The state of Wisconsin is investing $5 million into a new "STEM innovation center" at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
The $15 million Brown County STEM Innovation Center will house UW-Green Bay's School of Engineering and the Einstein Project, a nonprofit that supports STEM, an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering and math.
Jim Golembeski, executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, said the school will help keep young people in the area and stave off "brain drain."
"What this will really do is bring K-12 kids in to be part of this and get a taste of science, technology, and engineering and math early on and do it right on the university campus so they feel at home, stay here, work here," Golembeski said.
State funding for the center was part of Gov. Scott Walker's 2017-19 budget.
Sign up for daily news!
Stay informed with WPR's email newsletter.
At a groundbreaking for the facility Monday, Walker noted that the new center will help Wisconsinites gain skills they need to work in STEM fields.
Addressing a crowd of donors and educators at the event, Walker lauded his administration’s efforts to take school apprenticeships to grade levels lower than were previously offered.
"Moving those up to the seventh and eight grade, I think will help us start piquing that interest earlier on. It's not only with the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, it's our partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the other technical colleges across the state."
The school is expected to open next fall.