June 17, 2013
From madisonmagazine.com: “Learning by Doing” – Each year, students in Madison Area Technical College’s Construction and Remodeling program complete a building that’s sold to the public. This spring, they took on a new style, creating a structure bigger and better than ever before. I caught up with John Stephany, program instructor, to find out more about the project.
How many projects has the program done since its founding? The program has been around for over 30 years, working on a variety of different projects. We have been building the small modular homes here for seven years.
What is the role of students in the construction?
We had about 22 students this year, and they all worked on the house. They did almost everything: framed it up, installed the roofing, siding, flooring, drywall, cabinetry, windows and doors, trim, etc.
What is different about this year’s building?
We’ve changed the design to be more contemporary. This helped in many ways. Primarily, it simplified the design and construction, making the details the students needed to accomplish simpler, and at a more basic level. Our previous design was more traditional looking with a steep roof and a loft, but because of all the angles involved, it made for many trickier details that were not really beginning level.
How much say do the owners have in the construction?
Quite a bit. We prefer the clients be involved at the planning stages, and get quite a bit of input in the layout and design. We have some restrictions that primarily revolve around being able to transport it when we’re done—so size and shape—and we also try to keep the details simple, so no complicated crown details or things like that. Otherwise, we’re only limited by design imagination. We have worked with a couple of architects who are on board with what we are doing, and are able to produce drawings for us to work from.
How does the program work to incorporate “green” options? What about this house is efficient?
Last year’s house had a solar Photovoltaic system that the electrical apprentices here installed, and we are close to getting a Net Zero Home, which means, with the right balance of insulation, energy efficiency and solar PV, your house can produce as much energy as it uses.
We are really trying to look down the road at what our students will need to know and then we tailor our building details to reflect the coming trends. There are many college construction programs that are out building cookie cutter vinyl clad boxes without any innovation, and we see that as a huge opportunity lost on many levels.
We are trying to push the envelope on affordable, sustainable building. For instance, we use advanced framing details which create simplified load paths and create more insulation space. We build walls that have an insulation level of R30+ and we use Structural Insulating Panels (SIPs) for the roof, which are a core of solid foam insulation with plywood skins, which themselves have an insulation level of R40+. We use reclaimed wood flooring and the trim on this latest one all came from the ReStore.
I know the outside of the home has some special siding. Could you explain it more?
We install something called Smart Siding, which is a composite wood siding over a rain screen. Smart Side looks like wood siding at half of the cost and maintenance. For the rain screen, we use spacers behind the siding that create an airspace. This doubles the life of your siding and makes the paint job last twice as long as well, since the siding can dry out from all sides. It’s a direction the industry is moving toward. In old houses, the wall cavities were fairly leaky air wise, and siding could dry to the inside as well as out. With homes being built much tighter now—which is a very good thing—it was found that siding finishes weren’t lasting as long because it could no longer dry from the backside.
Tell me more about how the home is suited for “aging in place.” What does that mean for the owner?
Wider hallways, single level and wider doors into rooms allow for wheelchair and walker use. Keeping most everything on one level is also huge. If we were installing this home to be consistent with that idea, the exterior walkways would gently slope right to the door threshold—no stairs.
What design choices were made to help maximize space in the smaller layout?
The clients are going to use Ikea cabinets for storage in the bigger bedroom to separate it into two spaces for their kids, which saves space. The bathroom is just big enough to be accessible by a wheelchair, and we used a shower instead of a tub. We also combined the kitchen and dining areas.
What part of the home was the most challenging for students? What is their favorite part of it?
The students liked framing it and setting the beams and SIP panels. Drywall install is always challenging for some students, and proper window and door setting can be complicated as well. Some loved installing the flooring; some hated it. Some loved installing the siding; some hated it. The students who are more particular seemed to enjoy this finish details more, and the students who are less particular seemed to enjoy the framing and siding more.
How can someone purchase a project constructed by the program?
Contact me: email@example.com.
Is there anything else the public should know?
We are one of the best kept secrets of Madison College. Our program not only teaches all the basics of becoming a good beginning craftsperson, we are also out on the cutting edge of construction, and hope to start appealing to a wider audience due to the innovative things we are doing.
The innovation began about eight years ago, when Allie Berenyi was hired to be the new program director and teacher, and she started the program moving more in this direction. It really is incumbent on us to be in front, and training for the future, and also to be partnered with our industry and using us as their sounding board for new ideas. The public can come by and see how SIP panels work and decide to start using them, for instance.
June 14, 2013
From nbc15.com: “Program helps women get into male-dominated field” – When you think of a typical construction worker, a woman may not come to mind. But, the ladies are out to prove that anything guys can do, they can do better.
“We’re trying to draw more women into the skilled trades because economic parody. You make decent money as a skilled trades person” says Sandy Thistle, who teaches construction at Madison College.
Thistle also helps with the ‘Tools for Tomorrow’ program. The program, put on by Madison College, lets ladies get their feet wet in the areas of trade and technology.
Thursday ‘s free workshop focused on homebuilding.
“I run the power tools at home and so I think women are totally capable of doing this type of job” says Maria Kovach, one of the dozen women who turned out to the workshop.
And if you are a woman who’s struggling to support a family, construction may be the way to go.
“Now that the economy’s picking up, there’s demand for this work and there’s nobody trained” says Thistle.
Right now, there are now more people working in construction since August 2009.
Last month, construction employment jumped by 7000.
You can find out more information on the ‘Tools for Tomorrow’ program by heading to:
From nbc15.com: “Skilled trades workers needed for new construction projects” – Sun Prairie — Everywhere you look new construction is popping up all over the place in Wisconsin.
While the boom in business is good for the economy, it’s turning into a problem for contractors like Dan Duren.
“Right now, we have people to draw from but we are fighting over those people we have,” said Duren.
He’s the owner of Duren Custom Builders, and has homes to build but not enough skilled tradesmen to work on them.
“There’s concrete work, foundation work, flat work, roofers, siders, insulators, electricians, plumbers, HVAC guys, there’s a whole list,” said Duren.
He’s not the only one on the hunt. Wednesday on Craiglist there were dozens of similar postings. Meantime, at Madison Area Technical College, remodeling instructor John Stephany’s phone is ringing off the hook.
“I already had over a third of our students hired and was fielding calls daily,” said Stephany.
He says the uptick is due to low interest rates, and people deciding to move forward with homes. However, many skilled workers turned in their tool belts during the recession, and now people like Duren are feeling the impact.
“It’s the young guys coming in, the young blood coming into the workforce we’re lacking on,” said Duren.
According to MATC this trend is also happening in other parts of the country like Texas, and Florida, something they believe will only grow in the coming months.
June 13, 2013
From capitalcityhues.com: “Graduation at Madison College: Against All Odds” – Eric Romero, who graduated from Madison College this spring with an associate’s degree in the liberal arts transfer program, received a vision when he lost his vision in his native Carolina, Puerto Rico. Romero lost his vision back in 2004.
“I lost my sight in an accident,” Romero said as we sat in the hallway at Madison College-South. “I hit my head and didn’t go to the hospital in time. The pressure on my brain damaged my ocular nerves. When I lost my sight, I went to a place in San Juan they call CATT, a place where people who lost their sight go to finish their high school diploma and get computer training. They were talking about UW Wisconsin. By coincidence, my brother was here, so I decided to come to Madison.”
So Romero and his family moved to Madison in 2004 so that Romero could follow his dream. Romero has a kind of inner-peace about him, a peace that does not involve being sorry for himself or bitter about what life has presented him.
“When I lost my sight, I had to be aware that life goes on,” Romero said. “I had to continue. I wouldn’t be doing anything by sitting down and wasting my life. I just kept going, taking care of my family. I enjoy listening to music and do what I used to do before the accident. I keep doing everything I did before. Of course, I cannot drive and things like that. But I keep myself doing all of the things that I love to do. I play with my daughters. I do exercise. I go on walks with my wife and my daughters. I have fun.”
The first obstacle that Romero had to overcome was his lack of English proficiency. For his first three years in Madison, he attended ESL classes at Madison College.
“What really helped me is… in Puerto Rico they teach English one hour every day,” Romero said. “The reality is we don’t really get to know how important it is until you come to the United States. But that made it easier for me to learn the language. I had to put my time in for the writing part. I had to study every day and put my time in to be able to speak and understand the language. They had Screen Reader for blind people.
“The good thing about MATC too is they have the DRS, the Disability Resource Center service. They make the books into CDs. So for me to be able to navigate through the text and get the spelling and basically read it with my computer was great. All of my textbooks were on CDs.”
Then in 2008, Romero began the liberal arts transfer program that would take him five years to complete. Romero is a patient man.
“You don’t get anything by being frustrated,” Romero said.
As Romero talked, it became apparent that he looked at his blindness as an obstacle, but not a barrier.
After he got to school the first day and found his classes and had the resources provided by the Disability Resource Center, his blindness was not the problem. His biggest problem, he said, was staying focused.
“When people ask me how I can do it, I think it is just the same,” Romero said. “I think about all of those young students too. They have to work and go to classes. It’s just keeping focused and keep working for your goals. Even if you have all of your senses, if you go to school and waste your time, you won’t go through.”
Romero is only part of the way to his dream. The next step is to be admitted to UW-Madison. Eventually, Romero would like to earn a Master’s degree from the UW School of Social Work.
“I’m going to go into social work to be able to help people,” Romero said. “I would like to be working with people in need of help. For example, I’m thinking about working in a correctional institution as a social worker. With my experience, I would be able to do well.
“Everything is possible. I want to teach people like me that going into a situation like this, anything is possible as long as we keep working to reach our goals. You have to believe in yourself, that is the key. Life is only one and we should enjoy it as much as we can no matter what. The main thing is to believe in yourself. ”
With his patience and perspective on life, it is clear that Romero won’t stop until he has fulfilled that vision he had back in San Juan. It’s only a matter of time.
June 7, 2013
From channel3000.com: “Graduates finish GED before changes to testing” – Madison College GED students graduated Thursday night before major changes are made to testing.
The class that graduated Thursday night is the last to graduate before GED requirements change January 2014. Starting in 2014 the tests will be computer-based and an essay portion will be added.
Students who don’t finish before the deadline will have to start over.
“The students have made quite an accomplishment tonight,” said Jim Merritt, director of testing and assessment at Madison College. “They have worked very hard and some of them have been working at it for years and have felt a little pressure to get done with the changes coming this year.”
For most students, it takes years to complete the degree they hope will lead to better employment.
The ceremony, where 92 students received their degrees, featured live music and a speech from the CEO of the Dane County Boys and Girls Club.
June 7, 2013
From nbc15.com: “Federal index ranks Wis. 49th in economic outlook” – “It’s about a full time job,” said Kandyce Hunter, a recent Madison College grad. She’s currently trying to find her dream job. “Supporting someone in an executive role is what my goal would be,” she said. “In an institution either with education or community outreach.”
But as she’s trying to get into the job market, the state’s forecast for economic conditions is looking a little cloudy. That’s according to the latest Leading Index by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, which ranks the state 49th. The Badger state is one of five with a contraction score; the only state scoring worse is Wyoming.
Countrywide, the index score is predicted to grow by 1.4%.
Wisconsin’s score was -.74.
But not everybody thinks those numbers should lead to panic.
A career and employment specialist with Madison College tells us that job prospects for their graduates are actually pretty good. “We have a wonderful placement rate and I’m very proud of that,” said Rochelle Wanner, a career and employment specialist for the school. “It’s part of the reason why I stay at this college is because we are very successful in helping our students.”
Prospects vary by field, but she said about 68% of their grads end up working in a related field to what they studied. “One of the things I always work with with students is that they have to go out and work for a job, it just doesn’t come to you,” she said. “You got to go out and look for it.”
Hunter’s following that advice–and feeling confident that she’ll find what she wants in the Badger state. “Definitely not going anywhere,” she said. “I feel like with what I’m seeing out there with job prospects it’s pretty positive.”
Now, even though Wisconsin is ranked near the bottom, the state is actually scoring better than it did last month. It’s improved from a score of -1.7 last month to -.74 this month.
From nbc15.com: “Madison College instructors use 3-D printers as part of curriculum” – It’s cutting-edge technology at our fingertips. 3-D printers are being used to create everything from cell phone covers to cars to prosthetic limbs. Now, instructors at Madison Area Technical College are implementing the machines into their curriculum.
The printers have been around for decades, but like most technology, over the years the price has dropped and they’re now much more accessible. Come fall, there will be one in dozens of classrooms at Madison College. Now, envisioning an idea, like the architectural plans for a building, will no longer be confined to a computer screen.
“The way is to create the 3-D model in the software,” Jim Grenzow said. “It needs to be translated and sent to this machine. And when we build the model, basically what we do is take sections and 3-4 thousandths of an inch thick and printing them out on this machine.”
Grenzow helps architecture students at Madison College bring their designs to life using a 3-D printer.
“The machine that we have works basically on the principal that if I draw an object, and cut out this object with a razor blade knife,” Grenzow said. “And then transferred that onto each of these sheets of paper, and then cut them out and stacked them all on top of each other, I would have a 3-D object. “
The process is a layering effect and takes hours to complete. The printer Grenzow works with uses a white flour-like material, but others can use anything from plastic to metal to even sugar or syrup to make food.
“So there are multiple ways to actually create a 3-D product using different materials,” said Ken Starkman, Dean of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology at Madison College. “And I think that’s where we’re going to see these tremendous leaps and bounds in technology here in the coming years and months.”
Starkman says the industry is currently going two ways: One toward the high-end multi-material 3-D printer that major companies and schools may use, and the other toward the less expensive, less complex ones that people can buy for their homes.
“3-D technology will find its way into our kitchens, it will find its way into our home offices,” Starkman said. “It may find its way into shopping malls. When you start thinking in 3-D, the possibilities really become endless.”
But many fear there is also a downside to the printers. The government has been concerned recently about people’s capacity to build their own guns that are made of non-metal based materials, and can easily get through a metal detector.
There is also the concern that manufacturing jobs may soon go away if people are able to use 3-D printers to replace things like car parts all on their own. Starkman says while the face of manufacturing will certainly change, technology will create new demands and therefore new jobs.
From digitaljournal.com: “Apache Tank Donation Prepares Madison College Students for Bio-Engineering Careers” – Madison Area Technical College engineering students presented their class project, a biodiesel blending system, at the University of Wisconsin-Madison May 8th, 2013. Apache Stainless Equipment Corporation donated the stainless storage tank used in the project and the biodiesel system will also be shown at collegiate fairs and educational outreach events.
The Madison College engineering students were tasked with developing a system that was capable of blending biodiesel with petro-diesel and fuel additives for improved performance in extreme seasonal temperatures. The students also had to design around safety, transportability, power and budget constraints. Apache was one of several equipment manufacturers to donate components to the project.
“Apache is committed to build strong community ties where we live, work and go to school,” says Ed Paradowski, Apache President, “being part of this project not only helps Madison College engineering students, it also helps with the overall promotion of education in the field of fabrication and manufacturing.”
As a group, students engineered the blending system from start to finish. Apache supplied a 60 gallon, pickle passivated stainless tank with a vent fitting according their their design and specifications. The welding, fabrication, plumbing and electrical was all accomplished by the engineering students at Madison College.
Apache serves the biofuel industry with many types of specialized tanks, including: distillation columns, evaporators, ASME vessels, API-650 Vessels, clad vessels, custom mix tanks and storage tanks. The Apache facility in Beaver Dam, Wisconsin is fully equipped with machines and processes for shearing, forming, welding, rolling and in-house head making. The company also provides finishing capabilities, including automated mechanical polishing, electro-polishing and passivation. Another facility in Plover, Wisconsin produces carbon steel tanks and equipment.
From madison.com: “MATC students go to flight school building unmanned drones” – Hovering just feet above the gym floor at Madison Area Technical College: what some see as the future of flight and others see as a scary vision of a future without privacy.
At first, it looks like a rudimentary model aircraft — two aluminum tubes flared in a V-shape with eight tiny propellers spaced evenly atop the tubes and four padded wiffle balls below as landing gear. It has powers — remotely scanning and recording product labels — that have businesses drooling at the possibilities for doing warehouse inventory. It’s operated by Gregory Kolaske of Fitchburg.
“This is a hobby gone crazy, a hobby gone wild,” said the soon-to-be-graduate in supervisory management and industrial maintenance. “The sophistication is amazing. It’s cutting-edge.”
It’s also controversial. The craft Kolaske was flying, part of a class of planes called unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, has generated such widespread privacy concerns that it has brought together state Republicans and Democrats in opposition.
Last week a bipartisan group of state legislators introduced a bill to require police to obtain a search warrant before collecting evidence with a drone and disqualify evidence gathered by a drone if a warrant wasn’t obtained first.
“Drones are no longer multimillion-dollar machines and can now be bought by anyone at hobby shops,” said Rep. Chris Taylor, D-Madison. “Our laws must catch up to technology to ensure the public’s right to privacy.”
Despite their infamy as instruments of war abroad and privacy invaders at home, drones are seen by some as a massively expanding technology for use by businesses, researchers and government agencies for peaceful, non-controversial means.
Real estate companies could offer advance tours of high-rise buildings. Police departments could conduct missing-person searches in remote wilderness areas. Environmental groups could deploy them each spring for population counts of threatened species.
UW-Madison researchers have, after obtaining permits, found the craft extremely effective in monitoring coastal hurricanes and collecting environmental data on streams in rural Wisconsin. An industry group projects growth in spending in the technology to total nearly $90 billion in the next decade worldwide, the bulk of it in the U.S.
Thomas Kaminski, a former NASA computer engineer and instructor of industrial maintenance at MATC, sensed the growing opportunities in the field. This spring, for the first time he offered a class for students interested in designing and flying the craft.
Three local businesses — JH Findorff & Son builders, Sanchez Industrial Design, a Middleton environmental monitoring firm, and Matrix Product Development, a Sun Prairie technology firm — donated money for materials and equipment. The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers of Madison gave an additional $1,000 educational grant.
“This technology is important,” Kaminski said. “It gets you into the air like a bird.”
What’s new is the ability to attach high-tech gadgets to the planes that essentially allow them to fly themselves, usually at lower altitudes than piloted craft can reach, using computer-generated models. While aloft, they can collect a vast array of data, whether through high-tech cameras or sensors.
Another change: the cost. Kaminski held up a half-dollar-sized black chip called a microcontroller that serves as the devices’ navigation and guidance system.
“Thirty five years ago, this would have cost half a million dollars,” he said. “Now, it’s $50.”
The 12 students in the class worked in teams to build four drones, splitting up duties that included heavy doses of electronics and computer programming plus the mechanical tasks of constructing and repairing the planes.
Their task was to design each plane with a specific industry task in mind. For example, the plane Kolaske was flying on Friday was rigged up with a product scanner to take inventory remotely.
They took advantage of freely available software online.
“It’s amazing how much work people have done to make this software available to everyone,” said Bernard Brauer of Middleton, who’s graduating this week with a degree in electrical engineering technology. “I’m taken aback by that.”
On Friday, the class took their creations to the college’s gym to go flying. The Federal Aviation Administration currently bans flying drones for commercial purposes or within three miles of an airport, forcing the students to stay inside. It might have been for the best.
“We’re all fairly green flyers,” Brauer said shortly after a classmate’s drone crashed with a fairly spectacular thud into one of the gym’s walls. They created a “wall of flame” to display all the mangled parts from flights gone wrong.
By last Friday, most of the flights got off the ground and landed safely, a sign they’d overcome their early struggles.
“We’ve had some spectacular crashes,” said Matt Filutowicz of Madison. “It takes months to gather the confidence and skill to do this well.”
The planes are designed to be hybrids, able to be controlled remotely like traditional model aircraft but also programmed for autopilot with no human at the controls.
None of the class’ craft quite got up to piloting itself, though the plane designed by Brauer and partner Rahim Errouhi of Fitchburg came close.
The students reported learning a lot about the expanding technology and having plenty of fun along the way. They’re not likely to be able to use their skills in the near future, as the FAA isn’t expected to lift its current ban on drones for commercial uses until 2015.
May 14, 2013
From dailyunion.com: “Madison College-Fort welds relationship with industries” — Job seekers in Jefferson County are finding more opportunities to be trained in programs that allow them to enter the workforce quickly, thanks to the expanded Madison Area Technical College campus in Fort Atkinson.
In September, a ribbon-cutting saluted completion of a $1.9 million campus renovation and expansion that was part of the larger $134 million vision of growth within the college’s 12-county district.
Madison College’s $134 million Smart Community Plan for new facilities, renovations and upgrades at the affiliated campuses was approved by voters in the November 2010 election. The referendum received nearly 60 percent of the ballots from electors in the technical college district.
The plan called for meeting the increasing demand of local residents who need affordable education and job training during a time of struggle in the economy while Madison College’s student enrollment and waiting lists are at all-time highs, and interest rates and construction costs are low.
The Fort Atkinson project consisted of remodeling 3,000 square feet of existing space and adding 6,000 square feet of new space. The centerpiece of the expansion was the 3,000-square-foot metal fabrication/manufacturing lab.
Lynn Forseth, executive director for economic and workforce development in Madison College’s Eastern Region, said that starting with the spring semester, the Fort Atkinson campus has been able to provide degree-credit classes for the welding and industrial maintenance mechanic programs, customized contract training for area businesses and a middle college program for high school-aged students.
“It has really taken off,” Forseth said. “I do believe that what we constructed through the referendum was a good opportunity for this campus. It is serving our local industries.”
For many years, Madison College’s Fort Atkinson campus had been fortunate enough to be able to use nearby Fort Atkinson High School’s technical education lab for welding and manufacturing classes. Since 2001, evening classes were offered at the high school.
Prior to that, when the Fort Atkinson campus first was built, there was a welding lab. Over the years, the equipment and ventilation system grew old, prompting administrators to clean out that space and work with the School District of Fort Atkinson when the high school was built nearby.
However, at the high school, the Madison College courses had no room to expand and were limited to flexibility in scheduling. Another concern related to equipment maintenance.
With the addition of the 3,000-square-foot metal fabrication/manufacturing lab at Madison College’s campus, training opportunities have increased dramatically.
“All of the effort that went into providing the training needed by our industrial members is paying off,” said Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dianne Hrobsky. “The facility and the quality of the training that we are getting out of the Fort Atkinson campus is removing some of the obstacles that have impeded growth for so many businesses.”
She noted that the industrial sector is strong in this area and is vital to the community’s overall economic base.
Classes are offered at the Fort Atkinson campus in computerized numerical control, welding, oxy-fuel/plasma cutting, manual machining, programmable logic controllers and metal fabrication.
Planning sessions recently were held with various industries along the State Highway 26 corridor to determine their needs. Forseth said the top skills sought are welders, machinists, CNC operators and industrial maintenance mechanics.
“We’re serving all of those needs with this lab and we would like to continue to provide that level of instruction,” Forseth said.
Through only one semester of instruction, students who have taken classes in the new lab already have been hired by area companies. One Janesville-area company hired three of the Fort Atkinson campus’ students.
Forseth said Madison College already is looking ahead to the potential next step, which is development of a new program offering in overall metal fabrication.
Currently, the welding program is a one-year diploma program, and some students, many of whom also have a job, struggle to have the time to take all the required classes while maintaining employment.
She said schedules are designed to accommodate those working adult students as much as possible.
Generally, the jobs that are available are in more customized manufacturing.
“You need people to be able to read blueprints and make those modifications and make adjustments to meet the customers needs,” Forseth said. “We know most of the manufacturing and production is going to be customized work that requires a higher level of skill.”
From wiscnews.com: “Car lover gets his career in gear” – Most young guys love hot cars. It’s been a passion that started when Henry Ford cranked his first engine.
But at 19 years old, Brady Beth of Reedsburg has found a way to turn his love of cars into what is already an award-winning profession.
Last month, Beth won the coveted first place award from Skills USA, once known as VICA, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, for the second year in a row for his successful completion of auto body collision-related tasks.
He was competing against about 40 other entrants from technical schools around the state in his category.
It’s the first time in Madison Area Technical College-Madison history that any student has won a first place Skills USA award two years in a row.
Both years, Beth completed completed 12 welds with perfection, and repaired seven dents, two cracked fenders, and a crack and a tear in a plastic bumper.
There also were written tests and a mock job interview.
Just after that, he succeeded at a real job interview and got a position with Avenue Auto Body in Middleton, where he will go to work full-time after he graduates in two weeks.
“I like to make cars look new again,” Beth said. “To see something wrecked up, you can make it perfect again.”
He gives a great deal of credit to his MATC-Madison auto body and collision instructor, Tim Hoege.
“He’s really good at what he does,” Beth said. “He’s helped me a lot.”
Beth worked for Koenecke Ford since he was 16 alongside his dad, Dale Beth, another auto body technician.
“I was supervising and watching them,” Beth said with a smile. “But at 16, I actually started working on cars there.”
Not only did Beth take first place at Skills USA two years in a row, last year he place 13th at the Skills USA national competition in which he competed against contestants from 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Guam.
He’ll try at the nationals again next month in Kansas City, Mo.
“It’s very difficult to win the state event twice,” Hoege said. “It’s quite a competition. Some people have the touch. Brady can see what has to be done and visualize it before it’s done. You need to visualize it completed in your head before it’s done. He can do that.”
Beth said he won’t be happy with 13th this year at nationals.
This year better be the top five,” Beth said. “This year I know what to expect.”
Last year he came in first place with the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, Car Show competition in which contestants are selected based on an auto-body idea submission. Beth’s was chosen among the top five and he painted an image on the hood of a Honda Civic to gain first place.
The SEMA Show is touted as the world’s largest auto trade show event that is said to bring more than 60,000 domestic and international buyers together.
Hoege said many winners of the Skills USA competition are picked up by major auto market companies as sales representatives or executives.
“These companies want these winners because they know they have the passion and the drive to want the best out of themselves,” Hoege said.
Beth said future plans include dreams of owning his own business, but he’d like to stay close to home.
“I want to stay in the Reedsburg area,” Beth said. “I’d rather work here.”
April 29, 2013
From wkow.com: “Free vehicle safety checkup for senior drivers” – Senior citizens in the Madison area have the chance to make their vehicles more safe on the road.
A team of automotive technicians and health professionals have organized the CarFit program. The event is geared to help seniors feel more comfortable and safe in their vehicles.
Darcie Olson is an instructor for the Madison College Occupational Therapy Assistant Program. She says drivers’ vision, flexibility, strength and other physical conditions may change as they age. Volunteers at the event will help drivers clear off blind spots, adjust headroom space, examine their foot positioning, and check safety belts.
The CarFit program will be held Monday May 6th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Madison College West Campus. Anyone who is interested can make an appointment by calling (608)-258-2313.
From madison.com: “GOP lawmakers propose replacing technical college property taxes with sales tax hike” – Control of the state’s 16 technical colleges would be shifted to a statewide board and a 1 percent sales tax would replace local property taxes raised by technical college boards, under a proposal from Republican lawmakers.
The bill would make all changes contingent on approval by voters in a spring 2014 referendum.
It was authored by Rep. Garey Bies, R-Sister Bay, and co-sponsored by Joint Finance Committee chairman Rep. John Nygren, R-Marinette, and Rep. Tom Larson, R-Colfax.
Bies said he was working on the bill since 2001 in response to constituent concerns about the effect of rising technical college property taxes and local technical college boards not being elected.
“We do not think paying for colleges should be on the property tax,” Bies said.
But he acknowledged he hasn’t received much support from fellow Republicans, and the bill’s prospects are uncertain.
Gov. Scott Walker suggested the referendum, Bies said. Walker’s spokesman Tom Evenson didn’t have an immediate comment Friday.
He also didn’t respond to a follow-up email.
The bill, AB 117, was referred to the Assembly Committee on Colleges and Universities, where committee chairman Rep. Steve Nass, R-Whitewater, opposes the idea of shifting technical college revenue to a sales tax, spokesman Mike Mikalsen said.
“It was a terrible idea to (broach) the idea of a sales tax increase,” Mikalsen said. “That’s just not realistic.”
Mikalsen said the committee may discuss the role of the state and local technical college boards in the fall. But he noted a Republican attempt last session to add more business representatives to local technical college boards fell flat.
“A lot of legislators are licking their wounds,” he said.
Wisconsin Technical College System officials are open to discussing funding changes but oppose centralizing control of the colleges, system spokesman Conor Smyth said.
“The current government structure is responsive to local communities and the employers in those communities,” Smyth said.
Tim Casper, Madison Area Technical College assistant vice president for budget and public affairs, said the local board — appointed by local elected officials — understands area business needs better than a state board would. He also said the bill is problematic because it doesn’t specify that the sales tax funds would go to technical colleges.
The state’s technical college system provides vocational training, college credit and adult enrichment classes to more than 350,000 students a year.
Technical college boards outside Milwaukee are appointed either by county or school district leaders and must include two employers, two employees, three members of the public, a school district administrator, and a local or state elected official.
Bies’ bill would transfer all district employees, facilities, property, assets and liabilities to the Wisconsin Technical College System Board. The local boards would continue to advise the district director, who would be appointed to the state board.
The bill would increase the state sales tax from 5 percent to 6 percent, raising about $900 million in new state revenue. The bill does not dedicate the new funds to technical colleges but calls for legislation to “reconcile” new funding and a shift in control of the system.
This fiscal year, the 16 technical colleges raised $786.7 million in property taxes.
That amount has grown on average by 3.8 percent per year over the past decade.
Much of the statewide increase in recent years came from MATC, which received voter approval in fall 2010 for a $133.7 million building plan.
The college has faced criticism for erecting several new buildings but not having the money to operate them.
“We asked the public and the public pretty overwhelmingly said go forward and provide for the facilities that are needed,” Casper said.
The state cut aid to technical colleges by $36 million, or 30 percent, in 2011-12. Walker proposed a $5 million, or 6 percent, increase in 2014-15.
April 26, 2013
From dailyunion.com: “MATC, UW-Whitewater sign articulation agreement” – The Warhawks and Wolfpack might be ominous mascots in sports competitions, but from this point forward, Willie and Wolfie make excellent study buddies when it comes to obtaining a college degree.
Administrators from both the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Madison Area Technical College were on hand at Madison College’s Fort Atkinson campus Wednesday for a special signing ceremony formalizing a direct program-to-program transfer of credits between the two schools.
Two separate institutional contracts, formally called articulation agreements, where made official with signatures Wednesday. First, the Liberal Arts Journalism Pathway program begins at Madison College and is designed for students who obtain an associate degree in liberal arts, but wish to complete the coursework required to earn a baccalaureate degree in journalism from UW-Whitewater’s College of Arts and Communication.
Second, the Liberal Arts Business Pathway is tailored toward Madison College students who complete a customized mix of liberal arts and business courses leading to an associate degree. Once the associate degree is achieved, students can then pursue a bachelor’s degree in any major offered by UW-Whitewater’s College of Business and Economics.
While there were multiple administrators, professors, instructors, admission personnel and staff from both institutions on hand Wednesday, the actual signatories for the ceremony were Madison College Dean of Arts and Sciences Todd Stebbins, Dean of Business and Applied Arts Bryon Woodhouse, Associate Vice President for Learner Success Turina Bakken and UW-Whitewater Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Beverly Kopper.
Serving as master of ceremonies was Lynn Forseth, executive director of Economic and Workforce Development for Madison College’s Eastern Region.
“Due to our geographic proximity to Whitewater, the Fort Atkinson campus regularly serves students who are planning to transfer to UW-Whitewater, and often, in fact, dual-enroll at both institutions,” Forseth said during introductory remarks. “Both colleges also work closely with area K-12 districts to help high school-age students to formulate their educational and career plans. The agreements we will sign today give high school graduates yet another opportunity to begin their education anywhere in the Madison College district and transfer those credits to UW-Whitewater.”
Forseth added that she has heard positive feedback from regional K-12 school districts about the agreements, and she thanked them for their support.
Bakken was the first speaker.
“Just before we started today, we were talking about the state of higher education, and the new environment that we do our work in,” she said. “Whether you’re a two-year school, a four-year university or a private institution, we can’t exist in isolation anymore; these kinds of partnerships we sign today are so very important – not only for our communities and students, but for us, too, as they make us the most efficient we can be with the scarce resources that we have.
“Just a few weeks ago, we signed an agreement with UW-Madison that essentially says that for those students who start at Madison College and transfer to UW-Madison without their associate degree, once they earn enough credits, we will honor those credits toward the associate degree; and if they continue on for a bachelor’s degree or beyond, fantastic, but no matter what happens, they will at least have that credential, Bakken continued.
“There are very few agreements like that in the country, and we were very proud to sign that one.”
She noted that last week, Madison College signed an agreement with UW-Platteville for students in biology and bio-technology.
“Their last year in biology at UW-Platteville, they will be enrolled in our bio-tech post-baccalaureate certificate. So, they will graduate in four years from Platteville with a degree in biology or bio-tech and a post-baccalaureate certificate from Madison College,” Bakken noted. “We are thinking more innovatively at our college and with our partners beyond simple agreement where we hand students off; we are really looking at more integrated partnerships.”
The agreements signed Wednesday were another example of an integrated partnership, Bakken said.
Stebbins, meanwhile, spoke on the Journalism Pathway.
“It guarantee’s Madison College students a direct program-to-program if they wish to pursue a bachelor’s degree in journalism at UW-Whitewater,” he said. “Some of you may be aware that Madison College currently offers a journalism certificate for students who are interested in moving into entry-level careers in journalism or people who are already in the industry, but want to get an education to position themselves in that industry. The sweeping majority of students come to us because they are interested in at least a four-year degree, sometimes beyond that.”
Stebbins noted that more than 83 percent of Madison College students enrolled in the current certificate program go on to a four-year program.
“This new Liberal Arts Journalism Pathway is tailored to students who have met the requirements for a liberal arts degree from us, and wish to complete their coursework required for a baccalaureate degree in journalism from UW-Whitewater’s distinguished College of Arts and Communications,” he continued. “By taking advantage of the strengths at both institutions, access, academic rigor, and shared commitment to excellence, graduates of the Liberal Arts Journalism Pathway should be very prepared for success as they enter the workforce beyond their bachelor’s degree.”
Woodhouse spoke about the Business Pathway.
“The second contract we are signing today is the Liberal Arts Business Pathway agreement with UW-Whitewater’s College of Business and Economics,” he said.
“Madison College currently offers 26 areas of programming that are covered by the broad umbrella of business management and administration,” Woodhouse remarked,.
” That includes many specialties, like accounting, human resources, paralegal and many others. As Todd noted, the majority of students who enter these programs intend to transfer to a four-year college. For most of them, their first choice is to transfer somewhere into the UW System. That is why we partnered with UW-Whitewater.”
He said this agreement is designed for Madison College students who completed a customized mix of liberal arts and business courses required for an associate degree.
“In turn, these students can pursue a bachelor’s degree in any major offered by UW-Whitewater’s College of Business and Economics,” Woodhouse noted. “I want to emphasize the word ‘in.’ That is, all credits earned at Madison College will transfer to UW-Whitewater, including those earned in our business courses. This program-to-program transfer allows business students to take their careers into whatever direction they choose. Of course, it opens a whole world of possibilities for each student as they choose their career path.
“This agreement, like the others between Madison College and the UW System, really maximizes our finite resources,” he concluded. “It encourages academic and administrative coordination with an eye toward continuous improvements.”
Kopper said that she was excited about the articulation agreements.
“The UW-Whitewater is certainly an enthusiastic partner in paving pathways for students of all walks of life to achieve success,” she said. “These agreements show our joint commitment to making that happen.
“Students from Madison College will now be able to seamlessly transfer credit to UW-Whitewater, and enroll in upper-level courses in both business and journalism,” the provost said. “The College of Business and Economics, the College of Arts and Communication, and the College of Letters and Sciences are all ready to welcome these students into our challenging and innovative programs. As we strive to increase the number of baccalaureate degree holders in Wisconsin, working closely with our technical college partners is extremely important as we develop these credit agreements. These are vital, certainly, to our mission at UW-Whitewater.”
She continued: “UW-Whitewater graduates will enter the workforce with a strong liberal arts education that prepares them for the ever-changing world that we are in, with the skills that we hear from employers that they value, and demand, and with the knowledge to power the state’s economy. Many of our business alumni are leading accountants, entrepreneurs, they have their own businesses, and are CEOs in their respective fields. Our journalism alumni travel the globe, working for broadcast networks, trade publications, marketing companies and social media enterprises, just to name a few.
“I would like to thank everyone at both Madison College and UW-Whitewater for crafting theses agreements,” she concluded. “They deserve our thanks, we look forward to more partnerships.”
After Kopper’s remarks, each of the speakers signed the official paperwork needed to formalize the agreements, receiving a round of applause from those gathered for the event.
Then, in a somewhat humorous moment, Forseth presented Bakken and Kopper with a stuffed mascot from the opposite school – Willie Warhawk for Bakken and Wolfie for Kopper – to symbolize the partnership of the two institutions.
After the ceremony, Kopper said that UW-Whitewater has similar agreements with other two-year colleges in southern Wisconsin, but in other areas.
“We have an articulation agreement with every technical college in the state related to our Early Childhood program,” she said. “That is with Madison College and all other technical colleges. I believe next month, we are sending a team over to UW-Waukesha to look at further articulation agreements and partnerships.”
Qualified students are eligible to participate in the Liberal Arts Journalism Pathway and Liberal Arts Business Pathway programs this fall. For more information, contact Carlotta Calmese, associate dean of student development at Madison College, CCalmese@madisoncollege.edu, or Troy Moldenhaur, associate director of admissions at UW-Whitewater, firstname.lastname@example.org.
From floridasportsman.com: “South Florida National Parks Trust Delivers $80,000 in Support to Biscayne National Park” – The South Florida National Parks Trust has delivered grant checks worth $80,000 to Biscayne National Park in recent weeks to support critical park programs and projects, thanks in part to the generous support of Pescanova USA.
The grant payments will fund environmental education programs for South Florida school children, volunteer projects for college students on spring break, boater education classes for South Florida boaters and additional resource protection for the park itself.
“We are deeply grateful to Pescanova USA for its continued support, which has allowed us to provide this support to Biscayne National Park at a critical time,” said Don Finefrock, executive director of the South Florida National Parks Trust.
“Pescanova USA is proud to be able to make a meaningful contribution to this vital organization. The South Florida National Parks Trust and its directors have done an outstanding job supporting our prized National Parks in South Florida. We look forward to continuing to support them,” said Rafael Bru, president of Pescanova USA in Coral Gables, Florida.
Across-the-board spending cuts that took effect this month at the National Park Service and other federal agencies will result in a 5% budget cut at Biscayne National Park – a reduction of $200,000 in the park’s annual budget. Other national parks face similar cuts.
The SFNPT’s grant payments to Biscayne National Park were approved by the SFNPT board in September, before the spending cuts, but the timing of the grant payments highlights the important role that private philanthropy plays in our national parks.
“Private support for national parks is needed now more than ever to support park programs and projects like environmental education that make a critical difference for all of us in South Florida, especially children,” Mr. Finefrock said.
The grant payments from SFNPT to Biscayne National Park include:
• $25,000 for environmental education programs at Biscayne National Park that bring 3,000 school children to the park each year, many for the first time, for day programs and overnight camping, and reach another 6,500 students in classrooms.
• $10,000 to fund a volunteer program at Biscayne National Park that recruits college students to spend spring break in the park, working as volunteers to remove marine debris from park beaches in advance of turtle nesting season. More than 240 students from 22 colleges participated in the program last year.
• $35,000 to install 50 floating markers at the Featherbed Banks in Biscayne National Park to guide boaters and protect shallow habitat in Biscayne Bay.
• $10,000 to fund a boater education program at Biscayne National Park to reduce boat groundings in the park that damage sea grass beds and coral reefs.
In addition to these projects, the SFNPT approved an additional grant of $2,600 to help pay for two citizenship ceremonies this fiscal year at Biscayne National Park for new citizens of the United States – one for adults and one for children and their families. The citizenship ceremonies were held in December.
April 11, 2013
From madison.com: “MATC leaders propose smallest tax increase in recent years” – Madison Area Technical College leaders are proposing to raise taxes by less than 1 percent next year, which if passed would be the smallest hike from the college in recent years.
It’s part of an overall budget that has closed an estimated $5.2 million shortfall through a variety of measures including raising selected student fees and cutting 10 jobs although no faculty will be let go, said Tim Casper, assistant vice president for budget and public affairs.
Taxes on the average $239,239 Madison home would increase by about $3 under the proposed 2013-2014 budget presented at a District Board meeting Wednesday, bringing the total MATC tax on the mythical average home to about $437. That does not include other portions of the tax bill, such as city, county and public schools.
The modest tax increase comes after larger bumps by the college in recent times. The average annual increase between 2001 and 2011 was 6.32 percent. Last year the college’s portion of the tax bill rose 3.96 percent.
The small bump budgeted for next year takes advantage a new wrinkle in Gov. Scott Walker’s biennial budget that allows technical college districts to raise property taxes at the percentage of equalized value due to new construction. The college estimates that change allows it to levy an extra $750,000, Casper said.
The total amount the college would levy is $123.8 million. The college’s general fund, which pays for day-to-day operations, will be about $150.5 million, an increase of about 2 percent next year.
Ten positions would be cut under the new budget, including three that are currently vacant, Casper said. Six staffers would be cut in the business procurement center, with another 1.2 full-time equivalent positions in health education cut. The job cuts will save $580,000, Casper said.
Students applying to the college would pay $25 to take the college’s Compass entrance test, a fee that’s already levied on prospective students at all other state technical colleges, Casper said. Students would also pay an “academic support fee” starting next year of $1.65 a credit for college transfer students and $1.22 a credit for students in occupational paths.
April 8, 2013
From nbc15.com: “Entrepreneurs seek to create next big thing” — “I can’t remember how many gallons we went through last year, but it came out to be like $300 of coffee,” said Lorin Toepper, the executive director of economic and workforce development at Madison College. Liquid energy to sustain the group of about a hundred, as they strive to develop the next big thing. “The participants do a pitch on a great idea, or what they think is a great idea, and then people vote on it and figure out the top ideas that come out of today,” he said.
They then split into groups and spend the rest of “Startup Weekend” developing those ideas, ultimately presenting them to a panel of judges on Sunday. “It’s almost like immediate validation of their business idea,” said Toepper. “You may think you have a really cool idea, I mean I’ve got a million of them, just ask me, but until you actually get out there and test it in the marketplace you don’t know how well it’s going to be received. Well, you come here, you do a pitch and you have immediate validation.”
The best ones will earn a spot in the Gener8tor program.”That’s an accelerator where they’re holding your hands and taking you to the next level and eventually maybe you’ll get before some funding, potential funding sources,” he said.
Gener8tor held a launch day for some of its graduates just last night, and the co-founder said they’ve seen some pretty good success with the program. “Gener8tor has invested in 13 companies. Within one year those companies have gone on to raise over $3 million in private capital and have created over 40 jobs right here in Wisconsin,” said Co-Founder Troy Vosseller. “That’s something we’re really proud about.”
“Startup Weekend” is the first of its kind in the state and it’s a joint effort by Madison College, UW Madison, Edgewood College, Capital Entrepreneurs and Sector67.
April 3, 2013
From wisbusiness.com: “Aspiring entrepreneurs to share ideas at Madison College this weekend” – If you’ve ever dreamed of starting your own company, then Madison College is the place to be this weekend.
Startup Weekend Madison, a 54-hour workshop that brings together entrepreneurial minds from southern Wisconsin to encourage collaboration on innovative projects and form new startup companies, runs April 5-7 at the college’s West campus (302 S. Gammon Rd.) The event is a joint effort of Madison College, UW-Madison, Edgewood College, Capital Entrepreneurs and Sector67.
“This is an intensive, fun and high-energy opportunity to create something new with a team of innovative thinkers,” says Lorin Toepper, executive director of economic and workforce development-southwest region at Madison College and chair of the Startup Weekend Madison committee. “Startup Weekends are risk-free environments where everyone is expected to roll up their sleeves and dive into the exhilarating world of startups.”
Developers, designers, marketers, product managers and startup enthusiasts will be gathering to share ideas, form teams, build products, launch startups and compete for prizes. At last year’s inaugural event, more than 100 attendees pitched 60 new startup ideas. So far, nearly 500 Startup Weekends have taken place around the world and 200 more are being planned.
It’s not too late to register for this weekend’s Startup Weekend Madison. Just go to http://madison.startupweekend.org. If you have questions or need more information, call Lorin Toepper at (608) 333-2929.
Startup Weekend Madison is sponsored by Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, Google, American Family Insurance, Neider and Boucher, and Gener8tor.
From roboticstomorrow.com: “Madison College is Wisconsin’s first certified robot training and education site for FANUC Robotics Vision Programming” – “Around the country, only 11 schools have achieved this highest level of the FANUC Robotics Certified Education Robot Training (CERT) program,” said Paul Aiello, regional manager, FANUC Robotics America. “Madison College has been certified as a robot programming site since 2010.”
According to Peter S. Dettmer, Madison College Instructor – Automated Manufacturing, the school’s first class in Vision for Robotics Programming will be offered for free at the Watertown campus starting March 13, 2013 through a US Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant.
“This eight-week course and certification is part of a new two-year Associates Degree in Automated Manufacturing Systems Technology (AMST), which starts this fall,” said Dettmer. “Students who successfully complete the course will receive FANUC Robotics’ industry certification in vision and robot programming.”
FANUC Robotics CERT Program
Launched in 2008, FANUC Robotics’ CERT program certifies instructors at educational institutions to train their students to program FANUC robots through on-line and hands-on training courses.
“As more companies incorporate robotics into their operations, the demand for high paying careers related to designing, implementing and using industrial robots is increasing,” said Aiello. “Graduates of certified programs like the one offered at Madison College will start their careers with industry-recognized certifications. Those who are better-trained robot operators will set themselves apart in the workforce.”
March 14, 2013
From madison.com: “MATC scales back plan for culinary school” – Plans to build a Downtown home for Madison Area Technical College’s Culinary and Baking Institute have been scaled back after a funding shortfall prompted college officials to reconsider a new building next to its Downtown campus.
Instead, the college will pursue renovations to its existing building at 211 N. Carroll St. The plans, though preliminary, still would allow the Culinary and Baking Institute to move from the college’s East Side Truax campus to the Downtown location, but they fall short of the standalone building originally sought.
Last April, the college’s District Board unanimously approved plans for a new three-story building that would house a retail bakery, dining room and demonstration kitchen, all to be prominently displayed through windows on the corner of West Johnson Street and Wisconsin Avenue.
But with the cost of bids and contingencies totaling $14.6 million, the college was facing a $2.6 million shortfall for the project to be funded with leftover referendum money. Revisions to make the standalone building fit within budget constraints would have left the Culinary and Baking Institute less space than desired, so MATC facilities director Mike Stark suggested renovating the college’s Downtown building to include the culinary school.
“We knew as we were trying to downsize things to fit within our budget, all along it was shrinking, trying to save space,” Stark said. “It would have worked, but there would have been no room to grow.”
District Board member Joel Winn questioned why the college couldn’t raise enough money to make up the original project’s shortfall, but MATC President Bettsey Barhorst said the new proposal would be beneficial to more than just culinary students and faculty.
“When we looked at the possibility of doing it inside the building, we realized how much better that was for everyone — not just this one program,” Barhorst said.
Under Stark’s tentative plan, some of the programs at the Downtown building would be moved to make way for construction of the culinary school, and renovations of the remainder of the building would follow.
March 11, 2013
From madison.com: “UW-MATC reverse transfer agreement to be signed Monday” – Madison Area Technical College and UW-Madison are entering into a unique partnership that will allow MATC students who transfer to UW-Madison a chance to complete their associate degree with university credits.
Each year, hundreds of students begin their studies at MATC then transfer to UW-Madison. Some earn a bachelor degree. Others complete the 64 credits needed for an MATC associate degree.
But a third group earn at least 64 credits but never receive a degree because they enter a four-year program but drop out before completing it.
Under the “reverse transfer” agreement to be announced Monday, MATC students who earn 30 or more credits and then transfer to UW-Madison, can apply their UW credits back to automatically complete their MATC degree.
“An associate degree is recognized in the marketplace as a degree that may command a higher wage than somebody who just had some college and hadn’t finished anything. So that’s one advantage,” said Terry Webb, provost of MATC, also known as Madison College.
Getting the associate degree also could help motivate transfer students to complete their bachelor’s degree, he said.
Nationwide, there are just a few similar agreements, said MATC spokesman Cary Heyer.
“It’s a relatively new concept,” he said. “Certainly it’s going to pick up. It is unusual to the extent that it’s a two-year community college that’s partnering with a four-year comprehensive research institution.”
Webb referred to the “reverse transfer” language as “kind of a term of art,” which may not “be descriptive of what actually happens.”
“What it means is that instead of the traditional route where our students are transferring credits to UW-Madison, now our students are transferring credits from the university back to Madison College,” he said.
Webb said that last year nearly 800 MATC students transferred to the UW-Madison.
Additionally, last year and in previous years, an average of 200 students who completed an associate degree at MATC transferred to a 4-year college. While the majority go to UW-Madison, others go to UW-Whitewater, UW- Milwaukee and other schools, Webb said.
A signing ceremony for the agreement is scheduled for Monday morning at the Truax campus.
March 4, 2013
From nbc15.com: “New Compressed Natural Gas pump comes to Madison” – Maria Redmond made a rare trip to a gas station today. She bought her Honda Civic in October of last year. It’s fueled by CNG or Compressed Natural Gas and until now she filled her tank up at MG&E not a traditional gas station.
Today MG&E announced that with some help from the federal government and the State of Wisconsin they installed south central Wisconsin’s first public CNG pumps at the Speedway on Royal Avenue near South Towne.
Debbie Branson with MG&E says, ” We wanted to give some of the fleets in the area who are purchasing CNG vehicles an easy access, 24/7 option for fueling.”
Not only do drivers have a new place to fuel up but CNG costs about 40% to 50% less, emissions are about 30% lower and according to officials with MG&E it could help to significantly cut our dependence on foreign oil.
There are some setbacks to owning a CNG vehicle. You’re going to lose a little bit of trunk space. That’s because the tank sits just behind the back seat.
Craig Lathrop is an automotive instructor at Madison College. He says CNG vehicles can be between $4,000 and $10,000 more expensive. But he sees today’s announcement as a positive.
” There’s not a great structure yet, ” says Lathrop. ” I am stressing the word yet because there’s been great strides lately especially with the energy department and the state promoting it. “
For drivers like Maria today’s news is great. It means she can spend more time behind the wheel not worrying where she’s going to get the fuel to power them.
February 28, 2013
From channel3000.com: “Dentists warn of high acidity in some energy drinks” – MADISON, Wis. - Popular energy drinks claim to give people hours of energy, but dentists said people may be bathing their teeth in acid when they consume energy drinks.
They come in flashy containers, promising a boost to get you through those long days.
“A lot of people really do sit and just drink this stuff,” said Madison College dental hygiene student Alicia Selzler.
But when the jolt runs dry, new research shows, people are left with are serious hazards to their teeth.
“I used to drink these in high school myself,” said Selzler. “And I always wanted to do hygiene, but I never really thought of what this is actually doing to my teeth until I saw this.”
Selzler is no stranger to sugar’s destructive path, but the experiment she’s conducting with her classmates at Madison College examines the acid content of energy drinks.
“The citric acid is the one ingredient that we noticed that if it was listed near the top of the ingredient list, that was one of those solutions we knew we were going to get a low pH,” said Marcy LeFave, Madison College dental hygiene faculty member.
On a pH scale, a reading of 7 is neutral, like water. The lower the number, the more acidic the chemical. Students measured the pH of a variety of drinks. Coffee and milk showed pH scores of around 5 and 6, respectively. Root beer was around 4.
But a sugar-free bottle of Vitamin Water Zero showed a high level of acidity in a test, Selzler said.
“It’s actually Vitamin Water Zero,” said Selzler. “It’s showing a pH of 3.15. So the pH of that product is really, really low.”
The energy drink in the experiment logged a pH close to 3 as well. Battery acid reads -1 on the pH scale.
And with the popularity of these types of drinks, researchers said it’s only a matter of time before a rising number of dentists expend more of their energy on tooth decay.
“I always tell my patients, and I’ve learned from my hygienist and my teachers, if you sip all day, you get decay,” said Selzler, “So this is kind of what we like to show people, the acid and what it’s all doing.”
With sugar, the decay process begins after the sugar reacts with the bacteria in a person’s mouth to produce the acid that eventually gets to his or her teeth. When drinking energy drinks high in citric acid, it skips the sugar-bacteria chemical reaction completely. Researchers said the citric acid could damage a person’s teeth faster.
February 13, 2013
From madison.com: “Madison College officials wary of Scott Walker’s funding plan” – For some time now, Republicans in general, and Gov. Scott Walker in particular, have suggested that the state’s system of higher education is not focused enough on readying students for jobs.
How the governor would address that concern remained vague, particularly with regards to UW-Madison and other UW System schools, whose appeal comes at least in part from world-class liberal arts programs — few of which purport to guarantee young people high-paying jobs right out of college.
But this week he took his first stab at it, proposing to tie funding for technical colleges to the ability of their graduates to find jobs.
Says the governor’s summary of the plan:
“(T)he budget will phase in performance funding for all of the state aid given to technical colleges. It will begin at 10 percent in 2014-15 and would eventually total all $88.5 million general aid through performance by 2020. This would be roughly one-tenth of Wisconsin Technical College System school operational budgets. The funding formula would be developed by WTCS with Department of Administration oversight. The formula would be required to have a focus on job placement and programs focused in high-demand fields.”
So what do local tech school officials think about the proposal?
Terry Webb, provost of Madison College (formerly Madison Area Technical College), says accountability and even performance-based funding is welcome, but that tying funds to job placement is a flawed approach.
“Madison College and all the technical colleges are equipped to be tested on the career readiness of our graduates. We have systems in place that objectively measure that,” he says.
The ability of a qualified, well-trained student to immediately get a job in his or her field, however, is based on a number of variables that are out of the college’s control, he says, including the number of jobs available, the geographic location of the jobs and, of course, the personal choices the graduate makes after finishing school.
The school seems to be well-equipping its graduates for careers in health care, a rapidly expanding sector of particular importance to the Madison area.
For instance, according to Mark Lausch, dean of the School of Health Education, 100 percent of students graduating from Madison College’s dental hygiene program passed the National Board Dental Hygiene Examination, a required feat for anybody who wants to work in the field. Nationally, the pass rate was 83 percent.
The lowest pass rate comes in the medical assistant program, where 88 percent of students pass, compared to a national average of 67 percent.
“That’s a good reflection of how prepared our students are to find a job in the field they’re studying,” says Lausch.
But, he says, tying funding to job placement would fail to recognize the many students who attend tech schools with no intention of seeking a related job immediately after graduation.
“We have people who come here for a degree for something unrelated to what they’re working in. They’re looking for a credential or something that augments what they already know,” he says.
Webb says gearing the college’s programs toward job opportunities has always been the school’s chief concern, but that he hopes politicians and policymakers are wary of putting too much emphasis on whatever the “hot” sector is at the moment. After the tech bubble popped in 2000, he says, the college did not take resources away from information technology training, in recognition of the long-term benefits of such programs.
Nevertheless, there are frequently programs that are discontinued when the job prospects are deemed too bleak. For instance, the college recently ended its long-running printing program.
“The printing business went in some ways into a slump,” he says.
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.