From biztimes.com: “DWD awards grants to Gateway and Waukesha County Technical Colleges” – Gateway Technical College has received nearly $1.9 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grant funding, while Waukesha County Technical College has been allocated close to $1.7 million, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development announced today.

The two technical colleges were awarded portions of a grant initiative totaling more than $28 million that Gov. Scott Walker announced last week.

According to Walker’s announcement, Wisconsin is distributing more than $28 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to the Wisconsin Technical College System to train more than 4,900 workers.

That system encompasses 16 schools, including Gateway Technical College in Kenosha and Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee.

At Gateway Technical College, grant dollars will support the training of a maximum 756 workers in several “high-demand areas,” the DWD said. Those areas touch disciplines in manufacturing, business management, apprenticeship, education, health care and more.

At Waukesha County Technical College, up to 168 workers will benefit from grant dollars. Workers will be trained for careers in manufacturing, education and human services, and applied science fields.

Transportation, distribution and logistics training will also be covered under the grants.

“These grant dollars will significantly impact the journey of our students pursuing high-demand programs such as welding, computer numerical control (CNC), early childhood education and transportation, and in turn benefit our local economy,” said Kaylen Betzig, interim president of Waukesha County Technical College. “We are pleased and honored that the governor recognizes WCTC’s work as an important and valuable investment.”

From biztimes.com: “MATC to get $2.6 million from state for worker training” — Milwaukee Area Technical College will get $2.6 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grant funds from the state to train up to 546 workers for in-demand fields, Gov. Scott Walker announced today.

The funds are part of a $28 million grant package, announced earlier this week, for the state’s technical colleges to train up to 4,908 workers for jobs that employers need to fill.

“The Wisconsin Fast Forward program makes targeted investments in worker training, which will strengthen the workforce and ensure we have workers to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Walker said.

MATC will receive: $687,960 to train 125 students in early childhood education, $652,113 to train 66 students in truck driving, $546,945 to train 307 students in health care to be certified nursing assistants, and $703,500 to train 48 students in CNC manufacturing.

“This grant will provide MATC the opportunity to prepare area residents for employment in high-demand fields in southeastern Wisconsin,” said MATC President Dr. Vicki J. Martin. “These programs are among our most popular and the funds will allow us to educate, train, and prepare more students for careers that are essential to Wisconsin’s economic vitality.”

From haywardwi.com: “Demand rises for home health care workers” – by Patty Murray, Wisconsin Public Radio – The move to keep older people in their own homes as long as possible has meant more demand for home health care workers — a job that is not only tough, but that can be low-paying as well.

Home health care workers go into an older or disabled person’s home to help them with tasks that range from the mundane, like shoe-tying, to the intimate, like baths and going to the toilet.

It’s work that Shelly Waltman enjoys.

“It’s not like a job over there,” said Waltman. “It’s just like having another family out there.”

Waltman is a certified home health provider who works through N.E.W. Curative, a nonprofit based in Green Bay. Four mornings each week, she works with a couple who are in their 70s.

“Right now I wouldn’t call them ‘elderly,’ but aging,” she said.

The husband has Alzheimer’s disease. She gets him cleaned and dressed and monitors his medication.

Waltman has done the work for years and said it takes patience and compassion.

“One minute, like a lamb — the next minute, you could be getting hit,” she said. “So, you’ve got to be able to take the tough with the good.”

Caregivers like Waltman might be hired by family members who need a break, or they could be the client’s main source of help. They can work through private companies, or places like N.E.W. Curative.

All in-home caregivers need some level of certification. Green Bay’s Northeast Wisconsin Technical College graduates 700 certified nursing assistants each year. Students can also get a short personal care worker certification.

Cindy Theys, the school’s associate dean in the health sciences department, said the work is rewarding, but nursing assistants deal with people when they’re not at their best.

“You can’t curl up your nose if something doesn’t smell pretty, because that’s what is going to happen,” said Theys. “Even the ability to touch other people — there are people who are very uncomfortable being touched, and there’s people who are very uncomfortable touching others. But you will have to be touching people.”

NWTC claims an 85 to 90 percent placement rate for its health care graduates. Starting jobs pay between $10 to $12 an hour.

Those numbers sound good to Erica Huettl, who is pursuing a registered nursing degree. She is looking to get experience dealing with patients and is considering a job as a nursing assistant in either an in-home setting or at a nursing home. She said there’s a lot to choose from, and it’s a good way to get experience — but not to get rich.

“Obviously, with more education and the higher you go with nursing, that pay goes up,” she said.

Using a CNA as a launching pad can pay off over time. A recent NWTC survey of its graduates shows RNs can make about $50,000 dollars a year within five years of graduation.

For those who aren’t pursuing a higher degree of nursing, home health care seems to be more of a lifestyle than a career. Shelly Waltman said it’s easy to get attached to clients, even those who are rather difficult.

“Watching somebody fail; knowing that some types of the things they’re going through will progress,” she said. “(Knowing) how hard of a time the family has with it and being able to empathize. Because I did have a grandma who had issues like that. That’s the hard part.”

 

From htrnews.com: “District, college awarded grants” — MISHICOT – The Mishicot School District and Lakeshore Technical College were awarded grants from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development to develop or expand creative programs that prepare high school students for the workforce or post-secondary education through training in high-demand fields.

The investment is part of Governor Scott Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity, a comprehensive agenda to provide tax relief and invest in worker training to move Wisconsin along a path to prosperity.

The Mishicot School District was awarded $87,384 to launch an initiative to further opportunities for students in the areas of manufacturing and welding.

LTC was awarded $32,064 for its CNA program, $19,444 for its hospitality program, and $13,629 for its safety program.

DWD’s Office of Skills Development is administering the grant program. The school-to-work programs will kick off during the 2014-15 academic year.

From chippewa.com: “Nursing program offers new career to CVTC grad” — Bethany Smith of Menomonie found manufacturing work wasn’t quite right for her, especially after her hours changed. Now she’s about to embark on a new career after completing the Nursing-Associate Degree program at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC).

“I was working a full-time job, and they switched to a 12-hour shift. I decided I didn’t want to do that the rest of my life,” Smith said.

Smith was one of 621 graduates in 44 academic programs honored Friday night at the CVTC spring commencement ceremony held at UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena. On Thursday, CVTC honored 46 graduates in five programs at its River Falls Campus. The number of graduates at Eau Claire was very similar to the spring 2013 graduation, which honored 626 graduates.

Retraining help

The most popular programs among this spring’s graduates at the Eau Claire campus are Nursing, with 80 graduates, Business Management with 38 graduates, and Electrical Power Distribution with 30.

When Smith, a single mother, decided to go back to school, she found help through the Bridges2Healthcare program that provides job retraining for displaced and low income workers. The program helped her explore opportunities in the healthcare field.

“I always wanted to do something in the medical field,” Smith said. “I have always been fascinated by the human body and how it works, and I like taking care of people.”

Smith is considering emergency room or surgical work as long-term goals in the nursing field.

“The decision to go back to school was an easy one, but leaving the security of a full-time job was hard,” she said.

Speakers

Among the other graduates was student speaker Ashley Weiss of Menomonie, who is originally from Gilmanton, in the Administrative Professional program. She urged the graduates to have confidence that they can achieve their goals and overcome their failures.

“If you want something bad enough, what you have accomplished here today should be enough to show you that you can absolutely reach any goal you set your mind to,” she said. “But don’t be afraid of failure on your way there. Sometimes those failures are what motivate you to do better and push yourself harder.”

 

From weau.com: “Nurses educators discuss future nursing shortage” – It’s a profession that’s expected to grow nearly 20% in the next 10 years.

In the coming years more nurses will be needed in the area and that has educators and employers looking to the future.

Local nursing programs like the one at Chippewa Valley Technical College say they have a one to three year waiting list to get in and every semester nearly 80 students graduate with degrees.

That may sound like a lot but these programs will need to expand in the future to meet the growing need.

“It’s what I have wanted to do since I was a little girl and I can’t imagine doing anything else,” Registered Nurse Elizabeth Bohl said.

For Elizabeth Bohl, who has worked as an R.N. at Sacred Heart Hospital for a year, nursing is more than a career.

Bohl is just one of the nurses that hit the pavement Wednesday to celebrate Nurse’s Week along the trails of Carson Park. The day is a time to thank the men and women who are there day in and day out to help us when we need it. In the coming years we’ll need more nurses to treat the aging population.

“As the baby boomers retire we are going to see higher need for nursing professionals,” CVTC Associate Dean of Health Linda Krueger said.

Krueger says since she first started at CVTC she’s seen all of the health care programs get bigger and the need for more nursing graduates is a shortage they are hoping to fill.

“We tend to admit 72 to 88 students a semester and then we graduate every semester 80 to 85 students,” Krueger said.

Even with a fresh batch of faces graduating every couple of months from CVTC’s Nursing Program, those in the business say the need for more help is still there.

“We are full almost every day of the week and it just keeps getting busier,” Registered Nurse Roxanne Mewhorter said.

It’s not just quantity, it’s quality. Despite the growing need, both nurses and educators say patient care will always be a top priority.

“We are still concerned with patient outcomes and that’s where good nursing care comes in,” Krueger said.

“I like to see the patients and their families. You can see that you can make a difference and helped them. It’s always a push to go back to work,” Bohl said.

On top of a projected shortage in nurses in the future, four Wisconsin universities including UW-Eau Claire are offering a loan forgiveness program to students trying to get into nursing education. That program is meant to fill the growing need for nursing instructors.

From lacrossetribune.com: “La Crosse summit seeks Rx for health gap for disadvantaged” –Coulee Region health officials are pressing their quest to improve residents’ overall well-being by diagnosing the impact of factors such as socioeconomic conditions.

The evolving concept of health equity “includes health care, but it’s a lot more,” said Jordan Bingham, who will address the topic as keynote speaker Friday at the annual Health Summit of the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium.

“Having access to health care is only about 20 percent of it,” said Bingham, health equity coordinator for public health in Madison and Dane County. “Other things include the environment — and I don’t mean just clean air and water. Those play a part, but it also includes healthy housing, healthy food and healthy activities.”

Some people don’t have access to such advantages, she said, adding, “Where people live, their education, their income, race and social class are significant health predictors.

“Over the years, we’ve educated people on how to be healthy but not addressed the environmental factors,” Bingham said.

The theme of the summit from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Lunda Center at Western Technical College is “Health Equity: The Opportunity for Health Begins in Our Families, Neighborhoods, Schools and Jobs.”

It piggybacks on the outcome of the summit last year, when participants resolved to examine factors such as income, poverty and education, consortium executive director Catherine Kolkmeier said.

“I hear more and more in the community about how health is tied to people’s circumstances — how we live, where we work,” Kolkmeier said.

“There is a lot of momentum in the community about neighborhood revitalization, and that is tied into health,” Kolkmeier said.

Previously, health considerations often were split into clinical care at hospitals, the physical environment in the city and county and socioeconomic conditions that various public agencies addressed, she said.

“It’s become more obvious now that you can’t separate the health and the socioeconomic conditions,” she said.

Although data exist on the federal and state levels, it’s harder to discern statistics locally, so the consortium is working on that, Kolkmeier said.

The consortium, which covers 20 counties in the tri-state area, and other local agencies have developed a reputation for taking health initiatives seriously, said Bingham, who previously was the state’s Healthy Communities coordinator.

“A lot of places around the state see La Crosse as a leader,” she said. “Folks there are doing great work with smoke-free living … and increasing access to healthy foods and activities.”

Avoiding the political rabbit hole of the Affordable Care Act, Bingham said Obamacare at least is creating access to health care for people who didn’t have it before.

Beyond that, though, she said, “What is our responsibility to create opportunities for people to live, work, learn and play?”

Bingham acknowledged differences between urban and rural areas.

“Urban communities traditionally are more walkable, more dense and have more resources,” such as being able to get to a park to exercise, she said.

“In rural settings, which are a huge challenge in Wisconsin, people may have a lot of physical activity. But in reality, most who live in rural areas traditionally drive to their jobs,” she said.

“When it comes down to it, the reality is we don’t all have the same opportunities,” she said. “I live close to two grocery stores. I can ride, walk, bus or drive to work.

“I can provide the basic needs, but people on limited income or with disabilities or who live in apartment where the only place to play is the parking lot cannot,” she said.

“All of us need to understand that our community isn’t healthy until all have the opportunities to close the health gap,” Bingham said.

“It may be obvious — but maybe not — it’s a sad state of affairs when where people live or their ZIP codes determine how healthy they are or how long they live.”

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Health care delegation visits Fox Cities” — APPLETON — International health care delegates will be in the Fox Cities today and Friday to gain insight into health care management best practices and tour facilities.

The Fox Cities Regional Partnership will host nearly 20 delegates from the Special American Business Internship Training Hospital Administration program. The mid- to senior-level health care executives from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Ukraine began their U.S. tour March 28 in Washington, D.C.

“We’re excited to host this prestigious delegation and have teamed up with our region’s world-class health care organizations to share their knowledge and experiences with the group,” Larry Burkhardt, executive vice president at Fox Cities Regional Partnership, said in a statement. “Our local health systems have been able to provide a variety of the best health care options in the region, and to have others outside the Fox Valley learn and benefit from our leaders is an honor.”

The U.S. Department of Commerce is coordinating the group’s visit. A Commerce Department representative contacted the Fox Cities Regional Partnership and requested the visit after finding information about the region’s health care assets on the Partnership’s website. The representative said the Fox Cities was selected for its national reputation as a leader in high quality health care at low cost.

The delegates will visit with Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin Fox Valley, the Orthopedic & Sports Institute of the Fox Valley (OSI), Neuroscience Group, Affinity Health System at St. Elizabeth Hospital, ThedaCare at the ThedaCare Center for Healthcare Value, Neurospine Center and Fox Valley Technical College’s new Health Simulation & Technology Lab.

Discussion topics will include financial management, new medical technologies and risk management, equipment manufacturers, relationships with insurance companies, medical ethics and conflict resolution, and doctor and patient rights.

From wxow.com: “Bridges2Healthcare” grant funds healthcare academy at WTC” – One of seven colleges to receive the “Bridges2Healthcare” Grant, Western Technical College hosts a Healthcare Academy which introduces career options in healthcare to those interested.

The four day Academy runs from April 8 through April 11, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Healthcare Academy provides introductions to various career options in healthcare, training, and employment requirements.

The participants are additionally mentored by a Success Coach in communication and study skills, financial literacy, safety, stress management, customer service, and how to stay healthy.

Not only is it a 30 hour introduction program, but the benefits stretch beyond the four days.

Tutors and Success Coaches will be available to participants if they choose to pursue a career in the health field.

“I have seen a huge increase in the need for employees, well trained and prepared employees in the health care field,” said “Bridges2Healthcare” facilitator, Ray Heidel. “The healthcare field is huge.”

The program is partially funded by the nearly $13 million “Bridges2Healthcare” Grant from the Department of Labor, making it free to all those interested.

The grant was awarded to seven colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin recognized for a growing need in healthcare employees as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program.

Those interested must be at least 18 years old, out of high school, and be interested in the healthcare field.

The next Healthcare Academy session is set to take place in June; to preregister for the event, contact the “Bridges2Heathcare” Facilitator, Ray Heidel, at (608)789-6216.

 

From beloitdailynews.com: “YouthBuild program helps young people develop skills” – In honor of National YouthBuild Day, which is being observed today, those at Community Action Inc.’s Beloit Fresh Start program have been celebrating its impact in the community and opening its doors to the community.

On Wednesday, those at Community Action were providing tours of housing projects FreshStart students are working in the Merrill neighborhood. And to celebrate Janeville’s 12 administrative personnel from Community Action moving to the Beloit facility at the Eclipse Center there was a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. followed by an Business After Hours event at 5 p.m.

Since the program launched in 2006, there have been 88 graduates and an 80 percent success rate, according to Gary Wagner, program manager.

In the program, students age 18 to 21 who have dropped out of high school can get re-enrolled to attend classes at the Community Action Pathways Center to obtain their diploma and obtain job skills. Students have three career path certifications they can choose from — certified nursing assistant, business and customer service or construction, said FreshStart Academic Supervisor Linda Fair.

Fair said students can obtain their high school diplomas with the chance to walk across the stage in the graduation ceremony by taking online classes.

Next year the business and customer service certification will be replaced by a welding certificate. Efforts are also under way for the welding program to be held at Beloit Memorial High School’s newly remodeled career and technical education area.

In light of the successful programming, Candelaria Diaz and Ike Lee are visiting Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. today to speak about the need for funding for YouthBuild USA. The Fresh Start program of Community Action is funded partially by YouthBuild USA and is up to renew its grant nationally. Diaz and Lee graduated from the program and are now program assistants working through AmeriCorps.

In Beloit one of the most popular career paths for the Fresh Start program has been in construction. A few years ago Community Action purchased more than 17 properties in the Merrill neighborhood. Students in the FreshStart construction program worked on rehabbing the homes as they gained work skills. The homes are then resold to qualified low income families through the Merrill Housing Initiative.

FreshStart Construction instructor Deitra Green said students graduate from her classes with a pre-apprenticeship certificate from the nationally-recognized Home Building Institute. Green, an electrician with more than 20 years of experience in construction, said students completing her classes know how to use tools as well as the basics of building and fixing homes. On Wednesday, she was helping her students work on a home at 1346 Yates Ave. Many of them were learning the fine art of dry wall installation.

The students in Fresh Start’s construction program work on rehabbing a home to sell each spring.

Tailor Laidig, 18, is one of the students who will graduate with a certified nursing assistant certification. Laidig, who had her son in tenth grade, said she couldn’t continue her education because of childcare. At the time she only had 6.25 credits and needed 24 credits to graduate.

However, now her son is enrolled nearby in Head Start and she is able to attend classes at FreshStart. The program has also helped her get assistance with an apartment and transportation. Once Laidig graduates, she hopes to continue on to college to become a pediatric nurse while using her CNA certification to get a job as she gets through school. Laidig is currently attending some of her classes nearby at the Blackhawk Technical College site in the Eclipse Center and doing clinical work in Brodhead before she will take her state board exam.

Wagner said there were more than 70 applications for the program which can only accept 21 students. He noted that applicants must pass a thorough interview process and a 2-week “mental toughness” component to demonstrate if they are ready to fully commit themselves to the program.

Community Action is an 100 percent local, not-for-profit organization, offering a broad spectrum of community programs aimed at preventing and reducing poverty in Rock and Walworth counties. It operates the Fresh Start program, offers child care, at-risk youth programming, teen parent support, women’s health care, senior benefits counseling, home ownership programs, affordable housing units, home weatherization and rehab, assistance in dealing with a housing crisis, food for area pantries and shelter for the homeless.

 

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Conversation: Apprenticeship program needs business partners” — By Rich RymanPress-Gazette Media talks to business leaders in its weekly conversation feature. This week, Lisa Schmelzer of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce discusses the chamber’s Youth Apprenticeship Program.

The program is in its 20th year in Brown County.

Q. What is the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce’s Youth Apprenticeship program?

A. The Youth Apprenticeship program is a statewide school-to-work initiative offered by the state Department of Workforce Development designed specifically for high school students. It integrates academic and technical instruction with paid, mentored work experience at an area business. The program is facilitated for 10 area school districts in and around Brown County by the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

Q. How many youth are participating?

A. Of the 94 students we have participating in the program, we secured training site placements for 46, with many more students eagerly waiting to begin their on-the job training.

The breakdown of participants by school district is:

Ashwaubenon, 10; Howard-Suamico, 12; De Pere, eight; Denmark, eight; Green Bay, 26; Luxemburg-Casco, six; Pulaski, 11; Seymour, six; West De Pere, five, and Wrightstown, two.

Q. In which jobs are apprenticeships available? What determines availability?

A. The Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce Youth Apprenticeship program offers nine high-demand career areas with more than 40 career pathways.

Program areas, identified as high demand by the state Department of Workforce Development include:

• Agriculture, Food, & Natural Resources, Animal Basics, Large Animal/Herd, Vet Assistant, Plant Basics, Crops, Greenhouse, Landscaping, Water Resources

• Arts, A/V Technology & Communications – Printing, Graphics

• Financial Services – Accounting, Banking, Insurance

• Health Science – Nursing Assistant, Medical Assistant, Pharmacy, Ambulatory/Support Services (dietary, laboratory, imaging, optometry or physical therapy), Medical

•  OfficeHospitality, Lodging, & Tourism – Dining, Kitchen, Front Desk, Housekeeping, Travel/Tours, Grounds & Maintenance, Meetings & Events, Marketing & Sales, Management

• Information Technology – IT General, Hardware, Software

• Manufacturing – Assembly & Packaging, Manufacturing Processes, Machining, Operations Management, Welding, Equipment Maintenance

• STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) – Engineering Drafting, Mechanical Design, Electrical Engineering, Civil Engineering

• Transportation, Distribution & Logistics – Auto Collision, Auto Technology, Logistics/Supply Chain Management

Q. What are the programs greatest needs?

A. The program is in immediate need of more Brown County area businesses tfor on-the-job training in many of the program areas, especially health, auto tech/collision, STEM, finance and welding areas

Q. Have you had to turn students away because of a lack of employers?

A. The program doesn’t turn students away; students start their industry-related classes at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in anticipation of the job placement. However, students who are not placed in an on-the-job training position are missing the most important and crucial components of the program: the opportunity to start building valuable employability and industry skills.

Q. Anything you’d like to add that we did not cover?

A. With the projected workforce shrinkage due to the anticipated “Silver Tsunami,” — the large number of Baby Boomers reaching retirement — the Youth Apprenticeship program can be part of the solution. We bring goal-oriented youth into workplaces and industry paths and create highly skilled workers to fill businesses’ employment pipeline. Students in the program now may be the full-time employees businesses hire down the road.

If you’d like to learn how participating in Youth Apprenticeship may serve as a pipeline to your future work force, please contact Lisa Schmelzer, Youth Apprenticeship program manager, at (920) 593-3411 or lschmelzer@titletown.org. More information on the program is available at www.titletown.org/YA.

From marshfieldnewsherald.com: Fond du Lac job searchers enjoy diverse options” — FOND DU LAC — Job seekers are enjoying an uptick in employment opportunities in the Fond du Lac area.

Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce president and CEO Joe Reitemeier says the area is seeing a definite shift in momentum since the first quarter of the year.

“Coming out of the recession we were a little bit behind in gaining any traction in opportunities for employment,” Reitemeier said. “In recent months we’ve literally seen dozens of companies aggressively seeking new employees.”

While large manufacturers in the area — Mercury Marine and Alliance Laundry Systems — have undergone expansions and added to their employee base, Reitemeier says job opportunities are available across a wide spectrum including manufacturing, food service, agriculture production, financial services, insurance and health care.

“Virtually every kind of job is being marketed right now,” he said. “However, one piece consistent within all the job openings is the requirement for advanced skill sets. Those people who are available for work are going to have to come with a skill set that is desired by the employer.”

Top employers in the Fond du Lac area include Brunswick, Agnesian, Alliance Laundry Systems and the Fond du Lac School District.

Success story

Kondex Corp. in Lomira, which produces engineered cutting and high-wear components for the agriculture industry and beyond, has enjoyed job growth over the past year.

Since Kondex moved to its new plant in 2007, the company has grown its employee base by 50 percent — to 280 employees, said Mike Frydryk, vice president of human resources and organizational development.

The 2012 drought hampered plans for hiring last year.

“The drought had a lag effect on our business in 2013,” Frydryk explained. “However, as we plan ahead we do expect 2014 to bring continued growth from what we are expecting from our customer base.”

While Kondex offers entry-level positions in packaging and assembly starting at $10 and $11 an hour, the manufacturer also recruits for positions requiring specific capabilities, education and experience including machine operators, welders and engineers.

Wages

Reitemeier said most of the jobs available in the Fond du Lac area fall in the $11 to $13 an hour starting range.

“We’re not really talking about minimum wage positions but positions starting at a considerably higher level. But again, those jobs require skills,” he said.

Many companies offer on-the-job training programs while others provide tuition reimbursement for employees willing to seek additional training, Reitemeier said.

“Moraine Park Technical College offers a wealth of opportunities for developing specific skills in much of the employment arenas that we’re seeing. Oftentimes those programs are available to employees where the employer will actually pay for the instruction,” Reitemeier. “Advanced degrees at institutions like MPTC or a four-year college and experience are needed for the advanced positions being offered out there.”

Late last year, Fond du Lac’s unemployment rate was 5.4 percent, according to U.S. Department of Labor statistics released in December 2013.

“Even with a 5 percent unemployment rate we’re virtually experiencing full employment right now,” Reitemeier said. “We’re going to have to figure out creative ways to find the qualified applicants for the positions out there.”

From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Skilled trades, health care jobs among hottest in Oshkosh area” — OSHKOSH — Manufacturing technology, skilled trades and health care positions are among the hottest job prospects in the Oshkosh area, local workforce development leaders say.

In a time when jobs still are hard to come by — especially for those without specialized training — there is hope for applicants who are seeking employment in some of the high-demand sectors and know where to find the necessary training for those positions.

“We’re definitely seeing manufacturing jobs still hiring,” said Brian Covey, communications director for Forward Service Corp., which runs the Winnebago County W-2 program and serves low-income families in the region. “Through W-2, what we’re seeing is a lot of care-giving (jobs).”

For example, certified nursing assistants or in-home caregivers are among the most in-demand positions, as well as construction jobs, especially with the upcoming reconstruction of a bridge along U.S. 41, Covey said.

According to state Department of Workforce Development statistics for the third quarter of 2013, the top industries by employment in Winnebago County were food services and drinking places, transportation equipment manufacturing, papermaking, administrative and support services, and educational services.

The county experienced a non-adjusted unemployment rate of 5.1 percent in December, compared to 5.8 percent statewide and 6.5 percent nationally, according to the most recent DWD estimates.

“In the manufacturing environment, a lot has changed since the baby boomers first entered the job market,” said Paul Stelter, CEO of the Neenah-based Fox Valley Workforce Development Board. “Those jobs require a lot more technical skills. As a result, the people who are looking to enter into the manufacturing industry today need at least at technical college education.

“Manufacturing isn’t that dark, dirty place that you associate with manufacturing plants of 50 years ago.”

According to data compiled from the 2012 and 2013 Fox Valley Technical College graduate employment research reports, the top job markets in the region include criminal justice and law enforcement as well as agri-business and science technology.

Also among the top industry sectors are nursing assistant, marketing, administrative professionals, electromechanical technology and welders, all of which are offered at FVTC locations in Oshkosh, said Chris Jossart, media relations manager for Fox Valley Technical College. He said welding, wood manufacturing, aviation, marketing and medical technology also are in high demand.

The system has campuses in Grand Chute and Oshkosh; regional centers in Chilton, Clintonville, Waupaca and Wautoma; and training centers in Appleton, Oshkosh and Neenah. In addition to job-specific training — much of which is offered through FVTC — many local employers are looking for workers with soft skills, such as time management, teamwork, flexibility and the ability to learn on the job.

“Employers are looking for the best fit, and the best fit includes not only the technical part but also the person’s ability to show up on time, to work well with others, to be a contributing member of the team, and all those are contributors to hiring a person,” Stelterhe said.

Nearly 16,000 people in the Oshkosh-Neenah area work in production occupations, followed by about 13,000 in office and administrative support and about 7,000 in sales and related occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Transportation and material moving, food preparation and serving, and health care practitioners and technical occupations round out the rest of the industries that employ more than 5,000 people each.

From journaltimes.com: “Gateway offering optometry assistant programs” — RACINE – Starting later this spring, students at Gateway Technical College will be able to begin training to become an optometry or ophthalmologist assistant thanks to a federal Affordable Care Act grant.

Gateway received a five-year $10 million grant in 2010 to help pay for health programs and help students going into health related fields, said Stacia Thompson, the project director for Gateway’s Health Profession Opportunity Program.

It’s largely gone to pay for support services for Gateway students going into health fields. That included tuition assistance, tutoring, job search assistance and transportation and child care assistance.

The idea of the grant was to help prepare and train students for the growing health care industry, Thompson said.

Recently area optometry and ophthalmology professionals indicated the need for more training to help assistants learn how to use new equipment, Thompson said. Currently the closest place to receive the training is Milwaukee, she said.

“A lot of things the college does are employer driven,” Thompson said. “The local workforce came to us and said there was a need and we saw we had to respond to that need.”

Through the federal grant, Gateway was able to purchase approximately $103,000 in equipment to start offering the program at Gateway’s Racine campus, she said.

That includes equipment that checks for glaucoma, tells what prescription glasses are currently, and helps determine lens prescriptions.

The grant is also paying for the instructor for the first class and books for the first class, Thompson said, although she did not have the cost breakdown for those.

They already have a limited group of 15 students who are in the process of registering for the classes starting in May, but it will be open to the public as a whole in the fall semester, Thompson said

To complete the certificate program students must complete four classes, adding up to 13 credits.

From lacrosstribune.com: “Southwest Tech, PdC Memorial open Fennimore Clinic” – Prairie du Chien Memorial Health Clinic-Fennimore opened Monday in the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College campus’ Health Sciences building.

Nurse practitioner Peggy Barton will serve as the clinic’s primary provider. Barton has worked 32 years in nursing and has 19 years of experience as a nurse practitioner, certified in women’s health and family care, with an interest in diabetes.

Primary care services offered at the new clinic include annual health and wellness visits, health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, general consultation and referral.

Dental services and behavioral health services will be added later this year.

From riverfallsjournal.com: “For tech college students, simulation lab brings medical reality” – When nursing students at Chippewa Valley Technical College in River Falls work on a training scenario with one of the school’s high-tech simulation mannequins, they can rely only on their own knowledge and instincts.

There’s no glancing over at an instructor in search of a nod of approval for a chosen course of action.

The instructor watches from a separate room, behind glass that students cannot see through. She listens, observes, and controls the simulator to react accordingly to what the students do — good or bad.

“This is more realistic than it was before,” said student Anna Hinde, originally from Barron. “We are able to have some hands-on, real-life experiences.”

Added Colin McConville of Hudson: “We have a lot more space, there are more mannequins, and we’ve got a new teaching lab.”

Use of computerized simulation mannequins — that breathe, react, and have vital signs like real patients — have been part of the CVTC Nursing program at River Falls for years. However, the new simulation lab, which opened in January, seems to be a vast improvement.

“Our environment here is more representative of an actual hospital room,” said Simulation Technician Cynthia Anderson, registered nurse. “The old lab was about half the size of one room in the new lab, and had a noisy air compressor in the room to run the mannequins. Our air compressor is now in another room.”

The mannequins were used to be placed on something like old hospital gurneys. Now there are real hospital beds for the mannequins and sometimes live people playing patients.

“We’re not tripping on cords anymore,” said Bethany Geske, a nursing student who lives in Menomonie, in reference to power cords to the equipment that used to be taped down but are now under the floor.

The lighting is far better, and includes a large window to provide natural light, but set high enough to prevent outside distractions and watchers.

Even small details, like the addition of an in-lab telephone, are important. Students sometimes have to call a doctor or pharmacist (played by an instructor) from the simulator bedside.

“They get the experience of calling the physician, and learning how to speak with the physician,” said Anderson, a registered nurse since 1990 with years of experience at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn.

An adjacent Learning Resource Center (LRC) for the nursing program is also an important addition.

The center is equipped with smaller artificial body parts like arms, hands and heads. Students practice skills such as making injections and inserting intravenous needles.

For CVTC Nursing students, doing homework involves more than reading a textbook.

“I’ve used it on occasion to practice skills like suctions and inserting catheters,” McConville said.

Another major addition to the program this term is “Noel,” a birth mother simulator. The mannequin actually simulates the birth of a little rubber baby newborn, with realistic vital signs and potential problems for the mother.

“The baby can be born breach, with a stuck shoulder, or with respiratory difficulty,” Anderson said, mentioning a few of the complications.

A newborn infant simulator, separate from the rubber birth baby, is also new. It shows vital signs and reacts like the adult models.

A newborn baby can have a bluish hue, which is normal and soon fades. The simulator is sophisticated enough for instructors to prolong the bluish tint and observe when students notice it as a matter of concern.

“We didn’t have the baby mannequin before this year,” said Natalie Miranda, a student from Lakeland, Minn. “We would have to drive to Eau Claire to do that.”

From chippewa.com: “New CVTC simulation lab boosts medical realism” — When nursing students at Chippewa Valley Technical College’s (CVTC’s) River Falls campus are working on a training scenario with one of the college’s high-tech simulation mannequins, they can rely only on their own knowledge and instincts. There’s no glancing over at an instructor in search of a nod of approval for a chosen course of action.

The instructor is watching from a separate room, behind glass that students cannot see through. She listens, observes and controls the simulator to react accordingly to what the students do — good or bad.

“This is more realistic than it was before,” said student Anna Hinde, originally from Barron. “We are able to have some hands-on, real-life experiences.”

“We have a lot more space, there are more mannequins, and we’ve got a new teaching lab,” added Colin McConville of Hudson.

Use of computerized simulation mannequins — which breathe, react, and have vital signs like real patients — has been part of the CVTC Nursing program at River Falls for years. However, the new simulation lab that opened in January is a vast improvement over the previous facility.

“Our environment here is more representative of an actual hospital room,” said Simulation Technician Cynthia Anderson, R.N. “The old lab was about half the size of one room in the new lab and had a noisy air compressor in the room to run the mannequins. Our air compressor is now in another room.”

The mannequins were previously placed on something like old hospital gurneys. Now there are real hospital beds for the mannequins and sometimes live people playing patients.

“We’re not tripping on cords anymore,” said Bethany Geske, a Nursing student who lives in Menomonie, in reference to the power cords to the equipment that used to be taped down and are now under the floor.

The lighting is far better and includes a large window to provide natural light, but set high enough to prevent outside distractions and watchers.

Even small details, like the addition of an in-lab telephone, are important. Students sometimes have to call a doctor or pharmacist (played by an instructor) from the simulator bedside. “They get the experience of calling the physician, and learning how to speak with the physician,” said Anderson, an RN since 1990 with years of experience at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn.

An adjacent Learning Resource Center (LRC) for the Nursing program is also an important addition. The center is equipped with smaller artificial body parts like arms, hands and heads. Students practice skills such as making injections and inserting intravenous needles. For CVTC Nursing students, doing homework involves more reading a textbook.

“I’ve used it on occasion to practice skills like suctions and inserting catheters,” McConville said.

Mother and child

Another major addition to the program this term is “Noel,” a birth mother simulator. The mannequin actually simulates the birth of a little rubber baby newborn, with realistic vital signs and potential problems for the mother.

“The baby can be born breach, with a stuck shoulder, or with respiratory difficulty,” Anderson said, mentioning just some of the complications.

A newborn infant simulator, separate from the rubber birth baby, is also new. It shows vital signs and reacts like the adult models. A newborn baby can have a bluish hue, which is normal and soon fades. The simulator is sophisticated enough for instructors to prolong the bluish tint and observe when students notice it as a matter of concern.

“We didn’t have the baby mannequin before this year,” said Natalie Miranda, a student from Lakeland, Minn. “We would have to drive to Eau Claire to do that.”

Sometimes a birth mother and baby were brought from Eau Claire, but transportation and set-up are cumbersome, Anderson said.

Nursing students go out into the field to do “clinical” studies at hospitals, clinics and nursing homes, but the simulation lab work is an essential part of the training.

“It allows them to experience things differently,” said Jennifer Buekema, a CVTC Nursing instructor. “In a clinical situation, we of course don’t let students harm patients. Here, we can let the students make mistakes in the lab.”

“They set up scenarios that we may not see in the real-life clinical settings, but can see later in our professional lives,” said Miranda.

The instructor from the observation room can demonstrate with the mannequin the consequences, through a sudden change in vital signs, evidence of pain, and even a “code blue” cardiac arrest.

“A couple of weeks ago, we were in a code blue, when we had to do CPR,” Geske said.

The students say this kind of hands-on experience is one of the reasons they chose to attend CVTC. It allows them to be ready to enter the workforce right away, even if their plans include further education.

Geske, McConville and Hinde plan on getting nursing jobs after their May graduation, but going back to school to seek four-year or advanced degrees gaining experience as they complete their education.

From wxpr.org: “Conference honoring caregivers coming to Nicolet College” — Professional and family caregivers who provide direct care services at home or in long-term care settings are invited to attend the 8th Annual Direct Caregivers Conference next month at Nicolet College.

Sandy Bishop from Nicolet College is a member of the Northern Wisconsin Long Term Care Workforce Network. She says it’s a day to celebrate those who give care to others…

“…its a day for us to provide education, not only for certified nursing assistants, but also for other direct care providers and caregivers on all types of topics of interest to them…..”

Keynote speakers include Lynda Markut, author of Dementia Caregivers Share Their Stories: A Support Group in a Book; and Charles Schoenfeld, author of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Dementia Ward – Memoir of a Male CNA.

The conference is February 14 at the Northwoods Center at the Rhinelander campus. More information and registration is available by contacting the Nicolet College campus.

From hudsonstarobserver.com: “Hudson students explore healthcare careers” – Camryn Letcher placed the stethoscope on the rubbery surface and listened. “I heard a heartbeat,” the Hudson High School freshman said. “It was really weird because it felt like it was alive, like I was listening to a real person.”

The patient simulators at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) in River Falls bring to life realistic vital signs and symptoms. For Letcher, the experience was closer than she had ever been to real patient care in a clinical setting. “I’m thinking of being a pediatric nurse,” she said.

The trip to CVTC was part of the Hudson High School Healthcare Discovery Day, which also included visits to Hudson Hospital and Catalyst Sports Medicine in Hudson.

Forty-one Hudson freshmen took part in the day-long event. At CVTC, in addition to checking out vital signs on the adult and infant patient simulators, the students learned how to use a hypodermic needle by practicing on an orange, tried on neck braces, tried out various medical testing devices and talked with faculty about careers in healthcare.

“They seemed very engaged,” said CVTC Nursing Instructor Renee Christensen, R.N. “Simulation is very exciting for this age group, and they asked good questions.”

“The purpose of the event is to provide students with the opportunity to explore healthcare careers, to understand what career ladders are, and to see how they can bring value to the community,” said Melisa Hansen, school-to-careers coordinator at Hudson High School.

Healthcare Discovery Day was made possible by a $2,500 grant from the nonprofit Northwest Area Health Education Sector. Students registered for the event.

“They were asked why they wanted to come, and a lot of them already had their eyes on high-level health care careers,” said Hansen. Others just wanted to explore. They got a good taste of it during the three on-site visits.

Christensen showed the students a video of a full-scale emergency room scenario in which students interacted with professionals in a mock response to victims from an auto accident coming in for treatment. Patient simulators and even live actors were used to depict various conditions in the fast-paced environment.

“That is really good experience for students,” Christensen said of the video scenario. “Sometimes they make mistakes, and sometimes we allow them to make mistakes, because it’s not going to hurt anyone. They’ll probably never make that mistake again.

“I’ve had students get really involved in the simulations, and cry when a (simulated) baby comes in,” Christensen continued.

The students found their experiences with the simulators and the information on the training involved in healthcare careers much more interesting than what they usually experience in a high school classroom.

“I’m thinking about being a physical therapist,” said Braxton Belt. “I really liked the simulators. We listened to the heart and lungs.”

“It’s really interesting to see how it’s done in the real world,” said Logan Nelson, who is considering a career in sports medicine.

Students like Nelson and Kyla Schewe, who is also considering a sports medicine career, had the opportunity to see the profession up close in a visit to Catalyst Sports Medicine that afternoon, where they viewed the treatment of a simulated injury.

At Hudson Hospital, ninth-graders learned about an array of healthcare careers with educational and hands-on learning opportunities. Sarah Stockman, manager, laboratory, Hudson Hospital & Clinics, is the hospital representative on the healthcare advisory council. Her role is to partner with the council to offer educational experiences for students that are leaning towards a career in healthcare.

“It’s great to get a chance to help our high school students discover all the career options that are available to them in the healthcare field. We hope to inspire them to continue their education and become healthcare professionals,” said Stockman.

Students learned about various healthcare careers from hospital staff including lab, dietary, Birth Center and Surgery & Procedure Center. They also toured the Emergency Center, Imaging Center and Rehabilitation Center Physical Therapy.

At the hospital, they also watched the simulated resuscitation of a choking baby, met with a dietician and observed lab work, among other activities.

“We wanted them to see that healthcare is a profession in which they need 21st century skills, like problem solving, team building and critical thinking,” Hansen said. “This experience provided relevance. They follow the routine at school, and they didn’t have an understanding of what goes on outside of school.”

Hansen added that the Healthcare Discovery Day was a teambuilding exercise for the students. “They were learning together today. There’s power in that.”

In planning the day, Hudson High School staff worked with a community advisory council of professionals in healthcare and education. Hansen said they are very appreciative of the help of the council members, as well as the cooperation of Catalyst Sports Medicine, Hudson Hospital and CVTC.

“The people here are absolutely amazing and I applaud them,” she said.

The grant was only able to fund this year’s event, with any leftover funds being used for healthcare career exploration. To continue the program on an annual basis, either additional grants or school district funding will be needed, Hansen said.

Tour NWTC’s new expansion

January 13, 2014

From fox11online.com: “A tour of NWTC’s new expansion” —  GREEN BAY — More and more people are looking to preventative and in-home care as the American population continues to age.

A new expansion at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is helping nursing students be better prepared for the changes.

The 13,000 sq. ft. expansion includes three new learning labs — a wellness lab, a caregiver learning center and a simulation lab.

Nursing student Chris Krzewina said the simulation lab is one of the best ways for NWTC students to get experience in patient care.

“It’s a really safe environment,” said Krzewina. “I mean, we don’t have to worry about anyone full-out crashing on us.”

In the lab, students can practice their skills on life-like mannequins that are controlled by instructors. The mannequins have a pulse, and can breathe and even talk to them.

“Now we’re just going to be taking your blood pressure on your arm, OK?” Krzewina asked the mannequin. “Ok, the instructor replied as the voice of the mannequin.

The technology allows instructors to help prepare students for any type of real-life scenario.

“We can use the rare conditions in simulation, something that the students would not typically experience and give them that experience as well,” said Jeff Matzke, a nursing instructor at NWTC.

Students studying in the new wellness lab will learn theory and practice patient coaching techniques that focus on preventative care, something educators say is becoming more popular in the U.S.

“When we talk about cost of health care, which is on a lot of people’s minds these days, prevention is really the best cost,” said Scott Anderson, associate dean of Health Sciences at NWTC. “So how do we keep people out of the health care system? We do that through behavior change and lifestyle change.”

As the population continues to age, student will have to be prepared for another growing trend, in-home care.

“We have our whole kitchen here, or our whole apartment set up here, so that our students will incur some barriers because then we can teach them here in the classroom how to work with those barriers,” said Cindy Theys, associate dean of Health Sciences. “So by the time they get out to someone’s home, they’re going to have tips and tricks to know how to better care for those people in their home.”

No matter kind of patient care students choose to focus on, educators and students said the new learning labs helps give them the hands-on experience they’ll need to succeed.

The total cost for the new expansion was $3.5 million. Gifts from donors covered about $1.1 million.

 

From fox11online.com: “NWTC unveils Health Sciences Center expansion” — GREEN BAY – The future of training health care givers is looking a little brighter at an area college.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College unveiled its 13,000 square foot expansion Monday to its Health Sciences Center.

The expansion includes three new learning labs, a wellness lab, a simulation center, and caregiver learning center.

NWTC’s health services dean says the addition means more learning for students.

“Now with this expansion we’re capable of providing more opportunities for our students,” said Kay Tupala.

“We have an incredible workforce, trained, motivated, interested in improving the care that we’re giving, working together very well with one another,” said George Kerwin, president and CEO of Bellin Health.

The expansion cost about $3.5 million. It was made possible through business partners and community support.

From wxpr.org: “Gov. Walker signs Youth Apprenticeship bill in Rhinelander” — Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill in Rhinelander that he says will help employers get more skilled workers to companies. Youth Apprenticeship integrates high school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in skills defined by Wisconsin industries. It works with local school districts and the area technical colleges.

Stopping at Nicolet College to sign the Youth Apprenticeship Walker says the bill passed both legislative chambers with just one “no” vote, showing broad bi-partisan support. The program is already in action, but the new funding enlarges the program. 1900 students went through the program last year Walker says…

“….we were able to put a half-million(more) in each year…for a total of $4.6 million dollars that will be invested in this program. And in doing so, we’ll be able to place 550 more individuals into this youth apprenticeship program….”
Walker says manufacturing, agriculture, architecture, information technology and healthcare are targeted for apprenticeships. Walker says the business community needs skilled workers in these areas now…

 “….many of our employers across the state, particularly our small and mid-sized employers would add more work but they’re a little bit resistant to do that right now until they know they can fill the positions they have for things like high-skilled welders, CNC operators, machinists, tool-and-dye operators….”

Walker says manufacturing jobs pay more, have more benefits and workers stay longer than many other jobs.

 

CVCT grad is also EMT trainer

December 20, 2013

From piercecountyherald.com: “Double Duty: CVTC grad is EMT trainer” — Jessica Brickner was not out of her element at all as the student speaker at the Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) River Falls campus graduation Dec. 16 at Meyer Middle School.

Brickner has had a dual role in the healthcare field for the past few years. While she has been a student in the CVTC Nursing Associate Degree program, she’s also been active as a health educator.

She is a member of the Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service as a volunteer EMT and was elected as the service’s training coordinator. In that capacity, she speaks to groups frequently, teaching refresher courses to fellow EMTs.

“I’ve been at it four years last August,” she said of her work as an EMT. “I did a ride-a-long and loved it!”

Of the 39 graduates receiving degrees at the CVTC River Falls campus at the end of the fall term, 32 were nursing students, with the others completing Administrative Professional, Accounting, Business Management and Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement programs. In addition, four students received certificates of General Education Development (GED).

At the Eau Claire campus, 373 graduated in 33 different programs, with 70 nursing graduates being the largest program.

Brickner had long focused on a healthcare career. She started at a university with some required courses, but with difficulty getting into a highly competitive nursing program, switched majors and earned a degree in health promotion with an emphasis on community health. But she didn’t give up the dream of becoming a nurse. She entered the CVTC Nursing program and her background in health education made her a natural to become a peer tutor for her fellow students.

“I have numerous memories of working with students as they overcame struggles with a subject matter,” Brickner said. “Seeing the ‘light bulb come on’ and hearing students say, ‘I finally get it!’ are true reminders of why I like tutoring and being an educator/mentor.”

Brickner also works as an EMS instructor at the Oakdale (Minn.) office of Regions Hospital. She sees a future for herself in nursing education after she passes her boards to become an RN.

“My experience tutoring and helping other students has definitely given me encouragement and a sense of reassurance that a future as a nursing educator would likely be a good fit,” Brickner said. She hopes to work soon in a hospital setting, but adds, “long term, I would like to get my master’s degree in nursing and become an instructor of future nursing students.”

Brickner urged her fellow graduates to go beyond their professions.

“Demonstrate your strengths and strive to be the outstanding individual you have become,” she said. “When you are satisfied, challenge yourself a little more. Become a member of the community in which you live. Use what you have learned at CVTC to better the world around you.”

One of the current nursing instructors, Jennifer Buekema, was the faculty speaker at the ceremony.

“Many of you want to continue your education in your chosen field, and for that I say, ‘good for you.’ If I had given up whenever something was hard, well then I would not be standing here, and I know many of you graduates can say the same thing,” Buekema said.

The guest speaker was Deb Callow, the director of nursing services at Spring Valley Senior Living and Health Care Campus, who told a story to encourage graduates to listen to the stories of others. She told how her first patient as a nurse was an elderly lady, for whom she was to perform a head-to-toe assessment.

“I noticed numbers tattooed on her inner wrists,” Callow said. “I questioned her about them and she told me her story, a story of a young Jewish girl in Nazi Germany. Her parents took her to France and then sent her with nuns to relatives she never met in New York City. She never saw her parents again.

“I learned that day to cherish the life experiences of others and learn from them. I can never imagine what she went through and I will never experience in my life what she did. But what I really learned that day was to listen to the story others have to share, and learn from them,” Callow said.

From hispanicbusiness.com: “Lakeshore Technical College receives Department of Labor grant to train health care IT workers” –  Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) recently received a grant of$897,039 to enhance and expand career pathways for dislocated workers, veterans, and other adult learners, to build a skilled workforce in the information technology (IT) sector within health care. The grant is part of a larger $23.1 millioninvestment by the U.S. Department of Labor to Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges to address emerging needs in the IT sector.

The announcement was made by LTC President Dr. Michael Lanser to kick off a presentation at LTC’s Cleveland campus onNovember 6 on Health Care and the Health Care Workforce in Wisconsin. LTC plans to use the grant dollars to establish three new programs which will combine health and information technology skills to create more career pathways.

The Health Information Management Program will be accessible completely online. The Health Information Technician Certificate will provide Information Technology students with the knowledge & skills needed to put their IT degree to work in a health care setting, while students pursuing clinical careers will have the opportunity to add an information technology certificate to their education credentials. The grant will also impact future Pharmacy Technician students who will work with a new, state-of-the-art Pharmacy software system. Students in these areas will be immersed in hands-on learning throughout these programs and will be issued a tablet computer for regular and ongoing use throughout their program.

“We are excited about these initiatives and we look forward to ensuring our future students graduate with the most relevant health care education to meet employer needs, ” said Lanser.

Judy Warmuth, Vice President-Workforce Development Wisconsin Hospital Association was the keynote speaker for the event. In her presentation, Warmuth expressed the need for having qualified individuals in these career fields.

“Health care will be a strong employment sector well into the future,” said Warmuth. “There are many, many kinds of jobs in health care and new ones will emerge and jobs in health information technology, care management and population health will be especially strong.”

Wisconsin’s technical colleges received one of the largest single awards from the Department of Labor’s investment, and the collaboration makes the technical college system one of the few applicants to receive back-to-back grants. In the previous round, LTC shared in an $18.3 million grant to expand innovative programs that produce high-skilled workers in advanced manufacturing.

From chippewa.com: “Real-world scenarios challenge health care students” — An alarm sounded and the blue light flashed. Paramedics, nurses and a respiratory therapist sprang into action. Each member of the team had a role to play, and they worked together, communicating constantly through each step of the life-saving procedures.

The scene last week in one of the labs at the Health Education Center at Chippewa Valley Technical College was only a simulation, and the students had worked frequently in the past with the human patient simulators. But there was something vastly different about this exercise.

This time, the students from nursing, respiratory therapy and paramedic technician programs were working with resident physicians from the UW-Health Clinic, all under the observation of professionals and faculty members. And this time simulator patients actually spoke to the students with complaints, questions and realistic reactions through instructors wired to microphones in another room.

Adding a little more flavor to the mix were volunteers playing the parts of family members who provided comfort to their loved ones, but also sometimes got in the way.

The hours-long scene was as close to a real, live critical patient care situation as the students would see prior to their upcoming graduations. In planning the training session, organizers could not find anything similar being done elsewhere.

“This is fairly groundbreaking,” said CVTC respiratory therapist instructor Don Raymond, who helped put together the scenarios. “Multidisciplinary education is becoming more important. It teaches collaborative teamwork, communication, respect across disciplines and professionalism.”

“This is to help all the disciplines understand the roles of team members and the importance of collaboration and communication, with the ultimate goal of improving patient care,” said CVTC associate dean of health Linda Krueger.

Four patient simulators were used, simulating a pediatric patient, a pulmonary embolism, a heart attack, and severe COPD symptoms. Students were used to working with the simulators, but typically they learned to do specific procedures involved in their disciplines, one at a time. The multidisciplinary training involved more than one patient in the unit to care for, with more than one problem, with other health care workers helping, and sometimes with unexpected results.

“Sometimes we operate in separate silos,” said Kim Ernstmeyer, CVTC nursing instructor. “We do our nursing thing, respiratory does its thing … in scenarios like this, we all work together.”

“In true hospital settings, everyone works as a team,” Raymond said.

“This gives them a chance to work together as a team like they will be doing when they graduate,” Krueger said.

Part of the purpose was to get students out of their comfort zones. One scenario involved a “code blue” – a patient going into cardiac arrest. In a fast-paced simulation, a respiratory therapist worked to maintain air flow while a paramedic did chest compressions, and nurses monitored signs and operated the defibrillator. A nurse eventually took over chest compressions for the fatigued paramedic.

The “patient” ultimately died.

“We were really hesitant to have that patient die. We did not want the students to feel they did something wrong or had failed. But sometimes you do everything perfectly and a patient still dies,” Krueger said.

That point was emphasized in a post-exercise debriefing with the students. Ernstmeyer told them that death was decided no matter what they did. Mike Miller, a critical care paramedic with the Eau Claire Fire Department and a CVTC adjunct faculty member, told students dealing with death is part of the job.

“Don’t get down on yourself if someone dies. It happens,” Miller said.

“We want you walking away thinking you did everything you could,” Ernstmeyer added.

Nursing student Sarah Crotty of Alma found herself out of her comfort zone when a person playing a family member tried to wake the deceased person. She had to deliver the news.

“I said, ‘Well, he passed away,’ ” Crotty related. “I’ve never been faced with that before.”

“Acting it out instead of just looking at it in a textbook really puts things into your mind,” said Emily Nelson, a nursing student from Jim Falls. “And not knowing what you are coming into is what is going to happen in the real world.”

The pace of the exercise was new to the students. Respiratory therapy student Kayla Bowe of Bloomer said she learned to “Keep calm, and keep doing what you’re doing.”

All student participants were in their last semester of their CVTC programs.

 

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