February 13, 2014
Miller Electric Mfg. Co., a manufacturer of arc welding products in Appleton, Wis., has been named Manufacturer of the Year by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin (HCCW). The honor recognizes Miller leadership alongside the HCCW to establish a new training initiative aimed at addressing the state’s shortage of qualified welders.
Miller leaders received the award in January during the 24th Annual HCCW Business Awards Gala in Milwaukee. The gala was preceded by the first-ever HCCW Advanced Manufacturing Forum, which brought together manufacturing and public policy leaders for a discussion of Wisconsin’s skilled worker shortage and possible solutions to the problem.
The forum was part of the HCCW Advanced Manufacturing Partnership’s Hispanic Training Initiative, a collaboration between the HCCW, Miller and other manufacturers, technical colleges, and community leaders throughout the state. Manufacturing alliances that have signed on in support of the initiative include the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturing Alliance, the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance, and the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce Manufacturing Careers Partnership.
The initiative distinguishes itself from traditional skills training by including life skills training for participants, with the aim of supplying workforce-ready candidates able to step into entry-level welding positions. Participants must successfully complete a rigorous prescreening process, including drug testing and four to six weeks of essential life skills training, before advancing to the employer-approved welder training course provided by the four technical colleges in the urban regions served by the program: Milwaukee, Green Bay, Wausau, and Appleton/Fox Cities.