Days to the CWIMA Industry 4.0 Expo

Central Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance

Who We Are

Founded in 2016, CWIMA is a nonprofit comprising over 130 members, led by business and industry, increasing educational and career awareness in welding, fabricating, machining, and manufacturing trades.

Our Mission

We focus on making the maximum positive effort for our community through our collective efforts, initiatives, and partnerships with regional educational institutions and workforce development partnerships.

January 2022 Newsletter

Training and Workforce Development

Training & Workforce Development

We develop training opportunities for new and incumbent employees looking for fostering creative training models while increasing employee attraction and retention for members.

CWIMA Scholarships


We’ve created a scholarship fund awarding over $50,000 to area K-12 students used for continuing their career aspirations in manufacturing at either NTC or Mid-State Technical College.

CWIMA Memberships


Create a diverse and active membership and Board of Directors of Manufacturing Members, Affiliate Members, Associate Members, Workforce Development Agencies, and Educational Partnerships for achieving and maximizing our goals.

Summer Programs

Summer Programs

Create free, innovative, short-term summer programs at our technical colleges, exposing students to advanced manufacturing careers, allowing for free college credits in 23 related manufacturing career paths.

Heavy Metal Tour

Heavy Metal Tour

Create educational awareness opportunities area 8th grade students and teachers, bridging awareness of manufacturing-related career paths and their influence and importance to our economic sustainability.

Move to Manufacturing

Move to Manufacturing

Businesses are teaming up, offering free training as the manufacturing industry grows. Get skills and knowledge needed for a manufacturing job along with the support needed for success.



We're proud to have incredible programs like Move to Manufacturing and the Heavy Metal Tour available to our community.

Move 2 Manufacturing



Move to Manufacturing

As the manufacturing industry continues to grow, local businesses are teaming up to offer this free training opportunity designed to quickly grow the workforce. Get the skills and knowledge that you need for employment in manufacturing with the support you need to be successful, all without having to quit your current job.



Supporting School Districts

Materials, Scholarships, and Programs

Nothing is more important to CWIMA than supporting the development of students in tech and industrial careers. CWIMA cares about schools and the resources they need to make the trades exciting and fulfilling. Get in touch with CWIMA to see how your business can impact and directly support schools in need.

Heavy Metal Tour

Heavy Metal Tour

Visit the Heavy Metal Tour Site Here


Approximately 1,800 students from area schools on the 8th Annual Heavy Metal Tour. The event provides students with an opportunity to explore education and career opportunities in welding, fabricating, machining, engineering, computing and manufacturing trades by visiting NTC and local state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities. When touring the facilities, students met with subject matter experts, saw firsthand the latest technologies employed in manufacturing and learned more about the diversity of high-demand career options in these fields.

Apply for Scholarships Here




Interested in Pursuing a Career in the Tech and Manufacturing Trades?
Education • Information Technology • Manufacturing

Step 1: Life Basics

Focus on excelling at the "life basics." All the skills in the world won't allow you to have a promising career if you aren't reliable and people find you difficult to work with. Develop habits now of showing up, being on time, staying "on task," being polite, showing a willingness to learn, and having a positive attitude. Regardless of the career path you choose, these good habits will serve you well.

Step 2: Hands-on Experience

Get hands-on experience with projects around home or work. Seize any opportunities you have with friends or family to get experience with mechanical or building projects. Even simple projects like changing the oil in the lawnmower, changing the car battery, building a birdhouse, or deer blind are good ways to learn some basic skills like using simple hand tools, reading a tape measure, etc. If you have a job, ask your boss to involve you with mechanical projects around work. Better yet, try to find a summer job or school-to-work opportunity at a machining or fabrication shop so they can immerse you in manufacturing and work with others who have already chosen careers in these fields. Working with hands-on projects also gives you the chance to experience pride in building or fixing something. That sense of accomplishment is a key reason so many people find significant gratification in careers in welding and machining. A student who knows their way around a workshop or has some basic handyman skills have a leg up on students who have never used a tape measure or spun a wrench. Most career opportunities in advanced manufacturing require people to have good manual dexterity. Being good with your hands and enjoying that type of work are essential traits if you consider this career path.

Step 3: The Basics Matter

Pay attention in school—the basics matter. Plain and straightforward careers in advanced manufacturing rely heavily on math and reading skills. Daily, most jobs in advanced manufacturing require individuals to perform basic math calculations quickly. Just as frequently, they use some geometry skills to determine layouts and complete similar portions of their job. While a machinist may never need to apply calculus, using basic math, geometry, and some algebra is essential. Having a solid ability to work with fractions and knowing how to calculate the sides of a right triangle or the circumference of a circle are examples of everyday skills for welders, machinists, and fabricators. Also, don't underestimate reading skills! Given the technical nature of advanced manufacturing, there is a lot of technical detail communicated on blueprints, equipment operating manuals, standard operating procedures, etc. Being able to read and absorb this information is vitally important quickly and accurately.

Step 4: Electives

Choose your electives wisely. When you take different elective classes, choose those with a mechanical, technical, and math slant over other electives. Ideally (if you are in or will go into high school), your high school will offer welding and machining classes. These should be at the top of your elective choices. If your high school does not offer welding or machining classes, get in touch with CWIMA and let us know. We work with many high schools, and we may donate equipment or find other ways of providing better training opportunities for your school. Like nearly all facets of modern life, welding and machining heavily depend on computers. Most modern machining centers are CNC. Welders are computerized. Robotic welding relies heavily on skilled programmers with strong welding knowledge. Classes in geometry, Computer-Aided Design (CAD), computer programming, science, physics, and even woodshop are other examples of electives that help build the skills needed for your career.

Meet the Team

Tait Strand Executive Director of CWIMA

Tait Strand - Executive Director

Tait's career began in the United States Army, as an aviator crewman for the Kiowa, Blackhawk, and Apache helicopters. He was awarded three Army Commendation medals during several deployments.

Following his military service, Tait spent a decade with the largest military contractor in the world, Lockheed Martin. As a Senior Quality Manager, he and his team were awarded the Team of the Year in 2007 for accomplishments on the SOFSA contract.

Tait spent the last several years in the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development as a Veteran Career Representative. During this time, he met with and gained trust from many corporations in Central Wisconsin. Tait was awarded the Veteran Employer of the Year from the Disabled Veterans of America and DWD. His knowledge of workforce development, team building, and communication is an amazing asset to the organization and the members that CWIMA serves.

Tait will continue to inspire youth and bring forth the rewarding career opportunities in manufacturing.
Tait Strand received a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Midway University. For all Executive Level concerns please reach out to Tait HERE