A Wisconsin marketing campaign aimed at attracting young adults to manufacturing jobs appears to be working. Since the "I am Wisconsin Manufacturing" campaign began in 2004, two colleges involved in the effort have realized enrollment increases in their manufacturing programs.
Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac, Wis., reported a 15% enrollment increase since the campaign's inception in August 2004. And just halfway into its version of the campaign, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has experienced an overall enrollment surge of 336 students from 2004 to 2005.
Moraine Park spearheaded the campaign last year to debunk misconceptions about manufacturing jobs and to increase enrollment. The school's enrolment had fallen by 34% from 2003 to 2004. The college eventually partnered with the Wisconsin Technical College System, which was already in the midst of its own manufacturing jobs initiative.
Moraine Park received a grant through the partnership to modify ads, direct-mail pieces and posters to fit the needs of the state's other 15 technical colleges. The colleges are advertising their campaign messages via posters in high schools, fast-food restaurants and entertainment venues.
Campaign organizers also established a Web site, www.iamwimanufacturing.com, where visitors can access courses and training workshops and programs offered by all 16 technical colleges.
In its first year, the Web site has experienced a 700% increase in new visits, according to Sharon Holmes, vice president of marketing and college advancement at Moraine Technical College. "It's a good sign the campaign is working, and we're just a year into it," she says.