Financing issues delay Blackhawk Tech training facility project

College wants to move manufacturing training program to new facility

The future of Blackhawk Technical College’s new Advanced Manufacturing Training Facility remains up in the air.

Blackhawk Technical College President Tom Eckert announced the proposal in March, but a lack of financing has forced the college to delay the estimated $10 million project.

“Right now, I’d say we’re in the exploration phase, on the fast track,” Eckert said.

Leaders at Blackhawk Tech still have their eyes on moving their manufacturing program to a new facility, where they can expand it and focus on advanced robotics and other manufacturing skills.

“Everybody wants it. They see how good it is. It’s just a question of how do you get it funded, how do you get it operational?” said Randall Upton, president of the Greater Beloit Chamber Of Commerce.

Upton said many jobs in the manufacturing industry remain vacant because of a skills gap, meaning the skills job seekers don’t have are the skills companies are looking for.

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“The BTC concept is a real change, that way they work with the employers to identify specifically what the employers need and then try and identify the people to come in and fill those positions on behalf of the manufacturing sector,” Upton said.

Upton said it could have a multimillion dollar impact on the economy in the state-line area.

Eckert said it’s a long-term solution that will hopefully create jobs and bring businesses to Rock County.

Despite struggling to secure financial help, the Blackhawk Tech leaders said they remain optimistic about the project.

“This college is dedicated to making this happen, and we’re going to do everything we can to do that. I don’t have a specific timeline just yet but we are determined to make this happen.” Eckert said.

Blackhawk Tech is still considering using the ironworks facility in downtown Beloit, and owned by the Hendricks Corporation.

Eckert said moving the college’s current manufacturing program to another facility would also free up some much-needed classroom space on their main campus.