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Northwoods businesses receive Fast Forward grants

THREE LAKES, Wis. (WXPR) -- A collaborative agreement between Oneida County Economic Development, Three

Lakes High School and Nicolet College brings a large grant to support the development of a "Fab Lab", and related curriculum.

Department of Workforce Development Executive Secretary Jonathan Barry andAssistant Director David Anderson formally presented $132,000 for the "Certifiable Employability Project" for Three Lakes at the Grow North meeting in Minocqua.

Barry says the program allows high school students to get one-of-a-kind state-of-the art training towards getting hired right out of school.  "In high school technical training for 44 high school students who will also graduate from high school while picking up industry standardcertifications and offers of employment."

A Fab Lab is a new type of manufacturing process where people use broadband technology along with 3-D printers to create goods. It is seen as a new type of manufacturing. Three Lakes is the first K-12 school in Wisconsin to adopt the program.

Barry says the funding is through the Walker Administration's "Fast Forward" initiative designed to speed needed workers into open jobs that don't have trained workers.  "As businesses downsized during the recession they filled in with automation and more sophisticated equipment. The jobs that are there now require higher level of skill sets and 'catch up' if you will."

Barry and Anderson also stopped at Northern Stainless in Tomahawk to present a similar $191,000 check for a collaborative training agreement with 10 businesses and two technical colleges.