Hard Hat Luncheon for Fab Lab/Workforce Development Center

Inspire…Building a Center of Discovery Campaign hosted a hard hat luncheon at the site of the future Discovery Center Fab Lab/Workforce Development Center. Speaker, Mark Tyler, spoke on the topic “Fab Lab as a local resource for training the next generation of manufacturers”.

Guest speaker was Mark Tyler, President of OEM Fabricators, Inc.; Chair, Governor’s Council on Workforce Investment; President, Wisconsin Technical College System Board; Regent, University of Wisconsin.

Tyler encouraged manufacturing companies to get involved with high school apprenticeship programs. “Fab Labs are the ideal venue for connecting employers with students and educators. They take the discussions and discovery out of the academic setting and put them in real world situations. This is where students get excited about opportunities that are close to home,” said Tyler.

“Having spent over 30 years in manufacturing, I understand the need to keep and create good manufacturing jobs,” said Kravik, who in addition to being Campaign Chair also owned Northwire, Inc. and Bending Branches, Inc. “The Fab Lab will serve as a regional hub where businesses can gain access to a variety of resources as well as address the training needs of the next generation of manufacturer workforce.”

“I am excited about the opportunities the Fab Lab has to offer. The Fab Lab/Workforce Development Center’s purpose is to facilitate the economic well-being of individuals and manufacturing companies. For individuals it’s a way to discover personal interests and acquire technical skills for better paying jobs. For companies it is a local source for skilled employees, and equipment for training existing and prospective employees,” expressed Mark Kravik.

Kravik went on to inform the group that an architect has been hired to renovate the building with a completion date of April 2019. The Fab Lab will be operated by the Discovery Center with input coming from an advisory board made up of individuals from the business community. The Village of Osceola will own the center.

The cost of building renovations and equipping the Fab Lab/Workforce Development Center is $1,175,000. The Mill Pond Learning Foundation has received an EDA grant of $500,000, leaving the amount to raise at $675,000.

Kravik, thanked the guest speaker and the invited guests, and concluded by encouraging the men and women gathered to get involved in the project. “The generosity of our business community, as well as individuals and families in our community, is needed if we are to achieve our goal and raise the funds to complete the Fab Lab portion of the Discovery Center project.

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