Southwest Tech and Workforce Connections open facility as one
By Correne Martin
Southwest Tech and Workforce Connections have both held offices in Prairie du Chien for a number of years. On April 11, they made their presence more prominent in the community by holding a ribbon cutting and open house at a new facility at 1304 S. Marquette Rd. Together, the two will continue to connect people, training and employment, while advancing self-sufficiency for area citizens.
The reason for the more visible location is because both entities had outgrown their former spaces near one another in the Crawford County Administration Building.
“About a year ago, we made the decision to leave. Because of the awesome partnership we have, we asked the technical college to go with us,” stated Teresa Pierce, Workforce Connections executive director. “We provide services in nine counties. The college provides the training part of it and we provide the employment part.”
Southwest Tech, which was recently named Wisconsin’s top-ranked two-year college (11th in the nation), hired Mike McCoy, 34-year retired teacher from Prairie du Chien public schools, last fall, to lead the charge in teaching adults through the college’s outreach site.
“Our partnership serves as a starting point to address any barriers job seekers may have,” added Tyler Diktanas, Workforce Connections employment coordinator. “Filling out a job application online can be intimidating. Mike works with them to develop basic education skills—such as reading and math skills—and I work with them to make them more employable.”
Currently, about 140 adult students have attended basic education classes over the past three years through Southwest Tech in Prairie du Chien. High school students have also taken transcripted credit courses through the technical college, saving themselves money that would otherwise be paid as a college student.
Southwest Tech President Jason Wood added: “We pride ourselves on providing quality people to fill good, local jobs.”
Having a strong, physical presence of both Southwest Tech and Workforce Connections in the community is something Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce CEO Bob Moses has wanted for years.
“I think it helps develop our community and improve economic development of the region,” he stated.