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.
Northwoods filmmaker makes movies for the big screen
MERRILL - When you think of movies you probably think of Hollywood, but one man from Northcentral Wisconsin is bringing his feature film to the local screen.
Wausau’s Jarrod Crooks not only makes movies, but he also stars in them.
His latest film, "Dispatched" is based off the Elvis Presley movie, “Girl Happy,” says filmmaker Jarrod Crooks. “My character Jake is sent to go watch my bosses daughter while she’s on vacation with a friend. Then an old enemy is kind of after him while he’s on vacation, so some things happen.”
Crooks made, "Dispatched" on a $5,000 budget and it’s full of romance, action, and comedy.
“My buddy would joke with me, ‘why don’t you just pick one genre man and then just go with it'," says Crooks. "I’m like because I want to make this movie how I want to make It'." "I actually like romantic comedies, I think they’re kind of fun, and I think they’re cute. I like action films because I’m a guy, and I like comedy because Jim Carey is great.”
Crooks is only 28 and has already made 4 feature films. His passion started when he was 12 years old.
“I went over to my friend’s house and he had a video camera. I was like oh we should make a movie, and at that time I was really into, “Wishbone,” says Crooks.
“We’d always remake our own literature pieces. Then I saw my first Jackie Chan movie and I’m like, alright it’s settled we’re doing action films from now on," says Crooks. “From then on it was just a love affair with the filmmaking.”
His latest film will be shown at the Cosmo Theatre in Merrill on Saturday at 5pm.
“The fact that I’m bringing it to central Wisconsin is great because this is where I grew up," says Crooks. "All my family and friends get to see it, so I’m very excited about that and you get to see yourself on the big screen what’s better than that.”
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