Nicolet College’s new home for manufacturing programs promotes collaboration among students
Jeff Labs is proud to show off Nicolet College’s new home for its manufacturing programs. He’s Dean of Trade, Industry, and Apprenticeship at Nicolet.
Nicolet College recently put $2.2 million into renovating the Birchwood center.
Now, Welding, Electromechanical Technology, Industrial Maintenance Mechanic, Industrial Electronics Technician, and Industrial Mechanical Technician programs are all under one roof.
Labs says one of the best parts is that it’s very open. While each program is in a different section of the building, big windows show off the equipment inside.
“We want to make sure that whether it is current students, future students our community, our employer partners, we want to make sure that again, everything is visible, what’s going on, what we have cause we’re pretty proud of what we have and want to show it off,” said Labs.
The programs each have state-of-the-art equipment to teach students hands-on the skills they need to join the workforce right after college.
Labs says the best part about having all the programs in a single building is the opportunity for collaborations.
It’s likely that the jobs these students go into after college will require them to work with people across the different sectors, so it just makes sense that they learn like that too.
It also shows students career paths they might not have considered otherwise.
“It really opens everybody’s eyes, especially students or perspective students about what is the breadth of manufacturing. Otherwise, a lot of times they’ll pick one program and they’re kind of siloed away from some of the other areas,” said Labs.
The renovations also allow students more space to work and better access to instructors.
Labs says enrollment in the manufacturing programs has remained steady throughout the pandemic. He says career outlooks for those students’ post-graduation has been fantastic.
He attributes a lot that to local employers working collaboratively with the program.
“They’re so willing to come in and chat with the students, talk with the students, make sure that they’re aware of the opportunities that are either happening now or what they foresee in the future,” said Labs.
Labs called the job opportunities that come out of each of these programs “high wage, high demand.”
There’s already plans in the works to expand to more manufacturing programs.
Nicolet is planning to launch a new Metal Fabrications program this spring and a Forestry Maintenance program this fall.
They’ll also be housed in the Birchwood Center.