LA CROSSE, Wis. (WXOW) --- Western Technical College's Apprenticeship & Welding facility will have a brand new look this fall.
The state board approved $3.5 million in upgrades to the facility. The building's exteriors will undergo significant changes. Student learning and lounge spaces will also be reconfigured to include more space for the 210 apprentices that use the facility.
Apprenticeships that train at the location include construction electricians, industrial electricians, plumbers, maintenance technicians, millwrights, and maintenance mechanics.
"This is just an awesome opportunity," said Dr. Roger Stanford, president of Western Technical College. "One, to skill build, two, work with our partners, our employers, and help more work get done in the region."
Apprentices usually train in a five year program at Western, taking classes once every two weeks for eight to ten hours, depending on their trade. They utilize both classroom and hands-on training in order to apply it to their work in the field.
"[I'm] really looking forward to seeing what they do with the place, getting to use some of those new tools and different set up areas," said Matt Mauss, electrician apprentice at Western Technical College.
The new upgrades will also expand the program, allowing for more apprentices and a new instructor. Dr. Stanford sees these new additions as a way to retain local talent.
"It's really important for our region. All of these are some of the best jobs in our region," said Dr. Stanford. "There are jobs in here that are $70-90,000... I mean the hope inside of apprenticeship is that there are excellent jobs here in the trades."
Construction will begin in May once class ends. Completion is anticipated for the Fall 2020 term.