From “LTC a vital part of local educational mix” — The Lakeshore area features many unique educational opportunities. There are public and parochial schools, specialty schools, charter schools, two-year colleges and four-year universities.

Between now and June 8, hundreds of students of all ages will graduate from these institutions of learning, or at least advance to the next grade level. Many already have done so and have either begun searching for a job or are enjoying summer vacation — or both.

One area school is so unique that it required three separate graduation ceremonies to accommodate its students. Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland held — on three separate dates — a “regular” college graduation ceremony, one for about 60 GED/HSED students and a banquet recognizing 29 students in the school’s apprenticeship program.

In apprenticeship programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC’s registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.

LTC also offers unique programs unavailable at other schools in the area, including hazardous materials training, dairy herd management, nuclear technology and many others.

Studies have shown Lakeshore area schools are doing a good job in training young people for the next steps along their way. Test results are generally good at the grade school and high school levels, and opportunities for quality higher education abound.

LTC is an option more families are turning to as the costs of higher education skyrocket. The school has a solid track record of placing graduates in jobs, often exceeding 90 percent in certain fields. About 87 percent of the 550 graduates this year will find jobs in the Lakeshore area, a not insignificant number when many local employers complain of “brain drain” and a lack of skilled workers to fill their open positions.

Yet LTC often is overlooked during graduation season because its students don’t receive “real,” four-year degrees or gain the academic accolades other institutions often bestow. That is a mistake.

Hundreds of local employers and employees make solid contributions to the local economy because of past and present ties to LTC. Many of the school’s graduates are working in local jobs that likely would go unfilled without the influence of LTC and its programs.

We are thankful for all of the quality educational opportunities our area has to offer — from preschool to graduate school. It takes variety to provide this kind of quality, and we hope that Lakeshore Technical College is recognized as a vital player in that mix.

From “Menomonie students earn college credit early” — Tyler Luzinski has not finished his junior year at Menomonie High School, but he has a great start on his college education. Luzinski plans to attend Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) to study business management or marketing communications. He already has 12 ½ credits toward a degree from CVTC.

He doesn’t have to pass a test or apply for the credits. They will already be on his CVTC transcript.

His classmate, Adam McCulloch, who plans on attending CVTC in the FireMedic program will have CVTC credits for a medical terminology class he took at Menomonie High School. Senior Ashley McKay will be able to transfer CVTC credits from that same class when she attends UW-Eau Claire in the fall.

The Menomonie students are just three of the hundreds of high school students in western Wisconsin benefitting from college-level classes through CVTC’s dual credit program. Many of these students attend Menomonie High School, which was recognized Friday, May 16 by CVTC with the Partnership Award for its outstanding participation and cooperation in the program.

Full credit

In dual credit classes, known in academic circles as “transcripted credit,” high school students earn full credit directly from the technical college just as if the student took the class at the college. “They get credit on their (CVTC) transcript right away. They don’t have to apply for it. That credit can transfer to a university too,” said CVTC Registrar Jessica Schwartz. “We are looking for ways to create pathways from high school to CVTC, and to their bachelor’s degree at a university.”

The CVTC credits transfer to universities, including UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout, with which CVTC has transfer agreements.

“It’s part of the lifelong learning and career pathways initiative going on in technical colleges and in education as a whole,” said Amy Mangin, who works out the agreements between CVTC and participating high schools.

Dual credit classes must meet college standards, and CVTC instructors and staff work closely with the high schools on the curriculum and instruction. There must be a “100 percent competency match” between what is expected of a CVTC student and what is expected of the high school student, according to Schwartz.

Savings, benefits

Dual credit benefits students in multiple ways. Luzinskl enrolled in dual credit classes in accounting, marketing, computer applications and business management. Having the credits already on his CVTC transcript once he completes his junior year will save him time and money in the future.

“I’m planning on finishing college early,” Luzinski said.

And he can finish college spending or borrowing less money along the way. Schwartz noted that a popular dual credit class is Accounting I, a four-credit CVTC class. By taking the class tuition-free in high school, the students save $544 in tuition, plus $328 for books and materials. In tuition alone, Luzinski has already saved over $2,000 toward his college education.

Dual credit benefits students in career planning and college preparation as well. “High schools are looking at their programs of study and creating seamless transitions into higher education, or into careers,” said Mangin.

“The more students are exposed to a college environment while in high school, the more likely they are to complete college,” said Margo Keys, vice president of student services for CVTC.

“I wanted to see what the college load would be like,” Luzinski said. “I was a little surprised at first, but I’m doing well with it. It’s more self-taught. I like it when I can do more of it myself instead of listening to the teacher talk a lot.”

Starting out ahead

While students recognize the financial and time-saving benefits of dual credit, it’s really all about learning.

“I took Medical Termionology to get the knowledge for my nursing major,” said McKay. “I’ll be ahead of the other students in my class. But it’s very nice the credits will transfer to UW-EC.”

“Taking Medical Terminology is definitely something that will help me throughout my FireMedic program,” McCulloch said. “But the credits help. It would definitely cost me money to take it at CVTC.”

“It’s like getting a check every time you take one of these classes,” said Jeff Sullivan, associate dean of manufacturing at CVTC. “And the students see the rigors of college.

Menomonie High School currently has five dual credit classes through CVTC this school year, with another six classes under investigation for next year. CVTC has been expanding its dual credit offerings throughout its 11-county district. This school year, CVTC has 100 sections of 81 dual credit classes spread over 30 schools. In the 2011-12 school year CVTC had 24 classes in 15 schools throughout the district.

Support for the program is strong in Menomonie, according to Menomonie School District Director of Instruction Brian Seguin. “The community has spoken loud and clear. They want to see us expand our post-secondary partnerships,” Seguin said.

From “Teaching, class sharing rises at rural schools as budgets shrink” – As rural schools deal with the reality of reduced budgets and smaller enrollments, one of the inevitable trends is the reduction in the number of classes offered as schools focus on core subjects.

A number of Clark County schools are turning toward sharing teachers in a number of elective classes as a way of saving costs, while still providing students with learning opportunities.

Sue Rudesill, a family and consumer sciences teacher, begins each day in Neillsville, and then around lunch time makes the 20-minute commute to Greenwood to continue teaching in the afternoon.

It’s the first year she’s split time between two schools and said it took a little getting used to the first semester.

She would find herself trying to help students after class in Neillsville, but that potentially delayed her getting to Greenwood, causing the first part of her class in Greenwood to be missed.

After discussions with administrators in both districts, she said she now has a little more time to make the commute this semester.

Another change that districts are seeing is the increased reliance on distance learning courses. Students will be in a normal classroom, but the teacher often will be miles away in another school.

“We do have some rooms that are now available,” Neillsville School District Superintendent John Gaier said. “A lot of the rooms that used to have classes in them are now being used as distance learning classrooms. It’s possible for a high school class period to have four online classes going on.”

Students in Neillsville take distance learning classes through a number of different institutions, including the Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

But it’s not just courses being taught at institutions of higher education that students are taking. Sometimes schools share courses with each other through distance learning.

In Loyal, students take social studies through Granton, a required course for graduation.

“That’s a big step to go into that. Spanish is an elective, but to have a required class that’s important, the reason we did it was it seemed to be the least detrimental. The teacher would be the most able to appropriately communicate with students. You would not want to do chemistry (over distance learning),” Cale Jackson, Loyal School District administrator, said. “History seemed like something where the kids could still have a good experience even though it was over the distance learning.”

It takes a lot of work and coordination between schools to sync schedules, Jackson said, “but everybody is in the same boat, so everybody is willing to do it.”

From “Stritch, WCTC form credit transfer partnership” — Fox Point-based Cardinal Stritch University and Waukesha-based Waukesha County Technical College have formed a credit transfer agreement for students studying digital media.

The agreement is meant to encourage WCTC students who earn an associate of applied science degree in graphic design to continue their development in Stritch’s new bachelor of arts in digital media program.

Starting in May, new WCTC graphic design associate’s degree holders can apply up to 69 credits toward the Stritch bachelor’s degree.

“Our students are showing increasing interest in transfer opportunities to four-year universities so they can continue their education and climb their career ladder,” said Denine Rood, WCTC vice president of Learning. “We’re committed to providing them with seamless credit transfer to premier partner institutions like Stritch.”

The agreement has formed a cooperative relationship between the schools, which will help both to better accommodate transfer students.

The B.A. in digital media aims to ready students for careers in media and digital arts, including social media, website design and print design.

“The digital media program prepares students for successful careers in a variety of emerging fields,” said Dan Scholz, dean of Cardinal Stritch’s College of Arts and Sciences. “We are thrilled that this new relationship with Waukesha County Technical College will allow its graduates the ability to further hone and develop their skills in our new bachelor’s program.”

From “Boscobel High School offers course options for college-bound students” – By Tricia Hill – Boscobel High School faculty have been working on helping their students in grades 9-12 prepare for college by giving students the opportunity to participate in transcripted, articulated and Advance Placement (AP) courses. Currently, they are offering 14 credits of transcripted courses, which means they can be added to their college transcripts; six credits of college board-certified courses and three credits of articulated courses.

“We encourage our students to take these courses,” said guidance counselor Rhonda Scallon.

The transcripted courses include Accounting, Computer Applications, Speech, Vocational English, and Theme Writing. This is the first year that Theme Writing and Speech have been an option for seniors to take as transcripted courses. The students are encouraged to take these courses not only by the faculty, but also by some of the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College faculty.

“When a student decides to take the course, faculty from Southwest Tech come and talk to the students so they have an idea on what to expect,” Scallon said.

Once a student enters into the transcripted courses, they will be taking a course that they can add to their college transcripts. However, if a student starts taking a transcripted course and their grade seems to be dropping, they have the opportunity to not continue it as a transcripted course, but they must remain taking the course at the high school.

There is currently only one option available to students interested in taking an articulated course, which is a Southwest Tech math course. Students can only use the credits earned by taking this class if they plan to attend Southwest Tech. When taking an articulated course, the student earns a certificate of completion instead of credits added to their college transcript. However, in order to earn the certificate, the student has to earn a B or higher at the completion of the course.

Boscobel also offers some AP courses to their students, such as AP Biology and Advanced Urban History. Boscobel hopes to some day add AP Psychology to the list. Come this May, Boscobel will have nine of their students partaking in the AP exam so see what they have learned.

“The students in AP classes are working during the summer on course work,” Scallon said.

Having these options for Boscobel High School students is a great asset if students take advantage of the situation, according to Scallon. If the students participate and work hard in these programs, they will be given a head start at courses that will be expected of them in college, get a taste of college AP work, see how rigorous the class work can be, and best of all, the classes are free for the students if they take them while in high school.

“As of right now there are no disadvantages to the programs,” Scallon said. “I feel we are setting up the ground work with other colleges by having our students take part in these programs.”

Some students may have concerns if the college they plan to attend will accept credits from Southwest Tech. So the teachers have introduced them to a website called Transfer Wizard, where the students are able to go and see if their college accepts credits from Southwest Tech.

From “Leading state business lobby looks to create 20-year strategic plan for Wisconsin” — By Karen Rivedal – The state’s biggest business group — Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce — is partnering with higher education leaders and the state’s job creation agency on a 20-year strategic business plan for Wisconsin.

Tentatively titled the Future Wisconsin Project, the effort will focus in its first year mostly on the oft-reported lack of skilled workers in manufacturing and many other challenged industries and sectors of the workforce, such as information technology.

But it’s also about taking a longer look at economic development issues facing the state and creating a workable and enduring system for addressing those issues, with timely input from business, government and academia, WMC president Kurt Bauer said.

“I think we’re all a little guilty of operating from month to month, year to year, election cycle to election cycle,” Bauer said. “This is supposed to be broader than that. This (will) look out and see what Wisconsin is going to be, and (ask ourselves), ‘Do we like it?’ and if we don’t, ‘How do we change it?’ ”

The goal of developing a lasting “infrastructure of communication” among the key parties is the main thing that differentiates the WMC project from other broad economic studies and initiatives such as Be Bold Wisconsin, said Morna Foy, Wisconsin Technical College System president. The tech system is one of the effort’s four partners, along with the University of Wisconsin System and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., the quasi-public job creation agency recommended by the Be Bold Wisconsin study.

By contrast, Foy said, “(WMC leaders) are trying to build a road map that people can follow this year and the year after that and the year after that.

“Some of the topics they’re interested in examining are big. They go beyond the interests or borders of any individual company. It’s really refreshing for us to see them take that longer view.”

UW System spokesman Dave Giroux credited WMC for involving higher education leaders early in the process and said he liked what he described as WMC’s focus on “human capital, the competitiveness of our business and industry, and the overall quality of life.”

“We see ourselves (in the UW System) touching on these areas in many different ways,” Giroux said.

The effort is motivated by troubling demographic projections that threaten a crisis for Wisconsin’s aging workforce in the decades to come, WMC leaders said.

The Wisconsin Applied Population lab projects 14.2 percent overall population growth in the state by 2040, with about 800,000 more people but most of them over age 65, according to Jim Morgan, president of the WMC Foundation, the group’s research arm.

WMC also cites a Georgetown University Study that predicted 317,130 additional jobs between 2010 and 2020 in Wisconsin but only 15,150 new workers.

Incoming WMC chairman Dan Ariens, president of Brillion-based Ariens Co., an outdoor power equipment manufacturer, said WMC and its partners needed to create a “consensus dialogue” over these issues to effectively address the problem before it gets worse.

“There’s a workforce shortage now,” said Ariens, who also is vice chairman of the WEDC board of directors. “It’ll be a crisis later.”

Beyond workforce development — or “talent attraction,” as the Future Wisconsin project terms it — the issue of business competitiveness also is slated to be studied closely in year one of the initiative. Future years could focus on other identified issues, likely including global engagement, government effectiveness, life quality and entrepreneurial spirit.

Discussions and ideas also will center around what the parties see as the state’s various strengths and barriers to growth. WMC’s own agenda, mainly representing the viewpoint of business owners and industry, must be balanced by input from the other partners for the initiative to be successful, Foy noted.

“If the script is already written and all the ideas have been thought of, and (WMC leaders are) just doing a yearlong road show (of their conclusions), other parties won’t want to engage,” Foy said. “That’s not my sense at all about what they’re looking for in this. They are really trying to stretch beyond their own view to make sure they get the best and smartest ideas.”

WMC will share plans for the project more widely in the coming weeks and months, starting with its own members Feb. 6 at the group’s annual Business Day, a key membership and lobbying event in Madison.

Jim Morgan, president of the WMC Foundation, a research arm of the group, then will present the project at each of the technical system’s 16 colleges in February and March, with public listening sessions and regular meetings of the partners and other stakeholder groups throughout the year, leading up to a December forum where notes on problems will be compared and action plans could be issued.

Bauer and Ariens said possible end results could include new legislative proposals that WMC could lobby for, and/or more grassroots steps or decisions that any of the partners could take on their own.

“It’s not just going to be another white paper,” Bauer promised. “It’s a process. More than anything, what we want to do is spark the debate and make people aware of what is coming down the road.”

Giroux agreed the project could be unique.

“We haven’t seen before the state’s lead business organization and the two higher education systems working directly together on something of this magnitude,” Giroux said. “We may have seen this model on a small scale, but not like this.”

From “WITC gets high marks from report” — Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College’s results from the 2013 Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE) indicates that an overwhelming majority of WITC students feel that personal connections they experience at the college are critical to their academic success.

“We participate in CCSSE to continually improve the quality of education we offer our students.” says Bob Meyer, president of WITC. “Quality is about the student experience — about what we do to engage our students, help them achieve their educational goals and ultimately improve the quality of their lives through education.”

CCSSE uses five benchmarks that allow colleges to monitor their performance in areas that are focused on teaching, learning and student success. These benchmarks encompass 38 engagement items on the survey that reflect a variety of aspects of students’ learning experiences.

Among the findings, 96 percent of survey respondents would recommend WITC to a friend or family member and 94 percent of students rated their educational experience at WITC as good or excellent.

“From my perspective of what the results say, WITC isn’t just a place to get a quality education, WITC is the place to be for connecting with fellow students, faculty and staff and provides services that help students accomplish their goals,” said Jennifer Kunselman, research and data coordinator at WITC. “Nearly three-fourths of CCSSE respondents have accomplished their goals at WITC or will return to WITC within the next 12 months.”

The study also found at WITC students report strong relationships; find instructors to be available, helpful and sympathetic; and that staff are helpful, considerate and flexible.

The CCSSE survey — administered directly to community college students at participating colleges —helps participating institutions assess quality in community college education, focus on good educational practice, and identify areas in which they can improve programs and services for students. Washington Monthly, an independent national magazine, utilizes CCSSE and IPEDS data to rank colleges and in 2013 they ranked WITC fourth in their listing of “America’s 50 Best Community Colleges.”

WITC will use the results in many ways, from improving and adding services to assist students, with marketing, to its quality review process, as well as strategic planning for the direction of the college.

Research shows that the more actively engaged students are — with college faculty and staff, with other students, and with the subject matter — the more likely they are to learn and to achieve their academic goals.

“Students that attend WITC build strong relationships with each other and college staff that not only help them succeed while learning, but also face the many challenges along the way,” Kunselman said. “The study shows that a large portion of our students face multiple responsibilities while they are attending WITC. Many have long commutes to the WITC campus they are attending, they have jobs in addition to taking classes and many have families that are dependent on their care. The relationships that students build at WITC help them face these challenges and play a big part in their succeess at WITC.”


From “BMHS fairs expose students to career success ingredients” – Beloit Memorial High School was buzzing with activity on Thursday morning as the school held its first Wisconsin Education Fair in the field house and first Annual Career and Technical Education Fair in the Barkin Arena.

Juniors and seniors had a two-hour block to visit both fairs to learn about possible careers and the skills and education required to obtain them.

The Wisconsin Education Fair (WEF) featured four-year universities, colleges, technical colleges and other post-secondary schools. BMHS school counselor Erin Wolf said it was the first time WEF, the largest educational fair in Wisconsin, came to Beloit. Those at BMHS had tried for two years to get the school to be one of the approved sites. On Thursday, Wolf said there were 102 post-secondary options represented including two-year and four-year schools in addition to the military and cosmetology schools.

Representatives from universities and colleges from Iowa, Alabama, Minnesota, North Dakota and other states were represented.

BMHS senior Heather Miller, interested in biology and astronomy, was checking out a booth from Northland College, a small school in Ashland, Wis. She said she liked the idea of a college with classes as small as 12-14 students. She said having schools from across the state and country was a great idea.

“I don’t have to go visit all of them. To come here is pretty helpful,” she said.

Students Erica Dominguez-Martinez, Ann McKee and Kaitlyn Rivas were chatting with University of Wisconsin-Platteville Admission Advisor Katharine Caywood about their interests in psychology, foreign languages, animal science and business degrees.

Kaitlyn said she was interested in Platteville because of it’s forensic science investigation major as she hopes to become a coroner or medical examiner. Caywood told her Platteville also offers internships at the Rockford, Ill., Coroner’s Office.

Wolf said the fair was a great success, and that afterward school counselors were preparing to make individual contact with all the seniors to help them work on their college application processes.

Businesses involved in manufacturing, construction, welding, information systems, graphic arts, even tourism and hospitality were invited to set up a booth at the Career and Technical Education Fair. And on Thursday some were getting some hands-on experience.

Blackhawk Technical College Culinary Arts instructor and executive pastry chef Katie Thomas’s table was a hit with students as she offered them the opportunity to make little swan-shaped cream puffs. She said it was a great way to engage with students.

“Students feel like they’ve made something, and it gets their creative juices flowing,” she said.

Heather Warne, a human resource generalist, with Prent Thermoforming out of Janesville, said her company packages medical components. There is a strong need for engineers as well as machine operators as well as IT, finance and human resource professionals. She said students who come out of high school with some automotive training can be easily trained to work on machines.

University of Wiscoinsin-Platteville Professor of Electrical Engineering Dale Buechler, Ph.D., who works with engineering students at UW-Rock County, brought a miniature solar panel, paper plate turbine and a circuit board to entice students into pursuing engineering careers. He told them with Rock County’s partnership with UW-Platteville, there are classes in the evenings allowing students to work during the day while pursuing engineering. And advances in technologies have made much of the equipment more affordable and portable so students can spend less time on campus and more time working at home.

From “Lothe earns bachelor degree from Madison Area Technical College/Franklin University recently” – Three Madison Area Technical College students were awarded a bachelor’s degree at a commencement ceremony May 12. However, the degree awarded was not from Madison Area Technical College, but rather from Franklin University, Columbus, Ohio.

The graduates included Mandy Lothe, DeForest – Allied Healthcare Management.

Lothe completed her degree by participating in a unique educational alliance between Madison Area Technical College and Franklin University. That program allows students in the U.S. to combine on campus coursework at their local community college with online classes through Franklin to complete their degree.

Madison Area Technical College is one of more than nearly 270 community colleges across the U.S. that has formed an educational alliance with Franklin University. The Community College Alliance was established to provide students the opportunity to earn their bachelor’s degree online while remaining in their community.


From “There’s more than one college plan” — By Dave Saucerman - When I started college, I was repeatedly lied to. Advisers said it was OK not to have a major, asserting that all their programs were created equal and would provide the same opportunities. There was nothing malicious about what they told me — just a friendly reassurance to an anxious freshman.

The truth is that many college degrees don’t carry the weight they used to for employers, a fact that’s too often ignored.

High school graduates continue to flock to four-year universities with the notion that it’s a formula for automatic success, a belief that the University of Wisconsin System is happy to perpetuate. However, since the revelation that UW raised tuition for years despite a huge surplus, it’s become clear that it doesn’t always have the best interest of students in mind.

It’s a growing trend that college programs are set up with the philosophy that students will need to obtain an advanced degree to have any shot at being marketable. This “come for the bachelor’s, stay for the master’s” approach to education only makes sense from the perspective of a university balance sheet. The reality is you end up with a 24-year-old with no real-world experience and crippling student loan debt.

When I finished high school and followed the masses off to college, my former classmate and Appleton resident Ryan Randerson continued working his job at Tom’s Drive-in. It was a questionable decision by traditional standards, but Ryan worked his way into management and, at 20, was able to buy his first home. He’s now enrolled in classes part-time, pursuing a business management degree at Fox Valley Technical College. His employer offers tuition reimbursement based on his academic performance, so Ryan will likely get his college education on the company’s dime.

I’m not suggesting high school grads in general are better off forgoing college for jobs in the food-service industry. College has always and will always have the intangible benefit of introducing students to new ideas, people and experiences. More than anything, college is a place for young adults to discover what it is they’re passionate about. But if your passion is to get a job that will allow you to buy a house and start a family, there are easier ways to do it than dropping $80,000 over four years.


From “SWTC + Nicolet = UWP” – By Robert Callahan - Proving the hundreds of miles between them is no obstacle, Southwest Wisconsin Technical College, UW–Platteville and Nicolet College will join forces per an articulation agreement signed last week.

The three institutions of higher learning will award an Associate of Arts or Associate of Science degree, otherwise known as a University Transfer Liberal Arts degree, to qualifying students.

UW–Platteville Chancellor Dennis J. Shields, Southwest Tech President Dr. Duane M. Ford and Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster signed the agreement on the UW–Platteville campus Wednesday morning.

“We are thrilled at this prospect and all the opportunities it provides us,” said UW–Platteville Provost Mittie Nimocks Den Herder as she welcomed those in attendance.

Students earning the University Transfer Liberal Arts degree at Nicolet College will be eligible to have all credits transfer and meet the UW–Platteville general education requirements, with the exception of ethnic and gender studies.

Southwest Tech students will complete a year of coursework through the Fennimore campus and a subsequent year through Nicolet College classes taught online, enabling the student to remain in southwest Wisconsin instead of attending the Nicolet College campus in Rhinelander.

After the completion of the “1+1” program, students are awarded the Transfer Liberal Arts Associates degree. Students who maintain a minimum 2.0 grade point average in the program will be guaranteed admission to UW–Platteville.

“One of the things that all three of our institutions have in common is we are points of access to higher education in Wisconsin,” said Shields. “Many of our students that come are first-generation college students. Working together with institutions like Nicolet and Southwest Tech is part of our DNA at Platteville.

“This articulation agreement I think expands on the opportunity for us to serve those populations. The ability to get a bachelor’s degree working through our three institutions, staying close to home, gaining access to higher education, is what we are all about.”

In recent years, Ford discovered 125 students, residents of the Southwest Tech district, were pursuing a university Transfer Associates of Arts or Associates of Science degree at a different Wisconsin Technical College or adjoining states’ community college.

“We thought it would be a good idea to arrange for these students to have a local opportunity to complete that degree, and frankly, also serve to serve students who would probably love to follow that same pathway, but simply cannot move,” said Ford.

A discussion between Ford and Burmaster at a higher education conference was the impetus of the freshly signed articulation agreement.

“We are all about creating career pathways, which is really nothing more than pathways for students to follow throughout their life and their career to advance their learning, to get better and better, and to learn more and more competencies, to get more credentials to succeed in their life and their work,” said Ford. “By signing this agreement we are stacking one more path, one more opportunity, on top of the associates degree that we will be doing. Those students will now be able to come directly to UW–Platteville and work toward a bachelor’s degree.

“It works out extremely well for all involved. I think by partnering, by leveraging our resources and our unique missions, we can do much for our citizens without adding costs to the people who support us.”

The goal of the new agreement is to retain qualified southwest Wisconsin candidates who depart the district for other, approved transfer opportunities, such as the 125 students Ford has identified.

“This is all about student success, isn’t it? All three of us, as education leaders, but more importantly, all of the wonderful faculty, staff and administration that put this together,” said Burmaster. “This is very, very good for students. Students of all ages, students with all different educational experiences.”

UW–Platteville has 16 articulation agreements in place in Wisconsin, 15 in Iowa and 48 in Illinois. UW–Platteville recognizes associate degrees from all 13 UW two-year colleges plus Nicolet and the Madison and Milwaukee technical colleges. The Nicolet agreement is now in its 10th year.

More than 500 students on the UW–Platteville campus began their secondary education somewhere else before coming to UW–Platteville. Of those 500, 137 earned associate degrees from one of those 76 two-year colleges of which we have articulation agreements.

Might this most recent collaboration open the door for future partnerships between UW–Platteville, Southwest Tech and Nicolet College?

“It is an interesting thing,” said Shields. “We sometimes get criticized because we don’t have these things going on. When people take a closer look, there is a lot more effort to provide the opportunity to coordinate than is immediately obvious.

“We don’t see ourselves competing, but working together, so there will always be an opportunity.”


From “New UW engineering transfer agreements get OK” – Future engineers can start three new bachelor’s degrees at NWTC and 12 other sites throughout Northeast Wisconsin starting today.

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved a trio of new and collaborative engineering technology degrees July 12 designed to make a high-demand field more easily accessible to students in the New North region while also addressing manufacturers’ demands for new infusions of well-prepared engineering graduates.

Students entering the new Leadership in Engineering Technology program and pursuing any of its three degrees are able to begin their academic studies at any one of 13 Northeastern Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance (NEW ERA) colleges, finishing the program and earning their degrees at either UW-Green Bay or UW Oshkosh. The innovative program breaks new ground in providing easy access for northeastern Wisconsin students to pursue and obtain engineering knowledge and skill regional manufacturers say they are ready to put to work.

At its meeting on July 12, the Board of Regents approved the collaborative, interdisciplinary program, scheduled to launch in the 2013-14 academic year. The program offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Environmental Engineering Technology through collaboration between the NEW ERA institutions, colleges and an array of business partners.

“With these collaborative degree programs, our institutions will be better able to respond to changing educational and workforce needs here in Northeastern Wisconsin,” said UW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden. “There are some logistical details we have yet to finalize, but the Board of Regents’ approval is a major step in the important process of implementing these engineering degree programs. Together, we look forward to better serving the students of our region, and ultimately boosting economic development in the New North.”

“This program is critical for manufacturers to remain competitive, as it provides a very well rounded engineering degree that can be used in multiple areas of our businesses,” said Mark Kaiser, president and CEO of Lindquist Machine Corporation of Green Bay and chairman of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance. “This allows us to offer maximum flexibility and speed to market, as well as helping keep our costs at competitive levels.”

NEW ERA institutions plan to effectively and efficiently deliver the Engineering Technology program based on the breadth of faculty expertise, both conceptual and hands-on application, combined with the state-of-the art laboratory equipment, technology and facilities at the region’s four technical colleges, the five two-year UW Colleges, UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh and the College of Menominee Nation.

Dr. H. Jeffrey Rafn, president of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, called development of the new degrees “a very creative, innovative way to build much-needed technical expertise in one of the strongest manufacturing regions in the country.”

“We’re sharing resources, improving credit transfer between institutions and providing access to the basic classes all over Northeast Wisconsin,” Rafn said. “That makes this the best solution not only for our business community, but for taxpayers and students as well. Many details, such as standard practices, are still being worked out, but we are able to do that because of our work with NEW ERA and that commitment to building the economy of the New North.”

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said the program’s development and approval represents the NEW ERA’s most significant accomplishment to date.

“Like never before, NEW ERA institutions and colleges and New North manufacturing and workforce leaders came together,” Wells said. “They identified a regional challenge, developed a nationally-distinctive educational solution and relied on the knowledge and talent of faculty and staff from our regional array of higher education communities to collaboratively design and develop high-quality, high-demand programs,” Wells said.

UW Oshkosh Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lane Earns said he expects the response by students to the new programs will be tremendous.

“We expect this program will hit the ground running, benefitting from a surge of strong enrollment from students throughout the New North,” Earns said. “They will be students eager to dive into a high-quality and high-tech program never before offered in our region. These degrees are built upon an education that is accessible and develops career-propelling, quality-of-life-enhancing knowledge and leadership in high demand by regional employers.”

The degrees’ approval is a positive step for the institutions and businesses involved, said Martin Rudd, Campus Executive Officer, Dean, and Professor of Chemistry at UW-Fox Valley.

“These exciting new bachelor of science collaborative degrees in three completion major areas of engineering technology represent a tremendous commitment from the institutions of NEW ERA and regional manufacturers to serve the needs of business in the New North area,” Rudd said. “I am delighted to continue to


From “Medical school announces new Wausau locations” – The Medical College of Wisconsin will train new doctors at Aspirus and Northcentral Technical College as it works in cooperation with all central Wisconsin physician groups, the school announced Tuesday.

The Aspirus space will house the medical education program’s classrooms and administrative offices, and NTC will share anatomy and simulation space.

The school’s board decided on the two locations after determining that the Liberty Mutual Insurance building on Wausau’s west side was too large to house operations.

Marita Hattem, interim president and chief operating officer for Aspirus Wausau Hospital, said health care is an important part of any community, and training and maintaining doctors in rural areas such as north central Wisconsin is crucial.

“It (will be) fun for us as employees to see students coming and going,” she said. “Anything we can do to encourage their education and support them in that as much as we can is important.”

The medical college will have 75 students a year once it is running at full capacity and will have dozens of employees, educators or physicians who will need places to eat, live and occasionally have fun, creating a need for restaurants, apartments and entertainment near the campus.

The college will begin training students in 2015 to participate in local residency programs at central Wisconsin hospitals. The hope is that those students will establish careers in the state’s rural areas to resolve a looming physician shortage in the next two decades.

In addition to Aspirus and NTC, the new campus also plans to partner with Ministry Health Care and Marshfield Clinic, along with the University of Wisconsin Marathon County.

Last fall, college representatives were approached by business and community leaders in Wausau to consider the former Liberty headquarters as the home for its community-based medical education program.

“We strongly considered the use of the Liberty Mutual Insurance building and are extremely grateful for the assistance of Liberty Mutual’s executives as well as numerous community leaders,” John R. Raymond Sr., Medical College of Wisconsin president and CEO, said in the release. “We regret that ultimately the beautiful building was just too large for the needs of the program.”

The medical college will make its temporary home in the third floor of an addition to Aspirus’ operating rooms. Hattem said hospital officials did not have a definite plan for the space, and are happy to allow the medical college to use the space for the short-term future.

Officials from Northcentral Technical College could not be reached for comment Tuesday; the school is closed July 1 through July 5.

The community medical education program addresses the need for providers in under-served communities across Wisconsin and uses a teaching model in which students receive core basic science and clinical experience in the community, teaching with other practitioners and encouraging students to practice in the communities where they train.

The medical college in coming months will begin design development for the facilities within both Aspirus and Northcentral Technical College. Student recruitment will begin in spring 2014.


From “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,, or Troy Moldenhaur, associate director of admissions at UW-Whitewater,

From “UWGB attracts more transfer students” – The number of students to transfer to UW-Green Bay is increasing, likely due to the capability for credits to transfer from many area colleges to UWGB.

A provision in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget would require a strong partnership between technical colleges and the UW system to make it easier for students to transfer. UWGB has been making sure the transfer process is successful for some time.

In fact, transfer students are a major contributor to enrollment numbers at UWGB. The university has historically seen significant enrollment of transfer students.

“It always surprises people when I tell them that more of the students that cross our stage at graduation come to us as transfer students than came to us as new freshmen,” said Michael Stearney, dean of enrollment services at UWGB, in an interview with Fox 11 News.

Student Services and the Registrar’s office provide prospective transfer students with a quick review of student’s transcripts to give them an approximation of what credits will transfer and how they will transfer. The review is non-binding, pending a full transfer credit review upon application.

“For many transfer students, transferability of credit is a primary consideration. UWGB actively participates in the Transfer Information System and is working to become a full participant in the U-select consortium,” Stearney said. “These two systems allow students to quickly and easily see how their coursework at one institution transfers to another institution.”

The Transfer Information System, which is available via UWGB’s transfer student website,, allows prospective students to see how their credits will transfer from a UW college or Wisconsin technical college.

U-select is an online database that allows students to see how their credits would transfer to universities in Wisconsin and 16 other states.

Josh Martell, junior communication major, transferred to UWGB from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Martell said the transfer student orientation was very helpful in assisting him in the transfer process.

“I transferred here for the communication program as well as it being in Green Bay, which is where I am from and currently live,” Martell said. “I am glad that I did.”

Stearney said transfer-student orientation programs are offered several times each year to welcome new transfer students.

“We are working on connections programs with selected UW Colleges to meet with new freshmen at the two-year schools to help plan their associate degree coursework with eventual transfer of credits,” Stearney said.

Jennifer Prusow, junior communication major, transferred to UWGB from UW-Sheboygan after completing two years there. She said it was important for her to choose a school that offered her major and her sister’s major. Prusow said other contributing factors in her decision to transfer to UWGB were the cost of tuition and the proximity of the campus to her home in Sheboygan, allowing her to go home on the weekends.

“My transfer experience was fairly easy,” Prusow said. “All my credits transferred, and I was able to register for classes. They were accommodating with any concerns that I had with my credits.”

Assisting potential transfer students with any questions they have is a service UWGB advisers offer on campus, but also remotely.

“UWGB advisers and recruiters have a regular presence at our primary transfer-sending institutions,” Stearney said. “We visit the local UW Colleges on a regularly scheduled basis, and we also hold regular office hours at NWTC one day a month to talk to prospective transfer students.”

Senior human development major, Renee Kehl, also transferred to UWGB from NWTC. Not knowing what she would major in right out of high school, Kehl said going to NWTC for two years first allowed her to focus on her general education requirements while saving money.

“My transfer experience went well overall,” Kehl said. “I only lost one class in transferring.”

Stearney said historically business, social work, nursing and education are some of the most commonly chosen majors by a large number of transfer students


From “UW-Superior social work program teams up with technical college” – The University of Wisconsin-Superior and Northcentral Technical College of Wausau, Wis., have signed an agreement that will help meet the region’s growing demand for social and human service professionals.

The agreement allows graduates of Northcentral’s two-year human services programs to transfer smoothly to the four-year Bachelor of Social Work degree program at UW-Superior.

“They have this wonderful opportunity to come fairly seamlessly into our program,” said Dr. Monica Roth Day, coordinator of the social work program at UW-Superior. “Human services managers are telling us there’s a need for more skilled social workers.”

The number of jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree in social work is expected to grow 25 percent by 2020, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, compared to an average 14.3 percent growth rate for all U.S. jobs.

“We are excited for this partnership, which will provide for additional educational advancement for our learners,” said Tammy Gorski, human services faculty member at Northcentral.

Without formal agreements, higher education institutions must closely examine each incoming student’s course record on a case-by-case basis before granting transfer credits.

UW-Superior has the only Bachelor of Social Work degree program in northern Wisconsin and is the first UW-System school to sign an articulation agreement with Northcentral.

From “WCTC enters nursing partnership with University of Phoenix” – The University of Phoenix College of Nursing and Waukesha County Technical College have announced a transfer pathway that will enable WCTC nursing students to transfer into the University of Phoenix in pursuit of a master of science in nursing, according to a release.

Under the new partnership, eligible students and graduates of WCTC’s associate of applied science in nursing degree program will be able to transfer into University of Phoenix’s bachelor of science in nursing degree program. Students may then continue their education by enrolling in the master of science in nursing/nurse administration degree program. The University of Phoenix has local campuses in Milwaukee and Brookfield.

“A more educated nurse is a safer nurse,” said Angie Strawn, associate dean of University of Phoenix College of Nursing, in the release. “For many, the demands of a full-time career as a nurse preclude their ability to pursue an advanced degree. Our new pathway with Waukesha makes the path to becoming a nurse leader more achievable.”

From “It’s strange being older than your teachers!” – Baby boomers are coming here to further their education or start a career. Not having grown up in the high tech age, vital skills are being sought to keep them at par with the current workforce. Educational dreams are being fulfilled as a wave of boomers head back to college – at MATC. The timing couldn’t be better.

There are 76 million boomers; post World War II babies born between 1946 and 1964. Many unsure of what Social Security or Medicare holds for them, laid off, widowed, divorced, displaced; they are improving their future with an education, and technical colleges are a great way for them to quickly gain skills or a new career.

Decades ago, people 50 and over wouldn’t even dream of going to college or working at a job after they hit 65. Not so today- they are an untapped market with tremendous potential, “The number of students ages 50 to 64 increased 17 percent nationwide between fall 2007 and fall 2009,” according to the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and, “An increasing number of people ages 50 and up are headed to community college — 388,000 were enrolled nationwide in fall 2009,” the most recent data available from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).

The Wisconsin Technical College System report #VE215310 affirms that those 50 and over are responding to the call of further education. The following are four area technical colleges with their corresponding percentage of boomer admissions: MATC – 9.2%, Gateway – 10.2%, Moraine Park – 18.6%, and Waukesha – 20%. A productive 15 to 20 more years in the workforce after graduation is not unrealistic, and many who have stayed home to raise their families want to get out to begin their postponed careers.

Walter Lanier of the Counseling and Advising Center, who heads up the Diversity Council which meets twice a month said, “While age has not really been discussed (at the meetings), age diversity is well represented.” Diversity is not only ethnicity, religion, or race, it is also age. Older students bring a wealth of life experience and motivation to help younger students to succeed. They enrich any campus.

Due to a major accident and divorce, “Jay,” a 53-year- old full-time student in the Human Services program at the Downtown Milwaukee campus needed to change his field. He considered MATC because of its “reputation, cost, convenience, and diversity.” A Pell grant is paying all of his expenses and he even got a refund. Jay said, “I would feel uncomfortable without the diversity….I feel at home here.”
Douglas Koput, 49, is in the Electronic Technology program at the Downtown Milwaukee campus.  He was laid off from his job and needed additional skills. Convenience of the college made his decision to attend here, and also received help from a Pell grant. He was nervous at first and started with just two classes, and after getting an A in both, he had the confidence to continue. His advice to prospective boomers, “Start out slow to be sure.”
Having her job move out of the country and becoming a dislocated worker, “Mary,” 53, receives full tuition through a program with unemployment. She is in the Medical Administrative Specialist program at the West Allis campus and attends full time. She finds the professors “great” and does not feel intimidated by the younger students. Her advice, “Don’t be afraid, you are never too old to learn something.”
Underpaid and underappreciated in his current job, A.D. Owens, 49, wanted something better. He is attending full time in the Teacher Education program downtown.  “MATC had the program I wanted,” said Owens. He was “tired of just having a job,” he wanted “a career.” A Pell grant helps pay his tuition, and he is very proud to be on the Dean’s List. After the initial insecurities, he was confident in his abilities and wants other boomers to know that, “This is the time to go. Make the decision and come to MATC.”
There is probably a boomer in one or more of your classes – encourage them, learn from them, give a smile to let them know that this is their college too.

From “Paul Freiberg: We need all sorts of workers” – Several years ago, after my car skidded into a ditch during a snowstorm, I called the auto club for roadside assistance. After a short wait, a mechanic drove out in a wrecker. He knew his trade and he pulled my car from the side of the road.

I reminded myself never to take people for granted. I also reminded myself that not everyone needs to go to college. A four-year college degree wouldn’t necessarily provide the skills to that young man who pulled my car from the ditch.

We often read about the importance of a college degree. We read about the skills gap — the relative scarcity of experienced workers despite a relatively high unemployment rate. There’s little doubt that we need employees with the requisite skills and education for the competitive arena.

However, we should think about what are appropriate goals for people. We live in a diverse economy and need workers with the appropriate experience to service their respective clients. Some of those skills are best learned in college; some skills are taught elsewhere.

For instance, we need workers who have the ability to solve problems with their customers, the demanding consumer. For others, a two-year technical degree would be beneficial and indeed preferable to accommodate the requirements of local businesses and trades. For some people, working one’s way up the organization makes sense. We should never forget that everyone who works contributes to the economy.

The trick is to match the skills with the job. We need baristas who can multitask during the morning rush. We need wait staff, probably one of the more demanding jobs, to serve our food in a pleasant manner. These are the valued workers who serve me coffee and food as I travel throughout the Fox Valley.

We need retail workers who understand the merchandise and help us make good decisions. We appreciate those who can tell us what style tie goes with what color shirt. We need advice from the home improvement workers and recommendations from the associates at the book store. In the same manner, we rely on those who provide other advice, such as where the fish are biting and what bait to use. Some of us may need help on what type of wine goes with a Wisconsin brat.

Moreover, we need employees who understand how to repair the computers that operate modern equipment. We need auto mechanics who can troubleshoot and diagnose our automobiles and keep our families safe. We need truck drivers who can handle 40,000-pound loads on our crowded highways.

Again, we need the varied skills necessary for our diverse economy. As such, some workers will build their respective skills working their way up through the organization. Some people will be better off taking routes such as trade schools or two-year technical colleges. Not everyone needs to go to college and, let’s face the facts — we don’t have the capacity to accommodate everyone anyway.

Let’s also agree that the experience gained in these service jobs has provided many people with the foundation for other roles in their lives. The communication and interpersonal skills we learn while serving customers are invaluable as we progress through our respective organizations.

We depend on all of these employees such as restaurant staff, store associates, shuttle drivers and so on. Despite the occasional poor service, I see many of these employees work with urgency and pride.

In short, we’re dealing with paradox. We need employees with college educations, we need skilled workers with technical expertise and we need employees with the wherewithal to provide the necessary services, such as those individuals who serve burgers, wash cars and stock shelves.

These employees are important. Let’s not take anyone for granted.

From “Many transfer options available for college students in area” – Obtaining a college degree can be one of the biggest moments in someone’s life. Schools in our area make it easier than ever to start at one campus and end at a different one.

Many colleges and universities offer students the option to transfer courses from one school and then use them towards their completion of a degree at another school.

The reasons for doing so differ. For some, starting at a community college and moving on to a four year school can help them save money.
Other students might want to take a class at one school that isn’t available at another.

Many schools in our area offer a transfer option, including Northcentral Technical College and UW – Marathon County. The close-knit environment of these schools mean students sometimes only need to travel a few minutes up the road to get transfer credits.

“We’re very proud of our community relationships in this area,” says Suzi Mathias, Director of Transfer and Placement at NTC. “We have some very strong collaborations with other colleges and we work with them frequently.”

She says it’s common for students to decide ahead of time to start their degree at NTC and complete a four-year degree at another school. At NTC students can transfer credits to more than 35 institutions.

Transfer directors say the most important thing when helping a student decide where to gain credits is looking at their particular needs.

“I think it’s important for students to be able to move some credits around because plans change,” says Keith Montgomery, Dean and CEO at UW- Marathon County.

One option offered through the University of Wisconsin Colleges is the Guaranteed Transfer Program. You begin as a freshman at a UW campus and receive guaranteed admission to complete a four year degree at another school. You must complete a declaration form, as well as keep a minimum GPA of a 2.0 (2.8 for UW-Madison) as well as complete the number of credits required for junior status into the transfer school.

Visit for more information.

From “Ed Talks Wisconsin an effort to start constructive dialog about public education” – Interested in public education and becoming more informed about the range of often contentious topics that are grabbing the headlines?

Ed Talks Wisconsin offers a unique opportunity to listen to diverse views and engage in debate and dialogue on issues from closing the achievement gap and the politics of school choice, to teachers unions, the transformation of higher education and more. The event, to be held on the UW-Madison campus March 12-22, is free and open to the public.

“This is a classic Wisconsin Idea sort of effort — using university resources and scholarship to inform public engagement on a big issue of public policy,” says Joel Rogers, a professor of law, political science, public affairs and sociology and director of the Center on Wisconsin Strategy, who is organizing the event. “Everybody should have the opportunity for a good education. That means making the public system work. This discussion is about what that requires today.”

Whether one is a student, parent, teacher, researcher or interested citizen, all are invited to join in the conversation.

“There are so many important conversations happening in and around Wisconsin regarding the future of public education, and Ed Talks Wisconsin represents an initial effort to try and pull them together into a cohesive dialogue,” says Sara Goldrick-Rab, an associate professor of educational policy studies and sociology who is helping organize the event.

Some of the Ed Talks Wisconsin highlights include:

  • The March 12 kickoff event, “From K-12 to Technical College Degrees: Toward Stronger Connections and More Student Success.” The presentation will feature Morna Foy, the new president of the Wisconsin Technical College System, and be moderated by Julie Underwood, the dean of UW-Madison’s School of Education. It begins 7 p.m. in room 159 of the Education Building.
  • The discussion March 13 centers on the hot-button topic of the achievement gap, and will feature a range of educational experts and key local stakeholders, including Madison Mayor Paul Soglin, James Howard, president of the Madison Metropolitan School District’s Board of Education, and Michael Johnson, chief executive officer of the Boys and Girls Club of Dane County. This event begins at 7 p.m., also at the Education Building.
  • A presentation March 15 will focus on the rapid advancement in online learning opportunities and “The Coming Transformation of Higher Education.” Anya Kamenetz, the author of several books on the future of education and a senior writer at Fast Company magazine, where she writes the column “Life in Beta,” will take part in the conversation, as will UW Colleges and UW-Extension Chancellor Ray Cross, who is helping lead efforts to launch the UW System’s Flex Degree program. This talk begins at 7 p.m. at the Education Building.
  • On March 18, a panel will examine the “Politics of School Choice in New Orleans and Milwaukee.” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is proposing an expansion of the school choice program, which uses public funding to allow students to attend private or religious schools. Two authors with new books on school choice (Sarah Carr and Barbara Miner) will participate in an event moderated by UW-Madison’s Gloria Ladson-Billings, the Kellner Family Chair in Urban Education and a professor of curriculum and instruction, and educational policy studies. This event will take place at 7 p.m. in the Varsity 3 room of Union South.

The final two days of Ed Talks Wisconsin, March 21-22, are also part of the UW-Madison Department of Educational Policy Studies’ annual conference. This year’s 10th annual event is titled “A Nation at Risk? Reflections on the Past and Future of U.S. Public Education.”

“A Nation at Risk” is a report that was released in 1983, jump-starting decades of often critical talk directed at public schools. The report was a driving force behind a series of reforms, including the Bush administration’s 2002 No Child Left Behind law that pressured schools to improve students’ test scores or face increasingly harsh sanctions. These events, all in room 159 of the Education Building, also are free and open to the public.

To view the full schedule of events and for additional information, visit the Ed Talks Wisconsin website.

Ed Talks Wisconsin is being organized by: UW-Madison’s School of Education, Department of Educational Policy Studies, Center on Wisconsin Strategy (COWS) and Wisconsin Center for the Advancement of Postsecondary Education; the Madison Mayor’s Office; the Teaching Assistants Association; United Council of UW Students; the Wisconsin University Union; and Wisconsin Union Directorate.


From “Financial aid event helps families plan for college” – WAUSAU - Applying for financial aid can be a challenging task. That’s why organizers hold the “College Goal Wisconsin” event across the state to help people navigate online forms.

One of the free sessions was held at North Central Technical College Saturday.

Tom and Tammy Kirsch of Edgar are sending their first child, Tyler, to college in the fall.

“He’s a good student, gets good grades,” said Tom Kirsch.

They’re hoping to get some financial aid to help pay for his education.

“We have been planning since they were quite small but unfortunately, the pot has not grown as much as we would have liked it to grow,” Kirsch said.

At NTC, volunteers helped people learn more about the Free Application for Student Aid, also known as the FAFSA and complete the online form.

“Financial aid includes the low interest rate student loans, grants, college work study and then scholarships based on financial need,” said “College Goal Wisconsin” chair Sharon Hunter.

She added that filling out the online form correctly is crucial.

“So they can find out what their expected contribution is toward college so they can find out if college is really affordable or not,” she said.

Although the form has gotten easier to navigate in recent years, organizers said many people who are filling it out for the first time have questions.

Hunter said the process requires, “very basic information about the student and parent and then income information which comes right off your tax return.”

The Kirsch’s told Newsline 9 the free event helped them feel more confident about the process.

“Any financial aid, scholarship money will help tremendously,” said Tom Kirsch.

The U.S. Department of Education provides more than $150 billion dollars each year to help students pay for higher education.

From “WTCS announces new program for nurses” – Registered nurses with a two-year degree from a Wisconsin technical college can now fully apply those credits toward a bachelor degree, according to a release.

The agreement originated with Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and Cardinal Stritch University, but the replicable approach was immediately made available to nursing graduates of all 16 Wisconsin technical colleges.

The one-day-per week program, part of the university’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion program, is designed for registered nurses looking for enhanced career opportunities, promotions and management positions.

“It makes career progression very attainable for our highly skilled nursing graduates,” said Morna Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System, in the release.

Cardinal Stritch, with its main campus in the Milwaukee area and campuses throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota, designed the program specifically for working registered nurses. It is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

From “University, college funding would be tied to job-readiness efforts” – Madison - To respond to global competition and an aging workforce, Gov. Scott Walker wants to invest nearly $100 million to build a faster system to track jobs data, tie technical school and university funding to filling high-demand professions and require nearly 76,000 people to train for work to collect food stamps.

The sweeping proposals – some of the biggest in worker training in more than a decade – would expand the Medical College of Wisconsin to Green Bay and Wausau and draw in millions of dollars in added federal money toward the goal of equipping the workforce for needed jobs as welders, nurses, accountants, machine operators and rural doctors.

The measures encompass big parts of the Republican governor’s 2013-’15 budget being introduced on Feb. 20, as well as separate legislation to be introduced on Monday.

Many of the proposals will likely find bipartisan support in the Legislature, while others will likely be greeted with dissatisfaction from Democrats pushing for bigger investments from the governor to backfill the cuts he has made in the current budget to the state’s technical colleges and universities.

One potentially contentious plank – and one with big implications for Milwaukee – is Walker’s proposal to require able-bodied adults without dependent children to train or search for work to receive benefits under the state FoodShare program. Providing the training will cost the state $17 million a year and won’t save money directly on the federally funded food benefits.

But in an interview, Walker said he believes the recipients will gain confidence and move into the workforce and off other costly state benefits.

“I want to provide a hand up, not a permanent handout, and I think the idea here is it’s not enough to just say, ‘You should go find a job.’ We’re willing to put our money where our mouth is and say we’ll train you,” Walker said.

The scope of the proposed changes is ambitious, reaching from 4-year-old kindergarten through university study and into training in the workplace. The measure draws on reports by Competitive Wisconsin, former Bucyrus International executive Tim Sullivan and Walker’s Read to Lead Task Force.

More investments in education will likely come in the budget, but likely not be enough to placate Democrats. They’ve stewed about Walker’s higher-education cuts in the current budget, which included some $300 million over two years to the University of Wisconsin System alone.

“Governor Walker made the biggest cuts to education and worker training in our state’s history,” said budget committee member Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse). “It has widened our skills gap and resulted in waiting lists (at technical colleges) of up to three years in some high-demand professions.”

Walker made the UW cuts – as well as ones to local governments and school districts – just after approving a measure that all but eliminated collective bargaining for public workers and required them to pay more for their pensions and health care.

He argued Friday that those savings and the added flexibility offset the cuts, and that to him his proposed spending in the next budget amounts to new money.


The FoodShare proposal would not affect the elderly, disabled or those with minor children. It would limit able-bodied recipients’ benefits to three months over any three-year period unless they are working or doing at least 20 hours per week of job training or searches.

The state will attract federal matching funds for the training costs for a total of $33 million over two years.

The proposal will face skepticism from advocates such as Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force in Milwaukee. Tussler remembers previous state requirements as creating more jobs for social workers than it did for FoodShare recipients, who she said were taught just basic skills.

“There’s this huge bureaucracy to get people to do the work and make sure they’ve done it. It ends up costing more to mandate the work than the good you get. . . . You’re trying to take away people’s food to get them to get a job,” she said.

Currently, the training element to the program is voluntary, and Tussler said she has struggled to get state funding for a proposal to pay FoodShare participants $10 an hour to work at a farm growing vegetables for the needy. That’s because of tight federal restrictions, she said.

Technical Colleges

The governor is also proposing linking current state funding to technical schools with their performance at placing their more than 78,000 students in the right jobs.

Starting in 2014, Walker wants 10% of the general state aid to technical colleges to be awarded based on job placement and how well the schools do at catering to fields that are in high demand.

That percentage would ramp up in future years, until all state funds would be allocated on a performance basis, starting in 2020.

The technical colleges would see a $5 million boost in general state aid, bringing it to $88.5 million a year. That’s a 5.9% boost in its current funding, but does not come close to replacing all the money Walker cut from technical colleges in 2011.

That year, funding for technical schools dropped by 30%, from $119.3 million to $83.5 million.

The $88.5 million Walker will propose for technical colleges accounts for just a sliver of overall funding for those schools, which also receive property taxes, tuition and federal aid.

UW System

For state universities, Walker is proposing awarding $20 million for programs that help the economy, develop a skilled workforce and make higher education more affordable.

He also plans to give $2 million to the UW System to start up its flexible degree program – about two-thirds of the $3 million the system had requested.

The program is meant to allow people already in the workforce to get degrees in programs such as nursing, information systems or medical imaging more quickly by getting credits for knowledge they already have, whether they learned it on a job site or through online courses.

Walker’s budget would also require the university and technical college systems to establish a core set of 30 college credits that can be transferred between all public institutions in the state.

Private colleges would have a chance to opt into that system.

In a provision that could rankle GOP lawmakers, Walker wants to allow the UW-Madison chancellor to determine the pay plan for employees without going through the Legislature.

Similarly, the UW Board of Regents would be able to set pay for other campuses without getting sign-off from lawmakers – flexibility that UW System President Kevin Reilly said was essential to closing a pay gap with salaries at other institutions.

“Over time, if we can’t give our people hope we’ll be able to close that 18 percentage point gap, people who are mobile and attractive to other universities will leave,” Reilly said. “The biggest threat to students of the future is that they will not be taught by the best and brightest.”

Health care

Walker’s budget would also seek to increase the number of doctors and dentists in Wisconsin, particularly in rural areas.

It would:

  • Provide $7.4 million in bonding so the Medical College of Wisconsin could establish campuses in the Green Bay and Wausau areas. In addition, the college would receive $1.75 million over two years to add 12 more family medicine residents.
  • Give $3 million over two years to the UW School of Medicine so it can expand training for doctors who will serve rural areas and inner cities.
  • Provide $4 million for rural hospitals so they can receive national accreditation and take on medical residents, along with $1 million in grants to hospitals so they can take more doctors in training.
  • Give $520,000 to the Marquette Dental School so it can expand.
  • Provide $5 million to the Wisconsin Health Information Organization, which is meant to make health care costs more transparent and make people wiser health care consumers.

Education, other items

Walker’s budget would also expand testing in schools so by the 11th grade teachers can identify and better prepare students who are ready for college or a career when they graduate.

The testing would cost $11.5 million over two years and would be covered by the state. The proposal would also screen the reading readiness of students in 4-year-old kindergarten and first grade in the fall of 2013. The following year, screening would also be used for second-graders. The plan would cost $2.8 million over two years.

Starting in sixth grade, students could develop an academic and career plan, under Walker’s budget. The plan would be updated throughout a student’s school career so he or she can graduate from high school with a job plan. Schools would receive about $1.1 million starting in the fall of 2014.

The second set of Walker’s proposed workforce changes will be stand-alone legislation that will be introduced on Monday, said Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester). He said he hoped to pass the measure by the end of March.

That bill would cost $20 million over two years and would:

  • Spend $15 million over two years in grants to organizations that train workers.
  • The competitive grants would go to technical colleges, local workforce boards and regional economic development organizations working in partnership with state businesses, which could provide matching funds.
  • Create a four-person state Office of Skills Development to coordinate the scattered worker-training systems of the state and adapt them to the needs of employers.
  • Spend roughly $5 million to develop a system to better track the state’s labor market by some time in 2014.

If successful, it would more quickly deliver to students, guidance counselors and businesses data from the state’s unemployment system that currently takes six months to become public.

The system would link jobless workers to openings they are qualified to fill and provide students and guidance counselors with better information about career opportunities. If successful in getting the unemployed back to work even a week sooner, the system could save the state tens of millions of dollars.

Walker, who has struggled to meet his pledge to create 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first term, said the system wasn’t an attempt to gloss over the current figures, just deliver the same data more quickly.

From “Dual enrollment program makes students eligible for aid” – Gateway Technical College students now have the opportunity not only to kick start earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, they can reduce their total tuition cost while revving up their financial aid.

That’s been made possible by a new dual-enrollment plan Gateway and Parkside worked out late in the fall and which became effective Jan. 1.

Under the partnership, Gateway students now may choose to enroll in what’s called the “1-Plus-3 General Studies Certificate Program” and complete 30 credit hours of general education requirements, while simultaneously being admitted into Parkside.

While a 1-Plus-3 agreement has been in place for a number of years between the schools, until now it did not include dual enrollment, which officials said is significant — not only for the students, but for the institutions as well.

“One of the things that I’m excited about is this is sort of the next step in our relationship with Parkside,” John Thibodeau, Gateway assistant provost, said. “We were giving a (1-Plus-3) certificate before, but we were unable to provide students financial aid.”

He said for a Gateway student to earn financial aid previously, the Wisconsin Technical College System required students to be enrolled in degree-awarding program. The structure of the former 1-Plus-3 program wasn’t of sufficient duration for Gateway students to meet the requirement.

“Now, with dual enrollment, because they’re then admitted into Parkside and Gateway simultaneously, they’re able to get financial aid through Parkside because Parkside is able to admit them and offer them financial aid. At a 4-year college, when you’re admitted, you become eligible for financial aid upon admission. But, at a two-year tech college, you have to be in a specific degree or diploma program to become financial aid eligible,” Thibodeau said.

Added Thibodeau: “From the practical everyday point of view of students, that’s important because they want to know how they’re going to be able to pay for college.

Since the 1990s, the schools have honored what’s known as a “2-Plus-2” articulation, or transfer, agreement. It allows Gateway students to earn two years of transfer credits at Gateway before enrolling at Parkside to earn their remaining credits toward a bachelor degree, based on the remainder amounting to about two years matriculation at Parkside.

However, the new 1-Plus-1 program provides students greater flexibility in pursuing Parkside degrees, DeAnn Possehl, Parkside associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, explained.

“This is for general education requirements. The 2-plus-2 is program specific. So, it doesn’t apply to all the programs. That’s the substantial difference,” Possehl said

The schools began working on dual enrollment for 1-Plus-3 nine months ago when it came up during periodic conversations the campuses have about improving communication and transfer-related issues between them, as well as how they can smooth the experience for students, according to Possehl.

“This was just an outcome of that. We’re always looking for pathways to help our students succeed,” Possehl said. “From our point of view, I think the value is it provides an alternative, particularly for us, for a student who isn’t ready yet to start a four-year program maybe financially or academically or in just in their life.”

Another significant element of the agreement is the clarity it provides for students planning to continue toward earning a bachelor degree because the program spells out the proper general education requirements that will correctly transfer to Parkside, keeping students on track for timely graduation. “It addresses a number of issues and ensures they are on a very clear path with transferable courses. This is about students and really addressing their needs,” Possehl said.


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