Contact: Timothy Svoboda, (202) 225-2476
(Washington, D.C.) – Congressman Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah) today welcomed Lakeshore Technical College to Washington, D.C. to discuss career and technical education and the positive career outlook that follows. Grothman’s invitation to Lakeshore Tech was part of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce’s “Innovation Forum and Showcase”. The forum coincided with the passage of H.R. 2353, which is an overhaul of America’s career and technical education system that will enable more students to gain the skills necessary to obtain good, high-paying jobs in the skilled labor market.
The witness panel included Dr. Paul Carlsen, President of Lakeshore Technical College. In addition to sharing insight about Lakeshore Tech’s success with the committee, Dr. Carlsen presented oral testimony on an incumbent worker training model called MicroMatch Upskilling, a unique combination of skills-based aptitude testing with a series of short-term training seminars focused on robotics.
Lakeshore Technical College is based in Wisconsin’s Sixth District (Cleveland, WI).
Excerpts of Grothman’s questioning
Congressman Grothman: “You do a great job in Wisconsin’s tech school system. Do you ever find students who have a full four-year degree, or began at a traditional institution, and wound up going to Lakeshore Technical College?
Dr. Paul Carlsen: Yes, sir. We’re seeing that more and more when skilled manufacturing jobs are paying wages that start at $65,000 a year, we are seeing more people that have previously earned a bachelor’s degree enroll into Lakeshore Technical College today than we have seen in the past.”
Grothman: “And are there other people that not only have a four-year degree, but maybe spent one or two years going before they decided to go to the tech school as well?”
Carlsen: “Oh, absolutely. So, we’ll see those folks that will try only one or two years at a four-year college and realize that that learning environment is not for them, they want something more hands-on. And we also find people that graduate from high school, they hit the workforce right away, and after two or three years of working a low-paying job, they’re ready to make that career change for them and their family.”
Grothman: “Okay, and you mentioned it’s not unusual to get a degree which takes less than four years, at less of a cost, to wind up making $60-$65,000 a year?”
Carlsen: “Yes, sir. So, electro-mech technicians in our service region are in such high demand, that and individual who would enroll at Lakeshore Technical College right after high school and graduate with an Associate’s Degree in two years, paying $135 per credit hour, would receive significant return on investment by the time they are 20 for their tuition.”
Grothman: “Okay, so you could be making, with overtime, $70-$80,000 a year and still only be 20 years old?
Carlsen: “Absolutely. So, that $65,000 would be a base wage, and labor markets are so tight right now that many people are getting overtime in our industries.”
Grothman: “It’s amazing that anybody in this institution would be encouraging more students to go the traditional four-year route when they could wind up so much better going to a tech school and making more money without the huge debt. Why do you think people still [encourage all students to pursue a four-year degree].
Carlsen: “That’s a mindset change that I think is starting to change across the country and within our service region, that college is not a one-size-fits-all four-year degree but what’s best for the economy and best for the student is their own individual learning. I wish everybody would come to Lakeshore Technical College!”
Grothman: “You do a great job and I appreciate it.”
Click here to view Grothman’s full remarks (beginning at 2:58:25).