Middle school students tour local manufacturers through 'Heavy M - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Middle school students tour local manufacturers through 'Heavy Metal Tour'

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KRONENWETTER (WAOW) -

Technical colleges throughout north-central Wisconsin teamed up with local manufacturers on Wednesday to give workplace tours to more than 3,500 middle school students. The so-called “Heavy Metal Tour” was meant to inspire students to pursue careers in manufacturing.

Blount International, a company fabricating heavy-duty tractor parts, was one of 55 different workplaces that opened their doors for tours.

“It's very important to us to get the younger generation interested in some of our more skilled positions." Blount International Senior Human Resource Manager said.

This importance is underscored by a lack of qualified candidates to fill positions in the manufacturing sector. According to the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturer's Alliance, 1,559 skilled labor positions will need to be filled in Central Wisconsin over the next three years.

North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board Deputy Director Jane Spencer said the Heavy Metal Tour was created to address this need.

“I think when some of the students hear some of the things that are made in our area and how they're used it does create interest,” Spencer said.

The middle school students along for the tour appeared to echo this opinion.

"I thought the machine that they used to sand the unfinished buckets was really interesting," Oskar Buttke of Stevens Point said after finishing his walk-through of Blount International. "I thought it was a really great tour, and all the people here were really nice."  

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