Perry: We anticipated that there are people in the workforce that are needing a bachelorís degree in engineering that are working in some engineering related field right now and they are not able to pick up and move to Milwaukee, Madison, or Platteville because thatís where at that time all of the bachelorís degree programs† in engineering existed. There was this cluster of students that could not gain the education that they needed nor could the employers in this region count on a steady stream of mechanical engineers and now electrical engineers to meet their needs. This is a highly industrialized manufacturing center of Wisconsin and it needed engineers. Well the board of regions decided that the collaboration that could exist between 4 year campuses and the freshman/ sophomore campuses of the colleges should take place. It was just sort of everything coming together at the right time and we recognized that in order to actually make it happen we were going to have to bring together a whole bunch of different entities. It was a multifaceted collaboration between individuals that would not otherwise normally work together. I think the success if born out in the employers that have attracted these students. The list is long. There are 36 graduates right now in the program. Of those 36, all 36 of them are employed in the state of Wisconsin. Itís a wonderful success story of what it means to have really significant local education in your community.
Mark Guard: My career came to an abrupt end as an auto technician. I didnít want to see tossing away 20 years of my previous career so I thought mechanical engineering would be a real good fit. Knowing that I needed to get started on an education and because UW Fox is in my backyard, I came here and stumbled across that they were developing this collaborative engineering program. I walked out of here that day saying I will be attending that program. The entire premise of the program was one where weíre going to educate people from the area, for the area. I didnít really want to look outside the area. Iím here for a reason. This program means a lot to me and to this community. I would do anything in my power to see that this program succeeds above and beyond. What this can offer the community; I think the ramifications are pretty far reaching.