WAUSAU - Thousands of Wisconsinites need jobs, and employers need workers. But there's a skills gap leaving some of those jobs empty.
That's why technical colleges around the state are developing programs to help train workers, and Senator Tammy Baldwin visited one in Wausau Thursday.
The newly elected senator learned about the programs at NTC created to fill those skilled job openings. She got a look at the energy efficiency lab, and the newly constructed manufacturing lab. Baldwin last visited the school when the manufacturing lab was being built.
"I truly believe we need to keep on making things in America, and making things in Wisconsin. And so an emphasis on manufacturing is needed. Technical colleges are really playing an extraordinary role in helping address that," says Sen. Baldwin.
Senator Baldwin says helping to get more things made in Wisconsin will be a major focus during her time in the Senate.
She also reflected on what it's been like to go from representing a district to an entire state.
"Sometimes I think of the congressional districts with very arbitrary lines. You feel as strongly about an issue whether it affects somebody on one side of a county line or on the other side of a county line. The biggest difference is the opportunity to fight for all the people of this great state," says Sen. Baldwin.
Senator Baldwin will serve on the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She hopes what they develop there, will help Wisconsin close its skills gap.
MADISON - A $3 billion tax break bill for Taiwan-based electronics giant Foxconn Technology Group is poised to pass the Wisconsin Assembly on a bipartisan vote.
Democratic state Rep. Cory Mason said during debate Thursday that he intends to vote for the bill. He is the first Democrat to publicly say he will back the measure that is being championed by Gov. Scott Walker and fellow Republicans.
SAYNER - A needle and thread means more to Pat Andersen than just sewing.
"I started quilting when I was 19 so it's been a passion of mine for a long time," said Pat.
Quilting gives her a community of ladies in the Northwoods.
"Sayner needs something like this, it needs something for the women to do," said Pat.
After moving to Sayner with her husband Don last spring, the two decided to buy the building that now houses Plum Lake Quilts. Pat needed somewhere to put her long arm machine and that eventually turned into a little retail business.
"I mean little and then it grew a little bit and it grew a little bit more," said Don Andersen.
RHINELANDER - Cancer survivors and supporters gathered at Ministry St. Mary's Hospital for the 10th annual Celebration of Life Thursday. The event honors those battling cancer or survivors of cancer and shows people what kinds of services the James Beck Cancer Center offers.
The center's namesake lost his life to cancer, but now others will be able to benefit from his gift to the hospital.
"With his vision and his dollars we were able to put this cancer center here in Rhinelander so patients don't have to travel to larger cities," said Director of Cancer Services Kimberly Hetland.
This year's speaker was Mike Regole, a survivor of tonsil cancer. He spoke about his experience at the center, how family and support affected his journey, and how he ran a business while having cancer.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - On a busy stretch of Highway 47 near Lac du Flambeau -- where hundreds of wheels spin at 55 miles-per-hour each day -- just one tire drags at a slower pace, pulled by one man: the Tire Man.
"I guess I'm the only one nutty enough to do it, I suppose," Frank Tarantino said with a laugh.
Tarantino lives in Mercer, but trains for marathons in Lac du Flambeau. He started pulling a tire on a chain a few years ago after reading about it in a fitness magazine. People often stop to take his picture.
"Little by little you run a little further, a little further," Tarantino said.
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