GRAND CHUTE - Fox Valley Technical College and area businesses believe the economy will only go up from here.
"Gaining technical skills in this economy is really how we see the future evolving," said Christopher Matheny, vice-president for instructional services at FVTC.
Its part of the reason Fox Valley Tech is pushing forward with a $66.5 million referendum, to expand its ability to train workers for more skill-specific jobs.
"Do they possess the skills for the job itself, the hard skills and the soft skills, the how well do they interact with others, the people skills and the critical thinking skills," said Al Hesse of the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board.
Just as important is giving already skilled workers even more job specific training as technology continues to evolve. Nursing students aren't just training for today, they're preparing for the future in an ever-changing industry.
"It's very difficult for healthcare providers to keep up on their skills unless there is some additional training that's done and through the use of simulators we can create situations that maybe are not common in the providers workplace," said Bob Sternhagen, human patient simulation coordinator for FVTC.
The goal is to close the skills gap for the highly specific jobs employers are looking to fill.
"Where do we have a large calling for and where is the strongest demand at," said Hesse.
Hesse says in the Fox Valley area employers are looking for skill-specific workers in advanced manufacturing, healthcare, transportation logistics and diesel technology. Through the referendum Fox Valley Tech will address some of those needs through a $12 million healthcare technology center, a $6 million transportation center expansion and a new $35 million public safety training center on land leased at the Outagamie County Regional Airport.
Employers say helping students meet those demands is what's driving our economy forward.
"They need to be "re-tooled" to get into the new job market and get those skills they need to be competitive," said Hesse.
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