PESHTIGO, Wisconsin – U.S. Congressman Reid Ribble, a representative from Wisconsin, and Rick Sense, District Chief of Staff visited the GPS Education Center and BPM, Inc., specialty paper mill of Peshtigo on Monday, February 9th. The Congressman, Jim Koronkiewicz, BPM General Manager, Steve Peterich, BPM Plant Engineer & GPS Student Mentor, Josh Blau, GPS Regional Program Administrator, Allyson Baue, GPS Regional Coordinator, Karen Sporrer, GPS Teacher, and Tristan Heitkamper and Austin Chaplin, current students, visited the BPM sponsored education facility and BPM’s manufacturing plant.
The visit began with introductions at BPM, followed by a brief tour of BPM’s wax and converting department where some students in the GPS program work. The group then visited the GPS education center located on French Street in Peshtigo. GPS Education Partners is an innovative education model that uniquely prepares and partners students with businesses to accelerate technical education and drive success. Students have the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and nationally-recognized manufacturing certifications by spending each day in a hands-on, immersive, blended learning setting where teachers relate academic subject matter to the work environment and businesses provide structured training experiences that help students develop both manufacturing and employability skills.
“Investing in the next generation by providing an innovative education model, such as the GPS program, offers students a real-world, hands-on approach to future employment,” said Ribble. “The companies that are funding this program are forward-thinking businesses looking to prepare students for the technical and manufacturing industries. The majority of the success can be credited to the outstanding teachers and staff who challenge and push the students to find their niche and excel in the work place.”
Local manufacturing companies, such as BPM, Inc., R.W. Fernstrum, Vargo Tool & Die, Inc, Silvan Industries, Tyco, Anchor Coupling, Inc., KS Kolbenschmidt, and UTC are embracing and investing in innovative solutions that create opportunities for young people to pursue challenging, rewarding careers while strengthening Wisconsin’s workforce. The companies sponsor the program by paying sponsorship fees, hosting a classroom education center, and/or providing job placements. In addition to the immediate benefit from students becoming productive members of their workforce as apprentices, business partners have access to a qualified pool of credentialed talent.
The program currently has 200 students enrolled, 300 graduates to date, over 100 business partners, 45 high school partners, and 16 education centers serving 12 Wisconsin counties.
Bridging the Skills Gap
80% of executives state that today’s youth lack critical employability skills leaving businesses facing a talent pipeline crisis. GPS Education Partners is a solution. Together with business, community and school district partners, GPS drives innovation in education and training.
Navigating Student Success
GPS delivers an innovative education model to prepare students for the technical workforce through immersive, accelerated learning at local manufacturing companies. Students graduate with a plan, a purpose and the self-confidence to succeed.