Collaboration brings engineering technology programs to Northeast Wisconsin

A collaboration of area colleges has created a new engineering technology degree program in our area.
A collaboration of area colleges has created a new engineering technology degree program in our area.

OSHKOSH - An effort is about to begin in the area to train more engineers.

Dozens of colleges in the area are working together to make this new program possible.

"There is nothing like this degree program anywhere in the United States," said UW-Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells.

The UW-Oshkosh Environmental Research and Innovation Center is set to be just one of more than a dozen different backdrops for the next generation of engineers.

"There has been a general sense of frustration in this part of the state that we have not had a baccalaureate engineering technology degree programs," said Wells.

A degree shortage that will be addressed starting this fall as part of the Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance partnership known as NEW ERA. It's made up of 12 technical colleges, as well as two and four year universities.

"It really shows how in higher education today students are moving from one institution to another, being enrolled in more than one institution at a time, taking online classes, but moving ahead in a degree program that looks so different than a degree program used to look," said John Short, CEO/Dean of UW-Fond du Lac.

It’s a collaboration more than a decade in the making for a program that will fill degrees in electrical, environmental and mechanical engineering technology jobs now and in the future.

Students can start classes at any of the partner schools and finish the degree program at UW-Oshkosh or UW-Green Bay.

"That's what makes it especially exciting and innovative and accessible, both for people who already have an associate degree and extensive work experience and students coming out of our high schools in the state of Wisconsin," said Wells.

The partnership is also meant to bridge barriers between technical colleges and four-year institutions.

"It's a process of using the mechanism of NEW ERA to bring people together for a common goal and a common mission, which this is a perfect example of," said Mark Weber, NWTC Dean of Trades.