For the City Times
On Oct. 5, 2016 thousands of eighth grade students from central Wisconsin will experience first-hand the many career opportunities in manufacturing as part of the Heavy Metal Bus tours.
This annual event exposes eighth graders from across central Wisconsin to the high-tech world of modern manufacturing. Each student tours two different manufacturing-focused businesses over the course of the day. A lunch is also provided during which the students learn about the options offered by technical colleges to students interested in pursuing a manufacturing career.
Now in its fifth year, the Heavy Metal Bus Tour program is the largest coordinated manufacturing tour for students in the nation. The 2016 tours will involve more than 4,000 students from 20 school districts touring more than 60 separate businesses across 10 counties.
Students from Ben Franklin and P.J. Jacobs junior high schools, Tomorrow-River, and Tri-County Schools are participating. Businesses represented from Portage Co. include Blenker Building Systems, Donaldson Company, Gamber-Johnson, Heartland Farms, Ki Mobility, Marten Machining, Pointe Precision, Steel King Industries and Worzalla Publishing.
The Heavy Metal Bus Tours are a collaborative effort of the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board in partnership with Mid-State Technical College, Nicolet Technical College and Northcentral Technical College, as well as support from the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturers Alliance (CWIMMA), the Portage County Business Council and fellow regional chambers.
The Heavy Metal Bus Tours were developed in 2011 to be a unique solution to Wisconsin’s workforce crisis.