May 9, 2013
From lacrossetribune.com: “State officials pitch apprenticeship program” – What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question asked of every child, and the answers aren’t encouraging for manufacturers.
“Wisconsin is facing a skilled workers gap,” said Jonathan Barry, deputy secretary of the state Department of Workforce Development. “We constantly run into business owners that are having trouble filling skilled positions.”
Barry visited Trane’s Engineering Technology Center in La Crosse on Wednesday to promote the state’s apprenticeship program, a state-school-employer partnership that aims to increase the pool of skilled workers.
“Employers want to hire people who have experience,” Western Technical College President Lee Rasch said, which leaves applicants wondering, “If you don’t have experience, how do you get experience?”
The apprenticeship program allows employers to target promising candidates and offer their own on-the-job training combined with classroom study. Workers get trained while earning wages; the average apprentice made $161,000 during their tenure, which lasts between two and six years.
Here’s how the program works:
The DWD lays out core training and job experience standards for several industries and then customizes the process for each employer. Employees spend about 80 percent of their time on the job and 20 percent in theoretical classroom training, usually provided by the Wisconsin Technical College System.
But sometimes there’s just not interest.
“There’s a mantra that manufacturing is dumb, dirty,” Barry said. “It’s simply not the case. It’s not just bending metal all the time.”
Begun in 1911, the program is nothing new in Wisconsin, but it’s taking on new urgency as more companies lament a skilled worker shortage.
Enrollment dipped by about a third, down to about 10,000, in the past decade, a slide that mirrored general economic trends.
A Georgetown University study found that the skills gap will leave almost a million jobs vacant, most of which already exist and would need refilling after retirements.
A recent La Crosse School District survey cited by Rasch found that only 2 percent of students planned to pursue manufacturing careers.
“Everyone has a dream of going to college,” the district’s Career and Technical Education Coordinator Annette O’Hern said. “And when you have a dream of going to college you don’t think about manufacturing.”
Much of Wednesday’s event focused on finding ways to introduce manufacturing to students in middle school and high school.
“I really believe that’s where it’s at,” Trane’s La Crosse plant manager Brad Tacheny said.
Barry emphasized that the program isn’t trying to squelch four-year colleges but offer a realistic, necessary alternative to the “college paradigm.”
“We need to expose young people to the full range of their choices as early as possible,” he said.
The La Crosse School District is hoping to ramp up that exposure. They plan to introduce an Engineering Academy — also covering manufacturing and architecture — next year. The academy will partner with Trane to provide real-life context and expose kids to manufacturing plants.
The district already offers classes in welding and manufacturing, but they’re not always popular.
“We can’t always get a lot of students interested,” O’Hern said. “We’d like that number to be bigger.”
Parents worry about job security and have encouraged children to pursue white-collar studies and a traditional four-year education.
Karen Morgan, director of the Bureau of Apprentice Standards, called on businesses to take initiative.
“We don’t have enough employers that are actually using the apprenticeship programs to train,” she said.
Barry said schools and state programs shouldn’t be the only ones reaching out to students.
“We in the business community need to be doing some of that,” he said.
The apprenticeship program isn’t just for manufacturing. It offers three trade sectors — construction, industrial/manufacturing, and service, which cover careers from plumbing to cosmetology.
The continuing education helps reinforce that such careers have advancement options, Morgan said.
“It’s only the beginning of their career,” she said. “It’s not a dead end.”
April 11, 2013
From waow.com: “Secretary of Workforce Development calls for more state businesses to partner with schools” – WAUSAU - Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson traveled to Wausau’s North Central Technical College. Newson called on more state businesses to get involved in apprenticeship programs to bridge a skills gap and meet employers needs.
Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to have an apprenticeship program. It dates back to 1911. As the business climate has changed, Newson says business and schools must partner to meet changing workforce needs.
He says technical schools provide the training programs business leaders need and employers can provide high paying jobs that can move workers into the middle class.
February 5, 2013
From biztimes.com: “Apprentices begin new manufacturing program” – Students at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Oak Creek begin the first apprenticeships today in the new Industrial Manufacturing Technician program.
There are seven students enrolled in the course from a range of area manufacturing companies. They will receive intensive instruction in the apprenticeship, which was added to help train workers for jobs with area manufacturers who need industrial manufacturing technicians.
It was developed by the DWD’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and MATC, and is partially funded by a federal Sectors Alliance for the Green Economy grant.
February 4, 2013
From wiscnews.com: “PHS gets it in gear: Automotive training program one of 14 in state honored” – The automotive training program at Portage High School has a reason to honk its horn. It is one of 14 high school programs in the state to earn recognition from the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation.
“I was a little nervous because it’s a certification I put a lot of time into, getting organized, knowing what they were looking for,” said Troy Kumm, automotive technology instructor at PHS.
In November, the program underwent rigorous evaluation from a NATEF representative who oversaw every aspect of the class from curriculum to equipment. Three ASE master-certified technicians from Hill Automotive, Trecek Automotive and Blystone Towing assisted in the evaluation.
“They were here for a whole day watching me teach, interact with students, checked over my curriculum, equipment and facilities as well,” Kumm said.
There are about 100 students in the program, he said, and the national accreditation needs to be renewed every five years.
Upon completion of the evaluation, NATEF recommended that Portage High School be accredited by ASE. It is a national nonprofit organization that tests and certifies repair technicians, in addition to accrediting automotive training programs, according to the organization.
In December, Kumm received word and a plaque that placed PHS in line with the high industry standards. The program also received a Portage School Board commendation for its accreditation in brakes, electrical/electronic systems, engine performance, suspension and steering.
Some of the students are working toward a career in the field and several of them apprentice and work in area automotive businesses, Kumm said.
Through an articulation agreement with Madison Area Technical College, students can be exempt from taking certain courses if they’ve met certain graduating criteria from the program. Further, PHS instructors are seeking dual credit opportunities through Madison College, which would get students ahead of the curriculum and save some money on classes.
Overall, the national accreditation gives students better standing when they enter the work force or Madison College, Kumm said. Five to 10 graduates of the PHS program go to the college for an automotive speciality, he said.
Because of the certification met by the program, Kumm said, he’s able to get donated up-to-date cars for students to work on.
For more information about the program or to donate equipment, contact Kumm at 742-8545.
January 24, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “Second Chance Partners launch advanced manufacturing pilot program” – Second Chance Partners for Education on Tuesday launched a new advanced manufacturing certificate pilot program in partnership with the Kettle Moraine School District, Waukesha County Technical College, General Electric Co.’s Waukesha gas engines business and Generac Power Systems Inc.
The program is designed to provide high school students who have an interest in technical careers with the ability to earn hands-on work experience and credits at post-secondary schools.
“This pilot exposes students to career pathways inherent in manufacturing, including interests such as welding, fabrication and manufacturing processes to advanced degree fields such as mechanical and electrical engineering,” said Pat Deklotz, Kettle Moraine School District superintendent.
The pilot program will initially serve seven juniors and five seniors from the Kettle Moraine School District. It will be housed at Generac’s facility in Eagle and GE’s Waukesha gas engines facility.
Classroom work will focus on communications, math, applied sciences, social sciences and technical coursework.
Students will also participate in the Youth Apprenticeship Program, where they work four hours a day for the partner companies. They will earn an hourly wage and have the opportunity for raises that can be banked for use as a future college scholarship.
At the end of the program, students will have a portfolio of applied learning experiences and transcripted credits issued by Waukesha County Technical College that count toward an associate’s degree and are stackable and transferable to other Wisconsin technical colleges.
Second Chance Partners for Education, founded in 2000, has primarily focused on serving academically disengaged students with mechanical aptitude and an interest in manufacturing. This pilot program is open to any student with an interest in a technical career related to manufacturing, said Christopher Kent, marketing communications coordinator.
Other differences with the pilot include a more traditional semester model, rather than the 21 consecutive months in current Second Chance programs, Kent said.
Kent said the pilot is an extension of what the organization currently does.
“This pilot allows us to explore ways that we can leverage our model to help more students and be a greater asset for the industry and regions we serve,” said Second Chance Partners for Education president Stephanie Borowski.
December 10, 2012
From htrnews.com: “Getting a jump on college” – MISHICOT — When Gabriella Cisneros, a junior at Mishicot High School, found out she could earn college credit in the pre-calculus class she already was taking at the high school, she decided to pay the reduced tuition and take advantage of that opportunity.
“It’s a lot cheaper than if I waited until college,” said Cisneros, who is earning three college credits for $300.
“You’re almost killing two birds with one stone ’cause you get college and high school credit for it,” said Quenten Haack, also a junior in the pre-calculus class.
They are among numerous students earning college credits as part of a dual enrollment program in place at Mishicot High School.
Dual enrollment is different than other programs that allow students to earn college credit in high school, such as Youth Options and Youth Apprenticeship. With Youth Options, students apply to the school board to have the district pay for a college class that is not available at the high school, and Youth Apprenticeship involves coursework at a technical college and work experience at a participating business.
The dual enrollment program offers the opportunity to earn college credit by taking high school classes – at the high school, taught by high school teachers. It differs from the traditional Advanced Placement program in that students taking AP high school classes have to achieve a designated score on the AP exam in that subject in order to receive college credit. The rest of the work they do in the class doesn’t count for college purposes, and in fact, students can take the exam without even taking the class.
While Mishicot High School has offered a couple of dual enrollment courses through Silver Lake College for many years, the program has expanded dramatically in recent years. The number of dual enrollment classes available at Mishicot High School has increased from four classes that could be taken for a total of 12 college credits in 2010-11 to 10 classes for 33 credits this year, according to Marci Waldron-Kuhn, academic adviser and psychology teacher. Another three credits will be added for 2013-14.
Students who enroll in the classes can take them just for high school credit but most opt to pay tuition and earn college credit as well. They pay around $400 or less for each three-credit course, as opposed to about $1,000 if they took it at college, she said.
Mishicot has agreements with four four-year colleges. The school is offering Advanced Chemistry and Honors English through an agreement with Silver Lake College; business management and AP Psychology through UW-Green Bay; pre-calculus and AP Calculus through Lakeland College; and Spanish and sociology through UW-Oshkosh. The credits transfer to other colleges, but whether they transfer and how they transfer – in that subject or just as an elective – varies among the institutions so students are advised to check with the school they’re planning to attend.
Mishicot High School also has arrangements with Lakeshore Technical College whereby students can earn LTC credits without paying tuition. Two classes – marketing and medical terminology – are available at MHS as transcripted courses. Students who earn at least a C in the class receive LTC credits, and the course and grade are recorded on a transcript at LTC. The credits can be transferred to other technical colleges and four-year universities that choose to accept them.
Advanced Standing courses allow students who earn at least a B to avoid taking the same class at LTC, but the classes aren’t recorded on an official LTC transcript. Other technical colleges may accept the classes, but four-year colleges do not. Mishicot offers 11 Advanced Standing classes through LTC.
Glimpse of college
Senior Shelby DeRoche is paying $700 to earn six credits through Silver Lake College for Honors English. She’s planning to attend Madison Area Technical College so she’s not saving as much as students going to a four-year school, but “it’s easier just to get it done right away,” she said.
Her classmate, senior Dalton Derenne, said he would have to pay $1,800 to get the same six credits at UW-Whitewater. And there’s a benefit beyond the cost savings, according to Derenne.
“They try and prepare you the best they can for college,” he said, referring to the high school, “and offering these college courses really gives you a perspective of what it’s going to be like.”
“It gives the kids a glance at the curriculum that they will see in college so it prepares them for that,” said Honors English teacher Jessica Brossard.
The amount of content differs slightly from the equivalent class at Silver Lake College because of time constraints with Mishicot’s block schedule, but “the skills are essentially the same,” she said. “The curriculum keeps changing to keep up with Silver Lake.”
The students “definitely take it more seriously” because they know they need to get at least a C in order to earn college credit, Brossard said. “And they know that it’s the same work that’s being done in college so they know it’s going to be much more rigorous, so they go into it with that mindset and that prepares them then to be successful.”
And there’s another advantage: “I’m in communication with the colleges so I know what my students need,” Brossard said.
Each post-secondary institution has its own criteria for approving teachers to instruct dual enrollment classes, according to Waldron-Kuhn. For instance, UW-Green Bay requires all teachers to have a master’s degree in the subject they’re teaching or in a related field.
Preparing for college
About half of the dual enrollment classes are taught in a blended format, meaning they include an online component along with traditional instruction, Waldron-Kuhn said. When students get to college, they’re going to have online assignments, such as class discussions on message boards.
“We want to expose our kids to that before they get to the university level,” she said.
Expanding the opportunities for earning college credit while in high school is one piece of the puzzle when it comes to Mishicot’s efforts to prepare students for life beyond high school, according to Waldron-Kuhn. Other initiatives in recent years are group advisement sessions, requiring students to complete a career portfolio to be used when applying for college or jobs, and an increase in credits needed for graduation.
December 3, 2012
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Student learns multiple job skills in YA program” – More than 60 Merrill High School juniors and seniors are currently working in the community as youth apprentices in a variety of program areas, including agriculture, finance, health, hospitality, lodging and tourism, information technology, manufacturing, and transportation, distribution and logistics.
One of those students, Allison Sabatke, agreed to share her thoughts about her YA experience for this article. Ali, a senior at Merrill High School, is the daughter of Mark and Becky Sabatke. She has been working at Allied Health Silverman Chiropractic in Merrill since June 2011.
“Joining the youth apprenticeship program was one of the best decisions I made in high school. I actually got the job my junior year before I learned about the program, but going through the apprenticeship program I get credits and an awesome work experience. I work at Allied Health Silverman Chiropractic here in Merrill. Besides the fact that I do get out of school early, get paid for my time at work, and get credits at school, I’ve learned so much at the office.
“First of all, I used to be a very shy person, and working at the chiropractor sort of brought me out of my shell because I had to answer the phones, and I had to interact with the patients who came into the office. I’ve learned how to manage my time as well because it’s very important to keep Dr. Silverman on his schedule and to keep the patients happy, too. Multi-tasking is also another big thing at work. There’s always something to be doing, whether it’s filing, scheduling, preparing for the next day, answering phones, or even cleaning: It all has to be done. My multi-tasking skills have, without doubt, improved since I’ve been working at Silverman’s.
“My parents love the fact that I joined the youth apprenticeship program. They think it’s a great opportunity and that the program teaches great responsibility to the students who are in it. My mom thinks that the program is as awesome as do I. I would definitely recommend this program to other students. It’s more than just having a job; it teaches and helps improve students’ everyday skills such as priorities and time management.
“After graduation, which is creeping up on me, I want to go to Northcentral Technical College in the radiography associates degree program offered there. There are just so many opportunities in this field that would be really cool to learn about. X-rays can show so much; I even get to see them at work every now and again.”
If you are interested in learning more about the Youth Apprenticeship program, contact Marla Konkol at Merrill High School at 715-536-4594, ext. 18037, or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
November 15, 2012
From biztimes.com: “Teachable fit: Generation Y” — By Aleta Norris of Impact Consulting Group – Jeff Karlson, a supervisor at Allis-Roller in Franklin, had much to share about his two-and-a-half-year timeframe with the company when we spoke recently. A member of Generation Y, Jeff is an exciting representation of what we see in so many organizations – members of the emerging workforce who are on fire for what they do.
As I talked with Jeff about his role – overseeing a team of employees in a newly-added location for the company – he was clearly excited about what he is doing. Contributing to his excitement? He has been selected as the candidate from his organization to begin an 18-month manufacturing apprenticeship program at MATC in January.
As a part of this program, Jeff will attend a weekly one-day class at MATC (for one year) and then receive significant guidance and mentorship back at his work environment. The program, designed through a collaborative effort involving educators and industry leaders (and provided through a partnership of the state Department of Workforce Development and MATC), is designed to last 18 months and provides a framework for participating companies to support the process.
“We need more interest from companies in our business community to support programs like this one,” said Dave Dull, president of Allis-Roller. Both Dave and Julie Zaja, manufacturing manager at Allis-Roller, spoke enthusiastically about their commitment to doing their part to help close the skills gap. Along with their support of MATCs new Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program, they have been involved in and exploring additional avenues to recruit young machinists and welders, then investing in their development and success.
“We are fully aware that young workers today are looking for an advancement pathway,” said Julie Zaja. “They are interested in variety and change. We all need workers, and we’ve decided we’re better off looking for the type of person we want … then grooming them and supporting them. We need an education component right in the workplace.”
Julie went on to share that one of the things that has supported Jeff’s success, as well as the success of other employees at Allis-Roller, is the commitment of their key supervisors.
“Jeff’s supervisor gets along really well with people and wants to help them,” she said.
This is critical. I’ve said this before – employees join companies and leave bosses. Part of Jeff’s success is the availability of his leadership.
“One of my biggest challenges coming into the company was that I knew nothing about steel or welding,” Karlson said. “I just kept going to the proper people who could answer my questions. My supervisors spent a lot of time with me to train me.”
Before I continue, let me reiterate, as I have before, that while I am a fierce advocate of Generation Y, I am not advocating that organizations have the sole responsibility of catering to the preferences of the Gen Y workforce, the answer will lie in the middle.
So, what IS the compromise? The leaders of Allis-Roller have sent a clear message to Jeff Karlson: “You make a difference.” That is, without question, contributing to his passion for what he does and his productivity.
According to Julie, however, he brought a bunch to the table.
“Jeff is quality minded, conscientious, gives suggestions, is leadership minded and is responding well to the added responsibility we’ve given him,” she said.
Organizations today, more and more, are beginning to build their models and approaches around their need to attract and, more importantly, retain talent. As Julie mentioned, Allis-Roller has tried to be in tune with what young people are looking for. Along these same lines, I had an opportunity to talk with Kathleen Hohl, director of communications and events at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC).
Reinforcing the same type of interest in understanding the emerging workforce, Kathleen said, “As we try to recruit emerging workers to our manufacturing apprenticeship program, we know there has to be some kind of cool factor. We’re focused on how we can make manufacturing look cool, because young people, in particular, are swept up by what’s new and viral. We’re also focusing on renewable and sustainable, because we see young people focusing on Earth-friendly habits. We know we have to tap into where they are if we want to capture their attention.”
Yes, to a large degree today, the individual rules. It’s great to see organizations stepping back to explore their part in the equation. It inspires the Jeff Karlsons of the world to step forward and do theirs.
October 24, 2012
From wxow.com: “Western to receive grant money for plumbing program” – Western Technical College is receiving $11,800 for its plumbing training program.
The money comes from a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development grant.
The program provides funds to apprenticeship training for “green” occupations and building alternative energy trade skills.
Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson announced more than $150,000 in grants to fund programs for five technical colleges and three labor organizations.
“The funding is the latest example of our continuing efforts to align workforce training opportunities and bring about good jobs for Wisconsin residents,” said Secretary Newson. “Under Governor Scott Walker, DWD is developing a number of mechanisms that will enable private-sector employers to access the training resources that they need to hire skilled and trained workers.”
The grants were awarded as a part of a $6 million Sector Alliance for the Green Economy grant DWD previously received from the U.S. Department of Labor to support training programs in “green” energy occupations. With the funding, the technical colleges and on-the-job training providers can offer courses that supplement traditional apprenticeship instruction, providing more opportunities for training in cutting-edge technologies.
September 4, 2012
From matc.edu: “MATC and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Introduce Industrial Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship” – OAK CREEK – Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) introduced a new entry-level Industrial Manufacturing Technician (IMT) Apprenticeship to help address the skills gap in Wisconsin’s vital manufacturing sector today.
“Manufacturing is leading Wisconsin’s economic recovery, adding more than 12,000 jobs in the past year,” said Lisa Boyd, Administrator of the DWD Division of Employment and Training. “The new apprenticeship training program will help this sector expand further by providing manufacturers the skilled workers they need. Nowhere is the need more critical than in the Milwaukee area, long considered the machine shop of the world. IMT Apprenticeship training offers a new pathway to family-supporting jobs with Milwaukee area manufacturers.”
Administrator Boyd said the program provides entry-level workers an overview of manufacturing, from operating equipment to participating in continuous improvement and understanding industry trends. As entry-level workers, the IMT apprentices begin a career pathway to other industrial skilled trades, such as Machinist and Industrial Electrician. The average annual wage in manufacturing is more than $51,000 compared to approximately $40,600 for all occupations.
The IMT Apprenticeship is the first developed in partnership with MATC and the fifth under the federal Sector Alliance for the Green Economy (SAGE) grant. WRTP/BIG STEP also was involved in developing the comprehensive apprenticeship program to meet the production worker needs of all manufacturers, but metal and plastic manufacturers and food processors in particular. It follows a hybrid model in which apprentices are assessed on-the-job using a combination of time and competencies. The program is structured for 18 months, or 3,000 hours, including 2,736 hours on-the-job learning and 264 hours of related instruction.
“Milwaukee Area Technical College is looking forward to offering the new Industrial Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship,” said Nick Triscari, Apprenticeship Coordinator for MATC. “This eighteen month apprenticeship provides entry level manufacturing skills using nationally recognized credentials in the related classroom instruction. We believe this training will ease the skills gap reported by many employers in the industrial and manufacturing sectors.”
The IMT program is the fifth of six new apprenticeship programs to be developed through the $6 million SAGE project grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. SAGE’s purpose is to employ short and long-term strategies critical to the greening of Wisconsin’s workforce by forming partnerships with businesses, educators and other stakeholders to identify and address labor force needs specific to “green” or clean energy jobs in construction, manufacturing and utility industries.
August 28, 2012
From bizjournals.com: “MATC, DWD announce manufacturing apprenticeship to address skills gap” – The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and Milwaukee Area Technical College on Monday announced a new entry-level Industrial Manufacturing Technician Apprenticeship to help address the skills gap many Wisconsin manufacturers say they’re facing.
The program gives entry-level workers an overview of manufacturing, from operating equipment to understanding industry trends. The 18-month program follows a hybrid model of on-the-job learning and related instruction, according to a press release.
The program is expected to open up a career pathway to other industrial skilled trades for the entry-level workers. The average annual wage in manufacturing is more than $51,000, compared with approximately $40,600 for all jobs, DWD said.
The apprenticeship is the first developed in partnership with MATC and the fifth of six programs under the $6 million Sector Alliance for the Green Economy grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. The Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/BIG STEP helped develop the program, designed to meet manufacturers’ production worker needs, particularly metal and plastic manufacturers, and food processors.
“Manufacturing is leading Wisconsin’s economic recovery, adding more than 12,000 jobs in the past year,” said Lisa Boyd, administrator of the DWD division of employment and training, in a written statement. “The new apprenticeship training program will help this sector expand further by providing manufacturers the skilled workers they need.”
Nick Triscari, MATC apprenticeship coordinator, said school officials are looking forward to offering the new apprenticeship.
“We believe this training will ease the skills gap reported by many employers in the industrial and manufacturing sectors,” Triscari said.
June 4, 2012
From htrnews.com: “LTC honors apprentices” – CLEVELAND — Thirty-four apprentices were honored recently at Lakeshore Technical College’s annual Apprenticeship Completion Banquet held at Millhome Supper Club in Kiel.
The banquet recognized the completion of the paid-related classroom instruction for individuals in LTC’s apprenticeship programs. In those programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC’s registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.
New to the LTC apprenticeship program this year, the first completers of the Child Care Services Apprenticeship were honored. Tiffany Tyler and Flavia Calina, both of Sheboygan, represented the first apprenticeship program in the service sector beyond the industrial and construction trades by addressing the audience about their new journeyworker status.
“Apprenticeship has been recognized for more than 100 years,” said Leigh Ann Kramer, head of the Early Childhood Program at LTC. “It is quite an honor for our program to be included. I’m pleased by the recognition Tiffany and Flavia have earned, and I know they will be great representatives.”
Jon Waldhuetter, academic dean at Moraine Park Technical College, was the guest speaker at the banquet.
Apprentices from Manitowoc County who were recognized – including their hometown, apprenticeship area and sponsoring employer – are:
Kiel – Rod Eckhardt, metal model maker, The Vollrath Co.; James Kopp, industrial electrician, Johnsonville Sausage;
Manitowoc – Kevin Bundy, machinist, Manitowoc Pattern & Manufacturing Co.; Timothy Houghton, machinist, Manitowoc Pattern & Manufacturing Co.; Brian Klein, maintenance mechanic, Spartech CMD; Ryan Metzger, maintenance mechanic, J.L. French Corp.; Nathaniel Roethel, electrical/mechanical maintenance technician, Rockline Industries; Christopher Schmidt, carpenter (millwright), Allstates Rigging; Jody Smith, maintenance mechanic/millwright, GKN Sinter Metals;
Newton – Dylan Baryenbruch, machinist, Stecker Machine Co.;
Mishicot – William Bernhardt, maintenance mechanic, International Paper Co.;
Two Rivers – Dustin Behnke, machinist, Jagemann Stamping Co.; Jeffrey Leider, machinist, Manitowoc Pattern & Manufacturing Co.; and
Valders – Jacob Schaus, sheet metal worker, Schaus Roofing & Mechanical Contractors.
June 1, 2012
From wsau.com: “Grant will boost solar panel training at MSTC” – Mid-State Technical College has won a state grant that will help train construction electrician apprentices on the latest in solar panel technology.
The $8,000 grant is part of $638,000 being doled out through the state’s Sector Alliance for the Green Economy or SAGE project. The grants help give apprentices training in green energy skills that will make them competitive in the workforce, said SAGE outreach coordinator Owen Smith.
Half of the grant money went to Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin, which identified Mid-State as one of the schools it works with.
The grant money will also help train apprentices how to weld new sustainable materials. Skilled welders, in particular, have been in demand throughout the manufacturing sector, including manufacturers of solar panels and wind turbine structures.
May 25, 2012
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Wausau West students share stories from apprenticeships” – More than 60 high school juniors and seniors are working in part-time positions in the Wausau area through Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program. I’ve written a number of articles about the YA program for the paper in the past year, but for this article, two current YAs have agreed to share their experiences, in their own words.
Morgan Zernicke, Wausau West senior
I’ve been in the Youth Apprenticeship program for two years. My first year, I worked at Zernicke Farm, doing field work, barn chores and feeding calves. Currently, I’m working at Marathon Feed, where I provide customer service and do anything I am asked to do. I always wanted to go into the agricultural field, but my job at Marathon Feed has made me think more about what I really want to do for my future career. I’ve made the choice to stay in the agri-business area. I’ve been accepted to Northcentral Technical College this fall. I will graduate with an associate degree in Dairy Science Agri-business and hope to work in Marathon or Lincoln County after graduation. The YA program has helped me discover that a career in agriculture is a good fit for me.
Michaela Ketchum, Wausau West senior
Not many students could say their senior year has been as victorious as mine has been. As a full-time student at Wausau West High School working as a certified nursing assistant at Kindred Transitional Care, I have strived better to be not only a family member and a student, but a friend to many new patients that I care about deeply. The Youth Apprenticeship program has taken me down numerous exciting and new roads that have helped direct my future. Without this program, I would never have been so eager to plan my future as a registered nurse. While being a CNA, I have had so many opportunities to understand how essential the health field is and what struggles are truly out there. The Youth Apprenticeship program is such an important milestone for a student’s life and can even help them to find the key to their future.
If you’d like to connect with a student looking for an apprenticeship or want to learn more about the YA program, contact your local high school YA coordinator or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau at email@example.com.
NWTC and local business team-up to create journeyman welding and fabrication program to help fill welder gap
May 22, 2012
From millerwelds.com: “Wisconsin technical school and local business team-up to create journeyman welding and fabrication program to help fill welder gap” – A Welder-Fabricator apprenticeship program at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) is underway thanks to part of a $6 million federal green energy grant to the state of Wisconsin and collaboration between local industry and educators. The goal of the program is to fill the critical need for journeyman welders in Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s (DWD) Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) and NWTC introduced the new Welder-Fabricator apprenticeship program in January.
NWTC has a big impact in Wisconsin, serving more than 42,000 students in the Green Bay area on a variety of disciplines including welding certification and fabrication courses. The school has been educating students in northeast Wisconsin for 100 years, providing an avenue for a skilled workforce since 1912. New in 2012 is the apprenticeship welding-fabrication program that will give employees the chance to become highly trained experts, and give employers the opportunity to keep workers on the job while the beginner welder builds on knowledge and skills.
“This program complements our current introductory technical programs and will deliver benefits – we bring introductory welders up to the experts’ level of skill and knowledge,” says Scott Massey, AWS Certified Welding Instructor, NWTC. “It’s on the job training that will help speed up the learning curve and help the welder receive journeyman status in a shorter amount of time.”
The learning curve may be shortened but it is still intensive. The apprentice program is a four-year trek that includes 8,000 hours; 7,560 of on-the-job training and 440 hours of in class training. The NWTC program will provide the classroom time for training on Fridays while the apprentice will continue to work Monday through Thursday for their employer. The program goal is for participants to attain an American Welding Society certification and be a journeyman welder.
“The apprentice program will include blueprint reading and metallurgy classroom time,” says Massey. “The apprentice will study math and effective communication. The target is a well-rounded individual who can weld, fabricate and lead.”
Wisconsin’s manufacturers, like many companies across the country, are in need of journeyman welders. The transition to greener technologies means delivering employees that are trained in the latest environmentally friendly techniques and tools. The apprenticeship combines two of the high-demand occupations in manufacturing—welding and fabrication The hybrid is helping students not only attain journeymen cards but give the student the ability to become a versatile, and more valuable employee.
“Technology and green initiatives are driving the trade. The existing workforce has the opportunity to be more multitalented and successful,” says Todd Kiel, apprenticeship manager trades & industrial, NWTC. “The graduate will bridge that gap that existed before between a welder and a fabricator. He will be a multifaceted skilled worker and even more valuable to an employer.”
The program will be filled with participants from local manufacturers in and around the Green Bay area including ship repair and building, the paper industry, automotive and others. With nearby ports and associated manufacturers and repair shops, pipe and ship techniques will be a concentration of the program.
“We expect the demand to steadily increase as more and more employers become aware of the program,” says Kiel. “We have 17 other successful apprenticeship programs and we expect this one to be very popular given the concentration on welding and fabrication.”
The classroom time will include plenty of attention on the traditional TIG, MIG, Stick and Flux Cored processes of welding.But according to Kiel the overall goal of the apprenticeship program at NWTC is to turn the somewhat experienced welder into a critical thinking expert who can work independently on their own, troubleshooting and solving problems. At the end of the 8,000 hours the student will be a journeyman welder-fabricator who is critical to his employers operation.
“There’s always a concern that you are creating an employee who will then take his practice elsewhere. But we believe the opposite is true that instead you are creating a more loyal employee because you have invested in his skills and his ability,” says Kiel. “You have a higher-skilled employee who could eventually move up within the organization and become a leader.”
The apprenticeship participants will be working with some of the latest in welding technology thanks to the grant. Miller Electric Mfg. Co.’s headquarters is in nearby Appleton, Wisc. The decidedly blue welding machines inside the lab have nothing to do with proximity and more to do with giving his students an opportunity to work with the same equipment they will find at modern hi-tech manufacturers, fabricators and construction companies.
“We love to TIG with the Dynasty 350’s and 200’s with the modern pulse arc and advance squarewave technology,” says Massey. “When these students get here, low and behold, there’s the same machine they have at the workplace. It makes the learning easier and the practice at the workplace and classroom compatible.”
Dan Niemela, district sales manager, has been at Miller Electric Mfg. Co. for four years. Niemela sat on the committee of educators and local industry leaders that developed the curriculum and supported the $1.2 million dollar investment in equipment.
Niemela leaned on his own recent experience as a welding student. A scholarship winner in 2008 at Ferris University in Michigan, he can trace the line between quality welding education and his success today at Miller.
“The students need to have a diverse education in welding to attain that journeyman card,” said Niemela. “Using the right tools is essential in the learning process. If you’re fighting your machine, you’re not learning. I’m glad we were able to provide the best in Miller products that will help the student learn the right way to weld.”
The Welder-Fabricator apprenticeship program is the fourth of six new apprenticeship programs to be developed through a $6 million SAGE (System to Administer Grants Electronically) project grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. SAGE grants are focused on pushing green technologies into Wisconsin’s workforce. The partnerships between businesses, educators and industry leaders like Miller will help identify and address clean energy job opportunities in construction, manufacturing and utility industries.
May 18, 2012
From htrnews.com: “Manufacturing must toot own horn” — MANITOWOC — Jacob Bergene, 18, didn’t need convincing.
“I get to learn something new every day,” the Lincoln High School senior said Wednesday as he operated a multi-spindle screw machine at LDI Industries.
After graduation in June, Bergene intends to complete an 8,000-hour adult apprenticeship on his way to becoming a journeyman machinist.
By the time he’s 22, he can expect to be making about $15 an hour, with more pay and advancement opportunities ahead, and he will have been drawing a paycheck while spending nine days on the job and one day in a Lakeshore Technical College classroom every two weeks.
The owners of the Manitowoc company making lubrication equipment and hydraulic components feed their talent pipeline through participation in Youth Options and other initiatives designed to attract young men and women into skilled manufacturing trades.
But too many Wisconsin manufacturers aren’t fighting misperceptions and stereotypes, Jim Morgan, president of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce Foundation, on Wednesday told an LTC audience of business owners, educators and civic officials.
Combined with other factors, Morgan said manufacturers not touting the good-paying careers they offer has led to a “work force paradox” including:
» 7 percent unemployment, yet manufacturers can’t find employees to do the work needed to fill customers’ orders.
» A trillion dollars in student loan debt, yet so many unemployable.
» Negative attitude toward manufacturing, yet it drives the Wisconsin economy.
» A great need to communicate, yet educators have never been in manufacturing plants, and manufacturers have never reached out to schools.
Morgan crisscrossed the state this past winter to conduct listening sessions in more than 50 communities with 300 Wisconsin manufacturers to better understand the problems employers were dealing with in trying to find qualified workers.
LDI Industries expects Bergene and other workers on first shift to be ready to start setting up and running the sophisticated technology in the plant at 6 a.m. — not just be onsite and talking for 10 or 15 minutes before beginning to make components for its national client base.
Morgan said having unemployment benefits extend out as far as 99 weeks has led to some workers offered jobs declaring, “Can you wait six months … I have 26 weeks of unemployment left?”
Combat the stigma
Morgan said Working Wisconsin is the WMC Foundation’s blueprint for helping the state retain its competitiveness and high quality of life.
Morgan said it is critical to battle the stigma — often of high school students’ parents — against those “with only a two-year degree.
“This is not an anti four-year-college presentation, but let’s make sure students are making an informed decision … know about technical colleges and the jobs and careers they can lead to,” said Morgan.
He lamented that technical skill opportunities are disappearing from some high schools, though LTC has formed a partnership with Plymouth High School leading to new manufacturing simulation classrooms and a tripling of students enrolled in “Tech Ed.”
“The mismatch between preparation and careers is wide,” Morgan said. “Only 30 percent of Wisconsin’s jobs require a bachelor’s degree or more.”
Morgan’s “Circle of Life” includes workforce development leading to economic development leading to a greater tax base leading to strong K-12 schools leading to enhanced technical training.
Working Wisconsin includes several elements, such as identifying exemplary business-education partnerships, launching a public awareness campaign to highlight manufacturing’s importance with companies offering tours and making presentations to schools, colleges and clubs.
“It has to be a strategic imperative, driven by ownership,” said Eric Haban, LDI’s Youth Apprenticeships coordinator.
Haban knows he has the support of Mark, John and Tom Lukas, LDI’s owners.
Mark Lukas, president of the firm, said the company has added about 30 employees in the past year, up to about 250, and has made commitments in the areas of technology acquisitions, lean-manufacturing education and bringing on board individuals, like Bergene, who see a long-term future in the industrial sector.
April 18, 2012
From wbay.com: “Workshop promotes trade apprenticeships for women” – Green Bay - Northeast Wisconsin Technical College hopes a workshop being held on campus Tuesday night will help push more women to become involved in a new apprenticeship program at the school.
The workshop is from 5:30 to 7:30 on April 17 in the executive dining room of the student center.
Mandy Dombrowski is an electrical apprentice at NWTC, and is proof the trade isn’t just for men.
Tuesday she was working on bending pipe that would run to electricity boxes.
What she loves about this trade is that no two days are the same.
“You think, you troubleshoot. It’s a lot of different things, not one thing sitting at a desk. You go to different job sites all the time,” she said.
NWTC is working to attract more women to the apprenticeship program through a workshop Tuesday. Women working in different trades will give out information and be on-hand to answer questions.
“I want to make sure that anyone that thinks about it at least comes to check it out as a viable opportunity,” NWTC apprenticeship manager Todd Kiel said.
Kiel says NWTC would like to increase the number of women in the program from 10 percent to 25 percent.
“We always think of construction jobs as being jobs for big burly men and you have to really be strong, and that’s not necessarily the case anymore,” he said.
“So many people think it’s just job site, construction, but once you’re done with the apprenticeship program, there’s so many different areas you can go into,” Dombrowski said.
Different areas that are opening new doors for women.
March 6, 2012
From etc.coop: “Students today, lineworkers tomorrow” – If there’s one thing that electric cooperatives, municipal utilities and investor-owned utilities have in common, it’s this: a lineworker shortage looms. But as one generation packs it in for retirement, an all-out effort is under way to ensure that a new generation is prepared to take its place.
According to the Center for Energy Workforce Development, about 42 percent of all skilled lineworkers could retire by 2015. Nearly 31,000 entry-level apprentices will be needed by all utilities.NRECA is among the center’s members working to make more training available on a local or regional basis.
CO-OPS MEET COLLEGES
“We have helped establish five programs at community colleges in Mississippi. The first one was developed about 12 years ago,” said Micheal Weltzheimer, vice president of safety and loss control for the Electric Power Associations of Mississippi.
“The programs enable us to hire green employees that have most of the certifications they’d otherwise need two years to acquire,” said Weltzheimer. “Those include forklift operations, pole climbing, commercial drivers’ licensing, first aid and CPR training.”
Co-op staffers, serving on advisory panels or as guest instructors, help make Rural Utilities Service standards, employed by co-ops, central to the coursework offered by many programs.
“RUS standards provide consistent training focused on the needs of distribution co-ops and the generation and transmission co-op,” said Mary Lund, vice president of human resources at Dairyland Power Cooperative.
The La Crosse, Wis.-based G&T has supported lineworker apprentice training at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire for more than a decade.
“We were involved in designing the training field, and we also provided some of the equipment,” said Lund.
In Indiana, co-ops have incorporated community college training into their apprenticeship programs, so that all entry-level lineworkers receive the same instruction.
“If we have storm-related problems, we know that when we send guys from one end of the state to the other, the training is exactly the same,” said Gayvin Strantz, manager of job training, safety and loss control at the Indiana Statewide Association of Rural Electric Cooperatives.
“Over the past 20 years, the majority of the lineworkers in Indiana have been through our program or an identical program run by Hoosier Energy, our Bloomington-based G&T,” said Strantz.
Students at Ivy Technical Community College in Indiana attend one of the required apprentice lineworker classes. (Photo By: Indiana Statewide Assoc. of Rural Electric Cooperatives.)
Craig Moeller was a member of the first lineworker class at Missouri’s Linn State Technical College. Co-ops have been working with the school for nearly two decades.
After graduating with an associate’s degree in December 1998, Moeller began a lineworker apprenticeship with Boone Electric Cooperative in Columbia, Mo. Today he is the manager of field training for the Association of Missouri Electric Cooperatives.
“The Linn State experience gave me work skills and knowledge to work in the field and further my career by going back to school and getting my bachelor’s degree,” said Moeller.
The specialized training pays off. “Once you get your journeyman’s certification you can earn $28 to $48 an hour, plus benefits,” said Dan Hopkins, professor of electric power technology at Dodge City Community College in Kansas. “This can be a very good living.”
Average annual lineworker salaries top $63,000, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
FROM STUDENT TO EMPLOYEE
Trident Technical College in Charleston, S.C., provides a 14-week lineworker training course that offers students graduating high school in the spring the potential of being hired by a co-op come autumn.
“This has opened up some doors for some high schoolers who have wanted to get into this field,” said Kevin Mizzell, technical training coordinator at Berkeley Electric Cooperative, Moncks Corner, S.C.
Each training program is tailored to meet evolving needs.
For instance, Western Texas College runs its program from a district office of Roby-based Big Country Electric Cooperative. It recently switched from a three-month program to a nine-month program.
“We spend a lot of time on climbing and basic troubleshooting,” said Dave Stephens, an electric lineworker instructor. “When a student has been through our program, they know what to expect on a jobsite.”
Another example: Minnesota State Community and Technical College in Wadena. It has “a number of co-ops that make recommendations to us on how to improve our program,” said Stephen Johnson, an electrical lineworker instructor.
The school, which offers a 12-month diploma program and a two-year associate’s degree, “added more emphasis to underground construction as a result of input from co-ops and other utilities,” Johnson said.
STAY IN SCHOOL
An increasing number of co-ops and statewide associations point toward the advantages of longer associate’s degree programs. Those include more concentration on math and science, and refining the skills needed to read staking maps, and use global information systems and other technology.
Dave Stephens of Western Texas College works with lineworker training students. (Photo By: Western Texas College)
Completion of a two-year program qualifies students for employment with advanced apprenticeship ratings, said Kevin Wheeler, assistant manager of member services and safety director at Lancaster, Mo.-based Tri-County Electric Cooperative Association.
In 1997, Wheeler left an investor-owned utility to help organize the program at Linn State, the school that helped Craig Moeller launch his co-op career.
“When people leave the schools they understand the basic fundamentals of line work,” said Wheeler. “The students coming out of the classes have a lot more information than someone you hire off the streets.”
February 6, 2012
From htrnews.com: “Manitowoc man takes first in HVAC contest” — WISCONSIN DELLS — John Pelnar Jr. of Manitowoc took first place in the Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning contest at the ABC of Wisconsin Skills Competition held Jan. 20 in Wisconsin Dells.
Pelnar is an HVAC apprentice in the ABC of Wisconsin Apprenticeship program on the Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Green Bay campus. He is an apprentice with Schaus Roofing and Mechanical Contractors in Manitowoc.
The competition consisted of a two-hour written exam and a four-hour practical exam judged by construction craft professionals.
Pelnar will advance to the ABC National Craft Championships, which will be held in April at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio.
Approximately 100 top apprentices and craft trainees throughout the country will compete in 12 different trades at the 26th annual event.
The ABC HVAC apprenticeship program at NWTC has had an ABC Craft Competition state champion and national competitor in six out of the seven years an NWTC student has participated, according to a news release from the school.
January 26, 2012
From greenbaypressgazette: “Welder-fabricator program unveiled at NWTC” – A welder-fabricator apprenticeship program starting at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College as early as next month is aimed at helping bolster the skills of the area work force while helping meet employer demand for workers with fabrication skills.
The apprenticeship program could start as early as February with an initial group of about one dozen participants in the four-year program, said Todd Kiel, NWTC apprenticeship manager.
It’s envisioned program participants will come from — and fill — jobs within the marine sector, paper industry and manufacturing sectors — to name a few. The program is designed to give participants an American Welding Society certification.
“A lot of people can get to that through the regular (welding) program, but there are a lot of businesses who want their guys to upgrade their skills and this fits in perfectly,” Kiel said. “We had a company call last week that could find welders but can’t find fabricators. We can give them credit for their welding and teach them the fabrication portion.”
About 90 percent of the program is on-the-job training from a skilled worker.
Larry Adamus, maintenance coordinator at Domtar Paper in Rothschild, said the apprentice program allows the mill to beef up the skills of its work force; something needed as more experienced workers move toward retirement age.
Domtar, which has several locations in Wisconsin, initially expects to send three people through the program, Adamus said.
Participants in the program are sponsored by their employers who
pay for employees to attend the 440 hours of required classes.
The program was developed by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and NWTC.
While the college offers a basic welding program, the welding-fabricator apprenticeship is designed to help teach welders some of the more advanced and niche skills needed in the workplace.
“With all the retirees coming, apprenticeship is going to be big, and these guys are going to have to learn on the fly,” said Scott Massey, welding instructor at the college. “We will cover some of the (welding) fundamentals when they come back, but we’ll also take it up to another level, and these new students will be allowed to move into more realistic situations from work.”
Troubleshooting and problem-solving are skills the program will include, he said.
“The companies I’ve seen show interest have been across the gamut from local fab shops that will build anything you want them to build to specialized shops like the shipyard or Oshkosh Truck and the sheet metal trades,” Massey said.
The program also is expected to train workers in skills that can be applied to green industries, such as the construction of wind turbines, said Owen Smith, Wisconsin Sector Alliance for the Green Economy outreach coordinator.
The welder-fabricator program is one of six apprenticeship programs developed through a $6 million SAGE grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is the second such program developed with NWTC.
Kiel said apprenticeship programs can help stabilize a work force by providing upgraded skills to the employee, who in turn, may be more likely to stay with their employer.
“There’s always a fear that once you credential people they’re going to leave, but generally speaking the opposite happens. They stick around and become more loyal,” he said. “It builds a higher-skilled, more competitive work force from the employer’s perspective, and it creates an employee who knows you want them around because the employer) is investing in them.”
Kiel said beyond the first group of workers, he doesn’t know what kind of numbers to expect, but he pointed out the program could be run on other NWTC campuses if needed.
January 26, 2012
From nbc26.com: “New Statewide Apprenticeship Program” – Green Bay, WI – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College announcing a new statewide apprenticeship program. The program will offer hands-on training for two high demand manufacturing skills in Wisconsin welding and fabrication. NWTC leaders and the Department of Workforce Development got a tour of the learning facilities this morning.
Owen Smith, Sage Outreach Program said, “We have met one of the key needs for heavy manufacturers in Northeast Wisconsin, as well as provided an integrated program for 2 occupations that are critical to green skill training and green manufacturing in Wisconsin.”
The Welder-Fabricator Program is one of six new apprenticeship programs to be developed through a six-million-dollar grant from the US Department of Labor and the second at NWTC.
January 25, 2012
From dwd.wisconsin.gov: “Welder-Fabricator Apprenticeship Program introduced at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College” – GREEN BAY – The Department of Workforce Development’s (DWD) Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards (BAS) and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) introduced the new Welder-Fabricator apprenticeship program today, January 25, in Green Bay. The program is the second apprenticeship developed in partnership with NWTC and the fourth under the federal Sectors Alliance for the Green Economy (SAGE) grant.
“This program showcases the responsiveness and flexibility of apprenticeship in meeting workforce training needs in the green economy,” said Lisa Boyd, Administrator for the DWD’s Division of Employment and Training. “Welding and fabricating are integral to producing components of renewable energy systems and energy efficient products. The Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, in partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, worked jointly to develop this comprehensive apprenticeship program.”
The Welder-Fabricator apprenticeship was developed in response to the needs of Wisconsin’s heavy manufacturing sector. It offers hands-on learning for two high-demand occupations in heavy manufacturing (welding and fabrication) in a single program. It follows a hybrid model in which apprentices are assessed on-the-job using a combination of time and competencies. The program is structured for four years, or 8,000 hours, including 7,560 hours on-the-job learning and 440 hours of related instruction.
“Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is very excited about our ability to offer the Welder- Fabrication apprenticeship,” said Todd A. Kiel, Apprenticeship Manager for NWTC. “We feel it gives us a full range of offerings that provide access to credentials for our constituents. With the increased demand for heavy manufacturing in Northeast Wisconsin, this cannot come at a better time.”
The Welder-Fabricator program is the fourth of six new apprenticeship programs to be developed through the $6 million SAGE project grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. SAGE’s purpose is to employ short and long-term strategies critical to the greening of Wisconsin’s workforce by forming partnerships with businesses, educators and other stakeholders to identify and address labor force needs specific to “green” or clean energy jobs in construction, manufacturing and utility industries.
January 10, 2012
From matctimes.com: “MATC student finds the positives in negatives” – Dennis Sabourin, a student at MATC in the Electricity Program, was incarcerated a few times for mistakes that he made in his past. At twenty six years old he has realized that righting wrongs is important. “One thing my mother said to me and it stuck with me, was that, ‘If you search good enough you will always find that positive in any negative, no matter the magnitude of it,’” Dennis said smiling.
When asked, how did he come to find the positive out of everything he been through? He said, “I’m my mother’s only boy and the second child. My father wasn’t around. The influences that were around were all negative.” Talk about magnitude.
“When I was in Colombia Correctional Institution I knew I wanted to enroll in school but wasn’t sure for what.” Maybe it was fate or a force of hand. “I tried my hand at the one year Building Services Diploma through Madison Area Technical College; it was all they offered at Colombia. Most of the coursework barely interested me,” Sabourin said. He then found a vital sign or as he so elaborately put it, ‘his positive in negatives’, when he started the electricity portion of the program.
He continued to say, “I knew without a doubt that this is what I wanted to do, I wanted to be an Electrician. I would stay in my room all day reading those old ‘Electrical Textbooks’ wrote in the early ‘80s. I finished one and picked up another. I even fell asleep thinking about working as an Electrician.”
Dennis was able to see his dream manifest itself into reality when a posting from the Joint Apprenticeship and Training for the Electrical Industry caught his eye. He immediately wrote to the Training Director, Mike Chetney, exclaiming his interest in the program.
A letter came back to Dennis from Mr. Chetney and he recommended Dennis to Big Step, one of the best community based organizations in Milwaukee to tutor him for the Electrical Aptitude Test and to help meet their Electrical Apprenticeship’s standards.
Dennis said, “The very last part of Mike’s letter inspired me. The part when he said, ‘Mr. Sabourin, you can make your dreams come true with hard work and dedication’ that positive feedback reinforced my positive motion. I hope the outcome of my story to be a clear example that when you take shortcuts your path is cut short. Even though this field is competitive the rewards are worth the wait.”
Heidi Peterson, Electrical Instructor and Department Chair of MATC, said, “When Dennis first walked into my classroom he was smiling, polite, always asking questions, and always offering to help. One would think that he slept in a bed of roses and woke up in an array of sunlight. I would not have thought he had the kind of background he had. Obviously, it was a growing experience. The highest you can get in my class is 100. Dennis has 109. Most students who need extra credit don’t take advantage of it. This is not the case with Dennis. He does the extra credit anyways.” Talk about getting the most out of your program.
Heidi continued, “Dennis has incredible drive, he takes this serious. With his grades, drive, toppled with his positive attitude; Dennis will go far. He has a future as an Electrician and Dennis will be great.”
Chuck Wimmer, Electrical Instructor at MATC, said, “Dennis is an aspiring outstanding individual who has a strong future as an Electrician. I’m going to have him back as my tutor next semester.
What strikes me as unique about Dennis is that he has the willingness to learn and help others. One day, after class, he urged some students to volunteer with Habitat for Humanity for the experience and to craft their skills. I don’t see this type of drive from many of my students.
Most are just doing what they can to get by, while Dennis is doing more. On the days he doesn’t have class he comes and helps his classmates with their lab.”
Dennis, your future is promised, keep surpassing the negatives and continue to make good on the promises. Greatness awaits you.
December 16, 2011
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Community support results on No. 1 ranking” – Congratulations, Merrill! You’re No. 1 in the state for the number of students involved in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, Program. Sixty Merrill High School juniors and seniors worked as youth apprentices last year, the highest single-school enrollment statewide. Merrill also had the second-highest district-wide enrollment behind Racine School District, which had 68 students enrolled.
So how does a small community in northern Wisconsin manage to be number one in a statewide program as broad as Youth Apprenticeship? The success is a result of outstanding collaboration between local businesses, an amazing YA coordinator, dedicated classroom teachers, motivated students, and supportive parents.
Marla Konkol is the YA coordinator at Merrill High School. “(YA) takes the classroom out of the high school and provides students with hands-on experiences in a local business. Employers (in Merrill) truly want to help students find a career they will enjoy for a lifetime.”
Youth apprentices work 450 hours at their worksite each year of their program while taking related classroom instruction. A worksite mentor helps them accomplish a list of competencies developed by the Department of Workforce Development with input from industry, so apprentices are learning and working at the same time.
December 6, 2011
From crwmag.com: “Training for the trades” – Even in these dark economic times, 19-year-old Andy Koldeway is still following the light to a brighter future. But the light he’s walking toward isn’t found in the hallowed halls of higher education. Koldeway is working for Schneider Electric in Burlington.
A recent high school graduate, Koldeway will soon enroll in an apprenticeship program with one of the state’s technical colleges for training needed to become an electrician. Unlike most high school graduates, his secondary education at Burlington High School prepared him for the job he got straight out of high school.
“It kind of gave me a jumpstart and was practical for what I wanted to do,” Koldeway says of Burlington’s Architecture, Construction and Engineering (ACE) program. “I wanted to go into the trades, and it helped me do that.”
Koldeway’s willingness to jump toward a career in the skilled trades is something the nation — and Wisconsin — need right now, say some employers. According to a recent Manpower survey of 1,300 U.S. employers, skilled trade workers are in short supply and one of the three most difficult job categories to fill.
But not everyone is certain a shortage actually exists. Ken Kraemer, director of the Construction Labor Management Council of Southeastern Wisconsin, is among the doubters.
“Manufacturing may be seeing a shortage … but I’m not seeing a shortage for the union construction skilled workers,” says Kraemer.
Numbers seem to support Kraemer’s assertion. Nationally, unemployment is higher in construction than any other field. In October, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported an unemployment rate in the construction job category of 13.7 percent and just 7.7 percent in manufacturing.