PCSD receives state grant for tech equipment

PCSD receives state grant for tech equipment


The Pulaski High School Technology Department will soon have some new cutting-edge equipment thanks to a $50,000 Department of Workforce Development Wisconsin Fast Forward grant.

The school district will use grant funds for an OMTECH CNC Fiber Laser Cutting Machine. The grant required matching funds. The matching part of the grant will be used to purchase Baileigh CNC Press Brake, Ellis Metal Cutting Bandsaw 1600 with vertical table, Ellis Belt Sander 6000, 6 Miller Welders Multimatic 255, a 5’ x 10’ fabrication table, and the building costs were able to be used for some of the matching portion.

The PCSD was one of 17 districts statewide to benefit from the grants, which will help provide advanced manufacturing training in preparation for high-demand job opportunities.

“Our project aims to expand the manufacturing lab, providing students with an enriched learning environment for advanced manufacturing careers,” said John Pitzen, PHS teacher and department chair. “By increasing space and incorporating cutting-edge equipment, including a CNC Fiber Laser and CNC Press Brake, students will gain hands-on experience processing diverse materials, focusing on state-of-the-art machinery.”

Gov. Tony Evers announced the grant in early April.

“There’s no denying the role of advanced manufacturing in the future of our economy and workforce right here in Wisconsin, and ensuring our kids have access to high-demand, high-skill job training opportunities is critical if we want to prepare our future workforce for the 21st Century,” said Evers. “By investing in technical education in school districts across the state, we are connecting the dots and expanding career opportunities for thousands of students while positioning our manufacturers for success.”

The current round of Wisconsin Fast Forward grants from DWD totals $495,106 for school districts across the state to train students for career paths involving robotics, welding, plasma cutting, 3D printing, drones, and more. These grants reimburse school districts for the costs of purchasing and installing technical education equipment used for vocational training and technical education in advanced manufacturing fields. This includes the purchase of new equipment such as computer numerical control machines, robotic welders, fiber laser cutting machines, 3D printers, and more.

“Fast Forward grants accelerate advanced manufacturing training and equipment to better prepare our future workforce for careers in this high-demand, high-skill industry,” said DWD Secretary Amy Pechacek. “The state-of-the-art equipment, including robotic welders, laser cutters, 3D printers, and other high-tech tools, will enable schools to provide coursework that aligns with industry standards and requirements.” 

The PHS Technology Department is in the midst of expansion with more space being added to the Tech Wing. A ground-breaking ceremony was held Feb. 29 for that project.

“With increasing our shop areas, PHS will be able to increase the capacity of its technology education offerings,” Pitzen said.

“A new paint booth in autos will allow students to be trained in auto body and repair. Students will be using updated equipment in the metals shop to learn skills needed in the advanced manufacturing field. 

“Also, the existing metals shop will get six more welding booths to allow more students to be trained. The addition onto the wood shop will be used for construction course so students can build any time of the year and also house some of our CNC equipment,” he added.