Western Wins Economic Development Award

Western Technical College was the recipient of the Talent Development award last week by the Wisconsin Economic Development Association (WEDA) for its housing replacement program with the City of La Crosse and Central High School.

The Talent Development award honors initiatives or programs that have driven successful talent development efforts to strengthen the Wisconsin workforce.

In the partnership, students in Western’s Wood Tech program help build new single-family homes in La Crosse neighborhoods with Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnership funds for the city. Since the program began in 1996, 35 homes have been built, adding over $2.5 million in new investment into some of the city’s most distressed neighborhoods.

“This partnership has been a win-win for both the City of La Crosse and Western,” said Caroline Gregerson, community development administrator for the City of La Crosse. “It’s provided meaningful learning experiences for students, all while providing quality, affordable housing opportunities for families and eliminating blighted properties.”

“It’s not just about the house, it’s about the whole attitude of the community,” said David Hahm, Wood Tech instructor at Western. “It’s beneficial to the neighborhood, it’s beneficial to the city, and it’s beneficial to us because our students are building real houses with real materials with real money for real people.”

Great job to all for this very successful collaboration!