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State tech college graduates earning more

The income growth for graduates of Wisconsin technical schools is growing at twice the rate of inflation, according to a study released by the Wisconsin Technical College System.

Called "The Longitudinal Follow-Up Study," the report looks at changes in employment five years after graduation.

The report shows technical school graduates from 2001-02 had a median salary growth rate of 48 percent over a five year period

This means these graduates are earning nearly $40,000 a year.

Meanwhile the consumer price index rose 16 percent in the same period.

The study also concluded that technical college graduates had unemployment rates of 2 percent compared to 5.1 percent for all Wisconsin workers during that time frame of the report.

The statewide trend also holds for area technical colleges.

The average salary for Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College graduates is $38,916, according to aid Kathy Maas, a WITC spokesperson.

She said the school's longitudinal study found that 97 percent of WITC graduates are working with 73 percent in their area of study.

"Seventy five percent are working in Wisconsin and 37 percent are working in the WITC district," Mass said.

A spokesman for Chippewa Valley Technical College says there graduates are on par with the state study.

"I think our studies are parallel to the state study," Jim Mortwedt said.

The head of the WTCS says the reason for the growth is a need for technical workers in the state.

"Changes in the economy dictate that employees are highly skilled and ready for employment in a number of Wisconsin's established and new sectors, many of which are technology driven," said Dan Clancy, WTCS president.

The Longitudinal Follow-Up Study was completed by 7,359 of the 17,833 graduates who were sent the survey.

WTCS officials say the graduate follow-up study evaluates employment six months after graduation and evaluates the success of employees and their respective education.

The report is also used by the technical college's advisory committees to help technical advisory committees to help align the colleges with business and industry needs.

"This survey is one of our measurement tools to verify the success of our students and satisfaction of employers," Clancy said.

The advisory committees are made up of business and industry representatives who provide input on their most critical employment needs

"Our advisory committees make sure our programs are relevant to the jobs and careers available," Clancy said.

The full report can be found on the WTCS Web site at