Gov. Evers Tours Gateway on the Heels of his 'State of the State' Address

Jan. 26, 2023 8p

(WGTD)---A cornerstone of Gov. Evers’ proposed biennial budget that he plans to fully unveil next month is spending for education and workforce development. In Kenosha Thursday, Evers toured a wing of Gateway’s campus.

“You don’t have to have a PhD to make a good living here in the state of Wisconsin,” Evers told reporters after the hour-long tour.

Evers visited areas where training takes place for careers in law enforcement and HVAC.

One of the students he spoke with was 35-year-old Alejandro Rangel of Kenosha. Rangel was working full-time at an HVAC company in Racine when he decided to enroll at Gateway to gain additional skills in the field. But then something happened. “Since I started the HVAC program, I’ve seen the refrigeration side…and I’m kind of fascinated by that,” Rangel said. Now he’s not sure which direction to take.  

Rangel says the seed for a Gateway education was planted by his aunt. “She did the nursing program here so I always knew that Gateway was an option,” he said.

Evers will be proposing in his biennial budget an additional $100 million for Workforce Innovation grants, $10 million to create an initiative led by the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. to retain and attract workers to the state, $50 million to bolster the state’s healthcare workforce, more than $20 million to recruit, develop and retain teachers and student teachers, and nearly $10 million to expand clean energy jobs and training.

While at Gateway, Evers also spoke briefly with 18-year-old Hannah Wade who’s enrolled in the cosmetology apprentice program at Gateway. The program offers on-the-job and classroom training for students who wind up getting paid for time spent both on the job and in the classroom. Over 15,000 students were enrolled in the state’s apprenticeship program last year, the highest since 2001.

In high school, Wade had been planning to pursue theater in college. Then she got a job as a receptionist at Cost Cutters in Kenosha. “The girls there were wonderful and my manager was watching me watch them do their work and she was like ‘you’d be really good at it’ so we tried it out and this is what I’m doing now,” she said.

As it happens, Gateway lays claim to the oldest college apprenticeship program in the nation. The program is as old as the school itself which has roots dating back to 1911.