Wisconsin school set to cut technician program

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A two-year engine research and development technician program at Wisconsin’s Moraine Park Technical College is on the chopping block.

Wisconsin companies such as Briggs & Stratton, Harley-Davidson, Kohler and Mercury Marine develop some of the best engines in the world, instructor Tom Denow told the Fond du Lac Reporter newspaper, and these businesses count on technicians trained at the technical college to fill jobs.

Kevin Roth will be graduating from the program this summer and he already has a job in engineering at Mercury Marine.

“I was born and raised in my family’s auto mechanic business. I thought I had a good handle on how engines worked until I got into this program. What Tom taught me really humbled me,” he told the newspaper.

The program is up for suspension when the Moraine Park District Board meets Wednesday. The college is cutting staff and services to meet a projected $3.1 million shortfall in its 2011-12 budget. Besides the engine program, a veterinary technician program, and steamfitter and plumbing apprenticeships are being suspended.

The selection of programs to suspend was based on student demand, enrollment, retention, the number of graduates and employment opportunities, the college says.

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