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Wisconsin Technical College System

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Title: Wisconsin Technical College System  
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Subject: Western Technical College, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Lakeshore Technical College, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, University of Wisconsin–Rock County
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Wisconsin Technical College System

Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) is a system of 16 public technical colleges administered by the state of Wisconsin. The system offers more than 300 programs, awarding two-year associate degrees, one- and two-year technical diplomas, and short-term technical diplomas and certificates. It also provides training and technical assistance to Wisconsin’s business and industry community. Over 370,000 individuals accessed the technical colleges for education and training in the 2010-11 school year.[1]


The Wisconsin Legislature passed laws in 1911 requiring cities with a population of 5,000 people or more to set up trade schools and school boards to administer them.[2] The schools had four purposes: to provide continuing education of boys and girls 14-16 who had quit high school, trade school, adult evening education, and related instruction for apprentices.

Wisconsin became the first state to establish a system of state support for vocational, technical, and adult education schools.

In 1911 the Wisconsin apprenticeship Law was passed; employers were required to release apprentices to the trade schools if one was available and to pay regular hourly wages for time spent at school.[3]

Both of these bills resulted from the work of Charles McCarthy, the first director of the present-day state Legislative Reference Bureau.

The Smith-Hughes Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1917, was modeled after Wisconsin's initiative.

In 1961, the school boards were authorized to offer associate's degree for two-year technical courses. In 1965, the state legislature required a system of vocational, technical, and adult education districts to cover the entire state by 1970. Following this, enrollments in the WTCS doubled from 1967 to 1982.

There were significant increases in the number of associate degree programs in the 1970s. Schools were also required to improve cooperation and coordination with the University of Wisconsin System.

In 1993, the state board was designated as the Technical College System Board, and the colleges became referred to as "Technical Colleges".

List of member colleges

See also


  1. ^ Wisconsin Technical College System. Fact Book 2012: Systemwide Headcount 2002-2011
  2. ^ Chapter 616, Laws of Wisconsin, 1911
  3. ^ Chapter 601.1 Laws of Wisconsin, 1911

Further reading

Paris, Kathleen A. A political history of vocational, technical and adult education in Wisconsin. Madison: Wisconsin Board of Vocational, Technical and Adult Education, 1985.

External links

  • System administrative website
  • Colleges official website
  • History of the WTCS
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