U.S. Sen. Baldwin visits Mid-State to discuss AMETA Center and 'Build Back Better' workforce projects
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin visited the Stevens Point Campus of Mid-State Technical College Friday, Mar. 18, for updates on the College’s emerging workforce collaborations—the Advanced Manufacturing Engineering Technology and Apprenticeship (AMETA) Center campaign and the Wisconsin Paper Council National Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant application.
“What makes this even a better story is that it’s private industry, college and government… all coming around to really show what central Wisconsin can do, what the state of Wisconsin can do and what we can do for the nation, and that’s what AMETA is all about,” said Mid-State President Dr. Shelly Mondeik.
Baldwin congratulated College and Stevens Point-area business leaders for their success in raising over $11M for the proposed AMETA Center through combined college funds, private donations and public grants, fully funding the estimated construction cost. “I am so with you as a new partner,” she said.
Gov. Tony Evers in December announced Mid-State’s award of $9M under the State’s Workforce Innovation Grant, which was funded through the Baldwin-supported American Rescue Plan. The award for the proposed public-private initiative includes $4M for the construction of the AMETA Center in Stevens Point, $1M for equipment in the new facility and $5M for student supports and community partnerships, making it easier for people to enroll and attend.
Groundbreaking for the approximately 50,000 square-foot Center is slated to begin in fall 2022, with an opening planned in fall 2023, when it will begin expanding workforce training to supply central Wisconsin with highly skilled workers, address the workforce shortage and sustain and grow area businesses.
Baldwin and an audience of community and area business leaders at the event also learned more about the Wisconsin Paper Council Consortium National Build Back Better federal grant application, “A Wisconsin Forest Products Cluster: A Catalyst for Sustainable, Enduring Transformation,” in which Mid-State and UW–Stevens Point are coalition participants. Baldwin recently supported the grant application, which would help ensure the long-term viability of the state's paper and forest products industry. Late last year the application received a $500,000 planning grant as one of 60 finalists out of 529 applications nationwide and the only finalist from Wisconsin.
The application seeks funding for six key projects designed to spur sustainable transformation of Wisconsin’s forest products industry, which supports 64,000 jobs and produces $24.5B in economic impact in the State of Wisconsin: Upholding our Forest Products Cluster’s North Star: Engagement, Equity, Governance and Analytics (Wisconsin Paper Council), A Forest-Fiber-Paper-Packaging Nexus (UW–Stevens Point), Advanced Manufacturing, Engineering Technology and Apprenticeship (AMETA) Center (Mid-State Technical College), Re-Casting the Future of a Tribal Sawmill (Menominee Tribal Enterprises), Functional and High-Performance Paper and Packaging (UW–Stevens Point) and Recovered Paper and Recycled and Fresh Fiber Advancement (UW– Stevens Point).
“Today’s event is an opportunity for us to share and celebrate the success that results from collaboration and partnership,” said Stacey Johnson, vice president for Forestry, Transportation & Workforce Relations for the Wisconsin Paper Council.
“Supply chain disruptions and workforce shortages are the two biggest industry concerns, challenges these days,” Baldwin said. “The partnership between technical colleges, universities, industry, workforce development agencies is the way we get this done.”
In February, Gov. Tony Every announced the State would provide up to $8.2 million in matching funds to qualify the application for the next round of $100 million federal grants, adding to the already-secured $11.8M in donations from businesses, tribal and local governments, individuals and nonprofits.
To learn more, see a list of contributors to date or make a donation to the AMETA Center campaign, visit mstc.edu/partner.