The Kenosha region of Wisconsin is recognized as one of the nation’s top high-tech economies—thanks in large part to its strong network of area colleges and universities with a history of performing advanced research and world-class training. Gateway Technical College (GTC) is at the center of this network and, during the recent economic downturn, was well prepared to adapt its programs to the changing—and increasingly energy-focused—regional economy. The college’s efforts led to new sustainability initiatives on a national stage and on-campus as well.
From advanced propulsion systems using biofuels and hybrid/diesel technology to torque technology development for wind industry technicians, GTC is immersed in sustainable energy systems programs. By marrying diesel technology with advanced training in emerging energy sectors, GTC’s newly expanded Horizon Center for Transportation Technology is preparing students for a broad array of jobs—through clear diesel career pathways including maintenance and repair of tractor-trailers, earth-moving equipment, marine engines, and aviation. “This facility will provide training for qualified technicians in many areas of the transportation industry,” said Gateway President Brian Albrecht.
GTC programs also aim to help the region’s displaced automotive engineers and technicians to retool and reenter the workforce. U.S. Department of Labor Assistant Secretary Jane Oates has said the Horizon Center’s students “will have world-class credentials and better opportunities to compete in the workforce, and business will have increased opportunities to grow as well.” In other green energy sectors, GTC addresses the technical training necessary to prepare students seeking certificates and degrees in geothermal heating, wind and solar power, sustainable energy systems, and fresh water resources.
GTC plays a leading role in the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), which promotes partnerships between industry and educational institutions to develop, implement, and sustain industry-recognized portable certifications with strong validation and assessment standards. This national coalition of business and education partners responds to current and future economic needs on a local, national, and global level. Through NC3, GTC has joined forces with nationally recognized industry leaders Snap-on Tools, Trane, Cessna, Chesapeake Energy, and Melior to develop cutting-edge curricula that meet emerging needs and provide train-the-trainer workshops. GTC now houses the first NC3 Office in the Horizon Center.
To advance sustainable living on campus, GTC invites “Gateway’s Green Scholars” to earn points by becoming involved in green activities. At graduation GTC recognizes these students with a pin, a certificate, and a prize for participating and becoming more environmentally conscious.
GTC also created the Center for Sustainable Living, a five-acre property with gardens, orchards, a greenhouse, and an older home that students are retrofitting to meet sustainable energy guidelines. The home will serve as a community showcase in green building construction, remodeling, and geothermal exchange to heat the greenhouse in Wisconsin’s extreme winter climate. The students in the Culinary Program will use the greenhouse, gardens, and orchards to produce sustainable and organic foods for on-campus dining.
To learn more about this innovative program, please follow the links and contact below:
Vice President, Workforce & Economic Development Division
Executive Director, Workforce and Economic Development Division