CLEVELAND—Lakeshore Technical College will receive $1.64 million through the state's Workforce Innovation Grant program to fund its Lakeshore Industry 4.0 Pathways and Upskilling initiative.

The college said the initiative addresses the pandemic-exacerbated critical labor shortage threatening the economic stability of the region, which depends strongly on manufacturing.

The initiative will included training and education efforts focused on underserved populations and upskilling current workers in automation, robotics, and Industry 4.0, or technology-related areas such as automation, machine learning, and data analytics.

Lakeshore will also purchase an additional mobile lab to reach underserved populations with training, including at homeless shelters and community resource centers. This “4.0 On-the-Go” training will help increase the number of skilled employees, including production workers and machine operators. There will be no cost to the training.

The mobile lab also will visit rural high schools to help generate interest in manufacturing careers.

Lakeshore Tech automation

Lakeshore Tech's award is part of $19.5 million in Workforce Innovation Grants announced by Gov. Tony Evers for projects that support workforce development across 22 counties in the northwestern, northeastern and eastern regions of the state. 

The Wisconsin Forestry Center at UW-Stevens Point and Northwood Technical College also received grants through the second round of the state program.

The grants "will provide additional training resources to Wisconsin’s manufacturing and forest product industries, both of which are so vital to a vibrant state economy,” said Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) Secretary and CEO Missy Hughes. “By targeting both workers who need help getting back into the job market or developing their skills and young people just starting their careers, we’re building a workforce that will meet our immediate and long-term needs.”   

Lakeshore Tech serves Sheboygan, Ozaukee, Manitowoc, and Calumet counties.

Additional recipients of the second round of the Workforce Innovation Grant Program will be announced on a rolling basis.