high school.

“When they graduate they can go straight to industry or come back for more training,” Krause said.

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