UW-Green Bay: Supercharging the future by growing our own

GREEN BAY—There comes a time when you just need to grow your own. Such is the case with providing engineering talent in Northeast Wisconsin and UW-Green Bay’s efforts to meet the region’s needs. What started in 2015 with Engineering Technology degrees (mechanical, electrical and environmental) expanded to Mechanical Engineering in fall 2018. This fall, another piece of the puzzle falls into place when the University begins enrolling new freshman into its new Electrical Engineering program.

“UW-Green Bay is meeting the demand for engineers due to the manufacturing growth in the Green Bay area and the NEW North region,” said UW-Green Bay’s Dean of Science, Engineering and Technology, John Katers. “As the economy continues to shift toward one of innovation and technology—even in historically important manufacturing sectors like the paper industry—electrical engineers are in high demand. Because we have such a strong employer base in the area who can offer internships and other hands-on experiences, we can grow that kind of talent right here. It’s very exciting to be able to meet this demand.”

The region’s need for more engineers has been well documented. According to the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems, the need for the next generation of engineers is not being met by the current schools and programs in the UW System. That report indicates the need for electrical engineers in Wisconsin and in the New North in particular, where electrical engineers are imported from other states.1  The New North region in particular demonstrates need for several types of engineers, especially electrical engineers, while lacking the educational programs to develop them locally. The Greater Green Bay Chamber Economic Development Strategic Plan2 also emphasized the need for more engineers in the region and called for the expansion of engineering education programs, specifically at UW-Green Bay.  National projections for growth in electrical engineering also remain strong at 8.6% through 2026. 3   In Wisconsin, growth in electrical engineering is projected to be 24%.4

According to Katers, the high demand for engineering talent presents a great opportunity for both high school graduates and adults considering a degree in electrical engineering. “Our engineering technology graduates see almost 100% job placement after graduation. The jobs are definitely out there in manufacturing, utility companies, research and development, and communication technologies.”

UW-Green Bay engineering students are able to test their skills in the 63,00 square foot, $15-million, state-of-the-art Brown County STEM Innovation Center at UW-Green Bay which houses the Resch School of Engineering, The Einstein Project, Brown County Extension and Brown County Land & Water Conservation. In addition, lab designs have been approved for a $5.7 million renovation of space to meet specific needs of Electrical Engineering and Electrical Engineering Technology. Completion of this hands-on instructional space is expected by January 2022.

Bill Lynch, vice president of Engineering at Faith Technologies, a growing, nationally recognized electrical design-build construction firm, believes in growing the talent the region needs right here. “We believe the program at UW-Green Bay will enable prospective students who are unwilling or unable to attend universities outside of the area to obtain an engineering degree that would otherwise be unavailable to them,” Lynch shared. “We also believe enabling students to obtain advanced degrees from a University close in proximity encourages them to remain in the local communities of Northeast Wisconsin.” Faith employs in excess of 100 electrical engineers to support design-build electrical projects.

New freshman can enroll immediately in the four-year Electrical Engineering degree starting this fall.  The program includes required courses on electrical circuits, electronic devices, signals and systems, and energy conversion. Elective courses can include subject areas on advanced programmable logic controllers and automation, electrical power systems, and communications. For more information: https://www.uwgb.edu/goal/supercharge/.

1 National Center for Higher Education Management Systems (NCHEMS), “Baccalaureate and Master’s Engineering Degree Supply and Demand in Wisconsin” submitted to the University of Wisconsin System (2015).
2 Greater Green Bay Chamber, “Economic Development Strategic Plan” (May 2017), https://www.greatergbc.org/media/3045/strategic-plan-booklet-web.pdf

3 Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections, https://www.bls.gov/emp/tables/occupational-projections-and- characteristics.htm.

4 U.S. Department of Labor, Career Onestop, Projected Employment for Electrical Engineers in Wisconsin, https://www.onetonline.org/link/wages/17-2071.00?e=1&st=WI&g=Go