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Governor Walker at Racine Metal-Fab, Asks for Help Marketing Manufacturing Jobs to Young People

After moving into a new facility in the Grandview Business Park, Racine Metal-Fab is adding jobs. Gov. Walker says with manufacturing solid and growing in Wisconsin, he needs our help promoting the possibilities to young people.

Update, 10 am March 4: Wages at Racine Metal-Fab are higher than the minimum requirements under the tax credit program. According to Dean Popek, chief financial officer at Racine Metal-Fab (RMF), wages for new employees hired under the tax credit program must start at a minimum of $10.85 per hour, which is 1-1/2 times the current minimum wage. Hourly wages at Racine Metal-Fab are higher than the $10.85, depending on the position and current skill set of the individual employee.

"Starting pay at RMF is dependent upon the position and skills required," he told Patch via email. "Our starting wage is higher than this rate but, again, it depends upon the position and skills required."

RMF sets its wages to be competitive with similar-sized companies in Southeast Wisconsin and Racine County, taking into account, too, the skills required for their workforce, Popek added.

Employee wage increases are largely determined by the individual and how that person works to improve and add to their skill set. Popek said RMF utilizes a merit-based performance review and adjusts wages to coincide with workers moving up the scale even when those benchmarks don't line up with annual performance reviews.

"Employees' wages are adjusted at the time they become proficient at the next step in the skills matrix," he said. "That may or may not coincide with a performance appraisal."

More, Racine Metal-Fab offers a full benefit package that includes medical and dental insurance, 401 (k) and paid time off.

Original Story: After moving into a new facility in the Grandview Business Park this past January, Racine Metal-Fab is adding 25 jobs to its work force there. 

Gov. Scott Walker was on hand Friday to make the announcement and to tout how state initiatives are helping small and mid-size manufacturers add 10, 15, 25 jobs at a time, building toward the 250,000 jobs Walker promised when he was elected in November 2010.

"It sends a positive message to other companies who might be reluctant," he said. "I'm thrilled about the state's role in adding these 25 jobs and providing opportunities for families."

Company President Scott Lucas said the business will be eligible for a $100,000 tax credit if the new employees are still around a five years after being hired. That's about $4,000 for each of the 25 new hires. He said the money will be used to invest in employee training.

"We have special demands with the work we do here," Lucas said. "So we do need people with the base courses in math and science, but then we develop specific skills on the job like specialty welding and operating and setting up the machines."

Racine Metal-Fab works with a variety of metals, including high purity aluminum, to create parts like reflectors for sports lights for LEDs from partners like Cree/Ruud Lighting. There are Racine Metal-Fab reflectors in the big lights at Lambeau Field and Camp Randall Stadium at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

"Cree/Ruud is one of our major partners," he said. "Their expansion is part of the reason we need to expand."

Walker says with Wisconsin leading nearly every other state in manufacturing jobs, he needs help promoting the career possibilities to young people. During every discussion or listening session he has with businesses around the state, he added, the number one concern is that jobs are available but the workers lack the skills to come in even at entry level.

"The tech schools like Gateway and MATC (Milwaukee Area Technical College) have the courses, but students just aren't taking them," Walker said. "We have to market to younger people that manufacturing jobs and careers are available, and, in fact, are some of the highest paying jobs we have in Wisconsin."

He's hoping that recently passed bills that he expects to sign soon, like those that created new technical education diplomas and Wisconsin WINS program will usher more residents into skilled manufacturing jobs around the state.

The tech ed diploma allows high school students to take technical courses and participate in internships for credit while still having to fulfill core high school class requirements.

Wisconsin WINS matches unemployed individuals with businesses, providing a $75 stipend when the unemployed take a position with a company and is trained for six weeks. During the training period, the workers still collect unemployment and should have full-time jobs when they complete the program. Both bills were either authored or co-authored by state Sen. Van Wanggaard (R-Racine).

Wanggaard echoed Walker's assertion that the laws and programs coming out of Madison are working.

"These jobs here at Racine Metal-Fab are just another example of how what we're doing is helping businesses expand and getting more people back to work," he said.

Brian Dey March 04, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Wow, what a concept! You actually get increases based on performance! Oh yes, that evil because the union mindset is do half your job and EXPECT an annual increase. Heather, you really should look at the RUSD unions contracts. Both the district and the unions have conveniently left out that health insurance increases amounted to $1.25 increase in premiums. The average worker receiving health insurance benefits from their employer is $77 single and $344 family with deductibles for singe at $2000 and $4000 for family. The teachers pay, get this, after their sacrifice, $19.75 single and $39.75 family and have $2000 single deductible and $4000 family. I think that warrants a story, don't you?
lumiere March 05, 2012 at 01:24 AM
I see you are mad at so called "selfish" Union's dues being paid to support the Democratic party but are ok that Corperate profits ( that the employees help create big time) being used to support republicans like hmmm. Gov Walker. Hypocrite republican B.S. . Do you live in some time warp no democrat is trying to pass laws that "force " people to join unions, just allow them to in a fair manner and be able to honestly collective bargain. wisconsin needs to educate people like you mikey or get you to switch off Fake news and come to your senses. These jobs are nice to have in wisconsin but are far from the careers that we need to support that provide a "living" wage. not some overhyped press release from a Governor who knows that he may be in legal trouble. Plus some of the wisconsinites are finally waking up from their tea bag haze to realize that the person that they hired is a fraud. Also Mikey if you where really worried about "out of state" money, you might want to google Gov Walker and The Koch brothers and hopefully your eyes might be opened.
TheDukester March 05, 2012 at 12:22 PM
Is it just me, maybe it is but... Since HuffPost was sold it appears like the once liberal blog is not so liberal anymore.. Though the changes have been subtle they are noticeable to me anyway and I am liberal!
Sarah LittleRedfeather Kalmanson March 05, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Dear Wisconsin Senate...you need to be reminded, if you pass the Bill, and commence on the Mining Proposal, look what will land in Federal Court for a LONG LONG LONG time. Federal surpassing State Governance. Leave the Penokee Hills ALONE...untainted, untouched and how it should be for many generations to come. Preservation of the Bad River that bleeds into Grandmother Superior for our future generations is more important than the Wisconsin's largest historical mass of 1,000 foot depth ultimate digging open pit hole in the earth. Must not happen, and cannot let it happen. People's lives are at stake here, literally LIFE. Will NOT stand down...walking shoulder to shoulder with Bad River and all tribes of the Nation, as this mine is the matter of life, quality of living for those residing in the area that the mine is proposed for, in addition, those who will rely on the fresh waters of Grandmother Superior. :Look up the Treaties 1837, 1842 and 1854. The Tribes hold opposition to the mine.
Walker March 05, 2012 at 03:39 PM
"If you had any education in economics, you would understand that after a recession, especially a deep one like we just had," Still doesn't explain why Wisconsin is at the bottom while the rest of the US seems to be dealing with the recession also. It seems like Wisconsin's downward spiral started in June, 2011. Coincidence that's when walker's policies went into affect?

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