Focus on Workplace Training: Walker Forge

Rick Recktenwald (foreground)

Focus on Workplace Training: Walker Forge

Fall 2014

| By: Britten, Casey

Forging a Strong Workforce: An innovative partnership between Walker Forge and Fox Valley Technical College is building a model workforce for this economy.

As a recent Wisconsin Manufacturer of the Year award winner, Walker Forge builds success through exemplary partnerships. A premier producer of carbon alloy steel forgings for the energy, agriculture, transportation, railroad, and construction industries, the company relies on Fox Valley Technical College and its Business & Industry Services division to develop programs to cross-train its workforce.

President/CEO Rick Recktenwald credits FVTC with listening to his company’s needs and then providing the right training. “Walker Forge has made Fox Valley Tech a part of our culture in retaining and developing talent,” he states. “All of our designers are Computer Aided Design (CAD) graduates of the college, and for the past 15 years, virtually every maintenance department associate is either enrolled or has completed the State of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program and maintains journeyperson status.”

Recktenwald believes that Walker Forge’s continuing success comes from its strategy of cross-training all employees. “With the integration of computers into every aspect of our work, it is essential for everyone to understand all aspects of the business,” he says.

According to Recktenwald, most of his company’s workplace training comes from FVTC. “Fox Valley Tech is light years ahead of other schools,” he says. “No one matches this college’s fast response in setting up new programs. An example is the new metallurgy program that started here in September.”

Walker Forge also sponsors FVTC scholarships for high school students as a way to encourage young people to go into manufacturing. “These are big hurdles and Fox Valley Tech provides a great bridge,” says Recktenwald. “When we have a need or a potential problem, we know where to go for help.”

Quick Facts:

Over the past 10 years, Fox Valley Technical College has provided Walker Forge’s workforce with 169,000 training hours, representing 26 different skill sets.

Overall, more than 26,000 employees and 2,000+ employers trained with FVTC for instructional contracts and professional development classes, representing nearly one-fifth of all Wisconsin Technical College System participants enrolled in customized training. 2012-13 data from FVTC’s annual Purpose Monitoring Report