Wisconsin Technical College System

Wisconsin Technical College System

Wisconsin Technical College System

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Wisconsin Technical College System is a group of 16 technical colleges in Wisconsin.


The Wisconsin Legislature passed laws in 1911 requiring cities with a population of 5000 or more to set up trade schools, and a school board to control them. The schools had four purposes; to provide continuing education of boys and girls 14-16 who had quit high school,, trade school, adult evening education and related instruction for apprentices.

Wisconsin became the first state to establish a system of state support for vocational, technical and adult education schools.

In 1911 the Wisconsin apprenticeship Law was passedan Employers were required to release apprentices to the trade schools if one was available, and to pay regular hourly wages for time spent at school.

Both of these bills resulted from the work of Charles McCarthy, the first director of the present-day state Legislative Reference Bureau.

The Smith-Hughes Act, passed by the U.S. Congress in 1917 was modeled after Wisconsin's new program.

In 1961, the school boards were authorized to offer associate's degree for two-year technical courses. In 1965, the state legislature required a system of vocational, technical and adult education districts to cover the entire state by 1970. As a consequence, enrollments in the WTCS doubled from 1967 to 1982.

There were significant increases in the number of...
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