From an article by Nathaniel Shuda and Nick Paulson in the Wisconsin Rapids Tribune:

A Wisconsin Rapids manufacturer will serve as a pilot site for a statewide clean-energy training center, the state’s top workforce official said this week.

Energy Composites will host the Pre-Engineering Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Innovation Academy, supported by a nearly $95,000 state grant, the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development announced Monday.

“We hope to see these kinds of investments get the right kinds of skills to Wisconsin workers, so our businesses can thrive here as they have access to skilled workers,” DWD Secretary Roberta Gassman said.

The academy will provide about 15 workers with entry-level skills training and career exploration in the engineering field for potential employment in the bio-refining industry, as well as a certificate program that recognizes math, science and technology skills, including project management, she said.

Distributed through the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, the grant is one of several statewide, totaling $430,385, to help train workers in central Wisconsin for careers in advanced manufacturing, clean energy, health care and information technology.

Though officials announced the grants less than a week after NewPage Corp. announced it will close its Whiting mill, the timing is a coincidence, Gassman said. The program has been in the works for a while.

But the training, especially in advanced manufacturing, could benefit workers who lose their jobs at NewPage.