10/9/17 – October is Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin. Beaver Dam Chamber of Commerce President Phil Fritsche is also the head of the state Chamber of Commerce Executives and sits on the board of directors for Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce. Fritsche says several organizations from the state level to the local level are working to create a workforce of skilled employees to fill available manufacturing jobs. In the Dodge County area, the Manufacturing Business Alliance is coordinating the effort, working in concert with manufacturers to solve the issue. In the short-term, local manufacturing groups are working to address the shortage by targeting the unemployed or underemployed population into skillset training through the technical college system. The long-term approach is focused on high school students and educating young people on the opportunities that are available if they do not want to go to a four-year college or if they have a skillset that is in-line with the trades or manufacturing. Fritsche says it is very likely nowadays that if you are going into an in-demand manufacturing career, that you will have a job immediately while your still in school. In addition, he says your employer may even pay for your schooling but even if that is not the case, Fritsche says you are going to come out with very little debt compared to a four-year college degree. Fritsche says the starting salary could be $30-to-$40-thousand dollars with a salary up to $50-thousand dollars after five-or-six years. Students in schools throughout Dodge County are spending Manufacturing Month touring local companies and learning about the opportunities available. The students get to tour at least two of the manufacturers. They have lunch at the workplace, hear a presentation and participate in a group activity. Participating manufacturers include: Quad Graphics, Metalcraft, Mayville Engineering Company, Breuer Metal, Apache Stainless, Kirsch Foundry, Enerpac and EK Machine.