Community - Jun 8, 2022
Foundry receives child advocacy award
Waupaca business recognized for partnership with schools
The Wisconsin Association of School District Administrators recognized Waupaca Foundry with its statewide 2021-22 Bert Grover Child Advocacy Award.
Waupaca Foundry is the only business statewide to receive this award for significant commitment to children.
More than 420 school districts in Wisconsin can nominate a person or a business for the Child Advocacy Award. The Business Award acknowledges the exceptional business educational partnerships throughout the state of Wisconsin that supports the greater mission of educating all children.
To be eligible for the award, the business must demonstrate significant commitment to children by sharing time, talents and/or financial support.
Investing in next generation
“We nominated Waupaca Foundry for this award because they are child advocates. They are in our community not only saying how much they support our schools but are providing their time and talent by having their employees come in and be mentors to our students right here in our schools,” said District Administrator Ron Saari.
Waupaca Foundry has a history of investing in the next generation through scholarships, high school work co-op and apprenticeship programs, and donations and partnerships with local schools.
“Engaging youth and their parents concerning high-quality career opportunities in manufacturing is essential for our future. For too long, too many have perceived manufacturing jobs as an undesirable career path in the U.S. Exposing youth to the benefits of careers in manufacturing is exciting, especially when the student recognizes the significance of the industry and its vitality in the global economy,” said Kirk Kallio, director of human resources.
In the 2021-22 academic year, Waupaca Foundry provided 75 high school co-ops and youth apprenticeships to students nationwide in an effort to develop their skills and offer career pathways into manufacturing.
“Whether it’s time and talents from folks on the team, financial resources, or in-kind equipment – we’re investing in our community. When we build strong communities that translates to a strong team at Waupaca Foundry,” said Sara Timm, director of marketing at the foundry.
On May 27, Waupaca Foundry celebrated its 2021-22 co-op students and youth apprentices at Waupaca High School.
Signing da recognizes the graduating seniors who plan to pursue a career in skilled trades.
Local business co-op students and youth apprentices announced their future career plans at the event. Graduating high school seniors who are pursuing a career in skilled trades and have elected to work for local employers were also recognized.
Three Waupaca High School graduating seniors committed to Waupaca Foundry, and more than 100 students will continue seasonal work this summer before heading off to their first year of postgraduate education.
Seniors joining Waupaca Foundry
• Caleb Mullet and Jordan Plum are graduates of Waupaca High School and will attend Mid-State Technical College to study in the Precision Machining Technician Program while working at Waupaca Foundry. The apprenticeship program offers an opportunity to gain on-the-job training and earn industry-recognized credentials while receiving a full-time wage.
• Ian Walsh is a graduate of Waupaca High School and is now a full-time employee working in molding at Waupaca Foundry.
“Working with the school districts is a great advantage for Waupaca Foundry and our community. Collaborating with schools to create opportunities for students and develop their skills at the high school level has been rewarding for Waupaca Foundry, districts, and students,” said Rob Johnson, Waupaca Foundry executive vice president administration, CFO and treasurer.
• Shania Sopa is a graduate of Waupaca High School. She was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend Marquette University to study nursing. Sopa is the daughter of Shawn Sopa, an electrical maintenance technician at Waupaca Foundry.
• Vincent Nikolai is a graduate of Waupaca High School. He was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend the University of Wisconsin-Madison to study kinesiology. Nikolai is the son of Waupaca Foundry President, COO and CEO Mike Nikolai.
• Aryah Elm is a graduate of Wild Rose High School. She was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend the University of Alabama to study law. Elm is the daughter of Todd Grambsch, a mill room inspector.
• Kyle Hotvedt is a graduate of Waupaca High School. He was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and will attend Fox Valley Technical College to study aeronautics, pilot training. Hotvedt is the son of Waupaca Foundry Credit Analyst Mary Hotvedt.
• Brock Keil is a graduate of Waupaca High School. He was awarded a $1,000 scholarship and will attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College to study electrical power distribution, gas and utilities. Keil is the son of Matt Keil, a lab technician.
• Brooke Peterson is a graduate of Waupaca High School. She was awarded a $2,000 scholarship and will attend the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point to study accounting. Peterson is currently working in an accounting co-op role at Waupaca Foundry and will continue in the position this summer.