HELPING HAND: Corporate partner lends space, building surfaces to incoming regional workforce development center

A regional workforce center slated for the Madison area is getting a new room through a corporate partner. (Photo courtesy of Cambria)

By Ethan Duran
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A regional workforce development center for high school students being built in Fitchburg added a new corporate partner to provide furnishings and space, company officials said.

The McKenzie Regional Workforce Center, in partnership with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County and the Madison Area Builders Association, will offer after-school skills building activities to underserved youth in the Madison area, officials familiar with the project said. High-school age kids will learn about construction and plumbing trades from builder teachers, and an entrepreneurial center will give kids skills to run their own business.

Cambria, a Minnesota-based company that specializes in quartz surfaces, will provide most of the building surfaces, Cambria Director of Philanthropy Christina McCormick said. The company will also build Café Cambria, a café inside the building to give students a space to have snacks, do homework and hold meetings. Other corporations can sponsor rooms like kitchens and offices as well.

“The McKenzie Regional Workforce Center aligns directly with our company’s core values and we’re proud to support it,” McCormick said. The company saw the project as a good opportunity to help elevate youth and provide them with opportunities and was already partnered with Boys & Girls Club, she added.

This will be the largest regional workforce development center for youth in the Madison area when complete in fall of 2023, McCormick said.

John McKenzie, owner of McKenzie Apartment Co., bought the commercial building at 5525 Verona Road and gave it to the club. Project leaders wanted to raise $35 million to renovate the building and fund activities inside; the project broke ground over the summer.

The Boys & Girls Club of Dane County received a grant up to $3.5 million in June after Gov. Tony Evers announced $6.6 million to support youth apprenticeship opportunities across the state. The other two projects that received grants were the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College and the Wisconsin Heights School District.

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