What has CWIMMA done in the last five years?

CWIMMA has been working diligently over the last five years to help metal manufacturing grow and succeed in Central Wisconsin. To date, the alliance has:

  • Expanded Heavy Metal Tour for middle school students from 350 to over 5,300 students and over 70 manufacturers to promote economic development, educational awareness, and career pathways for youth in North Central Wisconsin.
  • Expanded High School Welding Competition to 10 area school districts.
  • Instrumental in increasing the capacity of the welding program at NorthCentral Technical College from 38 to 110 graduates annually.
  • Successful in establishing a partnership with Miller Electric to provide $400,000 in Welding Equipment to NorthCentral Technical College.
  • Awarded a Fast Forward Grant of $200,000 to provide necessary incumbent worker training to employees at 15 area manufacturers participating in training programs.
  • Held an educators summit consisting of 16 area school districts in 9 counties to address meeting needs of schools and employers from an educational and economic development perspective.

Heavy Metal Tour

The Heavy Metal Tour is designed to create more career and educational awareness for youth and their parents about quality of skilled trade positions and metal manufacturing careers. It is also the largest tour of its kind in the nation.

  • 2016 will be its 5th
  • 2014-Over 3,300 8th grade students, 30 schools, 46 manufacturers, 5 counties.
  • 2015- Over 3800 students, 54 companies, 10 counties.
  • 2016-Over 5,000 students, 71 companies, 10 counties.

Moving forward, CWIMMA plans on forming effective relationships with educators to ensure there is adequate education opportunities, engage with elected officials to seek grants and funds to help enhance educational effectiveness, and  to also be open and inviting to students, prospective employees and other community members seeking to learn more about advanced manufacturing careers.


“I’ve had the pleasure of working both part time and during summers at Norlen, while studying at Northcentral Technical College and UW-Stout for engineering.  This was only possible because of Al Larsen and the Norlen team’s willingness to take on and invest in a young student with little experience.  Norlen was also the perfect company for me to develop my manufacturing skills because of their broad range of capabilities, utilization of advanced technologies, and knowledgeable employees.  Mike Rosenthal and the rest of the engineering team have been great mentors for me in a number of areas including design, metal fabrication processes, continuous improvement, and automation just to name a few.  I would recommend Norlen, Inc. as an employer to job seekers, students, and anyone pursuing a career in the manufacturing industry.”

-Evan Dlugopolski

-Evan Dlugopolski