January 11, 2013
From thenorthwestern.com: “More women pursuing non-traditional degrees at UWO, FVTC” – As one of the 10 female welding students in a program with 124 males, Amber Kraemer can tell you a thing or two about perseverance.
She initially pursued a degree from Fox Valley Technical College in the field, which increasingly relies in robotics, programming and mathematics, because of its positive career prospects and what she sees as an appealing marriage of science and art.
“It’s intimidating (stepping into a male dominated field), but it also gives me something to prove that I can do it,” Kraemer, 32, said. “It’s motivation to do better, and most of the time I can probably weld better than the men anyway.”
Today, there are more women like Kramer than ever crossing traditional gender lines and pursuing science, technology, engineering and math-related degrees.
More than 1,000 women, or roughly one in 15 female students at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and FVTC combined, were pursuing STEM-related degrees during the 2011-12 school year, data provided by the institutions shows. That’s a 56 percent increase from four years earlier. Total female enrollment during that time grew 23 percent.
University and college officials credit the growing interest in STEM studies to outreach efforts aimed at high school and middle school girls as well as state and national attention on those career fields.
“Women are more likely to think about science if their parents encourage them and their high school teachers encourage them. That will get them to sign up for a class their freshman year (of college),” said Jennifer Mihalick, a UWO chemistry professor and director of Women in Science, a UW System-wide program aimed at attracting and retaining female science students.
High school programs, such as the Wave Robotics club, which builds robots for state and national competitions, also go a long way to bring girls through the door of a STEM-based classroom, Mihalick said.
At FVTC, instructors have been bringing their students into area high schools to meet with teens for career exploration sessions. They also run a girls-only summer camp called Girl Tech, said Anne Haberkorn, dean of information technology, a corner of the technical college that has seen particularly high growth in female enrollment.
The number of women pursuing IT degrees at FVTC spiked 47 percent between the 2008-09 and 2010-11 school years, enrollment data shows. The key to recruiting girls has been breaking down stereotypes surrounding certain disciplines and showing girls a different side to science and technology.
“We (girls) view IT and other STEM fields differently. It’s not about gadgets for us but helping people and helping them accomplish their goals. That’s something girls and women seem to relate to,” Haberkorn said.
Newly emerging fields with heavy emphasis on design, such as mobile app development, also seem to appeal more to women. Women made up 42 percent of the students studying Web development and design at FVTC in 2011-12 compared to 21 percent four years earlier.
Kelsey Paltzer, 20, a junior chemistry major at UWO, said too many girls never give the sciences a chance because of a perception they need to be at the top of their class to participate.
“I feel like all too many females put themselves down. In high school, you think of chemistry as a hard subject or harder than the usual fields girls go into…. But, if you put effort into it, it’s actually very interesting,” Paltzer said.
Mihalick said a large part of her Women in Science program aims to make girls feel more comfortable with science regardless of their skill level. Those same efforts, she said, will also help all students.
“It’s been found that things professors can change in their classrooms to make women feel more comfortable, feel more valued and belonging, will also help everyone else in the classroom,” Mihalick said.
January 11, 2013
From wtaq.com: “Wisconsin’s only culinary theatre unveiled at Fox Valley Tech” – GRAND CHUTE, WI (WTAQ) - Students at Fox Valley Technical College will now take classes in Wisconsin’s first and only culinary theatre.
Officials unveiled the $1.8 million Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Theatre, an 8,500-square foot state-of-the-art facility to the media Thursday.
“We took every conceivable cooking delivery system, we tried to put every piece of equipment that we could possibly need to teach cooking to our students,” says Department Chair Cheff Jeff Igel. “And we put it in an environment where they’re comfortable.”
It has five-tiered rows capable of holding 120 students at one time to watch faculty at the school demonstrate cooking methods on high-tech equipment using video cameras and projection screens.
“We can max out at 150 (people), it’s not bad, it’s like Lambeau Field,” Igel says.
The facility ws funded in part by private donations, including a lead gift from Jones Dairy Farm. The theater will also be open for public use and for folks looking to sharpen their home cooking skills.
Igel says their goal was to enhance student learning for Wisconsin’s largest training provider of culinary arts.
“To be able to stand and see all of your students without looking through heads or around aisles,” says Igel. “We get a lot of eye contact, we can personalize the class one-on-one and it’s easier to take questions.”
Students will formally begin to take classes in the culinary theatre on Monday.
December 3, 2012
From areadevelopment.com: “Department of Labor grants to help fill skilled labor gap” – Will it work? Mark Tushar, marketing manager at Derby Molded Products in Neenah and Oshkosh Marine Supply in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, hopes so. “We’ve been looking for some skilled labor, but we’ve been unable to find it,” he reports. His companies, contract manufacturers of injection-molded plastic and of metal parts, need machinists and programmers, but lately has had little luck finding them. He blames a cultural push away from skilled trades. “Kids are pushed toward a four-year college and they’re not given the opportunity, I believe, to try something else that may require going to a technical college or a trade.”
Just seven miles from his plant, however, is Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) in Appleton. Through the second installment of the $2 billion, four-year initiative, FVTC received $3 million to develop the Advanced Manufacturing Pathways PLUS project, a program that focuses on developing skills in electronics/automation, welding and metal fabrication, printing and publishing, and machine tooling. Part of the federal grant dollars are going toward changing that cultural perception says Chris Jossart, spokesperson for Fox Valley Tech. On National Manufacturing Day, the technical college that serves about 53,000 students each year, organized a bus tour of its Oshkosh facility and three area manufacturers. “Immediately,” says Jossart, “when these students come into our Advanced Manufacturing Center, they’re looking at digital, high-tech welding resources that totally change their perception of welding and fabrication as a career.”
Twenty-three-year-old Valarie Wocjik is one of Fox Valley Tech’s success stories. She graduated from the welding program in 2009, transferred to Ferris State University in Michigan through an articulation agreement, and obtained a bachelor’s degree in welding engineering technology. Wocjik is now a project engineer at Hirotec America in Auburn Hills, Michigan, an assembly line fabricator for the automotive industry. “She goes into these manufacturing settings,” says Jossart, “and blows people’s minds when they find out she can weld.”
The Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grants are awarded to partnerships between colleges and employers to promote skills development in fields like advanced manufacturing, healthcare, and transportation. They are targeted, at least in part, at workers who have been displaced by trade policies and outsourcing. The programming developed by the colleges will not remain those schools’ exclusive property. To accept the funding, the partners agree to make all educational materials they develop available for use by the public and other education providers through a “Creative Commons” license.
Every state in the nation has received some level of funding, but more is available with two more rounds to go. Applications for the next round will be reviewed in the spring of 2013. A complete listing of grants awarded to date is available at www.doleta.gov/taaccct.
December 3, 2012
From postcrescent.com: “Next chapter: 56-year-old adds FVTC degree, new job to life” — When displaced worker Mitch Wilke enrolled at Fox Valley Technical College in early 2011, he hadn’t taken a math class in about 40 years.
Wilke, 56, of Two Rivers, says getting back to basics was worth the challenge. Through FVTC he is completing his studies in the mechanical design technology program. He also found a new job before graduation at F.C. Dadson in Greenville with the assistance of Wisconsin TechConnect, a service available to students and graduates at all 16 Wisconsin technical colleges.
“I have been titled ‘engineer’ in the past without a degree,” Wilke said Friday, a day before FVTC’s fall 2012 commencement ceremony. “I was looking for the extra education and the paperwork to go with it, to say, ‘Hey, I can do this.’ Throughout all my classes I was the oldest one in class except for one teacher. I’m just kind of taking it in stride. Because of my age as well, I’ve got more of a sense of responsibility. Right now, I’m at a 3.96 (grade point average) out of 4.”
Wilke is one of 686 FVTC students who applied for graduation for fall 2012. FVTC recognized those students Saturday afternoon with a formal cap-and-gown commencement ceremony at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center in downtown Appleton.
Each academic year, about 2,000 students graduate from FVTC, representing all of the college’s regional centers and campuses throughout its five-county district. FVTC recognizes graduates with both fall and spring commencement ceremonies.
Wilke, who said FVTC is his first college experience, was laid off in September 2010 from his job at Burger Boat Company in Manitowoc. There, he had designed interior spaces of yachts and then had moved to a department in which he used machines to fabricate parts for the yachts from drawings.
“It was seen coming,” he said of his layoff. “They just weren’t selling any boats because of the economy downturning. Even millionaires were looking at how to better spend their money. There were a lot of used boats on the market. Rather than buying a new one, they could buy a used one for pennies on the dollar and then have it custom-fit the way they wanted.”
Wilke said he spent time checking out colleges and decided upon FVTC in part because of the guidance he received prior to enrollment. That has continued throughout his time at FVTC, he said.
“They made me feel welcome here,” he said. “I remember right after I registered, on orientation day we got our class schedules, and my counselor actually called me while I was in transit going home from orientation to let me know that math class was a lab and not a lecture class. I had preferenced four lecture classes, but ended up getting a tutor to help me along and once I got through that, it wasn’t too bad.”
Wilke credits Dean Sommerfeld, team leader for the mechanical design technology program, for making a difference in his time at FVTC.
“He will take whatever time is necessary to help you understand a problem that you don’t get,” Wilke said. “I would be sitting in class for two, three hours of my free time between classes and he would help me work through it.”
Sommerfeld said nontraditional students, including displaced workers, often bring unique perspectives to the classroom because of their life and past work experiences.
“I find they tend to be maybe more motivated, because they want to get back out working again,” Sommerfeld said. “They realize they may be competing against younger people, so they want to get themselves as good of an education as they can, to be prepared. When they do go out into the job field, they do have a lot of experience from the previous work they’ve done.”
Classes at FVTC wrap up several weeks after commencement. In one of Sommerfeld’s classes, Wilke is working on a team project with a younger student.
“He’s willing to help other people in class,” Sommerfeld said. “There’s some mentoring going on. I see that as a benefit.”
November 26, 2012
From insightonmfg.com: “Foundries partner with colleges to keep up with evolving training needs” – Even with its roots in one of the earliest manufacturing processes – casting – the foundry industry has to undergo almost constant technical training to keep up with the latest production and engineering technologies.
Managers at foundries in the region as well as educators say that some major technical shifts include more robotics in the handling and finishing of castings, a new generation of computer-aided design software, and more use of advanced, programmable equipment generally.
“Foundries are modern and high-tech, with the need to be able to work with technologies like robotics,” says Steve Dreger, a key account manager with Fox Valley Technical College’s department of Business and Industry Services. “The time has passed for thinking of foundries as dingy work environments.”
By partnering with technical colleges including FVTC and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, foundries are staying current with technology. The surprise, however, is that mastering technology is just part of the educational focus. Foundries also are pursuing “soft skills” like leadership training, even for production employees.
The technical challenge itself is significant. According to Gordy Barth, manager of training and development for Waupaca Foundry, robotics training is one of the biggest needs. The Waupaca-based foundry uses robots for functions including core making and trim pressing.
“It’s a pretty rapidly changing pace around here with the technology, equipment and systems we work with,” says Barth.
Waupaca Foundry regularly works with FVTC to tailor needed technical training, says Barth. With robotics training, it used to send production people to a Michigan site operated by ABB Robotics, an equipment manufacturer, but the travel was expensive. FVTC was able to work with ABB Robotics to bring in the necessary equipment, and get an FVTC instructor certified to teach the course. As a result, Waupaca Foundry employees can take the training in Appleton, slashing the training costs.
Other technical training for Waupaca Foundry takes place at FVTC’s Waupaca site. The foundry has donated some hydraulic equipment and other gear to the site for manufacturing training needs.
Barth says it’s the flexible approach FVTC takes in tailoring training, as much as having the right equipment, that is key to the partnership. “You name it when it comes to training, and [FVTC] is able to do it for us,” he says.
Dreger says FVTC’s instructors usually have the skills to teach a class tailored for a foundry, but sometimes specialists are brought in. In one case, the instructor for a class on how to use a specific 3D CAD software package was brought in from the software reseller near Milwaukee, teaching as an adjunct FVTC instructor.
The other side of the training that’s taking shape for foundries centers on leadership skills. For example, some of the production supervisors at Neenah Foundry have taken leadership training via FVTC, says Heidi Mitchell, VP of human resources for Neenah Enterprises.
Mitchell says a targeted, local leadership training program is simply more practical than expecting production workers to acquire management skills via university courses or four-year degree paths.
“We decided that the next best thing was to develop a leadership curriculum that they could undertake locally focused on supervisory and leadership skills,” says Mitchell.
About 20 foundry employees have taken the leadership course, says Mitchell. “It’s been a wonderful partnership with FVTC,” she says. “It gives our people the leadership skills they need, we pick up the cost, and we build a stronger relationship with FVTC for future needs.”
Similarly, De Pere-based foundry C.A. Lawton Company included leadership development as part of a training package it put together with NWTC under a Workforce Advancement Training (WAT) grant. NWTC helped complete the WAT grant application and tailor the training program, which also included team building skills, and some technical manufacturing training in areas such as welding and blueprint reading.
Gloria Plog, human resources manager for C.A. Lawton, says a mix of administrative employees and production-focused employees are taking the leadership skills course. “It’s more than the technical skills that are important,” says Plog. “It’s also the soft skills that help a company rise to greatness.”
Foundries looking for custom-tailored education programs from NWTC typically want a mix of technical and leadership training, according to Dean Stewart, dean of corporate training with NWTC. On the technical side, electro-mechanical skills and robotics skills increasingly are needed by foundries, says Stewart.
Leadership training for foundry workers is related to the need to improve knowledge transfer, says Stewart, which is especially important given the aging workforce in manufacturing. Stewart says leadership training can help experienced foundry workers become better mentors and teachers.
“The foundries know that unless their people build stronger leadership and communication skills, they are going to have issues going forward in passing along knowledge,” he says.
November 20, 2012
From biztimes.com: “Wisconsin employers earn Well Workplace Awards” – The Wellness Council of America (WELCOA), with its local affiliate, the Wellness Council of Wisconsin, recently presented 11 additional recipients of the Well Workplace Award in Wisconsin for 2012.
Wellness Council of Wisconsin executive director Jessica Raddemann said, “These employers worked hard to successfully meet the rigorous standards set by the Well Workplace process. It is our pleasure to recognize them as the newest Wisconsin employers to achieve Well Workplace status.”
November 8, 2012
From postcrescent.com: “Tech Village scaled back due to land sale changes” — GRAND CHUTE — Work could begin later this month on a scaled-down version of a private apartment complex to house Fox Valley Technical College students.
The Outagamie County Board voted recently to sell 18.2 acres of land at the southwest corner of State 15 and Casaloma Drive to Madison-based development group UHCS Tech Village LLC, which owns and operates multiple private student housing communities.
The development company is purchasing the county-owned land for $856,630 — significantly less than the $1.36 million the county’s Property/Airport Committee had recommended in early October.
The buyer is still paying the $100,000 an acre the county was seeking but the overall sale price was rolled back because a new wetland survey last month revealed that only just under 8.6 acres is now considered buildable land. The county has been trying to sell the land for years and a wetland survey done more than five years ago indicated it had 13.6 acres of buildable land.
A closing date has been set for Nov. 28, pending the review by Grand Chute officials of revised plans for the housing project.
Under the revised Tech Village plan, the project’s first phase — estimated at $8 million — would feature a four-story, 90,000-square-foot building with 100 fully furnished apartments with one to five beds in each unit. Each floor of West Commons would have a study area, lounge, postal facility, central laundry, computer classroom and a fitness center.
“We still have room for most everything, it will just be on a little smaller scale,” said Tim Carlson of True North Architecture, Appleton, which is working with the Madison-based development group.
Units will be ready for occupancy in time for the start of FVTC’s fall 2013 semester, Carlson said.
The second phase, called East Commons, involves the construction of a 72,500-square-foot building with 60 apartments. It will include a cafe or sandwich shop, which will be connected to West Commons to allow all student residents to share the amenities.
The project would include a recreational trail along Casaloma Drive. The goal is to work with Outagamie County to link the new trail with an existing trail north of the Timber Rattlers stadium that connects to a U.S. 41 overpass and existing trails at FVTC.
“It’s the county parks trail and were working on an agreement with them to pave, light and maintain that trail section so that there would be no outlay of public money for that work or maintenance of it,” Carlson said.
While the first two phases are geared toward traditional students, the project’s last two phases will provide housing for students with families and those in specialized short-term training programs.
The third phase, called The Suites at Tech Village, would provide 90 one-bedroom apartment units in a three-story, 45,000-square-foot building slated for construction in late 2014.
The final phase — The Meadows at Tech Village — consists of 26 townhome units with one or two bedrooms for students with families.
October 31, 2012
From fox11online.com: “Special delivery for FVTC Public Safety Training Center” – GREENVILLE – It’s a big addition to the new Fox Valley Technical College Public Safety Training Center.
A 727 was donated by FedEx at a ceremony at Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville Tuesday.
The plane will be used by emergency responders for fire, tactical and medical training scenarios.
The Boeing 727 saw its best days hauling cargo for FedEx. Now it will be used for an even more important task on the ground.
“From opening emergency exits, to pulling crew members out to shutting down systems, this is a very unique opportunity,” said Bill Ewing, fire chief for Pro-Tec Fire Services, which serves Austin Straubel and Outagamie County airports.
FedEx donated the plane that will now become a training ground for emergency personnel as part of the new public safety training center partnership between the airport and Fox Valley Technical College.
“It’s very difficult to simulate this setting and make it work, so we are extremely grateful to be able to provide this kind of resource in this kind of environment,” said Fox Valley Technical College president Susan May.
The plane will be outfitted with seats and permanently grounded. It will be used for tactical and fire training as well as emergency medical scenarios, making it a training destination for the region and the country.
“Existing public safety personnel from the state, the region and even nationally depending on how specialized the training may be,” said May.
The aircraft is still worth about $1.5 million, but first responders who will use it say the training it will provide will be invaluable.
“This is an opportunity for us to train hands on doing the things that we would do in real world scenario,” said Ewing.
Making sure responders are as prepared as they can be in the event of a real local emergency.
“Any training is good training, but the level that this aircraft is going to provide us is going to take us to the next level,” said Ewing.
Fox Valley Tech and the airport having been working for about 15 years on acquiring an aircraft like this one for training purposes.
October 24, 2012
From nbc26.com: “Fox Valley Tech Welding Donation” – Fox Valley Technical College received a donation Monday that will help welding students further their careers. Walker-Forge and Precision Thermal Processing donated a large piece of heat treating and testing equipment to the college’s welding program.
October 23, 2012
From gasworld.com: “MATHESON Collaborates with Miller Electric Mfg” – MATHESON and Miller Electric Mfg. Co. began a series of webinars designed by merging best practices of high performing customer service people with curriculum developed by Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC),Appleton, Wisconsin.
The training program is part of MATHESON’s and Miller’s commitment to continuously improve customer service and to respond to the increasing support needs of the competitive welding distributor market place. The unique webinar-based training technology will enhance critical customer focus skills in the areas of adapting to change, creating a positive communication culture, and working collaboratively in teams.
Dennis Gerrits, Miller Regional Sales Manager states, “Using webinar technology, we’ll be providing MATHESON personnel with customer service training to augment their current programs and in support of their core value of intensive customer focus. We will train together for an hour at a time, virtually, in 50 locations, and then resume our normal work activities. This would be impossible without webinar technology.”
According to Mark Blakely, Zone Vice President, MATHESON, “MATHESON believes that ongoing training of our employees is an important aspect of our commitment to continuous improvement, and is one of the things that sets us apart in a busy marketplace. Our collaboration with Miller and FVTC will complement our own internal training, and help to further the skills, capabilities, and expertise of our Customer Service team, especially related to Miller products and technology.”
Miller Training Systems is dedicated to training its distribution network to be the best in the industry. Miller views training as a tool that increases profitability by making the distributor the “go to” organization to solve the welder’s everyday needs. Through a close working relationship with FVTC, Miller Training Systems has expanded the capacity and scope of their services. Paul Cleveland, Manager Distributor Training for Miller, said that FVTC is able to develop or adapt curriculum to fit the needs of Miller and MATHESON. “We use FVTC to help us leverage the technology we need, such as helping to put Miller content on-line. For customer service, we’re using FVTC’s Critical Core Communications Skills content, adapting it to MATHESON’s requirements, and delivering it as a webinar.”
October 22, 2012
From thenorthwestern.com: “Open house showcases FVTC expansion” – An expansion to Fox Valley Technical College’s S.J. Spanbauer Center will help the college meet the demands of growing industries — particularly in construction and aviation.
The recently completed 8,000-square-foot expansion of the building at 3601 Oregon St.,houses additional class space, two new Redbird flight simulators for the aeronautics pilot training program, a computer lab for the construction management technology program, a larger commons area with a study space for students and additional lab space for the aircraft electronics and airframe and power plant mechanics programs.
The aeronautics pilot training and construction management technology programs had outgrown their facilities at the same time that they face a growing need from the industries and a growing interest from students, instructors and administrators said. The center, built in 1991, was last expanded in 1999.
“There’s been quite a demand,” said Deb Heath, dean of the transportation and construction technologies division. “The programs have been very healthy — with enrollment and training people in the careers, as well as graduate placement, in all the programs.”
Expanding the facility not only serves current students, but will allow the programs to grow, Heath said. Both Heath and Rich Cass, department chairman and instructor of the construction management technology program, said commercial construction is back on the rise.
The construction management technology program, which launched in 2009, is the only associate degree program in the field in Wisconsin. Cass said the program attracts high school graduates with no experience and professionals seeking continued education alike. Upon completion, students are ready to start a job or to continue their education at a four-year institution, Cass said.
“We’re seeing a very good attraction to the industry,” Cass said. “We work with the commercial and industrial sector; we’re not tied into residential, which is seeing the largest dip. All of our students that have graduated are employed, and of the employed graduates, we have near 100 percent placement in the construction industry.”
The program has been full every year since it started, Cass said. The expanded area allows the program to use space more effectively, he said, adding that the layout of the program’s new classroom gives students desk area to work, computer stations and an area for laying out blueprints and plans in a way they would encounter in the workplace. The building itself is a teaching tool, with cutaways and exploratory areas covered by plexiglass so students can learn about its construction.
In the aeronautics pilot training program, insufficient classroom space and inadequate facilities for flight simulators were struggles for the last few years, said Jared Huss, department chair and instructor of the aviation department. The expanded area has rooms designed specifically for the department’s existing flight simulators, as well as for its two new simulators, which have cutting-edge technology that mimic both multi-engine and single-engine airplanes, with wraparound screens and three axes of movement. The new simulators also have a flat-screen monitor outside them that replays the flight for further review by students and instructors. Huss said they give students an “extra layer of training.”
“The expansion alleviated growing pains that we had,” Huss said.
In addition to the physical expansion, the aviation department has expanded its options with several new scholarships and a partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh which allows FVTC graduates to earn a bachelor’s degree with an aviation management emphasis.
The aeronautic pilot training program is full this year, and Huss expects the same for next year. The level of interest corresponds with a growing need in the industry, he said.
“It’s looking like the general public is finally seeing what’s coming in aviation,” Huss said. “The job market for pilots is just phenomenal, and there’s a similar shortage on the technical side. We’re booming.”
Job placement for graduates of the aeronautics pilot training program is close to 100 percent, Huss said, adding that even when the economy was down, job placement was in the 90 percent range for the program.
The expansion also features more space for general education classes, and a new area for physics classes that gives more room for hands-on, practical lessons, Heath said. The new commons area is also in a quieter spot, with expanded computer access and study space.
The entire facility will be open to the public during an open house on Monday, from 3-6 p.m. While the open house will focus on the expanded area, the center also houses the college’s aircraft electronics, airframe and power plant mechanic, electromechanical technology, residential building construction and wood manufacturing technology programs.
October 22, 2012
From fox11online.com: “Grant aims to fill manufacturing jobs” – GRAND CHUTE – Fox Valley Technical College recently received nearly three million dollars to train nearly 400 workers.
To state workforce officials, Travis Rewalt is the perfect example of someone helping fill the manufacturing skills gap.
“I felt like I was learning the basics I needed and I kind of wanted to learn more to keep me on top of the game so that I could be marketable in the future,” said Rewalt of Menasha.
State officials say if more people like Rewalt stepped forward, empty jobs in manufacturing could start being filled.
“The skills gap issue is on the training side and people not having the skills to fill the role because there is a perception that manufacturing is dumb, dirty and dangerous and it’s not,” said Georgia Maxwell, the executive assistant for Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development.
The state’s Department of Workforce Development is teaming with Fox Valley Technical College to address the issue. $2.9 million will help train people interested in jobs in welding, machine tool operations, printing and electronics/automation.
“These are the primary areas that we have more demand for jobs and for skilled labor than we have supplies at the moment,” said Steve Straub the dean of Fox Valley Technical College’s Manufacturing and Agriculture Technologies Division.
State and school officials say above any other field, manufacturing currently has the most opportunity. They say the problem is there aren’t enough people like Rewalt who want to learn the necessary skills.
“I guess it comes down to motivation of the individuals. The people that seem to want to do it, don’t have the tools available to them, particularly on the financial end,” said Rewalt.
Manufacturing leaders hope the new grant money will help provide that motivation.
The grant money is funded through the federal Trade Adjustment Act.
October 17, 2012
From fox11online.com — “New flight simulator at FVTC” – OSHKOSH – Thinking about a career as a pilot?
Experts at Fox Valley Technical College says there are a shortage of pilots across the country. To address the demands for pilots, the Oshkosh campus has added some new technology to its pilot program, including a flight simulator.
The public can learn more about how the flight simulators work during an open house on Monday, Oct. 22 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
Click on the video links to your left to watch the segments that aired on Wednesday’s Good Day Wisconsin. Angela Kelly got to see the new flight simulators and learn about the school’s construction management program.
October 15, 2012
From postcrescent.com: “Tech Village land offer pending” – Construction could begin in November on Tech Village, a proposed private student housing development, if the Outagamie County Board approves a $1.36 million offer to purchase the county-owned site near State 15 and Casaloma Drive.
The Tech Village plan, first proposed nearly two years ago, would provide housing for Fox Valley Technical College students who could walk or bike to school using an existing recreational trail north of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers stadium that connects to a bike-pedestrian walkway over U.S. 41.
On Tuesday, the county’s Property and Airport Committee voted 5-0 to advance the offer to purchase the 18.2-acre site from UHCS Tech Village LLC to the county board on Oct. 23.
Mike Hendrick, county planning director, said a tentative closing on the land sale has been scheduled for Oct. 26.
“They want to begin breaking ground in November,” he said. “The goal is to have Phase One up and available for students next fall.”
In May, Grand Chute approved a four-phase development plan for Tech Village, the first phase of which was called The Commons, a 108-unit building with furnished apartments in a dormitory setting.
The $10 million project will be a private, for-profit venture so it will become taxable property once the county sells it.
“The county has tried to sell this land on many occasions and had been unsuccessful,” said County Executive Tom Nelson. “Fox Valley Tech is doing a lot of exciting things and this is a need that had been on their list for some time.”
Phase Two is The Woodlands, a proposed six-building, 70-unit town home complex offering apartments for FVTC students with families.
A third phase involves a 90-suite extended-stay facility designed for students in short-term training programs. The final phase would be a 50,000-square-foot professional office building for strategic partners of FVTC.
“Things came together and it looks like it’s on track to a sale,” Nelson said.
October 10, 2012
From fox11online.com: “New flight simulator at FVTC” – OSHKOSH – Thinking about a career as a pilot?
Experts at Fox Valley Technical College says there are a shortage of pilots across the country. To address the demands for pilots, the Oshkosh campus has added some new technology to its pilot program, including a flight simulator.
The public can learn more about how the flight simulators work during an open house on Monday, Oct. 22 3:00 – 6:00 p.m.
October 8, 2012
From thenorthwestern.com: “Companies see skills gap” – Manufacturing needs a salesman, and Jay Manufacturing turned to John Milos.
“Manufacturing is growing! And it’s growing right here in Oshkosh,” Milos, the metal fabricator’s vice president of sales, told a group of Oshkosh North students Friday. “There’s a gigantic need for skilled labor in manufacturing, so we’re asking people to give us another look.”
Milos was just one of the manangers from Jay who gave tours of the company’s west side manufacturing operations to North and West students recently. The visit was the first step in a collaborative effort to fill that need by a group of manufacturers who normally compete against each other to fill skilled labor jobs like welding and machine operation.
Jay, Muza Metal Products, Oshkosh Corp., Fox Valley Technical College and the Oshkosh Area School District form the core of the partnership to bolster interest in good-paying careers and the training necessary to get them.
“This is critical from Oshkosh Corp.’s viewpoint,” Oshkosh Corp. Supplier Development Engineer Warren Long said. “We are one of the region’s biggest employers and we may only need 1,000 welders. But our supply chain needs 5,000. It’s absolutely critical that we close the skills gap.”
President Barack Obama brought up a need for manufacturers and community colleges to work more closely together to bridge the skills gap for a good reason: Programs like the one launched Friday in Oshkosh could put a serious dent in the unemployment rate.
“Manufacturers have 7 million jobs open and no one to fill them,” Long said. “There are 23 million people unemployed, but they don’t have the skills we need.”
It’s not just about filling vacant positions, though. Fox Valley Technical College Production Welding Instructor Bob Ellenbecker pointed out the average age for a welder has climbed close to 60.
“They’re going to retire soon and there will be panic,” Ellenbecker said. “Employers are seeing the writing on the wall.”
The Manufacturing Institute estimates manufacturers will need 10 million new skilled laborers by 2020, and surveys show 52 percent of American employers have had trouble filling jobs. The institute also expects double digit growth in the demand for electricians, plumbers, construction managers, and heating and cooling specialists in the next several years.
Ellenbecker said a lot of companies tend to blame technical colleges when they can’t find people with the right skills to fill job openings. He applauded Muza, Jay and Oshkosh Corp. for coming together to explain available careers to students, detail the required training and talk about the benefits like the demand for skilled workers and salaries that can start in the $30,000 to $50,000 range.
“Everyone coming through is getting jobs and we keep adding classes and instructors,” Ellenbecker said. “It’s an eye-opener: It’s hard work, but they’ll never be out of work if they’re willing to travel.”
Ellenbecker said he hopes more manufacturers get involved with FVTC and pursue co-ops and partnerships like the one that helped expose him to auto repair as a high school student.
“We need to work on building those relationships with our high schools,” Ellenbecker said. “I’d love to see more manufacturing co-ops between companies and our schools, including Fox Valley Tech.”
Jay Manufacturing President Matt Jameson said Friday’s tour represented only the start of the partners’ effort to build interest in skilled-labor careers.
Jameson said it was good to see all the organizations involved come together, while Ellenbecker said any gains will help.
“If all we’ve done today convinces even five more students to enroll, it’s a success,” Ellenbecker said.
From insightdigital.biz: “A century of collaboration” — A hundred years ago, brand new technical colleges in Wisconsin started welcoming fresh-faced, knicker-wearing boys who hoped to obtain training that would lead to a good career.
The students (and the clothes) have changed, but the basic mission of Wisconsin technical colleges has remained the same.
Read more from Insight on Business
October 1, 2012
From postcrescent.com: “Technical college, UW-Fox make case for two-year degrees” – Because of the current bleak job market for four-year graduates, school officials at Fox Valley Technical College and University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley are hoping more Wisconsinites see the power of two-year or technical college degrees.
Employees at both schools think that by increasing their visibility at the high school level and changing attitudes about post-secondary education will increase the number of students who explore their programming — something that could gain them well-paying jobs more quickly, said Patti Jorgensen, vice president of students and community development at FVTC.
Fox Valley Technical College will open its doors to Fox Cities residents Tuesday for its annual open house — an event the school relies on to draw in potential students, said FVTC spokesman Chris Jossart.
The school could see as many as 2,000 people during the open house, Jossart said.
A recent Georgetown University study discovered that 29 million U.S. jobs don’t require a bachelor’s degree — most required a two-year associate’s degree or post-secondary certificate.
Forty percent of those jobs paid more than $50,000 a year, according to the report by the university’s Center on Education and the Workforce and Civic Enterprises departments.
Parents and teachers often point students in the direction of four-year college and forget other options simply because that was their only post-secondary experience, Jorgenson said.
“I think kids hear about college, and associate it with the four-year schools,” said Joe Lamers, counselor at Appleton East High School. “As they get older, we try to give them all options … I know that I tell kids all the time that it’s their decision. No one should be telling them what to do — technical or two-year colleges can be a great option. They’re cheaper, quicker, have high placement rates — we always mention the positives.”
FVTC hosts large meetings with teachers from local districts to show off the school’s educational pathways, and often sends representatives to public schools so students can hear about what job options become available after studying at the technical college.
Gina Fisher of Waupaca is a parent who’s tried both four-year and technical colleges.
After attending the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh for two years and working to support herself, Fisher said she felt incredibly “burnt-out.” She decided to get an associate’s degree in accounting instead and graduated from FVTC.
That’s how she knew that, after discussing career interests with her sons, FVTC would be the best option. Both of her sons are homeschooled, and Fisher said taking a class or two at FVTC was an easy way to transition into college.
“My older son wanted to go into physical therapy, and the tech is a lot more hands-on,” Fisher said. “I really like the tech school for that reason … It’s a cheaper option, and he can go on to (University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh) later to finish up his bachelor’s degree.”
Fisher said she thought more parents and students would choose the technical college option if they knew the financial benefits.
“I just don’t think people are well informed about their options for college,” she said. “I know I wasn’t, and I really don’t remember getting much advice when I was in high school.”
George Wojcik’s daughter Valarie enrolled in FVTC after working on a motorcycle in a Hortonville High School class. She graduated from the school’s welding program, and later enrolled in the welding engineering program at Ferris University in Michigan and graduated with a bachelor’s degree. After some convincing, the school accepted all of her credits from FVTC, Wojcik said.
“She was far ahead of the game,” Wojcik said. “She had a lot of hands-on experience, and her teachers were very impressed.”
Both Wojcik and Fisher are part of a parent panel that will speak Tuesday night during FVTC’s open house.
UW-Fox tries to work with students and parents to understand the application and enrollment process, which often can be muddled and confusing, said Martin Rudd, dean of UW-Fox. The school holds parent nights and open houses throughout the academic year.
UW-Fox also reaches out to teachers in local districts to discuss what skills students need when applying to the school or other colleges in the state.
“Not only do we have a lot of programs with high schools, but we’re constantly developing new relationships with schools,” Rudd said.
Unlike many technical colleges, UW-Fox often thinks of itself as a “step toward a baccalaureate degree,” Rudd said. The school’s associate’s degrees transfer easily to other colleges in the state, and the school has set up programs like “Madison Connections” UW-Madison and their Guaranteed Transfer program that can ease the transition and get more general classes out of the way, Rudd said.
Like FVTC, UW-Fox offers some dual enrollment programming for high school students, and the UW system plans to greatly expand the program in the future, Rudd said. The school also is trying to connect with students in local charter schools, who may not have as much familiarity with UW-Fox.
“There’s no one-size-fits-all method for recruiting students,” Rudd said.
UW-Fox will hold its next open house at 6 p.m. Oct. 23.
Jorgenson said she hopes the increased attention from public schools will help students discover interesting career paths earlier.
“We’re talking with our K-12 partners, saying ‘Hey, we need our students to have more information about technical colleges,’” Jorgenson said. “A large percentage of students may say they’re headed to four-year colleges, but in our experience they aren’t. There’s still a large percentage of students who aren’t doing much after high school.”
In the Fox Cities region, 23 percent of FVTC students begin classes directly after high school. Forty-six percent arrive roughly two years after graduating, Jorgenson said.
“They’re doing something for two years that’s probably not particularly productive, and then they’re circling back to us,” Jorgenson said.
September 28, 2012
From fox11online.com: “Fox Valley group helps homeowners” – KAUKAUNA – Jon Minkebige has been a resident of the city of Kaukauna for more than two decades.
In 1987, he moved into a home that was built in the late 1800s, with intentions to restore it.
Those plans changed after Minkebige was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis. As his health continued to deteriorate, his home did as well.
“Because I lived here, I was used to the problem,” said Minkebige. “But I had mold issues, and when I saw the plaster falling through the kitchen I knew something had to be done.”
Rebuilding Together Fox Valley recently stepped in to help him.
The non-profit organization’s goal is to help senior citizens and those with disabilities make home repairs that if not taken care of, could force them to leave their homes.
RTFV gathers professional contractors, volunteers and students to help with the repair work. It is funded through corporate sponsorships and private donations, relieving the homeowner of the financial burden.
Many of the students who help RTFV are part of the construction management program at Fox Valley Technical College.
“We partnered with Rebuilding Together Fox Valley in September of last year,” said Rich Cass, a construction management instructor for FVTC. “Our students are able to work with a live client, do some design work and schedule subcontractors on the labor side.”
Cass assigned student Chris Deiss to take the lead on Minkebige’s home this past spring. Deiss says it was no easy task, as Minkebige’s home needed major work. Plumbing, new windows, a new ceiling and a front deck were just several items on the to-do list. Deiss recalls seeing snow and rain coming through Minkebige’s bathroom ceiling when he made his first visit.
“If things had continued the way it was, he may have not been able to stay here,” said Deiss. “He might have had to go to an assisted living home or somewhere along the line.”
It took Deiss and scores of volunteers and professional contractors to make-over Minkebige’s home. The project was finished in three months.
“You say thank you so many times,” said Minkebige. “I actually get emotional just thinking what they did to help me out.”
RTFV expects to make repairs to as many as 100 homes by the end of 2012. You can help by making a monetary donation, or by offering any skilled trade services you may have.
September 24, 2012
From thenorthwestern.com: “Regional job picture stabilizing: Skilled manufacturing, healthcare tops career bets” – Mass layoffs have eased at northeastern Wisconsin businesses and the demand for skilled workers is soaring.
Despite growing concerns about an overall global slowdown, business leaders say the region’s diverse economy continues to find markets for its goods and services, which means they need people to meet demand, making competition fierce for skilled workers.
Statewide, the jobless rate in July stood at 7.3 percent and around the region, unemployment rates ranged between 5.6 percent in Calumet County to 8.2 percent in Marinette County.
Jeff Sachse, a labor market analyst for the state Department of Workforce Development, does not anticipate jobless numbers will change dramatically in the short term but expects continued, gradual improvement for a variety of business sectors, particularly in manufacturing, health care and construction services.
“Clearly, welding and CNC (computer numerical control) machinists positions are what we hear about all the time,” said Sachse, who monitors employment activity for northeastern Wisconsin.
Large government contracts secured by shipbuilder Marinette Marine and Oshkosh Corp., a maker of military vehicles, are behind rising demand for those workers.
“Between Marinette (Marine) and Oshkosh (Corp.) they are pulling from the surrounding labor market, which has created a need throughout the system,” Sachse said.
Manufacturing still represents about a quarter of all employment in the region. However, the health care and construction industries also have seen steady job growth in recent months, Sachse said.
“The (federal) stimulus helped larger-scale projects. Roadwork, including (U.S. Highway) 41 is an example,” Sachse said. “But we’ve also seen some resurgence on the residential side.”
Sachse said the growing number of nursing homes and assisted living facilities around the region and expansion by the health insurance industry, particularly by insurance giants Humana and United Healthcare, is driving job creation in the health sector.
“The steady growth we’ve seen in health care has not necessarily been with the hospital systems,” he said. “Services tied to health care, particularly health insurance, have seen significant numbers and also demands from the aging population will put more demand on providers.”
Finding, retaining workers
Sachse said the regional manufacturing sector’s strength is the role it plays in the overall global supply chain. He said manufacturers have weathered economic downturns mostly because a majority of them supply components and parts to companies that make a variety of machinery worldwide.
This is the situation for Fox Valley Tool & Die, which has about 180 workers, spread across two plants in Kaukauna.
“We make the parts that make the parts,” said Mark Dennis, one of the owners of Fox Valley Tool & Die.
He recognizes there is heated competition for his workers, most of whom are machinists with specialized skills who can create custom parts and components.
Dennis said an aging workforce, especially in skilled areas, is a problem for regional manufacturers. As a part of a state effort to shore up future workers for manufacturers, Dennis has worked with high schools from Shiocton to Little Chute and other Fox Cities communities to introduce students to manufacturing.
He also works with Fox Valley Technical College on training programs for people interested in careers as machinists.
Getting to people early in their career planning is essential, Dennis said.
“It gives us a chance to show young people that the machine shops today may not be the ones their grandfathers worked in,” he said.
Dennis said many jobs, especially those requiring specialized skills, require a two-year degree.
His son, John, the CEO of Gardan, which employs about 50 workers at in Hortonville and Brillion, said he’s been fortunate to find qualified workers when his company needed to fill openings.
“I think because of the region’s strong farming and manufacturing tradition, people here just have a strong work ethic and many of those people settle in the region,” John Dennis said.
Health care outlook
The health care industry has been working with colleges and nursing schools over the past several years to ensure a steady flow of nurses will come into the system to replace those retiring.
Tom Veeser, chief nursing officer for Affinity Health System in Menasha and vice president of patient care at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Appleton, said the health care industry recognizes that demands for services will increase as the nation ages.
Hospital operators also face competition for workers from an increasing number of care facilities for the elderly, which also are in need of registered nurses, certified nursing assistants and licensed practical nurses.
Traditionally, registered nurses tend to have an easier time finding work, Veeser said. But there also is a growing demand for certified nursing assistants.
“At least for us, it’s getting harder to recruit CNAs because they’re getting more lucrative salaries from nursing homes and sometimes from physician offices,” Veeser said. “We may not be able to compete on salary in some situations but we try to offer a better benefits package.”
September 24, 2012
From thenorthwestern.com: “Editorial: Technical colleges are vital” – Wisconsin has a problem that’s only going to get worse. It’s been described in great detail, and will accelerate with the fruition of demographic trends that are neither new nor unexpected.
How quickly and decisively it is addressed will determine whether Wisconsin will be relegated to a rust belt relic or undergo an economic transformation. A lack of skilled workers is holding back the state’s economy today, and will certainly cripple it tomorrow as more Baby Boomers leave the workforce.
There’s nothing more frustrating than seeing thousands out of work and job openings unfilled for lack of enough properly trained workers. Worse yet, the crisis will become acute when existing skilled workers retire and replacements cannot be found.
The solution doesn’t require anything more than affirming the values that made Wisconsin an economic powerhouse in the first place: the Wisconsin ideal retooled for the new economy. We’ve already seen the fruits of the cooperation between higher education and industry, such as Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s partnership with Marinette Marine to train workers to help the company fulfill major government contracts.
Still, Marinette officials sounded a warning during a legislative hearing held last week at Fox Valley Technical College’s Riverside Campus in Oshkosh, and co-chaired by State Sens. Jessica King, D-Oshkosh, and Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse. The vice-president of human resources at the company said significant challenges remain.
“My concern is, I have a rapidly aging workforce, and these are highly skilled positions,” Marinette’s Steven Baue told the committee. “I should not have to work this hard to find employees.”
Officials from the Wisconsin Technical College System estimate employers will require 39,000 more workers with technical college training than the system can produce with current resources. Inexplicably, the state cut 30 percent from the state technical college system in the last budget, even as Gov. Scott Walker embarked on his goal of creating 250,000 new jobs.
The state must invest in its technical college, much like the voters that overwhelmingly approved a referendum last spring for Fox Valley Technical College to expand its Appleton campus and make needed improvements across the system. Taxpayers recognized that investing in the technical college to train and retrain workers is critical to our economic health and well-being.
As it crafts its 2013-2015 budget proposal, the Walker administration has an opportunity to connect its aggressive job creation goals with workforce realities. Companies will not create jobs without trained workers to fill them. Wisconsin technical colleges have a great track record of working with businesses to build a stronger economy.
The Final Thought: State must invest in technical college system to remain economically relevant.
September 24, 2012
From thenorthwestern.com: “FVTC earns exemplary recognition for workplace wellness” – The Wellness Council of America, along with local affiliate Wellness Council of Wisconsin, presented its Gold Well Workplace award to Fox Valley Technical College. This level of recognition is the highest form of acknowledgement from WELCOA for an organization regarding employee health and wellness.
WELCOA, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the health and well-bring of working Americans, helps companies establish key benchmarks to reduce health risks and health care costs, while implementing programs to enhance employee wellness. WELCOA has more than 3,200 member organizations.
September 20, 2012
From fox11online.com: “Trucker tribute honors father” – PEMBINE – Jonathon Pierce is climbing aboard for his final exam. The truck driving school student is taking this road test with a heavy heart.
“He’s constantly on my mind, 24/7. I try to focus on my schoolwork, on my studies, but he’s always back there,” said Jonathon.
This class of student drivers usually sticks to the highway and the weigh stations. But for this day, Pierce had a special request.
“He had asked if we could, on our final voyage, go up to Pembine to see his father. We feel honored,” said Charles Nelson, Fox Valley Technical College truck driving instructor.
So Pierce leads the way. He will be a fifth generation trucker. His mind is on his father, who is battling terminal cancer.
“I kind of wish he was better, unfortunately like I said under the circumstances, I don’t think he’s going to be around too much longer,” said Jonathon. “It’s really heartbreaking for me, but it is what it is.”
It’s 110 miles from FVTC’s Grand Chute campus to Pembine. It’s a trip Pierce has made many times before, but today is different.
“Now, he’s going to get to see me riding in a semi today for driving,” Jonathon said.
And as his father stretches to get a glimpse of his son behind the wheel, it’s a reunion that goes beyond words.
“Jonathan always wanted to go trucking with his dad, and I guess this is as close as you’re going to get now,” said Pam Pierce, Jonathan’s mother. “I’m proud of him.”
“I couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be right now than right here,” said Jonathon.
“He pulled off one more; I just hope he makes it. It’s a long ways to go,” said Steve Pierce, Jonathon’s father.
A proud father to the end.
“Yeah, I know he is deep down inside, even though he rejected me from doing it for years and years and years. I know he’s happy,” said Jonathon.
The students will have one more road test before graduating on Friday.
As for Jonathon Pierce, he says he already has a job lined up with a trucking company with a terminal in Green Bay.
September 20, 2012
From thenorthwestern.com: “Shortages predicted in skilled workforce” – Wisconsin faces a workforce crisis, with a high volume of exiting workers and not enough skilled workers to take their place.
That double whammy was a focus on Wednesday of a legislative hearing in Oshkosh to discuss job creation and training.
The hearing was held at Fox Valley Technical College’s Riverside Campus in Oshkosh, and co-chaired by State Sens. Jessica King, D-Oshkosh, and Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse.
Testimony tackled Wisconsin’s skills gap and successful workforce development initiatives. King said the next step is to build on the hearing’s success stories and work to ensure the state’s workforce meets employers’ the current and future needs.
Dennis Winters, chief economist for the Department of Workforce Development, said Wisconsin’s workforce started to flatten out around 2000, and by 2035, it could start to shift to a decline. The state’s growing occupations require teamwork, communication, analytical and problem solving skills, Winters said. The top occupations with the most new jobs from 2008-2018 are mostly in health care and technology fields.
New survey data indicates that the workforce will change more dramatically over the next 15 years than employers and educators expected. According to the 2011 Fond du Lac County Retirement and Departure Intentions Study, 51 percent of that county’s workforceplans to retire within the next 15 years.
Josh Bullock, vice president of strategic advancement for Moraine Park Technical College said the county could train every school-age student and still not have enough workers. He said Fond du Lac County could be short 19,000 people to fill available jobs by 2026, which could lead employers toeither leave the area or shut down.
A similar survey of eight major health care providers in the Fox Valley found that 48 percent of health care workers plan to retire in the next 15 years, up 4 percent from 2008.
“We have this double whammy with a mass exodus of aging baby boomers who are aging: not only are they leaving health care, but they require more health care as they age,” Bullock said.
Morna Foy, vice president of policy and government relations for the Wisconsin Technical College System, said the system estimates that employers will require 39,000 more workers with technical college training than what the system can produce with its current resources, Foy said.
Still, Foy said, Wisconsin’s tech schools are training more people with a more diverse population and showing as positive results as they ever have.
Representatives from Fox Valley Technical College cited the success of collaborations with Miller Electric and FABCO in providing students with real-world learning opportunities while providing companies with continued education. FABCO has offered a job to every student graduating from its partnership with FVTC, and job placements from the Miller Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center ranged from 85 percent to 100 percent, depending on the field, last year.
The hearing also included testimony from Jeff Rafn, president of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, and Steven Baue, vice president of human resources for Marinette Marine. NWTC and Marinette Marine have a $1.8 million, two-year agreement under which NWTC will provide Marinette Marine with more than 130,000 hours of training for the company’s welders, shipfitters, pipefitters and electrical workers. This month alone, Marinette Marine will hire 70 permanent employees and 180 contractors, Baue said.
Without NWTC, Marinette Marine would not have been able to grow, Baue said. He said education related to the company’s shipbuilding jobs isn’t just failing at the high school level; it’s failing at the elementary school level.
“My concern is, I have a rapidly aging workforce, and these are highly skilled positions,” Baue said. “I should not have to work this hard to find employees.”
September 19, 2012
From fox11online.com: “Groundbreaking for health and technology center” – GRAND CHUTE – Fox Valley Technical College is expanding. Tuesday, school officials broke ground on a new building.
The Health Simulation and Technology Center is expected to be completed next fall.
A $66.5 million public referendum passed last April will help pay for the project.
It features a three-story, 60,000 square foot building.
“It’s a very exciting day. We’ve been in the planning process for this facility for at least seven or eight years, and to see it come all together and actually turn the dirt today at our groundbreaking, is extremely exciting,” said Robert Sternhagen, the human patients simulator coordinator at FVTC.
Once completed, the new building will also feature new technology, including virtual reality and computer simulation.