Pewaukee, WI,
17:00 PM

Welding-Fabricator apprenticeship launched at WCTC

PEWAUKEE, Wis. (Tuesday, September 13, 2016) – Waukesha County Technical College and the Department of Workforce Development’s (DWD) Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) have launched southeastern Wisconsin’s first Welding-Fabricator apprenticeship.

“Changes in technology have transformed manufacturing, welding, fabrication, and assembly processes,” said WCTC Dean of the School of Applied Technologies Mike Shiels. “Modern manufacturing systems use robots, computers, programmable motion control devices, and various other technologies. These systems change the way in which goods are made and affect the jobs of those who make them. Advanced assemblers, fabricators, and welders must be able to work with these new technologies and the Welder-Fabricator apprenticeship provides this training.”

The Welder-Fabricator apprenticeship was developed in response to the needs of Wisconsin's manufacturing sector. It offers hands-on learning for two high-demand occupations in manufacturing (welding and fabrication) in a single program. It follows a hybrid model in which apprentices are assessed on-the-job using a combination of time and competencies. The program is structured for four years, or 8,000 hours, including 7,560 hours on-the-job learning and 440 hours of related instruction.

"At the Department of Workforce Development, we will continue to emphasize strong relationships with educational partners as we build capacity for proven talent development programs such as Registered Apprenticeship," Secretary Ray Allen said. "Workforce development is economic development, and strategic collaborations with our partners such as WCTC will continue to drive Wisconsin's economy."

Currently, six students and four area businesses are participating in the new apprenticeship, including The Fisher Barton Group’s Accurate Specialties, KHS USA Inc., GenMet Corp. and Wisconsin Oven.

GenMet Corp. CEO Eric Isbister said the Welding-Fabricator apprenticeship will provide employees with the skills they need to be successful on the shop floor and along their career path, which in turn will improve business operations.

“A journeyman fabricator will be able to work in every work center at GenMet,” Isbister said. “They will be able to lead a group or lead a complete shift. They will be the go-to person to answer shop floor questions which will improve quality and eliminate waiting.

He added, “This is a way for GenMet to invest in our best employees and give them a credential that they’ll work hard for and be proud of for their entire lifetime.”

Wisconsin's Registered Apprenticeship program was established in 1911, and was used as a model for the nation's apprenticeship law. For more than 100 years, the stewards of Wisconsin apprenticeship have been policy drivers and technical experts, helping build and improve apprenticeship training at both the state and national level.

For more information on DWD's Registered Apprenticeship program, please visit

About WCTC

About Waukesha County Technical College

Waukesha County Technical College, the leader in workforce development, prepares learners for success within the region and global economy. The College offers more than 150 areas of study including associate degree, technical diploma, apprenticeship and short-term certificate programs. Customized training for employers is also available. To learn more, visit