Earn and Learn presentation showcases new and existing opportunities for area students and employers

March 16, 2018

Yesterday, leaders from Blackhawk Technical College (BTC), Rock County 5.0 and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board presented four “earn and learn” initiatives to more than 100 attendees.

Titled “Your Talent Pipeline GPS”, attendees were given an overview by Dr. Tracy Pierner, BTC President, Rock County Economic Development Manager, James Otterstein and Dave Hataj, owner Edgerton Gear on four ways to help develop talent pipelines; and provide students with opportunities to  earn money, receive high quality training, and get educated. The presentation detailed:

Blackhawk Scholars
A new, employee-driven program designed to have BTC students work with businesses a minimum of 120 hours for six weeks to get an overall understanding of the industry and help cultivate a pipeline of qualified candidates. Sponsors for this program include Scot Forge, United Alloy, Frito Lay and SSI Technologies. For more information, contact Kerry Osmond, (608) 757-7728 at

Craftsman with Character-Mentorship Program 
Created by Edgerton Gear, in partnership with the Edgerton School District, this offering is for local high school juniors and seniors. The uniquely created, 16-week customized curriculum – which is anchored by a Craftsman’s Code – blends traditional classroom instruction and worksite mentorship into a single experiential learning model. In addition to collaborating with the Edgerton School District to transform this course into a dual credit offering, BTC is actively exploring avenues to deploy this mentorship program throughout the college’s district. For more information, contact Katie Lange at (608) 743-4463 or

Rock Summer Internship Program
A collaborative talent development offering supported by BTC, Rock County 5.0 and the Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, the program is designed to accelerate personal, as well as professional skills development and career-related exposure for (incoming) Rock County high school seniors. These four-week, paid internships begin mid-June 2018 and then wrap-up July 20. For participation and application information, visit or contact Kerry Osmond, (608) 757-7728 at

Wisconsin Apprenticeships
These unique, flexible training systems combine job-related technical instruction with structured, on-the-job learning experiences. BTC currently hosts five registered apprenticeships, including: Construction Electrician, Industrial Electrician, Maintenance Technician, Mechatronics and Welder Fabricator. The college also has a Youth Apprenticeship program for high school students. For more information about registered apprenticeships, contact Dana Melahn at (608) 314-3300 x307 or  For Youth Apprenticeship information, contact Rini De Alwis (608) 757-7729 or

About Blackhawk Technical College
Blackhawk Technical College is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System.  BTC has five campus locations in Monroe, Milton, Beloit and Janesville, WI offering more than 70 career pathway programs, workforce trainings and community education.

About Rock County 5.0
Rock County 5.0 is a public/private initiative to advance Rock County’s economic development through various interrelated local and/or countywide plans to reposition and revitalize the region’s economy. Through a singular voice, Rock County 5.0 is dedicated to identifying and nurturing economic opportunities, accelerating regional growth and growing local assets.

About The Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board
The Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board (SWWDB) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to promoting innovation and providing quality local workforce development programs and services to businesses and residents in Southwest Wisconsin.

Edgerton Gear, Inc.
Edgerton Gear is a precision machine shop that combines old world craftsmanship with new world technology. The company specializes in smaller batch sizes (500 pieces or fewer), manufacturing wide range standard, custom, and reverse-engineered components to exact specifications.

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