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Gov. Walker Stops In Northwoods With Fab Lab Money

Ken Krall WXPR

Governor Walker stopped at Northwoods school districts on Fab Lab Day in Wisconsin Tuesday to hand over a check to expand the work done at the schools.

Antigo, Chequamegon, Florence County, Northland Pines, Phillips and Rhinelander all picked up checks in the $25,000 range. Lakeland Union High School's check was for $35,000.

While in Rhinelander, Walker toured the Fab Lab and got a Hodag key chain from the students.

He says the growth of Fabrication Laboratories in the state coincides with a growth in the type of manufacturing jobs the labs train people to do...

"....Why we're involved is because we put the funding in the budget through the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation with help from the legislature. At a time of low unemployment....we desperately need more people in high-demand careers. Programs like this helps us attract and inspire talent to fill key positions across the state...."

In all, 22 districts got the grants. Don Sidlowski of Three Lakes is known at the father of K-12 Fab Labs in Wisconsin and the first one was in the Three Lakes District..

Walker was asked why this area has some much Fab Lab activity...

"...really the start of the impetus happened in this neck of the woods. I think often school district that are new to this, it takes other school districts that have been successful and having some of the most successful ones in the country here makes a real difference...."

Senior Tyler Frederick said he took the design class not knowing what to expect, but he says he loves it. He held up a device that was made at the Rhinelander lab...

"...this piece here is a prototype that students here at RHS created to fix a 3-D printer. This was printed by using a 3-D printer...."

Walker told reporters later that also involved in the growth of Fab Labs is highest-speed internet or broadband. He says more money is also in the pipeline for that.

On another topic, Walker says the state is about to launch a plan to get more aggressive in fighting the spread of chronic wasting disease in Wisconsin.

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