From greenbaypressgazette.com: “More than $40M invested in Marinette shipyard” – MARINETTE — More than $40 million has been invested in the Marinette Marine Corp. shipyard as part of the U.S. Navy littoral combat ship program, and its parent company isn’t done yet.

Massive improvements at the yard to support the LCS program have been ongoing for the past two years — including the expansion of the main assembly building and a new steel fabrication and production building. The Navy is building two designs of the littoral combat ship, one led by Lockheed Martin and the other by Austal USA.

To date, Marinette Marine’s parent company — Fincantieri-Cantieri Navali Italiani SpA — has invested more than $40 million of $73.5 million in planned upgrades to the yard, said Chuck Goddard, president and CEO of Marinette Marine.

Another $22 million is earmarked for this year.

A new blast and paint shop is starting to take shape in the place of former steel fabrication buildings — structures that were almost seven decades old.

“It not only gets us the capacity we need, but it will allow us to do the blast and painting of the largest of the LCS modules,” Goddard said. “Our current (blast and paint) facility, which is more than 30 years old, can only do about two-thirds of the LCS module, so we either have to do them outside or try to make room in Building 10, which isn’t really equipped to do that blasting and painting.”

The ships built at Marinette Marine are made up of 46 modular sections pulled together in the finished ship.

The new, enclosed blast and paint building is expected to open this summer. A shop to fit electrical and other equipment into the modules after painting also is among planned projects and is expected to open in 2013.

In 2009, the yard had the capacity to produce 1½ littoral combat ships a year. When facility upgrades are finished, production is expected to increase to 3½ ships a year, Goddard said.

Marinette Marine is working on three littoral combat ships, the future USS Fort Worth, Milwaukee and Detroit. Contracts for two more vessels, the future USS Little Rock and Sioux City, are expected to be issued next month, said Joe North, vice president of the Littoral Ship and Systems Programs for Lockheed Martin.

The Forth Worth is expected to undergo Navy acceptance trials this spring, with delivery to the service scheduled for mid-year, he said.

“That ship was constructed with 30 percent less labor hours than (LCS) 1, and we took a lot of lessons learned from 1 and rolled them back into” the USS Fort Worth, he said. The shipyard “found a lot of different ways to do it a second time and do it much quicker, more efficiently, and still meet all the requirements.”

The Detroit is the second of up to 10 littoral combat ships Marinette Marine is expected to build for the U.S. Navy in the coming years — subject to congressional funding. Austal USA is building another 10 ships of a different design, but the same concept, in Alabama.

Both Austal and Lockheed Martin have delivered first-of-class ships to the Navy, which has reported some teething problems with both designs. The Navy said those issues are being addressed on the ships in service and future designs and that it would like to purchase as many as 55 of the vessels.

The Barack Obama administration budget issued earlier this month includes funding to the tune of $1.8 billion for four more of the ships in Fiscal Year 2013. The budget is subject to congressional approval.

North and the Navy have said delivering ships on schedule and on budget are key to helping secure continued funding for the program.

“We’ve created a program that keeps the production lines at all the vendors and facilities we use running,” North said. “That helps keeps costs under control.”

Employment at Marinette Marine is at about 1,200 people — about 500 more than in June, Goddard said. The company plans to add about 300 more hourly, union workers in the next four months.

Marinette Marine has worked with seven local high schools on vocational education, including teaching students some of the welding skills required by the Navy, Goddard said.

It is also one of the partner companies working with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in the formation of a recently opened North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center in Marinette.

“We’ve been able to get people locally,” Goddard said about hiring thus far. “But we’re doing some other things because the concern is at some point we’re going to exhaust the workforce here.”

From wausaudailyherald.com: “Program to prep students for manufacturing careers” – North central Wisconsin educators are developing a program to help students better prepare for careers in manufacturing.

The teachers and administrators for the D.C. Everest, Wausau and Spencer school districts and Northcentral Technical College are working together to create the Wisconsin Advanced Pathway Education Network. The four partners also are using money from a federal grant program called Promoting Rigorous Programs of Study, and their work could end up as a framework for school districts across the country.

Essentially, the work is meant to create an educational road map for students interested in working in factories and other manufacturing sectors, said Bob Marlowe, career and technical education coordinator for the Wausau School District. Marlowe also is coordinating the grant work. It’s a four-year grant program, with each partner receiving $30,000 per year. The partnership is in the second year of the grant program.

The program eventually will guide students in what classes to take, and help educators understand the skills students need to be successful in manufacturing jobs.

Educators mostly are gathering data right now, but the work already is having an impact on classroom instruction, said Theran Peterson, a technical education teacher at Wausau West working in the program.

The educators have been working closely with local manufacturers, finding out what companies need in their employees to better prepare students for the jobs.

“What we are finding is that the students coming out of our programs are very technologically savvy, but employers say they need to work on soft skills, 21st century skills, such as teamwork, interpersonal communication,” Peterson said.

That means that Peterson has tweaked the way he teaches his tech ed classes. Instead of relying on individual projects, he has started to stress teamwork and problem-solving.

“It’s forcing us to align our curriculum with the needs of our community,” Peterson said.

The team also is bolstering classroom innovation, including creating an application that can track student progress on mobile tablets, said Aaron Hoffman, the career and technical education coordinator at D.C. Everest Area School District.

“That way, teachers will have access to students’ development, and see where students are sitting now, and be much more informed in delivering instruction,” Hoffman said.

Manufacturing is a large job creator in Wisconsin, Marlowe said, and he thinks it will continue to be so in the future, especially if the future workforce is strong and smart.

There were about 443,000 manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin in December 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We have to effectively prepare students. We have to teach them to be adaptable and trainable,” Marlowe said.

SWTC instructor honored

February 27, 2012

From agriview.com: “Cutting presented WCPA Education Award” – Southwest Tech Agribusiness/Science Technology program instructor Paul Cutting, Fennimore, was recently honored by the Wisconsin Crop Production Association with an Education Award.

“Paul was selected to receive this award by the Board of Directors for his dedication to agribusiness education and providing instruction to students who have been successful in the crop production industry,” commented Rob Poehnelt, Wisconsin Crop Production Association Executive Director. “Paul has a huge impact on crop production in the state of Wisconsin and we are proud to be able to recognize his achievements.”

“I am happy and humbled to have been selected for this award and am incredibly proud the Agribusiness/Science Technology program is being recognized in the industry,” commented Cutting. “As I was accepting the award, I was amazed to see the number of my graduates in the audience that are members of the Wisconsin Crop Production Association. Seeing students continue to learn is an award in itself.”

Cutting has been the instructor for Southwest Tech’s Agribusiness/Science Technology program for 23 years. He has been the State Manager for Wisconsin Post-secondary Agricultural Students (PAS) since 1989 and the advisor for Southwest Tech’s Agribusiness PAS Chapter, which has been represented by many state and national officers. Cutting is a member at the state and national level of both the Association of Agricultural Instructors and the Association of Career and Technical Education, and is a lifetime member of the FFA Alumni and PAS Associates.

From gazettextra.com: “Stoughton Trailers growth could indicate US is recovering from recession” – BRODHEAD — Some people think Stoughton Trailers is a canary in the economic coalmine.

“If you look at our history, sometimes we’re leading into an economic downturn,” President Bob Wahlin said, “but sometimes we’re leading out of that same downturn.

“We hope that’s the case.”

Stoughton Trailers laid off hundreds of workers at it Brodhead, Evansville and Stoughton plants in the early stages of the recession. Now, it’s hiring.

While the downturn of the last few years has been unprecedented, Wahlin sees production and manufacturing coming back on a national level.

“As that happens, trucking picks up; people are more aggressive in replacing their fleet, and consumer confidence picks up, (which means) more freight to move,” he said.

“Hopefully, the trailer industry picking up is a sign of greater success happening,” he said.

Stoughton Trailers is receiving orders from companies gearing up for the next shipping season of summer into fall and the holidays. The increase means a ramp-up in hiring at Stoughton Trailers, but Wahlin said he doesn’t want to give the impression that everything is great.

The company, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, manufactures conventional and intermodal transportation equipment. Intermodal domestic freight transport uses containers that can be moved between rail and truck.

Stoughton’s main product is the dry van, which is the box-and-chassis combination that makes up the box-shaped semitrailers commonly seen on the highway.

The Brodhead plant, where standard fleet trailers are produced, was built for speed and efficiency, Wahlin said.

The Evansville plant builds a redesigned intermodal container and chassis.

The company’s corporate headquarters and a trailer manufacturing facility are in Stoughton. The company is hiring for shop floor positions at all three locations.

The downturn

Stoughton Trailers’ last peak was in about 2006, when the company employed 1,200.

By the end of 2008 and into 2009, “the trailer industry more or less stopped,” Wahlin said.

Trailer sales dropped more than 85 percent from the recent peak.

“That’s not just the Stoughton Trailers trailer. That’s industrywide,” he said. “With that type of drop, things just shut off. We had to reduce in the short term like never before.”

The company only had enough work for about 250 people.

“We don’t expect things to be that bad again,” he said, noting that those were unprecedented times.

Stoughton has been steadily building back up since 2009. At the end of 2010, the workforce was a little under 500, and the number grew to 800 by the end of last year.

By the end of summer, Wahlin said the company hopes to have 925 to 950 workers.

“Hopefully we can continue that ramp-up path, and things are looking positively for us to do that, but right now we can only commit to adding that many positions,” he said.

When the economy took a dive worldwide, people stopped buying and tried to squeeze another year or two out of their equipment, he said.

“Part of what’s driving the current demand is now that’s catching up with people,” he said. “That coupled with freight tonnages is trending very positively, and companies are ready to get back into their usual equipment replacement cycles, and in fact, most of them have some catching up to do.”

Stoughton is filling orders for Family Dollar now and does a lot of work for UPS and larger fleets seen on the road. The company also works with all kinds of decaling seen on the sides of trailers.

The company redesigned its container built in Evansville to compete with overseas companies. Because it’s a new product, orders aren’t consistent yet, he said.

After reopening the plant last year, the company shut it down after Christmas until now. Most of the workforce was diverted to the Brodhead and Stoughton plants.

“We’re doing everything we can to re-enter that market (of containers),” he said. “It’s still a very difficult environment.”

A ‘healing process’

In response to earlier stories about Stoughton Trailers, some current and former employees complained on The Gazette’s website, gazettextra.com, about working conditions and what they claimed was a lack of respect for workers.

Wahlin said downsizing a company from 1,200 people to 250 is painful for everybody.

“We’re still healing from what happened the last few years,” he said.

The company tries to bring back workers who were laid off, but Wahlin said some have gone in other directions, he noted.

Stoughton Trailers is working on changing its culture, he said.

“That’s not an easy thing to do—not something that happens overnight,” he said.

Management took advantage of the downturn to educate and train its workforce, particularly managers, he said. Classes in lean manufacturing, leadership, ergonomics, safety, quality, “you name it” were held, many at the plant through a partnership with Madison Area Technical College.

The manufacturer also has “significantly increased” its automation and use of robotics in the last few years.

“It’s a physical job, hard work, and our employees work very, very hard,” he said. “That type of environment may not be for everybody.”

A normal week for plant workers is 40 hours, but orders have forced overtime because the company doesn’t want to hire too many workers too soon, Wahlin said.

Restoring pay and benefits cut during the recession also is a priority. The company has been increasing benefits “periodically as conditions continue to improve” and is “getting close” to pay increases for many shop floor employees, he said.

From: beloitdailynews.com: “BMHS students go job hunting at Wednesday career fair” – Beloit Memorial High School’s (BMHS) Barkin Arena was buzzing with activity Wednesday as students attended the 2012 Career Fair.

About 18 vendors were on scene to discuss career possibilities with more than 400 students from BMHS and about 25 students from South Beloit High School, said BMHS Assistant Principal John Kaminski.

Vendors ranged from Beloit Regional Hospice and the Beloit Police Department to Community Action Inc. and Alliant Energy. Six of the vendors performed interactive activities with students, and students who participated were able to get their “passports” stamped for a chance at a prize.

Kris Bacon of First National Bank was speaking to Senior Joseph Eley about a career in accounting. Eley, who works as a manager at the Knight Zone store and also works at Wendy’s, said he is taking an advanced business class at the high school and hopes to become an accountant. He had prepared a detailed list of questions for Bacon, who said she was impressed with the young man’s outgoing personality as well as his responsibility at the school store.

She gave Eley a business card and encouraged him to consider a future career at the bank. Eley said he’s planning on attending Blackhawk Technical College next year to major in accounting and business management.

Bacon said her favorite part of her career is helping people and sending them away with a smile, something she was confident Eley would be well  suited for.

Community Action Inc. Director of Planning and Development Marc Perry was speaking to Freshman Alisa Arrington about possible careers in his organization. In addition to having many opportunities in the human service field, he said there are opportunities in nursing, fundraising, public relations, human resources, accounting and business management. Perry said there were opportunities to work ranging from weatherizing homes to preventing child abuse.

Alisa said she was interested in a career in nursing or dancing. She said she enjoyed the expo and stopped at all the booths. Her favorite booths were at First National Bank where she could spin a wheel and Beloit Regional Hospice where she received a sticker.

Lindsey Mayer, a recruiter with Alliant Energy, was pleased to educate students on the various careers with her company. While some require two or four year degrees, she said there are other good paying jobs that require a high school diploma or a one year program.

She said customer service jobs require a high school diploma, and gas and line technician positions require a one year power distribution program offered through Blackhawk Technical College. Gas and line technicians can make around $30 an hour, and often being with an apprenticeship following their education.

“It takes a lot of commitment. They are on call 24-7 and respond to emergencies such as power outages, ice storms or gas leaks,” Mayer said.

Mayer said there are also exciting careers in engineering, computers, finance and human resources which require two or four year degrees. Some of the unique positions included wind turbine technician and power plant assistant.

From wsau.com: “MSTC looks at degree for aging population” – Mid-State Technical College is looking at adding a new degree that would train students to work with a growing elderly population.

The college’s board of directors approved a scope proposal Monday night. The vote clears the way for college officials to continue exploring the gerontology associate degree program.

The state technical college board could approve the degree next month.

The school has begun to survey potential employers to see whether the need exists for students with such a degree. The survey will likely be done by mid-May and the college could launch its program early next year, if the need exists.

Wisconsin’s senior population – those 65 and older – grew by more than 10 percent in the last decade, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Census counted 777,000 senior citizens in Wisconsin in 2010 or just under 14 percent of the state’s population.

Students who take the program will learn how to provide recreation, housing, social services, financial assistance and advocacy for the elderly, said associate dean for service and health programs Beth Smith.

“The person who has earned this degree will have a broad range of skills that will allow them to provide those services,” she said in a phone interview Wednesday.

Mid-State would be only the second technical college in the state to offer such a degree. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College began offering its degree last fall.

Hear interview from wsau.com

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Ask SCORE: Loan funds provide financial options” – Most area counties and cities have some type of loan option for small businesses.

When a bank says no, it doesn’t have to be the end of the road. There are economic development people in almost every community, and they have been tasked with supporting businesses and creating or retaining jobs.

Jessica Beckendorf, associate vice president of economic development, is one of those people.

She likes to think of herself as the first stop for small businesses. Involved in both the Brown County Revolving Loan Fund and Advance MicroLoan Program, Beckendorf is a connector.

“My role is directing them to the right source,” she explained. “Sometimes we might be that source, and sometimes I might refer them to other resources. I might continue to work with them through the entire process.”

Beckendorf looks at a team approach. From her office in the Advance Business and Manufacturing Center at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, she sits alongside a group of people who have the sole purpose of helping entrepreneurs. SCORE is one of those groups.

Beckendorf noted, “If we can’t help them, I’ll know where to send them. If they don’t have a business plan, I get them working with one of the partners on that.”

The point is to create or retain jobs, and to help provide alternate financial options when traditional sources aren’t enough.

For both of the funds that Beckendorf works with, there might be a bank involved on a limited scale with a gap in funding. She works to get deals done where they wouldn’t otherwise go forward.

The programs vary in the amount of funding provided, interest rates, and specific qualifications. The Revolving Loan Fund is tied into job creation or retention; the MicroLoan Program is not. Sometimes the funds can’t provide the amount of money needed, and other sources are considered.

“For a huge project, we might try to get the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) involved. There could be tax credits or direct lending available,” she said.

Beckendorf continually looks for a way to put a project together. The Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority (WHEDA) is another option.

When an entrepreneur comes to her office, she said that all it takes is a short interview and she’ll know where to send him or her. She asks for their story, why they need funding, whether it is for growth or retention, what would happen if they didn’t get the funding, do they have bank financing lined up, and how much more do they need.

“I’m looking for those who are willing to grow and learn how to run a business rather than just working in their business,” Beckendorf noted. “We want to allow our local companies to expand where the banks might not be willing to take on the risk.”

From beloitdailynews.com: “BTC offers Green Generalist Training for free” – Blackhawk Technical College is pleased to offer Green Generalist Training developed by Purdue University at no cost to area businesses and individuals seeking a greater understanding of the key green concepts and environmental issues facing organizations. The one-day workshop is an interactive and hands-on learning experience. Enroll in this grant-funded training while it is still available at no cost and the college will also provide a complementary lunch. Available Training Dates (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each date): March 14, March 16, March 24, April 20 and May 18, 2012.

From ashlandcurrent.com: “Career, Technical Education Continues Evolution” – Career and Technical Education Month strikes a special cord with Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College this year as the college also celebrates its centennial.

Business instructor Mike Bark has been at WITC for more than a third of its existence. He has seen plenty of change since 1976, and he thinks WITC has been able to respond the evolving needs of the community it serves.

Even the basics of teaching have improved over the years, Bark says. While the traditional classroom lecture is still mainstay of college education, WITC has expanded the way it provides education. From distance learning via IP video to online teaching, WITC offers a variety of learning methods to complement the lifestyles of its diverse student body.

“Having students from broader geographic areas and students with greater diversity of ages, education level and life experiences enriches the classroom,” Bark said. “It is not uncommon to have students in our classes that are youth options students, individuals that are unemployed, underemployed or soon-to-be retirees. It is also not uncommon to have students with bachelor’s and in some cases master’s degrees attending WITC with the intent to learn a new skill or marketable trade to improve their employability.”

Bark has also witnessed an increase in rigor of the faculty. While all the faculty have career experience in the field they teach, that used to be enough. Now, faculty are required to have a master’s degree in the field they teach, and they’re encourage to continuously expand their knowledge and skills through staff development.

“While some things have changed, there are many things that have not, such as having our students as the number one reason why we are here,” Bark said. “And we continue to work with our local employers and graduates … to determine changing market trends, training needs, employment demands, effects of technology, etc. And that our instruction incorporates hands-on and relevant learning experiences.”

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “How to: Never Stop Learning” —  There’s a lot of merit in youthful curiosity. Those days of repeatedly demanding Why? to our parents, of exploring the right-side and underside of every object in the backyard—it’s something we should never give up just because we’ve finished school and settled into adulthood.

We owe it to ourselves to never stop learning. And we found just the girl who happens to agree (quite exuberantly).

“It is never too late and you are never too old to learn!” exclaimed Christine Schillinger, continuing education coordinator at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC). “We have women of all ages in all stages of their lives taking classes for all different kinds of reasons.”

Indeed, NWTC has literally thousands of professional and personal enrichment courses (thanks in large part to Schillinger), from Communication and Writing to Electrician Certification to Furniture Refinishing. Classes are available either online, in-person, through video conferencing or in NWTC’s self-paced learning labs. And they’re offered basically any time you could hope for—in the evening, on weekends, once a week or sometimes even in the middle of the night—because darn it, shift workers should be able to learn freely, too.

It seems they’ve thought of everything for a busy woman’s lifestyle. But beyond what they have and what they do, it’s most important to focus on the why. Why should you make time to learn?

“The benefits of continuous learning are endless. Professional women can benefit by taking a class to help them stay current in their field or get that promotion,” she said. “Staying current and fresh by learning new skills and developing yourself benefits the community, your family, your employers, your employability, your marketability in today’s workforce and your opportunities.”

The professional incentive is clear. Yet it’s the personal element in learning that stirs Christine’s soul. Like when a busy mom gives herself permission to take a Personal Fitness Trainer class. Or when a wine enthusiast takes it upon himself to take a wine-making course, despite his friends’ taunts. The reason behind all of this—whether you want professional development or certification or mind blowing personal enrichment—is to help you explore more of your amazing potential. And to dare to dream.

It’s certainly inspired Christine, who’s dabbled in digital photography and soon, video production. But it’s her passion for food that’s lead to great things. A few culinary courses was all it took to skyrocket her kitchen confidence, which she now uses to improve the lives of others.

“What drives me to learn something new and better myself is my passion to better the lives of other people. For example, I use my newfound cooking skills to make meals for the Freedom House and the House of Hope. Two years ago, I decided to take my love for cooking and entertaining to host what I call Blessings Parties at my home. I choose a different non-profit organization to BLESS, and then invite friends asking them to bring a donation for that organization. We have wine and I cook for everyone!”

Christine also volunteers for ASPIRO and has helped coordinate their Fall Dinner Gala for the past six years. So we know she wasn’t just learning about meringue in that classroom. She learned to believe in her ability to make a difference in this world. And isn’t that what we all crave, deep down?

It comes down to this—it doesn’t matter where or how we learn, whether through NWTC or a community art class or a how-to video on YouTube. It just matters that you still desire to learn. That desire leads to a more thoughtful, inspired you—along with more thoughtful, inspired people around you. And that is a beautiful thing.

“Working in education is so rewarding because each day brings a new opportunity to see how one class could help change a person’s life, fulfill their dream or help them discover a new interest! I have been inspired, overwhelmed with joy, encouraged and humbled many ways by so many people throughout my career here at the college.”

From nbc26.com: “New Marine Training Center” – Marinette, WI – Teaching the trade. Monday, Marinette Marine and N.W.T.C. cut the ribbon on their new training facility. It’s designed specifically for the shipping industry, and leaders hope it will fill a shortage at the shipyards.

When Marinette Marine got the multi-million dollar defense contract, The shipbuilder knew it would have to deliver. And Monday, a new classroom, close to the shipyards, is designed to do just that.

In this brand-new classroom, students are getting on-the-job training.

“They’re gonna do electrical, pipe-fitters, shipfitters. It’s gonna be the gamut of every skill we need,” said Chuck Goddard, President and CEO of  Marinette Marine Corporation.

Lectures, and hands-on training. Leaders say the $ 2 million facility, is needed now.

“Responding to skill shortages that are specific to those companies. And as partners we can design programs, we can design training,” said Dr. H. Jeffrey Rafn, President of N.W.T.C.

And Monday, they dedicated the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center.

“There’s no question the technical colleges are going to be the solution to our workforce problem. And to see this kind of collaboration, is a very good best-practice for us,” said Paul Jadin, CEO Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.

It’s a long-time partnership. Both political parties working on many levels, to get it done.

“Our employers in shipbuilding before this major expansion had about 2,000 workers. With this major expansion, we’re talking, 3,000-3,500 just in Northeast Wisconsin,” said Rafn.

And for the City of Marinette,

“People are looking forward, ahead. There is a buzz. For people that don’t understand what’s happening here, this is just great,” said Robert Harbick, Marinette Mayor.

The sessions can accommodate about 35 students at any given time. The tech center has been open for about a month.

View video from nbc26.com


From ntc.edu: “Northcentral Technical College names 21st fastest growing community/technical colleges in nation” – Northcentral Technical College (NTC) was recognized as one of the fastest-growing community/technical colleges in the nation in a recent analysis of U.S. Department of Education data conducted by Community College Week magazine. NTC was listed No. 21 out of the nation’s top 50 “fastest growing” public two-year colleges.

“As the community’s college, Northcentral Technical College is committed to providing accessible, flexible and affordable higher education opportunities to learners throughout central Wisconsin,” said Lori Weyers, President, NTC. “To be recognized as one of the nation’s fastest growing two-year institutions is a tribute to the dedicated faculty and staff that work to ensure we are a viable first step, or next step, for our learners.”

The ratings were based on a review of the enrollment of more than 1,100 community colleges nationwide. NTC has seen a 48 percent growth in enrollment since 2005-06.

“When you pair this record breaking enrollment with the fact that 87 percent of the graduates of the class of 2010 were employed or continuing their education within six months of graduation and 84 percent were doing so in the state of Wisconsin, you can see why NTC is a vital component to creating a next generation workforce in Wisconsin,” said Weyers. “We couldn’t be more proud of the impact we have on the workforce development and higher education attainment of our region and state.”

From wbay.com: “Second Chance Program moves students from classroom to workplace” – Green Bay - A new program in Green Bay has students outside of the classroom this semester — but definitely still learning.

It could lead them to a new career, and also help companies that are desperately looking for skilled workers.

Wisconsin Plastics in Green Bay has a new person on staff. Cameron Specht is a junior at Southwest High School.

“This is my third week, and I’ve been working with everyone,” Cameron said.

“He can basically focus in on what he wants to focus in on. If he wants to focus in on design, he can focus in on design,” Dan Cortte of Wisconsin Plastics said.

For Carlos Castillo, working at EDL Packaging Engineers is exactly where he wants to be.

“I like to work in this type of thing with my hands, so you know, she thought it would be a really great opportunity for it, so I signed up for it and I was chosen.”

Cameron and Carlos are part of the program Second Chance Partners for Education, an alternative education program based out of Milwaukee that just started up this semester in Green Bay.

The program has nine high school students. They spend their morning in class, then they all head out to manufacturing jobs in the afternoon, giving them exposure to companies that say they need skilled workers.

“We go through a very rigorous for our student, are truly those students who are very bright, they just need an alternative way of learning,” Stephanie Boroski of Second Chance Partners for Education said.

Students say being able to come in and work in environments like these got them excited about learning again.

Now Carlos loves going to school. But earlier this year, he probably wouldn’t have been as excited.

“I didn’t know where I was going at all. I wasn’t thinking about a job or anything, I was just thinking about leaving,” Carlos admits.

“It’s an opportunity for students who are struggling in school to get caught back up, get their diploma, and have more of an opportunity to have a better career than what they could have had,” Cameron said.

Carlos says now he plans on going to technical college after graduation — something he’d never thought of before — and he’s hoping it will bring him back to work in a place like this one.

“I can actually see that this is going to take me places. And at school I couldn’t see anything. I didn’t know where I was going at all,” he said.

Cameron also says it fits perfectly with his future plans.

“My career, I want to be an engineer of some sort, like welding or something like that.”

And it fits with his educational goals.

“Me getting my diploma,” he said.

From fox11online.com: “Students in FDL go back to basics” —  FOND DU LAC – Students apart of the Culinary Arts Department at Moraine Park Technical College are going back to basics.  FOX 11′s Emily Deem stopped by the college in Fond du Lac to see what students are learning.

The school’s Culinary Arts Department is doing some pretty awesome things with hydroponics, aquaponics and gardening.

According to the college one of the instructors has turned what used to be the old meat-cutting area into a place where students can grow through sustainable learning.

The idea is for students to go back to basics.  Students are being taught where their food is coming from and how to use sustainable practices in their future careers.

Students are tending to several grow boxes with a variety of lettuces, sprouts, vegetables, fruits, herbs and edible flowers.

Thirty gold fish are keeping the aquaponics system moving, with hopes to start growing tilapia. Students started a garden this past summer, growing herbs, vegetables and edible flowers.

Students harvest most of the fresh produce to use in dishes served at the College’s Park Terrace Restaurant.

From postcrescent.com: “Fox West Cooking Show serves up sizzle and spice” – GREENVILLE — People searching for a way to spice up their meals should keep next Thursday evening open.

That’s when the third annual Chef Jeff’s Fox West Cooking Show will take place at Immanuel Lutheran School.

The popular event, which can accommodate about 400 guests, begins at 5 p.m. with vendor booths and food sampling. The show, conducted by Chef Jeff Igel, Fox Valley Technical College’s culinary arts director, and Mark Biesack, chef at Lawrence University in Appleton, begins at 7 p.m.

The cooking wizards will take the audience through a six-course meal menu, starting with an appetizer and concluding with dessert.

The event, a fundraiser for the school’s tuition assistance program, also features door prizes and cash prize drawings.

Igel and Biesack volunteer their time and talents for the show, adding wit and humor along the way to entertain the crowd.

But aside from humor, the Fox West Cooking Show aims to provide recipes and tips for any level of cook.

Tickets cost $15 and must be purchased in advance.

For more information, email chefjeffsfoxwestcookingshow@gmail.com.

From htrnews.com: “Veterans go to college for civilian career prep” – MANITOWOC — Andrew Madson, 25, is in his third semester at the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc with the goal of transferring to UW-Green Bay and earning his bachelor’s degree in social work.

Madson, a 2005 Lincoln High School graduate, is a U.S. Army veteran who was deployed to Iraq in 2007 for 11 months.

“I want to work for the Veterans Administration and help veterans the way they were there for me,” said Madson, who struggled with his own drug dependency issues.

Aimee Augustine, a U.S. Army veteran who serves as deputy in the Manitowoc County Veterans Service Office, told Madson about provisions of the Wisconsin GI Bill benefits including:

» A full waiver (remission) of tuition and fees for eligible veterans and their dependents for up to eight full-time semesters or 128 credits at any University of Wisconsin System or Wisconsin Technical College System institution for continuing education, or for study at the undergraduate or graduate level.

» The veteran must have been a Wisconsin resident at the time of entry into active duty. Character of service and active duty service requirements apply.

» The benefit recipient must reside in Wisconsin.

» For veterans, there is no post-service time limitation, as opposed to the federal Montgomery GI Bill’s 10-year post-discharge limitation.

» The veteran may attend full or part time.

‘Fabulous opportunity’

Brenda Augustine, 51, was a quality inspector at Burger Boat Co. for more than 10 years.

The Army veteran said she is attending Lakeshore Technical College in its quality assurance technician program, calling it a “fabulous opportunity.”

Augustine said with manufacturing so competitive, companies will increasingly need to find ways to reduce costs, become efficient through lean strategies and increase quality.

A member of the Marine Corps from 1976 to 1979, Jeff Van Ess is attending LTC in its manufacturing management program.

Van Ess was employed at Eggers Industries for 26 years but now is a full-time student.

A Kiel High School graduate and Air Force veteran, Jason Reimer, 38, said he is “pretty encouraged” that state Veterans Employee Services’ Jim Warner can help him find a job.

Reimer is a welder by trade who said he would go back to school if a job called for more extensive education.

Meanwhile, Jeremy Graff, 23, another Kiel graduate, is in his third semester at UW-Sheboygan after serving in the Marines. He intends to seek a mechanical engineering degree from UW-Platteville.

Retraining program

A new “Veterans Retraining Assistance Program” will offer 12 months of retraining assistance to up to 99,000 unemployed veterans between July 2012 and March 2014.

Veterans must:

» Be between the ages of 35 and 60

» Have an other than dishonorable discharge

» Not be eligible for any other VA education benefit program like the post-9/11 GI Bill, Montgomery GI Bill or Vocational Rehabilitation

» Not be in receipt of compensation by reason of unemployability

» Not be enrolled in a state or federal training program

» Training is to be offered by a community college or technical school and result in an associate degree or certificate

» Training is to prepare the veteran for a high-demand occupation

For more information, contact the Manitowoc County Veterans Service Office at (920) 683-4417.

From htrnews.com: “Finding work for Manitowoc-area veterans” – Wisconsin veterans looking for work have two high-profile supporters — President Barack Obama and Gov. Scott Walker.

“Our freedom endures because of the men and women in uniform who defend it,” Obama said in his January State of the Union as he outlined a new jobs program for veterans.

“It is unacceptable to think that any man or woman who has served our country would return home and not be able to find a job,” Walker said in his State of the State.

With about 15 percent of veterans unemployed, considerably higher than the citizenry-at-large, those who served in the military, irrespective of decade, can reach out for job-seeking help.

Jim Warner’s passion is to match veterans with job opportunities.

“When people hire a veteran, I think they will be very pleased and will want to hire more. Veterans have stick-to-it-iveness and are highly trainable with transferable skills,” said Warner, a U.S. Navy veteran who works for the state Office of Veterans Employment Services.

Warner primarily works in Green Bay but comes to the Manitowoc County Job Center on Thursdays to meet with veterans and also “speak with employers to gain their support in giving veterans an interview.”

He helps veterans who have just returned from the military — though many of them take advantage of education benefits and go to college — as well as those who have become displaced workers several or many years after wearing the uniform.

Like Tony Jones, who served in the U.S. Marines for four years and was discharged in 1998.

“Improvise, adapt and overcome” is the unofficial mantra of the Corps, and Jones said his military experience helped prepare him to serve Orion Energy Systems in production process control.

He’s been with Orion for about a year, with the company taking advantage of a “Work Opportunity Tax Credit” that was part of the federal Vow to Hire Heroes Act of 2011.

Scott Gilson, Orion’s vice president of human resources, said military experience is “one more plus” in a job applicant’s column, though, usually most important is having a particular skill set the company is seeking.

Still, succeeding in military life includes being flexible and open-minded about new strategies and approaches and those are traits Orion looks for in its 280 employees, including Jones and eight other veterans.

Kevin Crawford, Orion’s senior vice president of governmental affairs and corporate communications, lauds Walker’s focus on veterans.

Crawford said providing strong education and job benefits is a way to help retain Wisconsin veterans who have returned to the U.S. to resume their civilian lives.

Get back to work

Steve Ignera was one of about 40 city of Manitowoc workers whose jobs were eliminated at the end of 2011.

“I would like to return to the job market as soon a possible,” said Ignera, a Parks worker for 27 years. “If you’re off any longer than a year employers tend to wonder what’s wrong with this person.”

The Army veteran is appreciative to Warner for helping him write a resume and cover letter “to bring out the skills I have.”

Ignera also takes advantage of federal law mandating veterans to have access to Job Center postings on the Internet 24 hours ahead of nonveterans.

He plans to go to Fox Valley Technical College in spring for a three-week diesel truck driving school, to augment the commercial driver’s license he previously used driving trucks for the city.

“I enjoyed working outdoors and the city had real good benefits … it was all very hard to give up,” Ignera said. “Now, it’s like I’m starting over.”

“Steve is very enthusiastic and doesn’t want to ride unemployment for a year … he is motivated to go to work,” said Warner, who wants those he advises to “feel good about themselves.”

Warner said it is not just skilled labor openings that he tries to match with veterans. “It is also people who in their military careers have been professionals in administration or accounting or human resources,” he said.

Project management

Lisa Mrotek Miller and her husband, Barry Miller, both 41, are Army veterans on a mission to land post-military positions.

A Lincoln High School graduate, Lisa Miller retired in 2008 as a master sergeant after a 20-year career that included serving as a senior munitions logistics supervisor in Uzbekistan and Kuwait.

With her mother residing in Manitowoc, Miller has bachelor’s and master’s degrees and would like to go into property management or take advantage of her background in human resources and marketing.

The couple celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary Saturday and had an offer accepted on a Manitowoc house last week. They also have purchased a small storefront downtown on Quay Street they are renting out.

Last week also was significant for the Millers because Barry’s retirement papers were approved. His last day in uniform as an acting sergeant major will be Aug. 13.

But he said his departure date can probably be moved up should a new employer want to bring him onboard sooner.

“I’d like to get involved in project management … help a company whether it be with a labor dispute or, perhaps, a logistics flow issue,” he said.

Miller said private-sector employers should find value in the resiliency that is critical to successful military careers.

He said many military veterans also have faced tough life-or-death situations testing their ability to carry out critical tasks under pressure.

Miller said he is always grateful when citizens express their support to him as one who has defended America but said employers shouldn’t hire him only because of a tax credit.

Hire veterans because of their resilience, leadership flexibility and ability to get the job done, he said.

The Millers said they are excited to be new homeowners in Manitowoc with Barry citing an affinity for the downtown and Lisa expressing a fondness for running along Lake Michigan.

From myfoxwausau.com: “Economic study Wausau area” – The Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce released a new study on the area economy.

140 businesses responded to the questionnaire in early January. The survey took place after the announcement that the Brokaw paper mill and SNE in Mosinee would close. With that in mind, 71% of the respondents said they thought the economy was in rough shape. More than 80% thought it would be late 2012 or 2013 before the area saw a recovery.

Economist, Clare Zempel said of the findings, ” That was the most surprising result. All economic indicators are that things are getting better. I think they are being too pessimistic.”

Chamber President, Jeff Zriny, said businesses in the area are running lean these days an anticipating the economic turnaround. He says the key is to be ready for the up tick, otherwise businesses will be forced to lay catch up.

Zriny adds that businesses and North Central Technical College are working together to meet the needs of area companies for skilled workers.

View video from myfoxwausau.com

From thenorthwestern.com: “Obama to promote job training at community colleges” – WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama wants community colleges and businesses to work together to train 2 million workers in high-growth industries, and recently requested $8 billion to create a fund to encourage the effort.

Obama’s plan is called the “Community College to Career Fund,” the White House said. It would seek to train workers within areas such as health care, transportation and advanced manufacturing, and would be administered by the Education and Labor departments.

The proposed fund is part of a new budget Obama is sending to Congress. It aims to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade by restraining government spending and raising taxes on the wealthy. In an election year with a gridlocked Congress, nearly every aspect of the budget will face tough scrutiny.

A key component of the community college plan would institute “pay for performance” in job training, meaning there would be financial incentives to ensure that trainees find permanent jobs — particularly for programs that place individuals facing the greatest hurdles getting work. It also would promote training of entrepreneurs, provide grants for state and local government to recruit companies, and support paid internships for low-income community college students.

“These investments will give more community colleges the resources they need to become community career centers where people learn crucial skills that local businesses are looking for right now, ensuring that employers have the skilled workforce they need and workers are gaining industry-recognized credentials to build strong careers,” the White House said in a statement.

Chris Matheny, vice president-instruction at Grand Chute-based Fox Valley Technical College, said the Obama funding plan for worker training in high growth areas such as health care, transportation and manufacturing fits “well within the mission and scope and expertise of the technical colleges.”

Matheny said FVTC will help bridge both a skill gap — the need for workers with technical skills in many areas — and a looming experience gap — with baby boomers soon leaving various industries.

Part of the comprehensive FVTC building plan that goes to voters in an April 3 referendum includes an $11.9 million health simulation and technology center to help meet the demand for registered nurses as well as training for existing health care workers. The referendum also sets aside $6.2 million for the expansion of the J.J. Keller Transportation Center to address a skilled worker shortage in the transportation industry, especially for truck drivers and diesel mechanics.

“Anything that makes an investment in those two things — training entry-level technicians and providing for the continuing education and training of our workforce — are really critical to helping Wisconsin’s economy and the nation’s economy as a whole,” Matheny said.

The number of FVTC students taking classes at either the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center or the Riverside campus in Oshkosh has increased 25 percent since 2007 because of an increased demand in training in metal fabrication and welding by local manufacturers.

“Individuals in those industries also need engineering skills, engineering technologist and mechanical design skills,” Matheny said. “We’re really excited about the continued opportunity to provide those to our local industry.”

Even as the United States struggles to emerge from the economic downturn, there are high-tech industries with a shortage of workers. And it is anticipated there will be 2 million job openings in manufacturing nationally through 2018, mostly due to baby boomer retirement, according to the Center on Education and the Workforce at Georgetown University.

The catch is that these types of jobs frequently require the ability to operate complicated machinery and follow detailed instructions, as well as some expertise in subjects like math and statistics.

As costs at four-year colleges have soared, enrollments at community colleges have increased by 25 percent during the last decade and now top more than 6 million students, according to the American Institutes for Research.

People with a one-year certificate or two-year degree in certain career fields can earn higher salaries than those with a traditional college degree, said Anthony Carnevale, director of the center at Georgetown University.

Mark Schneider, the former U.S. commissioner of education statistics who now serves as vice president at the American Institutes for Research, said there’s no doubt that high-tech companies need skilled workers. But he said there are challenges with leaning heavily on community colleges.

Many students enter community colleges lacking math skills. The sophisticated equipment needed for training is expensive, and there’s little known about the effectiveness of individual community colleges programs across the country, he said.

“We need measures of how well they are training their students, how well their students are being placed in the job market, and … are they making money?” Schneider said. “We need to track that really, really carefully. And, we need to make all that information available to students before they sign on … and before taxpayers subsidize all of this.”

From fox6now.com: “Master Lock workers energized by presidential visit” – MILWAUKEE — President Obama’s visit to Master Lock in Milwaukee was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many of the workers at the company.

Hundreds of Master Lock workers got the chance to see and hear the president in person Wednesday. The company was singled out as setting an example for the country by putting people back to work here in America, “insourcing” jobs to Milwaukee from China.

“We’re going to create more success stories like Master Lock, and we will remind everyone in the world why the United States is the greatest nation on earth,” Obama said Wednesday.

President Obama’s words seemed to energize the workers at the lock-making plant. It was also music to the ears of interim MATC Dean Dorothy Walker.

“With a bill that hopefully will pass that you’ll be able to use those dollars to train people and get  them ready for the jobs at Master Lock and other companies creating manufacturing,” Walker said.

One Master Lock employee said having the government backing the company up is important. “We have a great union here, and we work really well with the company, and the sky’s the limit as long as we have the backing from the government,” Master Lock worker Sarah Trapp said.

The man who introduced the president was DiAndre Jackson. He lives near Master Lock. He told his co-workers he’s excited his company is bringing jobs back to central city neighborhoods. “Working side-by-side with men and women who no longer come to work to build locks, but who come to work to change the world,” Jackson said.

View video from fox6now.com

From ashlandcurrent.com: “Tech College Grads Making Financial Gains” —  Growth in earnings by Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College graduates has increased 50 percent since their graduation from the school in 2006, according to a study recently completed by the college.

The WITC Five-Year Longitudinal Follow-Up Study shows that the average yearly salary for graduates increased from nearly $29,000 to more than $43,000 for the study period.

“WITC is incredibly proud of its Five-Year Longitudinal Follow-Up Study results,” WITC President Bob Meyer said. “With these extremely positive career placement results, it is not surprising that our graduates also confidently state that their WITC training is both valuable and vital to their career development.”

In the survey, 89 percent agreed their technical college education played an important role at the start of their career and 79 percent said their training was very important or important in their career advancement. Fifty-six percent surveyed have received at least one job promotion since graduating from WITC. Also, 73 percent are employed in Wisconsin with 57 percent working in WITC’s 11-county district.

To align education with business and industry, technical colleges use advisory committees made up of business and industry representatives to provide input on their most critical employment needs. The Longitudinal Study evaluates the success of employees and their respective education.

“The results of this study are helpful to future and current students in assisting them in making career choices; helping instructors determine the effectiveness of their teaching and administration in discovering the need for possible revisions in various program curricula,” WITC Research and Planning Coordinator Jennifer Kunselman said. “The results validate that a technical college education, specifically from WITC, is worth the investment in time and expense because their education not only assists them in getting a job, but in advancing in their careers for many years post-graduation.”

The WITC Longitudinal Follow-Up Study, which looks at changes in employment five years after graduation, also found that 93 percent of its graduates are employed and that 85 percent are employed in a career that is related to their WITC training.

A total of 573 of 1,608 graduates completed the survey for a 36 percent response rate. For more information, visit WITC’s Five-Year Longitudinal Follow-Up Study Summary.

From volumeone.org: “Solar Tree grows power for CVTC” – A few weeks ago, Chippewa Valley Technical College got a bit more green by planting a black, metallic tree.

Over the last year, the college worked with local renewable energy systems installer Next Step Energy to create their first “solar tree,” which provides up to 180w of energy on a sunny day. It helps to power the greenhouse shown above.

The coolest part of this, though — beyond the fact that it’s also a sculpture resembling a tree — is that the energy coming in is trackable via a sweet website. Here you can see the current production, charts of the last week or month or year, and even a conversion to how many lightbulbs have been powered.

The tree was designed by Next Step Energy’s Joe Mauer (an Eau Claire-based artist) who explains, “The project started with CVTC wanting to have a solar system that wasn’t just a solar array. It’s sculptural and it’s an educational array.”

The tree is actually engineered to hold up to three solar panels, meaning production could go up to 540w in the future. Mauer says Next Step “hopes for a ‘forest’ of these in some form, though we don’t have a client for that at the moment.”

It was crafted by Minneapolis metalsmith Chris Rand.

View video “Around the Solar Tree”

From stevenspointjournal.com: “NTC adds flexible Virtual College” – Northcentral Technical College launched an innovative virtual college program this week that offers a maximum of flexibility for its students.

The new NTC Virtual College allows students to take nine general education classes that count toward a general studies certificate and can be applied to an associate degree. The credits earned also can be applied to four-year colleges that have credit reciprocity agreements with NTC, including University of Wisconsin universities.

NTC has offered online courses for several years, but the Virtual College has some substantial differences, said Susan Ryman, NTC Virtual College coordinator and student adviser.

Students can begin Virtual College courses whenever they choose, and they set their own learning schedules, Ryman said. “The program is ideal for people who wish to take classes but work full time, have a busy home life or are not able to come to campus,” she said.

Regular NTC online courses follow the regular NTC schedule, with the same assignments and deadlines as their classroom equivalents.

The Virtual College is ideal for David Zoromski, 48, of the town of Halsey. He’s the command chief master sergeant for the 115th Fighter Wing for the Wisconsin Air National Guard, based in Madison. That means he splits much of his time between his home and Madison, and often travels across the country.

“I’m unable to really take a traditional class,” Zoromski said.

The freedom offered by NTC Virtual College fits the life of Ashley Eisenberg, 22, of Reedsburg, as well. Eisenberg, who is Ryman’s niece, likes the online college because it allows her to work full time as an administrative assistant while getting some general education credits.

“I do think it’s really going to work out for me,” Eisenberg said. “I really like that it’s so self-paced.”

Zoromski said he hopes to finish an associate degree that he started through the Community College of the Air Force. In that program, the Air Force offers higher level courses, but general education classes need to be taken at an outside school.

He’s completing the degree for “personal satisfaction,” he said, but also to provide an example to the 1,000 airmen he leads.

“I just want them to see that you’re never too old to go back to school,” Zoromski said. He said even enlisted men will need to further their educations — earning at least associate degrees — to move up in Air Force ranks in the near future.

There are 12 students enrolled in the Virtual College right now, Ryman said, but she believes it’ll grow fast. She said she has been receiving five or six calls a day from people interested in the program.

This summer, classes for continuing education will be added to the offerings, and in the fall, business management and supervisory management associate degree programs will be offered. More will be added later.

Online learning will become more and more common, Ryman predicted.

“This is how people are learning,” Ryman said “This is how people are living their lives.”

From wiscnet.net: “Chippewa Valley Technical College Works with WiscNet to Expand the NanoRite Innovation Center” – Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) recently announced it is broadening the scope of the NanoRite Innovation Center.  NanoRite will continue to be an incubation center for start-up companies in Western Wisconsin within the nanotechnology sector, but because of growth of bio, industrial, and manufacturing technology in the area, CVTC wants to also provide these type of start-up companies a facility to cultivate their ideas.

CVTC will be adding an on-site data center, allowing NanoRite to expand the bandwidth to the tenants through the Chippewa Valley Inter Networking Consortium (CINC). This data center will also serve as a disaster recovery site for WiscNet, be a data center location for the University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire and allow CVTC to move its data center, which is now located at on off-site location.

Among WiscNet’s strategic priorities is to grow our services beyond the network.  Our members, like the Chippewa Valley Technical College, trust WiscNet and its members to deliver and sustain a robust, cost-effective network.  By developing this trust, we intend to grow new services that will make full use of our advanced ubiquitous network infrastructure.

The NanoRite Center at the Chippewa Valley Technical College is a prime example of how WiscNet works with and for its members.  Many of our members have robust, well-developed data centers that their business officers see only as cost centers.  Other members (K12′s, libraries, municipalities) need data center services like co-location and virtual hosting.  As a trusted intermediary, we can provide services to connect both people and strategies, satisfying the need for offsite data center services while providing a revenue stream to our members with data centers.

From waukesha.patch.com: “WCTC Students Participate in Showcase at State Capitol” – Twenty Waukesha County Technical College students participated in “A Celebration of Student Engagement” on Jan. 31 at the State Capitol in Madison. The showcase focuses on Wisconsin Technical College students from around the state and highlights the incredible work they do, both in and out of the classroom.

Five WCTC students showcased their work in the Co-op/Internship program, Instructional Assistant Associate Degree program and the Diversity Club at WCTC. The students who presented are: Jon Rzeznik, Natalie Cruz, Katherine Martin, Dasha Melnikova and King Ibraheem Akanqi.

“I feel that this opportunity helped show the public-at-large and more importantly, our state legislators, the important roles the students in the Instructional Assistant program are playing in their community,” said Natalie Cruz, who showcased a sampling of service-learning projects, including her work preparing and presenting science activities to elementary and middle school students involved in the Waukesha Salvation Army after-school Program.

“I enjoyed highlighting the different projects, educating others on the meaningful ways that the students are serving the children in their communities, and showing the pride that Instructional Assistant students take within the field of education,” Cruz said.

Joan Hader, associate dean of Family and Consumer Services, said the showcase demonstrates how WCTC students make “making a difference” a priority in their educational journey.

“The unique blend of outreach and service work combined with traditional classroom learning provides students the opportunity to give back to their communities while developing skills around advocacy and social responsibility, all while learning industry specific job skills,” Hader said.  “The experience, which is powerful for the student and directly benefits the community, also molds a better-rounded graduate.”

The showcase kicked off Career and Technical Education Month (CTE) Month in Wisconsin, which runs through February. The Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and the Wisconsin Technical College System are using CTE Month to highlight the wide range of exciting opportunities available to youth in the state who wish to explore their career options, and the benefit of those programs to Wisconsin industry and communities.

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