Green Bay could be home of future innovation center

A rendering of what the STEM Innovation Center (R) will look like if it's approved by the Brown County Board. (WLUK)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- A place to help fill the current skills gap in Northeast Wisconsin, that's what a group made up of different organizations is hoping for in the Green Bay area.

"When we think about the future workforce and the pipeline that we're going to be able to need in order to supply that economic engine of our community, we really need to be focused in on what we're doing to make that happen," said Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach.

Brown County Executive Troy Streckenbach says that's where the science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM for short, Innovation Center comes in.

"Not only is it creating for a pipeline for the manufacturing and the engineers but it's also creating a pipeline for future entrepreneurs," he said.

The nearly 50,000 square foot building would be near Veteran's Manor on the city's east side. The area is also considered the county's research and innovation park.

STEM Innovation Center would be a place for higher education but that's not all.

"NWTC programming, lab space, UWGB, potentially other partners. It'll house our UW extension and 4-H program, our land conservation department,"

NWTC's president and UW-Green Bay's chancellor say the center is something Northeast Wisconsin needs and support the project.

"This STEM Innovation Center, I think, is going to fill a very important gap and that is it's a place where we can get people together and can creatively think and develop and build in the area of STEM innovation," NWTC President Jeff Rafn.

But in order for the center to happen, Streckenbach says it starts with the county and it's going to cost money.

"We're going to be asking for roughly $800,000 to be placed into the budget to help for the planning and design of this building," Streckenbach said.

That money would have to be approved by the county board. Final plans for the center haven't been presented yet.

Streckenbach says if everything goes according to plan, he would like to start building the center in 2018.

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