Senator Janet Bewley Visits OEM and NTC in Phillips

Phillips, WI—Northcentral Technical College (NTC) and OEM Fabricators, Inc. (OEM) hosted Wisconsin Senator Janet Bewley at their Phillips facilities on Monday, June 15. OEM opened its Phillips manufacturing facility in October, 2014. Today OEM employs 49 welders and machinists in Phillips, about 10 percent of its total workforce. The informational meeting included policy discussions, tours of each facility, and presentations by OEM President S. Mark Tyler and NTC President Dr. Lori Weyers and Regional Dean Bobbi Damrow.

Tyler said that NTC’s investment in its Phillips campus and the availability of a skilled workforce in the region were important factors in OEM’s decision to locate in Phillips. “We have already hired five graduates of NTC Phillips. We appreciate NTC’s strong leadership in developing a skilled workforce in Wisconsin. We consider NTC a true partner. We know that we have a great resource right down the road from us.”

Dr. Weyers said the expansion of the Phillips campus was one of her top priorities when she assumed the leadership role at NTC, which offers classes in eight locations. Enrollment at the Phillips campus is rising, with 1,200 full and part-time total registered students—130 full-time equivalents. About 25 percent of the students at the Phillips are in the Tech and Trades program focusing on welding, machine tool and related manufacturing fields. Dr. Weyers highlighted the school’s partnership with Michigan Tech in Houghton, Michigan. “This 2+2 partnership paves the way for students who have completed NTC’s Mechanical Design Technology Associate Degree program to transfer to Michigan Tech’s Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering Technology as a junior with the added benefit of paying in-state tuition,” said Weyers.

NTC works closely with OEM and other local manufacturers to support the changing needs of industry. OEM Phillips Plant Supervisor David Mabie led the OEM facility tour. Mabie serves on the NTC’s Weld Advisory Committee. He was instrumental in laying the groundwork for opening OEM’s facility in Price County.

Senator Bewley toured NTC’s campus and praised its commitment to dual-credit courses for high school students and opening its community room for public use.   She thanked OEM for its involvement in with the technical college system and workforce development. On her tour of OEM she observed products in the process of being manufactured.

Other participants in the session included NTC’s Dean of Business and Industry Solutions Mark Borowicz, and V.P. of Learning Dr. Shelly Mondeik and OEM’s Neillsville/Phillips Plant Manager Joe Bartz, Manager of Staffing & Workforce Development Kelly Sheppard, and Strategy and Communications Director Agnes Ring.

OEM is a privately held contract manufacturer providing advanced steel fabrication services for Original Equipment Manufacturers. The company specializes in manufacturing processes for complex, high-performance components with heavy-gauge metal fabrication, precision machining, welding, finishing, assembly, design, and supply chain optimization. Founded in 1986, OEM employs 476 Team Members at its four Wisconsin facilities in Woodville, Neillsville, Baldwin, and Phillips.