Manufacturing Training Center Being Planned In Beloit

Blackhawk Technical College is working to bring a state-of-the-art manufacturing training center to Beloit.

Tom Eckert, president of Blackhawk Technical College, said the proposed 100,000-square-foot facility would focus on advanced robotics and other manufacturing skills that require a higher level of training.

“We’re really restricted for space. If we could move to a larger facility, we could expand our program, add new training equipment, so we can train to other advanced things. We’ll work closely with local manufactures to make sure we are training specifically to their needs,” Eckert said.

Eckert said the program would be in downtown Beloit, in the iron works facility owned by the Hendricks Corporation.

He said moving Blackhawk Tech’s current manufacturing program to that facility would also free up some classroom space on the college’s main campus.

Randall Upton, president of the Greater Beloit Chamber of Commerce, said many jobs in the manufacturing industry remain vacant because of a skills gap, meaning the skills job-seekers have aren’t the skills companies are looking for.

“It does help to know you can access skills and to know there’s a manufacturing center. It would enable businesses to know there’s a process they can go through to get potential or future employees,” Upton said.

Upton said the facility would be part of a long-term solution to the area’s economic challenges. He says the facility would not only attract businesses, but it would also encourage manufacturers already in the area to expand.

Eckert estimated the new facility will cost about $5 million to $6 million. Blackhawk Tech is expecting the final estimate and plans for the facility within the next month, and once those are in place, it will begin raising money for the project.