December 11, 2013
From wsau.com: “Salvation Army, NTC recognize successful students” – A celebration was held Tuesday for a group of students that have been working hard to improve their futures. The Salvation Army works with Northcentral Technical College to help people they serve have a more positive future.
Stan Steckbauer heads the program, and says they help teach skills needed in today’s world. “Things like getting a G-E-D, improving their computer literacy activities, being able to apply for jobs online, and teaching them how to fill out resumes, and also doing things like college preparation.”
The educational program also helps people get regular and commercial drivers licenses, so people can get to and from their future jobs.
Steckbauer says their program helps the recipients decide what their future should be, and helps them achieve it. “We try to assess their situation and then determine what they might be best suited for, and how to eliminate any barriers so that they can accomplish their academic or vocational goal.”
The program recognized 40 students for reaching their educational goals in a ceremony at the Salvation Army in Wausau Tuesday evening.
December 11, 2013
From weau.com: “Walker signs bills encouraging more technical education” – Governor Scott Walker visited the Chippewa Valley Technical College to sign bipartisan bills SB 334 and SB331 into law today.
The first one provides scholarships to promising students who are looking go in technical education fields. The second sets up a grant program to help high schools provide more students with advanced technical educational opportunities.
He says there is a tremendous need in our state to train workers for the jobs that are available. Many of those open jobs are in technical fields like IT, health care and manufacturing.
“We want our best and our brightest not only in our four year colleges and universities; we want them in our technical colleges as well” Walker said.
Walker added, “The earlier we start people thinking about those career paths, the earlier we will see what they are good at and plug them that, the more likely they are going to be to fill those positions in the future.”
But we all know education and training is expensive, and that’s where Walker says these grants and scholarship will help bridge the gap.
“That’s not only good for education it’s good for the economy,” said Walker.
SB331 sets up an incentive grant program to have career and technical education programs in high schools. It says schools will get $1000 for each student enrolled in an advanced technical program.
Chippewa Valley President Bruce Barker says he hopes the legislation will also help build more partnerships between high schools and tech colleges across the state.
“The entire technical college system was created to meet the employment and training needs our business and industry that was specific design so programs like this again highlight that partnership,” said Barker.
November 29, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Milestone reached in FVTC job search program” — APPLETON - The JobSeekers Network program at Fox Valley Technical College welcomed its 1,000th participant in November, making the free offering to the community one of the fastest-growing job search efforts in the Midwest.
JSN started as a support group at FVTC four years ago, and it has now grown into a curriculum-based job search program that teaches how to land a career using skilled networking practices and more.
The program also developed an optional textbook for participants and the community, the Human Search Engine, and its LinkedIn social media group has grown to more than 1,000 active members as well.
JSN if offered weekly at FVTC’s Appleton and Oshkosh campuses. For more information on the sessions, visit www.fvtc.edu/jsn.
November 27, 2013
From whby.com: “Job Center helps company add jobs quickly” — Some state officials are celebrating a jobs success story in Appleton.
Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch stopped by Clean Power today.
Company president Jeffery Packee says a partnership with the Job Center of Wisconsin, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College helped his company hire new workers, quickly. He says they had to fill about 50 positions in just over two weeks, after they got a contract from Marinette Marine. Packee says the workers needed a variety of skills.
Packee says all of the jobs are full-time, and they’re now adding 34 more workers. He says Clean Power is using the job center again, to fill those positions.
November 26, 2013
From insightonmfg.com: “From mind to model: 3D printing puts form, fit and function on the fast track” – When companies can turn ideas into reality within 24 hours, it’s not hard to imagine the powerful impact 3D printing can have on the manufacturing industry. Simply put, 3D printing technology turns 3D computer models into prototypes by “printing” the model, layer by layer, using various substances such as powder or plastic to create a tangible object.
“It’s an easy way to visualize your parts to check them for form, fit and function,” says Dean Sommerfeld, instructor of mechanical design technology at Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC). “You can model something on computer and it looks good, but it’s hard to tell scale. If you’re designing something to fit in your hand, does it fit?”
There is plenty of demand for workers trained in this technology. FVTC’s Mechanical Design Technology program has a consistent 90-plus percent graduate employment rate. The college is the only institution in the state with three fabrication laboratories (Fab Labs) and one mobile Fab Lab, according to Steve Gallagher, program specialist and Fab Lab manager at FVTC.
The University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley is also targeting the growing need for 3D printing skills and technology with its recent launch of the Center for Device, Design and Development. Officially dubbed “3DC,” it’s been described as “a platform for developing ideas into reality.” 3DC is a private-public venture seeking to connect small businesses and inventors in Wisconsin with the technical expertise and resources necessary to develop their ideas into marketable products.
In return, the inventor provides his or her support and agrees to share royalties with all involved parties.
“We do a good job of preparing our students for the technical skills they need to be successful in industry, but one aspect that could use further development is the ability to take a simple kernel of an idea and turn it into a marketable product,” said Dr. Michael Zampaloni in UWFox’s September announcement of the program. Zampaloni is 3DC’s co-director and professor of mechanical engineering for UW-Platteville. “Through 3DC, students, working with engineers and local small businesses and manufacturers, will gain some of this invaluable experience as part of an entrepreneurial team bringing new products, ideas, and businesses to the Fox Valley area,” he added.
By supporting the Fox Cities and Northeast Wisconsin small businesses, entrepreneurs and engineering students, each product developed has the potential to directly impact the Wisconsin economy through the expansion of existing businesses, and the creation of new businesses, all supporting high-tech jobs in the local area.
“People hold on to great, innovative ideas that are just waiting to become great, innovative solutions. However, individuals may not have the technical resources or even know where to begin. The 3DC is designed to guide these individuals through the entire product development process,” said Dr. Ranen McLanahan in the statement issued by the school. McLanahan is assistant professor of mechanical engineering at UWFox and 3DC co-director.
November 26, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Mayville Engineering plans to expand, hire 100 workers” – Mayville Engineering Co. is planning to expand five of its plants in Wisconsin, resulting in 100 new manufacturing jobs, the company said Monday.
The expansion is the result of orders from existing customers as well as new work the company has landed, said Mayville marketing manager Brian Johnson.
Mayville Engineering Co., is an employee-owned firm based in the Dodge County community that shares its name. Mayville is about 55 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
Nationwide, the company employs about 2,000 people and generates more than $300 million in sales.
“We’re putting in some pretty significant equipment and we have to hire a bunch of people, so we’re trying to get the word out,” Johnson said.
“We’ve been successful at getting really good people in here and we’re in one of those situations right now where we need to get some more,” Johnson added. “It’s a good place to be.”
The new jobs will be primarily at the company’s two plants in Mayville, two plants in Beaver Dam and a plant in Wautoma. The company also has two plants in Neillsville in west-central Wisconsin, as well as plants in Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia.
“We have a number of new products that we are launching with some key customers in the agriculture, construction and power sports industries,” Johnson said.
Mayville Engineering specializes in making the parts used to build equipment ranging from large trucks to agricultural equipment to all-terrain vehicles. It does prototyping, production manufacturing, fabricating, tube forming, coating and assembly services in a variety of markets.
“We’re a key supply chain partner for a number of the large original equipment manufacturers,” Johnson said.
Company leaders realize they are hiring in a marketplace where demand is high for skilled labor. “That is something that we hear a lot,” Johnson said. “It’s no small challenge.”
The company’s position as an employee-owned business gives it an advantage when seeking to attract workers, he said.
“When they are looking at opportunities, we find that a lot of people are interested that they have a chance to earn stock in the company,” Johnson said. “That’s kind of a compelling advantage that we have.”
The company also has successfully entered into partnerships and apprenticeship programs with Moraine Park Technical College and Mayville High School.
The company is hiring for skilled manufacturing positions, including robotic and manual welders, laser operators, brake press operators, CNC machinists, punch press operators, tool and die makers, painters and material coordinators.
But the company also wants to hear from folks who might not have significant manufacturing experience. “Even if it’s not a long one, if they have a good work history that they can show us, we’re looking for good people who are going to fit into our culture,” Johnson said.
Growth and expansion at Mayville Engineering is an example of the positive part of what is proving to be an up-and-down performance of manufacturing in recent times. Manufacturing is a key sector of Wisconsin’s economy.
Diversification is key
“The recovery has been so uneven,” said David J. Ward, CEO of NorthStar Consulting Group, a private economic consulting and research firm in Madison. “There’s no pattern.
“We’ve had nothing out there that would say to manufacturers or anybody else, ‘Hey we’re on a roll,’” he said.
An important aspect for manufacturers is to have business across sectors, Ward said.
“Certain sectors are doing OK. Others, they’re not contracting or anything, they’re just kind of bumping along,” he said.
Having a diversity in business is exactly the strategy that Mayville has pursued.
“We really transcend a lot of different markets,” Johnson said. “So, if one market might be having a hard time, we have other markets that are growing.”
Job fair Dec. 7
Mayville Engineering will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at its Dodge County headquarters, 715 South St., Mayville, to recruit for manufacturing positions, including robotic and manual welders, laser operators, brake press operators, CNC machinists, punch press operators, tool and die makers, painters, and material coordinators.
November 25, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Streetwise: Oshkosh growing out of the old Sawdust City image” — By Jeff Bollier - Oshkosh may have a ways to go before it competes with Silicon Valley, but the former center of the logging industry has quietly lumbered into the 21st century.
Companies like DealerFire, Oracular and ImproMed continue to add good-paying jobs while economic development agencies have sought ways to help bolster information technology as an industry in Oshkosh.
Meanwhile, Fox Valley Technical College has recently launched a partnership with Oshkosh North and West high schools that could help build interest — and necessary skill sets — in the IT field.
FVTC, North and West have established help desks staffed by students and monitored by FVTC mentors to help build an understanding of IT careers and the required skills. FVTC also has started to develop curriculum for the high schools that will allow interested students earn college credits while taking early courses vital to IT careers and courses of study.
These activities are the building blocks on which a successful industry can build for years to come. Let’s hope collaboration like this continues into the future and the vision comes to fruition.
• Oshkosh Corp. has been designated a Green Professional under the Wisconsin Sustainable Council’s Green Masters Program. The program recognizes companies that promote sustainability and healthy workplaces. In Oshkosh Corp.’s case, the council applauded the company’s increase in recycled materials, a reduction in items that end up in landfills and its wellness programs.
November 20, 2013
From ibmadison.com: “Stoughton Trailers’ Wahlin takes the high road through economic challenges” – For most area businesses, the Great Recession was nothing less than devastating. For Stoughton Trailers, however, it was just one terrifying part of a ferocious three-headed monster.
The company was already experiencing a brutal downturn before the recession hit its frightening heights in late 2008, having seen a slackening in demand for its signature dry-van trailers starting in 2006.
Add to that the hollowing out of another once-profitable sector — intermodal equipment — because of Chinese competition, and you had a recipe for disaster.
You could say that’s just what befell Stoughton Trailers as the family-run company approached its 50th anniversary near the close of the last decade, but it has stormed back in the past few years, going from around 1,400 employees before the downturn began, to around 250 when the recession was doing its worst damage, to approximately 1,000 today.
At IB’s next Icons in Business presentation on Dec. 3, Stoughton Trailers President Robert Wahlin will discuss the company’s survival strategies in the wake of the Great Recession and the challenges the company faced in both ramping up and ramping down production in response to global economic forces.
According to Wahlin, it wasn’t just the loss of business that hurt Stoughton Trailers, it was also the hemorrhaging of considerable human capital, which threatened the long-term success of his company.
“When we dropped from around 1,400 to around 250 in basically about a three-year period, at that point, you’re not just cutting to the bone, you’re cutting into the bone,” said Wahlin. “So it was during that time period we lost a lot of good people, a lot of our core talented manufacturing personnel.”
In an era when it’s already difficult to recruit and retain skilled manufacturing workers, losing all that accumulated talent poses a significant problem. Part of Stoughton Trailers’ response was to refocus its remaining workforce on continuing education.
“The people we were able to continue with, we did significant investment in, and what I mean by that is educational investment,” said Wahlin. “So we had shop floor people, we had administrative people, the whole group. … We took people off the floor and put them in the classroom, and we had classes in quality certification, Lean Six Sigma, ergonomics, and just kind of general business classes as well. And we were able to build up and improve our core base of personnel and improve those jobs while pursuing educational opportunities as well.
“We did this through MATC, and it got to the point where some of the classes were so dominated by Stoughton Trailers employees that they actually came and held the classes at our facilities.”
But while the company’s remaining workforce no doubt felt fortunate to be in the factory or in the classroom — anywhere but on the unemployment line — according to Wahlin, keeping them motivated in the face of so much grim news was one of his biggest challenges.
“Yeah, it’s a big challenge to keep them excited about coming to work every day when they see people that they’ve worked with for so many years have to leave or sit on the sidelines,” said Wahlin. “You can easily fall into an, ‘oh, what’s the point?’ type of atmosphere, and especially when you’re taking on improvement projects and educational opportunities, it’s hard for people to see the advantage of that because it’s not an immediate payback. So when you’re doing those types of investments, there’s a sense of urgency to put that education and that investment to good use and to see that payback, but you just have to be very patient and wait for the right time.”
The right time eventually came, but not before the company was forced to retool and allow plenty of good people to move on to other jobs. While much of the company’s resurgence can be attributed to a rebound in demand for its core products and a rosier economic picture overall, Stoughton Trailers also re-evaluated its product line and redoubled its efforts to address the manufacturing skills gap.
In addition to ramping up production to address the pent-up demand for replacement trailers, the company began to diversify.
“During the downturn, we were just into dry-vans,” said Wahlin. “Into the downturn and coming out of it, we started building a grain trailer, so we got into agricultural equipment. … We also have been scratching and clawing to find our way back into intermodal containers and chassis. It went to China, but we redid [our] Evansville plant and significantly changed the product design, trying to find a way where we can be efficient enough to get back into that market.
“We had been, for the last few years, the only North American supplier that’s been trying to get back in, but we’ve been building containers and chassis again, and right now we’re looking and have been doing research into other products such as flatbeds and refrigerated equipment and other things. So yeah, the dry-van market started to increase primarily through equipment replacement demand, and we also diversified our products so we weren’t as susceptible to the downturn and the swings that go with a single product line.”
While slaying the Chinese competition dragon requires a novel, up-to-the-moment strategy — one that Wahlin promises to share at the Icons in Business presentation — an even greater problem for the company, and other U.S. manufacturers, may be the lingering manufacturing skills gap.
While laying off hundreds of employees is devastating on both a personal and professional level, finding enough skilled people to meet new demand can be almost as challenging as winding down production.
Wahlin says the company was able to recall between 300 and 350 of its former employees when it started hiring again, but many had moved on, and the available pool of skilled labor simply isn’t what it used to be.
“We’re in somewhat of a unique situation,” said Wahlin. “Our plants are in Stoughton — so Southern Dane — as well as Rock County in Evansville and Green County in Brodhead. And when GM left Janesville, the whole manufacturing infrastructure just kind of disappeared from the area. There’s not the base of welders and industrial painters and machine operators and press operators. There’s not nearly as much of that skill in the area as there used to be, so you get to a point where you can’t go and rely on hiring those skills.
“We have an in-house welding department where, I would say over 95% of our welders we promote from within and train in-house, and they’ll spend a week or more in our welding training center. … We’ve taken a much different approach and investment to training and education than we had to in the past, when some of those manufacturing skills were more readily available in the market.”
Wahlin says the company has also opened up the company’s facilities to high school kids to show them what manufacturing has to offer and prove to them it’s not the hard, dirty, physical work it was in the old days. Beyond that, however, the urgency of the moment demands that his company act now. It’s a good problem to have — particularly considering the dark days Stoughton Trailers recently emerged from — but that doesn’t make the problem any less real.
“The whole skills gap issue is kind of a nationwide phenomenon, and yeah, I think a lot of programs are getting in place and a greater emphasis is being made in the tech schools to start to rebuild that,” said Wahlin, “but manufacturers today can’t wait for that to happen. They need people today or tomorrow, and they’re left with no other choice but to get them in and train them internally.”
November 14, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Latest equipment helps prepare students for job market” – Instructor assistant Corey Wegner proudly shows off a steel cutout in the shape of an elk, done in such fine detail that the texture of the hairs on the elk’s neck is apparent. The metal was cut on the latest piece of equipment in the welding shop at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
Amazingly, the metal was cut without applying any heat, and in fact, it is specifically because no heat was used that the detail was so fine.
A Flow waterjet cutter did the job, and students enrolled for the fall term will be learning how to use it. It’s another example of how CVTC continues to stay on the “cutting edge” of manufacturing equipment. It’s rare indeed for the graduate of a CVTC manufacturing program to enter the workforce and be baffled by the technology. The college is generally ahead of the curve.
“We are constantly talking to companies, and they are very good about telling us what the new trends are. The college is very good at keeping up with that,” says Jeff Sullivan, associate dean of manufacturing.
A case in point is the waterjet cutter, which uses a high pressure fine stream of water to cut metal in fine detail.
“It’s cutting using the erosion process instead of heat, so you don’t get the heat-affected areas you do from heat cutting,” says Walter Quaschnick, head of the welding program. Intense heat can affect the properties of the metal being cut.
“And because we use water, we can cut through other things like ceramic, wood and rubber,” Quaschnick continues. “It’s a unique type of cutting process.”
One of the biggest applications is in cutting stainless steel, which is susceptible to rusting if cut with a torch. One local company, Midwest Stainless in Menomonie, uses a waterjet and appreciates that CVTC manufacturing graduates are familiar with this technology.
CVTC’s strategy works two ways. Students are better prepared to enter the workforce by having training on the latest equipment, and the fact that trained workers are available encourages industry to modernize. It’s how education can drive economic development.
Also new at CVTC this year is a Haas VM-2 unit in the machine tool area. Sullivan notes it is capable of a 1,000-rpm spindle speed. “If you make an analogy, it would be like a standard computer compared to a high-speed computer,” Sullivan said.
Examples of such high-technology capability at CVTC’s Manufacturing Education Center area abound:
- The welding program has a computer interface so students can evaluate their techniques with a computer program.
- The machine tool program has the capability of micro-machining.
- The industrial mechanic program has an assembly line simulator in which students can troubleshoot problems.
- The nanoengineering technology program has a Class 100 cleanroom, unique in the state.
CVTC’s manufacturing technology is so sophisticated that the college receives requests from private industry to use it, which is possible through the college’s Equipment Access Program.
Chippewa Valley Technical College campuses are located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls. CVTC serves an 11-county area in west-central Wisconsin. It is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System and is one of 16 WTCS colleges located throughout the state.
November 8, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Manufacturing a new image” – Baldwin-Woodville High School student McKenzie Kohls asked Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and a panel of manufacturing experts for some reassurance about the field.
“My grandfather was a welder who came home looking like a coal miner every day,” Kohls said. “How has manufacturing changed?
It was a good time to ask. Dispelling the myths of manufacturing was the theme of panel discussion during a Women in Manufacturing event held at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire Tuesday to mark October as national Manufacturing Month. The event, sponsored by Wisconsin Gold Collar Careers Manufacturing Works Group, included a tour of CVTC’s Manufacturing Education Center and a public-private speed networking session.
Students from Eleva-Strum and Baldwin-Woodville schools attended the panel discussion in person, and students in Bloomer, Cumberland, Gilmanton, Pepin, Shell Lake, Turtle Lake, Shell Lake and Webster schools followed via video conferencing.
In answering Kohls’ question, Mary Isbister, president of GenMet, a metal fabricator in Mequon, Wis., dispelled the notion that welding was a dirty job in modern manufacturing.
“You can’t have smoke and dust and dirt in places that have advanced manufacturing equipment,” Isbister said. “The equipment that we use, and the processes that we use, have advanced light years. It doesn’t look like it used to.”
Changing the image
Both manufacturing professionals and educators have been working for years to change the image of the sector.
“We still have people who view manufacturing as a dirty place, with things lying all over,” said Craig Simingson, superintendent of the Eleva-Strum School District, which received much praise at the event for having one of the best manufacturing education programs in the state. “But these are professional places where you’re not going to wear your Metallica t-shirt to work every day.”
Dawn Tabat, COO of Generac Power Systems, a Wisconsin home generator manufacturer with facilities in Whitewater, Waukesha and Eagle, acknowledged there was some truth to manufacturing’s poor image in years past.
“There were a lot of people making good money in manufacturing for what were pretty low-skilled jobs,” Tabat said. “But those unskilled jobs are gone. U.S. manufacturing got smart. These are jobs that are going to require a lot of special skills. There’s a whole new world in manufacturing.”
“These are ‘smart jobs,’” said Kleefisch. “We need your brains. We need your bright ideas in manufacturing.”
“I always use the term ‘advanced manufacturing.’ We won’t hire you unless you go to school after high school,” said Dan Conroy, vice president of human resources at Nexen, a manufacturer of power transmission and other products with a plant in Webster, Wis.
Conroy said about 12 percent of jobs in his company require only a high school education, but those positions are never open. Another 70 percent require a technical college education, and 18 percent require a university degree. Kleefisch added that over the next decade, between 54 and 72 percent of jobs will require more than a high school education, but less than a university degree.
Some of the students present asked questions about job opportunities available and the courses they should be taking to prepare themselves for the jobs available. The panelists explained that there are a wide variety of careers available, from operation of sophisticated equipment, to the design and maintenance of that equipment, improvement of manufacturing processes, and many levels of support positions.
“You can do almost anything within manufacturing, but you have to understand how manufacturing works. Today’s manufacturing operates very complex equipment,” Isbister said. She urged students to have an understanding of mathematics and how it is applied, but a broad education is valuable. “There probably aren’t too many classes that wouldn’t be advantageous to you.”
Women were particularly encouraged to explore careers in what is still a heavily male-dominated field. Tabat shared her story of a 42-year rise from production and secretarial work at Generac Power Systems to human resources and eventually chief operating officer.
“I started out with a small company and the company grew bigger and bigger, and I grew with it,” Tabat said. She added only six percent of her type of position is held by women nationally.
Isbister noted that a woman who started in customer service at GenMet eight years ago, “basically runs the place when I’m not there.”
“There are no other places that have a greater opportunity for women to compete on a level playing field than manufacturing,” Tabat said.
“You can use a laser cutter to break the glass ceiling,” Kleefisch said.
Gold Collar Careers are high tech manufacturing jobs that are pushing the limits of technology by demanding bright individuals who understand and embrace the latest machining, electronic, computer, and other technologies; and creative thinkers with applied/hands-on abilities to solve problems and get things done.
November 7, 2013
From wsau.com: “Governor Walker talks about jobs grants, casinos and more at appearance in Wausau” – Governor Walker made an appearance in Wausau at Northcentral Technical College today to discuss a new grant project called Wisconsin Fast Forward.
“Workers need to have access to the most up-to-date employment information,” Governor Walker said. “By providing quality worker training and cutting-edge labor market information, our workers will be best equipped to re-enter the workforce in places where opportunities are available.”
The funding will work to create new jobs and training in manufacturing and small manufacturing businesses with 50 or fewer employees, construction, and customer service representatives. Walker says business leaders tell him Wisconsin is a great place to place customer service positions. “It’s easy to understand folks in the Midwest. The people in the Midwest he found to be overwhelmingly pleasant and easy to get along with.”
The state is looking at continued growth in the customer service industry and Walker says they want to help that grow. “The Department of Workforce Development estimates that through 2020 there’s going to be a 15% growth in customer service jobs, and an annual basis, that means 2200 new jobs each year.”
During questions after the speech, Governor Walker says he’s not in a big hurry to make a decision on the casino project in Kenosha. “This project has been before the Bureau of Indian affairs at the federal government for 20 years. And I’ve got considerable time as governor to take this matter up and fully consider the implications on it.”
Walker also said he’d be in favor of tougher OWI laws if they make it to his desk. “Ways we can toughen up, particularly penalties for repeat drunk drivers is something I’ve been in the past supportive of. And presumably, I’d have to look at the individual bills, but would be open to consider.”
He also addressed the continuing issues with the new federal health care law. Walker says the state is stepping up to make sure residents in need will be covered before the enrollment period is up on the Affordable Care Act. “Under our plan, everyone in poverty will covered. In the past, under my predecessor, there was a wait list for some on poverty, going forward everyone will be covered under Medicaid in the state of Wisconsin.” He says state officials are putting together training for insurance agents in Wisconsin in order to help them get people signed up for the exchanges and for insurance before the enrollment period is up.
November 7, 2013
From weau.com: “Number of employers up at CVTC job fair” – Employers and potential employees got the chance to connect Wednesday thanks to a career fair held at CVTC.
More than 70 employers were on hand for the fair that was held for CVTC students and alumni. The technical college says the number of employers at the fair has increased from past years pointing to more growth in the number of jobs available in the Chippewa Valley.
Manager of Student Services Grants & Operations Natti Marlaire told us they’re “up 16 employers more than we’ve had in the past, which shows that the economy is bouncing back. Employers are specifically looking for CVTC grads, looking for the skilled worker, and it’s a great opportunity to match our business industry needs by matching them up with students who will be graduating. “
CVTC says 87% of its graduates find jobs related to their field after graduation.
October 29, 2013
From swnews4u.com: “Walker: ‘Manufacturing Matters’” – Wisconsin is open for business. Manufacturers are welcome.
Southwest Wisconsin Technical College hosted over 150 people, including Gov. Scott Walker, during a Manufacturing Month event Monday morning, Oct. 21.
“I think manufacturing matters,” Walker told his receptive audience, which included area dignitaries and high school students. “I think it has been a proud part of our state’s history, but more importantly I think it is going to be an even more dynamic part of our state’s future.
“We just got to make sure we have people ready to fill those positions.”
The event was made possible in part due to the efforts of the Southwest Wisconsin Chamber Alliance, a new collaboration of six Chamber of Commerce groups (Dodgeville, Fennimore, Lancaster, Mineral Point, Platteville and Prairie du Chien).
“As an advocate for all of our businesses and communities, we endorse southwest Wisconsin as an economically feasible region to start or relocate a business,” said Southwest Wisconsin Chamber Alliance co-chair Robert Moses. “Our goal for today is to bring a higher level of awareness for the manufacturing opportunities in southwest Wisconsin.”
In his opening remarks, Southwest Tech President Dr. Duane Ford noted several successes the College has enjoyed relating to manufacturing since 2011.
Southwest Tech has increased the number of workers it trains per year by more than 63 percent since 2009. In addition, the College has developed two new programs.
One program assists maintenance technicians to understand how the machines they utilize network with computer systems. The second helps electricians work in specialized environments of dairy and food manufacturing plants.
Ford noted Southwest Tech has benefited from more than $3.93 million in support from 27 different private, state and federal grants.
“What ensures our success is when employers, economies and state governments work in partnership,” he said. “So thank you, manufacturers, and thank you Governor Walker and Secretary [Reggie] Newson, as well as members of the legislature.”
Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) of the 51st Assembly District and Lee Nersion (R-Westby) of the 96th Assembly District were among those in attendance. Jeff Curry attended on behalf of Rep. Travis Tranel, who is currently traveling abroad in Taiwan.
Walker has toured other Wisconsin Technical College System schools this month, where Ford believes the governor has heard similar success stories.
“Southwest Tech’s story is not at all unique,” he said. “All 16 of Wisconsin’s technical colleges are at the heart of workforce, economic and community development within their local districts.
“All 16 listen and respond. All 16 succeed via productive partnerships with numerous private and public stakeholders. And all 16 are this month celebrating successes similar to what you see in southwest Wisconsin.”
Walker proclaimed October as Manufacturing Month to recognize the contributions of the state’s manufacturing employers and workers and to highlight manufacturing as a valuable career pathway.
“Our focus in October is on manufacturing, but really our focus needs to be all year around,” he said Monday morning.
“There are two key industries that drive this state’s economy: one is manufacturing and the other is agriculture.
“There are some great opportunities to grow and expand in that regard.”
Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector contributes nearly $50 billion a year to Wisconsin’s economy and ranks second in the country in the relative size of its manufacturing sector, which employed more than 450,000 workers as of July 2013.
Walker told the audience when it comes to manufacturing in Wisconsin, there are many key areas the state government can help.
“One is lowering the cost of doing business in Wisconsin,” he said. “More often than not, it is just getting out of the way.
Walker noted he signed into law Sunday a property tax relief bill. The two-year, $100 million increase in state school aid is projected to save $13 for the typical homeowner this December.
He also mentioned the Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit, which is available for income derived from manufacturing or agricultural property in the state. It will offset a share of Wisconsin income taxes.
In 2016, the credit will increase to 7.5 percent.
“When you lower the cost of doing business, you put money into the hands of people, as consumers, and into the hands of employers,” Walker said. “That makes tremendous business.
“The time is right for us for us, particularly when it comes to manufacturing, to make a case that we have a pretty compelling argument to be in the state of Wisconsin.”
Walker also explained the state aims to become a better partner in the role of education.
“When it comes to manufacturing, one of the things we did, in particular in this budget, is we put funding in so we in the future can start as early as sixth grade, doing academic and career planning,” he said.
The state’s technical colleges will also be counted on to play a role.
“We want to stress when it comes to manufacturing, how important it is to have good technical colleges focused on advanced manufacturing, healthcare and IT, those are the areas with the biggest work shortages in Wisconsin,” he said. “We think filling those positions, and putting more resources in our technical colleges and worker training programs are key to economic growth and ultimately more jobs in the state.”
Walker said some members of his generation are in need of a “wake up call” in regards to the changes in manufacturing.
“If you look in the state of Wisconsin, the average manufacturing job will pay $52,000 a year,” he said. “That’s 25 percent higher than all jobs out there.
“It’s not just a higher salary, 87 percent of all manufacturing jobs have benefits, compared to 72 percent of jobs statewide.”
The turnover rate in manufacturing careers is 4.7 percent, compared to 8.1 percent across all jobs, Walker pointed out.
“Manufacturing is the place, and we need to do a better job of selling that, particularly to schools,” he said. “There is a tremendous need and opportunity out there, and it is only going to get bigger.”
The third and final area Walker indicated the state could assist manufacturing is in infrastructure.
“You need a good transportation system to get product from market,” he said. “That is why we invested $6.4 billion in the state’s transportation system this year.
“Whether you are a manufacturer, whether you are a cheese maker, or a dairy farmer, or anything else, you have got to have a good transportation system. And it has to be in all parts of the state of Wisconsin, not just around the big cities.”
In closing, Walker referenced a voluntary portal for employers to list job openings. Many of the 30,000 to 40,000 jobs listed weekly are manufacturing jobs.
“Consistently, we hear from manufacturers that one of the challenges is not that they don’t have jobs open, they do, the challenge is not having enough training to fill those jobs,” Walker said. “So we got people looking for work over here, and we got jobs over here.
“We need to do more to connect the dots, to make that connection.”
Following his remarks, Walker told the media gathered it is an exciting time to be a young person in Wisconsin, but also an exciting time as Governor, as he tours the state and learns success stories.
“Today is a good example, you have a great crowd here. You have some young people, you have some businesses,” he said. “It is similar to when I was earlier in the year was over at Cabela’s and we saw some of the students involved in the Gold Collar program, and saw the partnerships not just with Cabela’s but other businesses that were partnering with that as well.
“What I like about what you see at Southwest Tech, and you see it at other great technical colleges around the state, is a very real connection between the technical college and employers in that region. And I think that is the key to success.
“We can’t just have people going through courses, whether it is in our technical colleges or for that matter our University of Wisconsin system. We have got to have a focus on, what are the needs, what kind of perspective employees are employers looking for and how do we help make sure there are more?”
October 18, 2013
From host.madison.com: ”Column: MATC president makes good first impression” — Jack E. Daniels, the new president of Madison Area Technical College, is straightforward about his challenges and priorities.
The college’s enrollment is slipping after a building boom. Labor contracts are expiring in a post-Act 10 world. Technology is changing the traditional classroom.
Yet Daniels likes what he sees on his many campuses, wants to develop a shared vision and promises to always put students first.
His candor included an honest answer to a tough question Tuesday from the State Journal editorial board. Asked when he last spoke to his predecessor, Bettsey Barhorst, Daniels replied without hesitation that it’s been about a month and a half.
That’s more evidence the MATC District Board’s pay extension for Barhorst ($88,000 for 19 weeks of on-call advice, mostly by phone) was a parting gift for her long tenure. It wasn’t a seriously needed consulting gig.
Daniels, a Chicago native who ran a community college in Los Angeles, makes a good first impression. He seems collaborative yet driven, emphasizing the employment needs of the region.
“Technical college is about jobs — getting people prepared for jobs,” he stressed.
That ranges from culinary classes to manufacturing skills to a specialized program on stem cells. MATC also is the top source of transfer students to UW-Madison.
Daniels said the focus on MATC’s building expansion will shift more to what’s happening in those facilities.
Daniels has met with hundreds of groups since starting his job Aug. 19. He’s launching a strategic planning effort and pledged to seek wide input.
MATC’s enrollment has fallen as the economy has improved. Daniels said that places more importance on recruitment. Pitching MATC’s affordability to parents could help attract more high school students, he suggested. Daniels had hundreds of high school students on his college campus in Los Angeles. Smoothing that transition is key.
Daniels said he supports online and hybrid classes but wants them carefully assessed. The traditional role of instructors isn’t going away, he added.
California makes it easier to track the jobs and pay of graduates by Social Security number, something Wisconsin doesn’t allow, he said. Yet measuring success is vital, he suggested.
Daniels isn’t hung up on his institution’s name. Whether you call it MATC or Madison College, what’s important is that it fulfills its mission, he said.
We like the attitude and honesty.
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “NWTC, state officials optimistic on future of manufacturing in Wisconsin” – For years the manufacturing sector, along with the state and educational leaders, have been working to attract future employees to pursue skilled jobs available in areas heavy in skilled trade jobs such as Northeastern Wisconsin.
On Tuesday, education and government officials said gains are being made in attracting potential workers, and in changing attitudes and perceptions about 21st century manufacturing operations.
“We’re seeing a shift among parents, teachers, administrators of educational institutions and young people toward the idea of manufacturing as the future of the state of Wisconsin, not only the history,” Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch said after touring manufacturing-related classrooms at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
“That’s a really important shift because we don’t have a lot of time. The skills gap is pressing on the back of these employers right now.”
That isn’t being helped by the fact that older skilled workers are among the baby boomers exiting the workforce.
Kleefisch was at the Green Bay college as part of an event marking Manufacturing Month in October.
“I feel comfortable and confident in seeing more young people choose careers in manufacturing,” she said. “There is still some work to be done in crashing stereotypes that have been around for decades … but there are a lot of young men and women who realize these are great opportunities.”
Displaced workers are also looking at manufacturing jobs as potential careers, Kleefisch said.
NWTC is using a number of tools to reach students at the primary education level, including a mobile lab — a long trailer equipped with with real-world milling equipment — teaching the skills associated with computer numeric control milling. It has plans to soon roll out similar labs, including a smart electrical grid mobile lab, with ties to manufacturing.
The college continues to work with a number area high schools to help create career paths for students that help address the needs of regional employers. It is also working to beef up the amount of instruction and facilities it offers college students.
“Since 2007 we’re expanded welding half a dozen times and we have roughly 200 students,” said Mark Weber, NWTC’s dean of trades & engineering technologies. “Machine tool will expand this year with a $1.2 million expansion to add more lab space in the Green Bay campus. We’ve hired faculty to meet demand in those areas.”
The college saw a 19.6 percent increase in manufacturing-related enrollments last year, he said. It also produced the most manufacturing graduates in the Wisconsin Technical College System.
“We do have a skills challenge in America and Wisconsin, but because of the efforts of (educational leaders) and collaboration of the technical colleges and K-12 schools … and employers and economic development partners, we’re moving in the right direction,” said Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development.
From lacrossetribune.com: “Walker ‘still focused’ on jobs” — By Patrick B. Anderson - Training programs and new businesses will drive Wisconsin job growth, Gov. Scott Walker said Monday during a tour of Western Technical College.
The governor and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch visited with educators and students at the local technical college. Wisconsin is not on pace to add 250,000 private sector jobs by 2015 as Walker promised when he was elected. However, new businesses and schools such as Western will help more Wisconsin residents find work, Walker said.
“We’re still focused on that,” Walker said. “New jobs are going to come from small businesses, not big corporations.”
The governor toured Western and local offices for the Job Center of Wisconsin. The visit followed Walker’s proclamation of October as Manufacturing Month.
Kyle Larson, 21, took a break from his work at a vertical milling machine to talk to the governor. He started at Western’s machine tool program after struggling to find a job working on cars. Manufacturing work seemed to offer more opportunities to find work and move up the ladder, Larson said.
“I didn’t want to waste my time,” Larson said.
Lukas Bright, 19, saw the same type of job opportunities in welding. That’s partly what drew him to the field, the Western student said. He’s still in his first year, but already he’s already got work prospects.
“There’s hundreds of jobs available,” Bright said.
Western president Lee Rasch shared with the governor the local campus’ plans to add new facilities and take on more students. Voters passed an $80 million referendum last year for Western building upgrades, and work has already begun on some of the projects. Remodels and additions will create new learning opportunities for students who want to land a manufacturing job out of college, Rasch said.
“They’re looking for skilled workers,” Rasch said. “They want to know what we’re doing.”
Wisconsin added 24,305 jobs between March 2012 and March 2013, ranking 34th in the nation in job creation, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state added 72,710 jobs from when Walker took office until March, according to the bureau.
However, the state has added 11,000 new businesses under his leadership, and new businesses will help add more opportunities for Wisconsin workers, Walker said.
“We want to build off of our positive foundation and move the state forward,” Walker said.
Walker said his office has poured $100 million into workforce development. But direct state aid to Wisconsin’s technical colleges was held flat this year, and will increase by about $5 million next year. Western will also have more flexibility next year to use categorical grants from an existing $22 million pot of funding for worker training programs.
Worker training programs are a major focus for Wisconsin lawmakers, Walker said.
“As employers tell us as we go around the state, they have jobs,” Walker said. “We want to make sure we’re putting our money where it has the biggest impact.”
October 10, 2013
From wxpr.org: “Heavy Metal” Appeals to Students” – WXPR’s Ken Krall took a look at the future with some Northwoods 8th graders at Nicolet College in Rhinelander. He took the “Heavy Metal Tour.”
Not a rock band, but a job fair of sorts: the “Heavy Metal Tour” is sponsored by Nicolet College, Northcentral Technical College, 27 manufacturing employers, and boards and alliances.
Rene Daniels from North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board says the goal is to give 8th graders a look at careers they might not have considered.
“We’re trying to catch students at a point in their lives -these are eighth graders – when they’re starting to think about those careers and what they could possibly do. And we want to keep as many of our students here in the Northwoods as we can. And so we want to expose them to an industry and occupations that are in their own backyard. It really is eye-opening.”
Olivia from Minocqua said she had thought about a job in sports but saw other possibilities…
“I’m excited to find out more about the industry, cause I hadn’t really thought about a job there. So it’ll be nice to see what’s out there.”
Nate from Mercer wants to fly, but realizes people need to build the planes.
“I wanted to be a pilot – so I was thinking there would be some stuff, maybe making things for airplanes or how things are made.”
The students toured Rhinelander-area manufacturers and heard about training at the two technical colleges. Promoters say manufacturing jobs have changed a lot over the last decades, requiring computer and math skills. October is Manufacturing Month.
October 8, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Governor unveils new job search tool at NWTC” – GREEN BAY – During a visit to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College on Monday, Governor Walker unveiled a new job search tool.
The governor said the skill explorer is a free tool from the state’s department of workforce development.
The tool lets people search for jobs which match their skills and training.
Governor Walker said the program will also help employers find workers that match the skills they need.
“I think we built the positive environment by which we improved the business climate; we’re helping put people back to work. It’s why you see such a vibrant lab here is because there are jobs available; our next big quest is to make sure people have the skills they need to fill those jobs,” said Governor Walker.
The website also explains the available jobs, including pay, and training or background knowledge needed.
October 1, 2013
From fox6now.com: “Gateway Technical College program helping dislocated, underemployed” — Welding bootcamp developed with employer cooperation and based on employer expectations. View video from Fox6now.com
September 27, 2013
From waow.com: “Job fair in Wisconsin Rapids full of employers” – Hundreds of job seekers headed to Mid State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids.
The school held its annual job fair Thursday and coordinators say the turnout was better than expected.
According to the latest jobs report, businesses across the country continued to hire new workers in August.
Employers from all over Wisconsin attended the job fair.
From Madison to Green Bay, employers were looking for workers.
The job seekers included students and people of all ages.
57 employers set up booths in the gymnasium on Mid State Tech’s campus.
Organizers tell Newsline 9 that it’s the most booths they’ve had for the fall fair in several years.
“This past spring we had 58, this time we have 57, which is very encouraging and I’ve done this for a number of years and in the fall it’s usually pretty small, but this is our best fall in over seven years,” said Stephany Hartman, Career Services employee with Mid State Technical College.
Mid State Technical College holds two job fairs per year.
School leaders say the next one is in April of 2014.
September 23, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Good news for Wisconsin job seekers” – There’s good news on the horizon for Wisconsin residents looking for work.
Though the state’s labor market continues to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-09, Wisconsin economists say prospects for job seekers are looking up.
“The picture is improving significantly,” said Jeff Sachse, an economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) who monitors the labor market in northeastern Wisconsin. “We’re seeing demand pretty much all over the place in fairly large numbers statewide. We have about 42,000 job openings on our Job Center of Wisconsin website right now.”
Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2013 was 6.8 percent, unchanged from June and down from 7.0 percent in July 2012, according to the most recent numbers from the DWD and the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Across the U.S., the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2013 was 7.4 percent, down from 7.6 percent in June and 8.2 percent in July 2012.
While Sachse anticipates Wisconsin’s unemployment numbers would remain relatively high in August because of the number of high school and college students looking for summer work, he predicts the jobless rate will dip below 6 percent in fall in many parts of the state, including the Fox Valley.
“That’s an indication that the labor market itself is getting back to normal,” Sachse said. “The real growth areas in the state are the Fox Valley into Green Bay. If you’re looking at central Wisconsin, there’s a lot of activity in Wausau around insurance as well as metal manufacturing.”
Wider range of manufacturing jobs
Economists continue to see strong hiring activity in manufacturing, especially in the Fox Valley and Sheboygan.
In central Wisconsin, economists are beginning to see an uptick in metal fabrication and machinery manufacturing jobs.
“We got hit pretty hard in paper manufacturing and wood product manufacturing over the course of the recession,” said Tom Walsh, a DWD economist who monitors the labor market in north-central Wisconsin. “But we’re now starting to see some other manufacturing sectors start to grow.”
For more of this story visit fdlreporter.com
September 10, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “New computer training lab opens” –MENASHA — Job seekers will receive free computer literacy training at a new lab that opened Monday at the Fox Cities Workforce Development Center.
Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson said the new lab is among more than $100 million in additional investments being made as part of Gov. Scott Walker’s workforce agenda.
“The new lab serving job seekers represents more investments to come, from new worker training grants, to a state-of-the-art labor market system and a renewed funding for apprenticeships,” Newson said in a news release. “Under Governor Walker’s leadership, and in collaboration with legislative partners, we are making strategic investments to help ensure a skilled workforce that will sustain and promote economic expansion and job growth in Wisconsin.”
Figuring prominently in Walker’s workforce agenda is Wisconsin Fast Forward, an initiative approved by the Legislature that includes a new state-funded $15 million grant program to deal with the skills gap by helping employers train new and existing workers. The initiative also includes a new labor market information system to provide real-time data and better connect job seekers to jobs by keying on skills.
The new computer lab at the Fox Cities Workforce Development Center is a collaborative effort by the Department of Workforce Development, the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board and Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Fox Valley Technical College, Outagamie County, Goodwill and the Forward Service Corp.
Starting Oct. 13, Wisconsin residents who file an unemployment insurance claim who by law must register for work will have 14 days to register with Wisconsin Job Service to receive benefits. They can do so online through JobCenterofWisconsin.com or by visiting their local Job Center.
The registration process, which takes about an hour to complete, includes completing a job profile and identifying skills, abilities, work experience, education, training and other crucial information that can help Job Service staff connect them to new opportunities.
August 20, 2013
From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Board helps launch metal manufacturing alliance” – In late May, the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board received a request from a manufacturing employer requesting current data and projections for two occupations in our region: welders and machinists. In response, we ran an initial report using Economic Modeling Services Inc., or EMSI, a labor market analysis software to which we subscribe.
EMSI uses U.S. Bureau of Workforce Information, U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Education Statistics and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development labor data among other sources for compiling occupation reports. Based on those sources, the occupational data is not “real time,” but is based upon precise sampling, generally with a six- to 12-month lag time. Educational output data is closer to “real time.”
To augment the EMSI-generated data, the board was asked by several employers to conduct a survey of 22 regional metal fabricators. The survey results revealed that the growth rate in the welding and machinist occupations was significantly greater than that projected by EMSI. That result is to be expected with any “real time” survey of employers (precisely why you see the disparity in unemployment numbers as the real survey of household reports is compiled).
The results prompted the board’s Business Services team to convene a meeting of the respondents to the survey and explore potential solutions to the demand for these and other manufacturing occupations.
Fifteen manufacturing company representatives met to discuss opportunities and partnerships that could help meet this identified occupation demand. Out of these discussions, the group formed the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturing Alliance.
Six representatives stepped forward to lead the steering committee of the alliance. Kathy Drengler of Greenheck and John Peterson of Schuette Metals were elected steering committee co-chairs. Other steering committee members are Tom Felch of J & D Tube Benders; Bill Wenzel of Northland Stainless; Julie Mahr of Sulzeer Machine; and Jim Frings of G3 Industries.
The new group identified the following key objectives to help build the pipeline of qualified workers:
• Promote metal manufacturing careers — get youths informed and excited about these occupations.
• Advocate for the necessary educational infrastructure to meet demand.
• Work collaboratively with other partners in the region already engaged in addressing the issues.
• Strengthen PK-16 relationship/partnerships, including further development of apprenticeships, internships, job shadowing.
• Inventory current initiatives to avoid duplication.
The group is working on two initiatives to increase capacity in the region. Both initiatives include Northcentral Technical College and methods to assist NTC in increasing its capacity to serve students and increasing interest in metal manufacturing careers.
For more information about NCWWDB’s Employer Services, call me at 715-204-1647 or email email@example.com.
August 19, 2013
From leadertelegram.com: “Rig watching , job scouting both in vogue at show for big trucks” — By Chuck Rupnow - A national trucking company based in Mondovi needs about 100 drivers on any given day.
Bob Stensen of Augusta found a truck driving job “perfect” for him during last year’s Eau Claire Big Rig Truck Show.
On Friday, opening day of the fourth annual event, Stephanie Zirkus didn’t care anything about truck drivers, or even trucks for that matter.
“It’s something different, and I just needed to get out the house, away from my husband, so I told him I was coming here,” she said. “Of course, he won’t believe me; well, until he sees my name in the paper.
“Actually, this is pretty cool,” the 37-year-old mother of two said while gazing at
colorfully decorated trucks lined up on the Chippewa Valley Technical College’s parking lot on West Clairemont Avenue. “I like the purplish one over there.
“I think I might try and get my husband here tomorrow,” Zirkus said, earning questioning looks from her children, Masia, 8, and Emile, 6. “It’s hard to realize how huge these things are, not to mention how fast they go and how much they weigh on the road. It’s way too dangerous for me to imagine.”
Stensen, 56, said he was a truck driver for 15 years for Bush Brothers & Co. in Augusta before the company “went away” from owner-operators, causing him to enter the dairy farming business for another 15 years. He sold his 225 milking cows, hauled some hay for several years and came to the truck show last year “just to see if there was a trucking job out there.”
“I was looking for something during the winter months, since I still raised crops in the spring and summer months,” he said. “I found the perfect job here.”
Stensen has pulled a tanker for Jade Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba, since January.
“I love it,” he said at the show Friday. “I came here last year and talked to a guy from Jade, told him what I was looking for, and the next thing I knew, I was working for them. I found something that was a perfect fit for me.”
Tim Norlin, director of recruiting for Mondovi-based Marten Transport, said Friday that “every company needs drivers,” adding that on any given day Marten could use about 100.
“There will be more retirees, and we’re not seeing an influx of young people in the industry,” he said. “A lot of it may be because of the lifestyle — not being home as much as they might like. We’re doing what we can to help with that.”
Norlin said Marten works with drivers to get them home more often, and also has started something new in the industry, giving drivers $20 an hour in “detention pay” for times where they are waiting at docks to load or unload.
“We all have to be creative, and with the shortage there is, we have to pay attention to the drivers’ needs,” he said, adding that more than half of Marten’s drivers earn $50,000 a year or more.
Marten does not take newly licensed drivers; it prefers drivers with “an appropriate” amount of experience, Norlin said.
An estimated 15,000 to 18,000 visitors are expected to attend the truck show, which is expected to attract up to 200 trucks and about 100 exhibitors, according to event organizer Terry Biddle.
“We will definitely have more than last year, and we have some exhibitors who have expanded,” he said. “It’s becoming quite an event, something different, something the whole family can enjoy.”
If it’s up to 7-year-old Sam Perkins, he and his family are returning to the show next year and for a long time to come.
“This is the best thing ever,” he said Friday, drawing a smile from uncle Rob Traylor of Chippewa Falls. “My dad and mom and I will be coming here forever. I can’t wait to be big enough to drive one of these myself.”
August 15, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Amerequip donates $10,000 to tech college” – KIEL — Amerequip, a manufacturer of custom equipment for the lawn, landscape, agricultural and construction markets, has donated $10,000 to Moraine Park Technical College Foundation’s Manufacturing Fund.
The fund is aimed at strengthening the appeal of manufacturing-related careers by offering manufacturing programs that reduce the transition time from degree to workforce, while providing manufacturers with direct access to students enrolled in those fields. It focuses on recruitment, retention and workforce readiness; offering students financial assistance as well as incentives to complete their degrees with performance based rewards.
Amerequip provides design and engineering services, along with production and manufacturing, of custom equipment for international and national customers in a variety of industries. The firm operates four Wisconsin facilities, with more than 155 employees.