September 3, 2013
From chippewa.com: “CVTC students return for new term: New conference center, program among changes” – A group of Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) students sat in the commons of the Business Education Center Monday morning with laptops open and running. They were already reviewing a schedule of homework assignments and upcoming quizzes for the new school term, which just opened that morning.
They had a number of common classes because they were all enrolled in the liberal arts program. CVTC is seeing an increase in the number of students enrolling in liberal arts, which include general education classes in communications, math, science and other areas. The reason for the increased interest in the program is economic.
“It didn’t make logical sense to spend twice the money for the same program,” said Alex Martinez, a second-year student and Eau Claire North graduate. He plans to transfer to UW-Eau Claire to study finance after earning his general education credits at CVTC.
Tuition at CVTC is about $4,000 a year, compared with an average of about $7,000 at Wisconsin’s four-year universities.
“This will be my last full year at CVTC, then I’ll be transferring,” said Ethan Thomson, another Eau Claire North graduate. “I am going to UW-Eau Claire for the Earth and Space Science Education program.”
Kassonere King, who attended both North and Memorial high schools in Eau Claire, wants a four-year degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. She’s in her second semester of liberal arts classes at CVTC.
“It’s cheaper than a lot of other places and I wanted to stay in my hometown for my first year,” she said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to stay here or transfer to a college in the Twin Cities.”
Most students arriving for the first day of classes were focused on specific CVTC programs. Cheryl Huebner of Elmwood and Danielle Fregine of Baldwin met one another at the Health Education Center, ready to start their classes in the AODA program. They both had personal reasons for their career choices.
“I have been through chemical dependency. It’s my goal to give back. I want to work with teenagers,” said Huebner, who admitted to being a bit nervous on the first day. “I haven’t been to school in 30 years.”
Like many CVTC students, Huebner will be balancing raising a family and holding down a full-time job with her studies. “But this is my chance. I have to change my career,” she said.
“Someone very, very close to me decided to use a variety of drugs, which motivated me to not only help people who use drugs, but the people they affect,” Fregine said.
Over at the Manufacturing Education Center, Steve Forster of Mondovi and Corie Bergeron of Chippewa Falls were ready to get started in the Electromechanical Technology program. They both come with manufacturing experience.
“I’ve been working in manufacturing for seven years,” said Forster. “One of my jobs was at Phillips Plastics and I was intrigued by the automation. I thought I would go back to school and get a degree and learn how to fix them myself.”
Bergeron worked with automated equipment at National Presto. “I had a lot of interaction with engineers in the manufacturing department,” he said. “I like the troubleshooting and problem solving, using my brain.”
New this year at CVTC is a two-year Industrial Mechanical Technician program, an extension of the one-year Industrial Mechanic program. This program prepares graduates to install, maintain, operate, diagnose and repair equipment used in manufacturing industries.
Also new in the manufacturing area is a water jet metal cutter in the Welding program. The equipment uses water under high pressure to cut metal, avoiding the damage to the metal that heat cutting can cause.
A major facility change can be found at the Business Education Center, where a new dividable conference center has replaced the former auditorium. The center gives CVTC an ideal space for holding large meetings and banquets. Use of the conference center is open to the public.
August 27, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Building inspector making Milwaukee ‘a better place to live’” — By Tom Dakin - By the time she was 8 years old, Stacey Tyler’s dad was taking her along to help out on handyman jobs he did in his spare time. Over 30 years later, Tyler is a city building inspector at Milwaukee’s Department of Neighborhood Services. Tyler, who jokingly calls herself a “professional household technician,” has worked at the department for 13 years and focuses mainly on inspecting residential rental properties.
On its most basic level, Tyler’s job involves making Milwaukee “a better place to live,” she said.
“I try to make sure that the constituents I deal with are living in places that have very minimal violations, and that there are no health and safety violations that would affect them, or their children,” Tyler said.
Tyler typically spends about half of her work day doing building inspections, with the other half of her day tied to writing reports to correct building code violations and other matters. She is currently assigned to an area on Milwaukee’s north side.
How did you get the job? Tyler was working at a medical company, where her duties included scheduling services for patients and ordering supplies. She saw a job description for building inspectors, and thought the work sounded interesting. Tyler was hired as a Department of Neighborhood Services intern, and after completing the two-year program was hired as an inspector.
What kind of education did you need? A high school diploma was required to become a department intern. The internship included taking courses at Milwaukee Area Technical College in such areas as technical math and architectural drawings.
Tyler also had practical experience in home repairs and maintenance. Her father, Robert, who died last year, taught her at a young age such tasks as preparing walls for painting and applying the floor seal when installing a new toilet.
As an alternative to the internship program, the department’s minimum requirements are an associate’s degree in the field of architecture, real estate, fire safety, environmental health, law enforcement or building trades, and two years of work experience in one of those specialties above the level of laborer.
What do you like about the job? ”I enjoy going out and meeting the constituents. There are a lot of interesting personalities in the city of Milwaukee. And I have great co-workers. … I really like the fact that I can set up my own schedule. I like going out on my aldermanic walks because I can be heard by the people who have questions that need to be answered. It gives you a chance to be one-on-one with the constituents.”
What are some of the challenges? For Tyler, who’s a mom, perhaps the most difficult situation is when a family is displaced because she inspects a rental unit that has such serious health and safety problems that it’s not livable. That happens every couple of months or so, and the department works with Community Advocates, a nonprofit group that helps poor people on housing issues, to relocate the displaced families.
“You want to try to give the best help you can give them,” she said.
Is there a particular horror story the stands out from your 13 years in the Department of Neighborhood Services? About five years ago, Tyler inspected a property where the gas meters were pulling away from the foundation wall, raising the risk of a natural gas leak and explosion. The department immediately shut down the property, which encompassed over 20 rental units in four buildings.
“The situation was so horrible. All of those people had to be removed from the buildings,” Tyler said. “We had a little meeting on the front lawn and told them we have to vacate the buildings immediately. It’s difficult, especially when that happens so close to the time when they just paid rent. Their concern becomes where are they going to live, and how are they going to pay the rent for that month.”
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 12, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Tech Knowledge College puts kids in career fast lane” – Nearly 200 area middle school students got a glimpse into potential careers at Moraine Park Technical College’s Tech Knowledge College (TKC) held at the Fond du Lac campus.
During the three-day camp, Aug. 6-8, students enjoyed hands-on learning as they participated in course offerings from among almost 20 different sessions. There was something for everyone, and participants left TKC with new skills in a variety of areas, including movie making, yo-yo manufacturing, gourmet baking and hair techniques.
“The camp is great,” said Mohini Kumar of Fond du Lac.“I have learned a lot of new things and I love how the teachers let us use our imaginations and make whatever we want.”
Kumar’s projects had no shortage of imagination. During the Quick Breads course, a new session at TKC this year, she made scones filled with pineapple, cashews and cranberries. She also created a short film about a dance team with her group in the Movie Making session at MPTC.
Moraine Park has been hosting TKC for more than 20 years. Although sessions have changed to complement new and evolving technology, the purpose of the event has remained the same — to give students a chance to get a hands-on, interactive look at the skills and careers needed today and in the future.
August 6, 2013
From wqow.com: “CVTC camp aims to get girls more involved in firefighting” — By Aarik Woods - Girls are getting an inside look at a profession that is typically dominated by men. This week Chippewa Valley Technical College is hosting its first ever “Girls on Fire” camp. It’s a way to expose girls to the work required of firefighters and emergency medical service workers.
“Girls my age, they don’t think that they ever could be a firefighter,” said Redgy Bleskacek of Bloomer.
Sometimes, it takes a leap of faith to try new things. But that’s the idea behind the girls on fire camp; expose girls to something they may otherwise never try.
“When you think of firefighter, you think of male, so you think of a guy doing it. But now that I came to this camp, I feel like I can do it too,” explained Bleskacek.
CVTC says that women make up only four percent of firefighters nationwide. Local firefighters say the job can be demanding, which is why girls from 7th grade through high school are taking on ropes courses as part of the camp.
“You have to be strong. You’re going into places where nobody wants to go and you need to be able to get people out when they’re screaming your name. And a lot of women I guess probably don’t want to do that,” said Katie Hakes, Chippewa Fire District Firefighter.
But the job is more than just fighting fires, which is why the girls are also getting a first hand look at what else they could encounter.
“These girls need to realize that 80% of calls to the fire service are for EMS, so because of that they have to be trained. But we don’t really want to train them here, we just want to expose them and make them realize that EMS is a big piece of this, a very, very important part of it,” said Marcy Bruflat, CVTC Fire Training Program Director.
“It was a lot of hands on experience, and it’ll be a good learning experience because I think going in to EMS or firefighting would be a lot of fun,” said Madison Gilmartin.
Hakes added, “I don’t think it really matters whether you’re a man or a woman, but there’s definitely a necessity for us, because if your daughter or somebody was drowning, wouldn’t you want someone there right away?”
To give you an idea of the field locally, the Chippewa Fire District has 110 firefighters, and of that number, four are women. There are also several other women that are volunteers. Eau Claire has 92 firefighters, and just two are women. And in Chippewa Falls, the fire department is made of up 25 members, all of them men.
June 21, 2013
From wisbusiness.com: “BTC Chapter of Society of Human Resource Management earns Merit Award for excellence and achievement” – Blackhawk Technical College’s chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) has been named a Merit Award winner for excellence and achievement for the 2012-13 school year by SHRM’s national organization.
The annual Merit Award program recognizes chapters for activities that enhance the professional development of members and the professional operation of the chapter’s program. Each chapter applying for a Merit Award is required to formally outline its activities, which is then evaluated by the national organization. A program earns a Merit Award if it accumulated enough points for its activities.
Beth Chambers, a Human Resources Instructor, and Colleen M. Koerth, an Employment Specialist Instructor, are co-advisors of the BTC chapter.
The BTC chapter will be recognized for its program online at shrm.org and acknowledged in the national chapter’s Student Focus Magazine, which is distributed quarterly to 17,000 student members as a supplement to HR Magazine. It also will be recognized during the Society’s annual convention.
The Society for Human Resources is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. It represents more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries. There are 575 chapters in the United States.
June 14, 2013
From brookfield-wi.patch.com: “WCTC’s Career Quest designed for middle school students” – Waukesha County Technical College will host Career Quest, an opportunity for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to get a closer look at what skills and qualifications are needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
The three-day summer exploration will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 6, 7 and 8, at WCTC’s main campus in Pewaukee.
Middle school students will be introduced to a variety of careers – including those in Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Metal Fabrication/Welding, Cosmetology and many more — and learn about the education and training needed for those jobs. Cost of the event is $100 per student. Sessions run from at 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; lunch and snacks will be provided. Registration ends June 28, and the sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited!
From the options below, students can choose two career sessions to explore: • Future of Nursing (Nursing) • What’s Up, Doc? (Medical Assistant) • Authorized Personnel Only! (Surgical Technology) • To Protect and Serve — CSI style (Criminal Justice) • Emergency! (Firefighting/EMT) • Fuse it Together (Metal Fabrication/Welding) • Precision Parts (CNC Manufacturing) • Explore Robotics (Automation Systems Technology) • Baking Quest (Baking/Pastry) • Culinary Quest (Culinary Management) • The Art of Play (Early Childhood) • Spa Day (Cosmetology)
For details on career sessions, to learn more about Career Quest and to register, visit http://www.wctc.edu/career-quest. For questions, contact John Pritchett, Career Quest coordinator, at 262.695.7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 12, 2013
From wsaw.com: “College Camp prepares middle schoolers for future” – School is out for summer, but more than 200 middle school students were back in class today at Mid-State Technical College where they spent the day exploring the careers and skills of tomorrow.
This was the 23rd year MSTC hosted the College Camp. Students picked four different career sessions to attend throughout the day, with fields ranging from firefighting and EMS to cosmetology. It was just a small sampling of the more than 50 programs Mid-State Technical College offers.
“The kids can really get an exposure to different career options helping them to make informed decisions for their post secondary education and future career,” New Student Specialists at MSTC Betsy Feaster explains.
Feaster says it’s especially important to expose them to their options now.
“Really in these grades they’re starting to formulate those ideas, taking general education classes or electives in junior high and high school it helps them get that broader knowledge for future decision making.”
Coordinators say college camp fills up fast every year. If your child wants to attend next year’s camp you are asked to contact the college.
From voiceofwr.com: “MSTC to host College Camp, Race Care Engineering Camp, and Makers Faire” – Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) is preparing for a busy week at Wisconsin Rapids Campus with the arrival of College Camp, VEX Robotics Camp, Race Engineering Camp, and Makers Faire.
Approximately 200 central Wisconsin students entering grades 6 through 8 will be on campus Tuesday for MSTC’s annual College Camp, a hands-on and fun-filled opportunity to explore the careers and skills of tomorrow. College Camp presents each attendee with the opportunity to participate in four career exploration sessions from a long list of options. MSTC New Student Specialist Betsy Feaster says the June 11 daytime camp filled up quickly again this year.
“Campers come excited to learn and ‘try out’ new things,” said Feaster. “This is a great opportunity to introduce middle school students to MSTC and the Wisconsin Technical College System to help them begin to form opinions and make early decisions regarding post-secondary education options and future careers.”
The Technical & Industrial Division is hosting a VEX Robotics Camp for middle school students and the Race Engineering Camp for high school students this week as well. A total of 24 students will participate in each of the engineering day camps to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on June 11-13.
VEX Robotics campers are divided into teams of two. The camp concludes with a robotics competition on the last day of the camp. Race Engineering campers are divided into four-person teams. Each student team is sponsored by an area business (ERCO, Pointe Precision, Domtar, NewPage, Corenso, and Renaissance Learning) to lower the cost of the camp to participants. Teams set up a 1/10 scale remote control car for durability, speed, and efficiency. Along the way, students learn valuable lessons in engineering science, electronics, physics, and math. They also learn about branding and promoting their team and get an opportunity to view setup of an actual race car on the first day of the camp. The camp will conclude with time trials and racing on the last day.
The eventful week closes with a Makers Fair from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, July 13 in room T-137. This community show and tell event is intended for all ages. VEX Robots and race cars from the aforementioned camps will be on display, along with a nanowire kit, production of isoprenes from algae, innovative wood byproduct materials, kinetic glass sculptures, silk and flax spinning and weaving, a 3D printer, and techniques in pottery, glass working, jewelry, sculpture, and blacksmithing. The event is free and open to the public.
Local artists, tinkerers, makers, and hackers are all encouraged to exhibit the interesting and beautiful things they are working on. Makers wishing to participate should contact Richard Breen at 715-423-5359 to arrange for space and power. Maker setup is scheduled from 5-6 p.m.
MSTC camps are popular with area youth, so they fill up fast. Students interested in attending College Camp next year can contact Betsy Feaster at 715-422-5413. Individuals who are interested in future engineering camps can contact Gary Kilgas at 715-422-5572. To learn more about MSTC, visit www.mstc.edu or stop by the MSTC location nearest you.
From wiscnews.com: “Griesmer named MPTC Student of the Year” – Tom Griesmer, of Rubicon, was recently named the Moraine Park Technical College Student of the Year.
Griesmer, who will receive his electrical power distribution technical diploma this May, was named student of the year following an intensive interview and presentation process.
Each year, one student is chosen to receive the Student of the Year award, according to Lisa Manuell, Moraine Park’s student involvement specialist.
“That student has excelled in and outside the classroom, made the most of his or her college experience, and modeled Moraine Park’s core abilities, or life skills,” she said. These skills include the ability to communicate clearly, act responsibly, work cooperatively and productively, adapt to change, demonstrate integrity, and think critically and creatively.
“I was caught off guard receiving the award,” said Griesmer, who enrolled at Moraine Park at the urging of his employer. “I believe that Moraine Park’s core abilities represent how people should carry themselves in everyday life. I didn’t think I was doing things that were out of the ordinary.”
Griesmer, who was among five other finalists – May Montezon of North Fond du Lac, Tanya Schloemer of Hartford, Austin Barten of Mayville, Becca Jahns of Beaver Dam, and Bonnie Weiss of Kewaskum – best fit award qualifications, according to a selection committee comprised of Moraine Park faculty, staff and a student representative.
It was his story that set him apart, according to Scott Lieburn, dean of students. As an older student with a family and full-time job, Griesmer enrolled in Moraine Park’s Electrical Power Distribution technical diploma program to further his knowledge and skills.
“I was sent to Moraine Park for cross training by the utility division of the City of Hartford,” he said. “I was really excited for the opportunity, but nervous because the program is mostly filled with younger students.”
Griesmer, who brought hands-on skills and knowledge to class, served as a mentor to his younger fellow classmates. He involved himself in the Electrical Power Distribution club on campus – working to gain as much skill and knowledge as possible.
“I had 23 years of working experience with a utility company, while most of my classmates came in from high school,” said Griesmer. “I was able to share my experiences with my classmates. They are a good group of guys who strive to do their best and are encouraging to each other. That helped me a lot, as well.”
Griesmer maintains his greatest challenge involved gearing up for the requirements of a college program.
“I had to get back into the classroom itself and switch my lifestyle from work back to homework,” said Griesmer. “I had to adjust to studying out of books again. The whole experience was wonderful. I got through it, did well with grades and made great friendships along the way.”
“More employers should send their employees back to school for training,” he said. “It’s been a mutual investment and commitment that I hope makes me a more valuable employee.”
May 21, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Sargento cheese guitar made at FVTC” – GRAND CHUTE – Are you a cheese and music lover? Some area students mixed the two together for a special project.
Company officials from cheesemaker Sargento Foods made a visit to Fox Valley Technical College Monday.
They were collecting a customized cheese guitar.
The guitar will be put in Sargento’s lobby to help raise awareness on what initiatives around the region are going on to build skill sets.
Organizers say the students learned a variety of skills during the project.
“They start with a solid block of wood and they start exploring different careers like mechanical design and they have to design and cut out their guitar, after that you’re looking at wood science, there’s soldering, all the science of intonation and tuning so they cover about a dozen different careers that they explore,” said Steve Gallagher, FAB Lab manager.
A guitar building class is offered through Fox Valley Tech.
From whattheythink.com: “Fox Valley Technical College welcomes the NPIRI Printing Ink Technology Course” – National Printing Ink Research Institute (NPIRI) will be hosting its annual Printing Ink Technology Course July 14-19 in Appleton, Wisconsin. NPIRI is offering this unique course at Fox Valley Technical College and it will provide comprehensive, in-depth yet flexible coverage of printing ink and printing technologies.
The course is carefully designed to bring new employees up to speed quickly; and provide more experienced employees the fundamental understanding necessary to improve, update and expand their skill sets.
“The NPIRI Summer Course is an exceptionally unique educational opportunity which appeals to both experienced ink technicians and those new to the field. The scope and depth of the course is unmatched by any other course or seminar. This is the course to learn about printing ink,” said George Fuchs, Director – Environmental Affairs and Technology for NAPIM.
Attendees can expect an ‘immersion’ type environment in which introductory and advanced concepts are reinforced with multiple practical/hands-on applications in an informal and interactive format. This course is also an exceptional value among training courses of its type.
The course is presented by industry experts from both ink companies and suppliers who know the language of the industry and the fundamental science.
This course has been conducted by NPIRI since the mid-1960s. Over time it has been modified to include newer technologies and instructional techniques but one thing hasn’t changed – the all but unanimous positive reviews from its attendees.
From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Retiring fire chief reflects on 31-year career” – Marshfield Fire Chief James Schmidt retires May 24 after more than 31 years of service to the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department. I had a chance to sit down with him recently to reflect on his career and more than three decades of service to the city of Marshfield.
A Wisconsin native, Chief Schmidt grew up in the Fox Valley area and attended school in Appleton. His father worked for a large fire apparatus manufacturer in Appleton, and his uncle worked for a fire department in the Milwaukee suburbs. The seeds of a career in the fire service had been cast. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the Fire Protection Program at Fox Valley Technical College, graduating in 1981. He completed the cadet program a Grand Chute and Oshkosh Fire departments. Shortly after graduation, he landed his first full-time career in the fire service with the Kaukauna Fire Department.
A strong work ethic and a desire to serve the public in concert with all the ideologies of a new recruit were met with the realities of recession and budget cuts. After only six months on the job, the new recruit’s position was eliminated.
Newly unemployed in a recession that was affecting most municipalities in Wisconsin, Schmidt began testing state-wide for positions. On April 5, 1982, he accepted a position with the Marshfield Fire Department.
Clayton Simonson was the fire chief at the time. The Marshfield Fire Department was in the process of addressing a referendum regarding the Optional Powers of the Fire and Police Commission, the reorganization of the two platoon shift schedule, and a paid-on-call firefighter program. Firefighters had many questions for Schmidt about his time at Kaukauna, Oshkosh and Grand Chute and the schedules and operations at those locations.
He served as an acting lieutenant/relief lieutenant before being promoted to deputy chief of the Red Shift on Aug. 7, 2001. In that capacity, he was responsible for the city and county hazmat team, the Fire Investigation Team and specialized rescue programs. He secured a grant for the purchase of rescue vehicles, equipment and training as part of a Central Wisconsin Collapse Rescue Team. He was a fire investigator for the city and served on the Wood County Fire Investigation Task Force as secretary/treasurer and president.
Schmidt was instrumental in developing the regional training center in partnership with Mid-State Technical College. The training center is one of his proudest accomplishments. As a fire service instructor, he recognizes the complexities of emergency service response and making sure our rescue workers are prepared.
Schmidt is on the board of directors for the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association, co-chairman of the Wisconsin Technical College System Fire Service Advisory Committee on Education and Training and chairman of the MSTC Fire Service Advisory Committee.
People always are curious about rescue workers’ most memorable calls.
“You remember a lot of calls for various reasons,” Schmidt said. “The calls that seem to stick with me are the untimely deaths of the young, whether it is by traumatic accident or illness.
“If pressed, I would say the Central State Supply fire on Depot Street early in my career was one of the more memorable because I was treated and released from the hospital for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion,” Schmidt said.
“I also responded to a fatal fire that same year where a young child perished. I can still see vividly the image of the lifeless child being carried in the arms of another firefighter from a second-story closet.”
The downtown Magic Moments fire on April 1, 2005, was the largest multi-agency fire response Schmidt commanded.
In three decades of service, the biggest changes in the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department from Schmidt’s perspective are the development of the paramedic ambulance service, the advancements in personal protective equipment, firefighter safety and the cost of vehicles.
When Schmidt started in 1982, the annual fire department budget was $800,000; this year it was just under $4 million.
Other notable changes are in training and education. We have a more educated workforce, and advancements in state and national standards have increased the need for more training to meet the many varied emergencies to which today’s fire departments respond.
“I am happy to say the fire service has become more proactive versus reactive,” Schmidt said. “The fire department culture has become more professional and less traditional.
“We have become the risk managers of our community,” he said. “We spend more time identifying potential threats, analyzing the risk, and assessing our vulnerabilities.”
“Through our fire prevention and training efforts, responsive fire codes, improved building design, and cooperation from the general public, the number of significant fires has been reduced,” Schmidt said.
“We still have far too many fires that could have been prevented by adherence to simple fire safety practices,” he said.
Two accomplishments he is proud of are the part he played in the development of the regional training center and the construction of the new fire station. However, he is most proud of his role in changing the organizational culture of the department.
“The high level of cooperation that currently exists within the organization has helped us overcome most any operational challenges we have faced over the past six years,” he said. “The fire service truly becomes your second family, and when the alarm sounds, regardless of any interpersonal conflicts, all members work as a team for the common goal of saving the life or property of someone they typically have never met.”
Schmidt said, “I’ll miss the camaraderie, and I am confident the department will continue to adhere to the basic philosophies: treat people the way you want to be treated, make decisions that are best for the community and department and do what you can to leave the department in a better position than we you got there.”
May 9, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “NWTC students will use donated semi-tractor from county” – The Door County Highway Department has made a donation to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College that the school says will advance diesel training in Northeastern Wisconsin. The Department presented a Peterbilt Model 378 semi-tractor for use in NWTC’s Diesel Equipment Technician and Diesel Equipment Technology programs. Both programs are offered on NWTC’s Sturgeon Bay campus.
The donated tractor will offer students exposure to all aspects of truck systems repair, including electronic diesel engine technology, power trains, electrical systems, steering, brakes, suspension and air conditioning.
“The key to the success of our Diesel Equipment programs is offering our students a chance to work on modern equipment,” said Joe Draves, NWTC associate dean of trades and engineering technologies. “NWTC recognizes the importance of this donation and appreciates the support of the Door County Highway Department in developing future diesel technicians.”
With the diesel industry on the upswing and the current work force aging, demand for skilled technicians is high. The Department of Labor expects diesel technician positions to grow 15 percent by 2020.
“The Door County Highway Department is pleased to assist the NWTC Diesel program, which is an extremely valuable part of our community,” said John Kolodziej, Door County Highway Commissioner. “We are giving back because many of our employees have gained valuable training and education from the NWTC program.”
NWTC offers both a two-year technical diploma and a two-year associate degree in diesel equipment. Graduates of the programs are equipped to diagnose, service and repair a variety of diesel-powered equipment.
April 25, 2013
From matctimes.com: “A first wave of Human Resources students prepare to enter the workforce” – At the end of the spring 2013 semester, a pioneering group of students will graduate with an associate degree in Human Resources, a watermark for the human resources industry as well as for MATC and the state of Wisconsin.
It may be surprising to hear that, until a couple of years ago, there was no human resources program in any college in Wisconsin. As the understanding of the role, as well as the importance, of a human resource practitioner within a business grew however, so did the need for education within the field; a realization Jacqueline Cook came to when she left WE Energies after more than 30 years of work and came to MATC.
Now the coordinator of the HR A.A.S. degree program, Cook looks back and says creating a department from scratch almost single handedly wasn’t easy, but she knew from the moment she arrived that it was necessary. Cook was hired at MATC for management development and business administration but, upon taking a closer look, she was surprised that there was no business ethics program or associate degree for business ethics. She’s happy to say that MATC now has both. Cook completed the process to create a degree program in 10 months, a process that typically takes 18 to 24 months to complete. Cook believes it was more than simply hard work that enabled this. “When something is designed appropriately and truly ordained and meant to be, I believe it happens,” she says.
In most fields, people are unsure of their future as they prepare to leave college and enter the workforce. But, because of Cook’s time in the field and relationships she’s made with important people, the soon-to-be graduates seem confident that they will be able to secure a job directly out of school. Justin Douglas, president of the Human Resources Student Organization, is in his second semester of the program. As he readies himself to enter the job market Douglas understands the value of the program, as well as what Cook has done to deliver success to her students. “Miss Cook has been working with a lot of leaders in the industry around Milwaukee to set up internships and develop students who have the skills, knowledge and ability to get a job.”
Thanks to Cook, Douglas is no stranger to the work of creating relationships with people in the field. He has worked closely with Cook to create an articulation agreement with Wisconsin Lutheran College so that Glynda Young, secretary of the Human Resources Student Organization, can apply 56 of her already earned credits to her next degree.
This is one agreement of several that have recently been made between other colleges. Thanks to agreements like this, students know they have options when they graduate from MATC. Cook says, “I’m always talking to my students about understanding that everything you’re doing is strategic, and your partnerships should be those that you can leverage to get a ‘win win’ not only for you but for that organization that you’re being involved in.”
Cook thinks not only about jobs when teaching her students, she also tries to teach students that the skills they learn here will go anywhere. “When we look at an organization, we understand that it should have a mission, a vision, a philosophy, values, culture, and develop strategic goals. As individuals, we should do likewise.”
Cook believes that in an industry where relationships are so integral to the success of the individual and the company they are involved with, it is very important to let her students go as better people with a set of values; values that they maybe didn’t have when they first stepped into her classroom. It’s for this reason some students have nicknamed her “The Beast” as a term of endearment. She tries to teach that, regardless of the job you’re in, you leave there having left a mark and that mark should work to create a reputation for your own success. Cook says, “I believe accountability is very important.”
Cook added, “I personally couldn’t have survived in the industry if I did not understand process, protocol, and the need for accountability.”
“I try to make sure that I’m not too rigid, that I’m respectful, that I have integrity, and I’m honest. Being that I teach HR, validity, consistency, reliability, all of those things are very important. I think sometimes students underestimate that.”
For Cook, it’s been a challenge that’s been bittersweet.
In the end, however, she knows that being able to teach something she is still so passionate about has a value you can’t put a dollar sign on.
For anyone already in the HR program or any business student interested in joining the Human Resources Student Organization, contact Jacqueline Cook at email@example.com.
April 23, 2013
From wiscnews.com: “Waupun students offered new science options” – WAUPUN — Students at Waupun Area Junior/Senior High School are enrolling in several new, advanced courses for next year.
Two courses build on the engineering curriculum introduced at the junior high this year, and another introduces students to biomedical sciences. One course provides another opportunity for students to earn Moraine Park Technical College credit and two others develop skills that can help students get a job right out of high school.
In the art department, students can earn both high school credit and technical college credit by taking Introduction to Photoshop.
Students who are interested in working in the restaurant, food, and beverage career pathway can sign up for Culinary Arts and Advanced Culinary Arts to learn the basic trade of the culinary arts industry and prepare them for a potential career in this field.
In the business department, students can sign up for a new course called Computer Hardware and IT Essentials.
The high school is offering three Project Lead the Way courses. The courses are a project and problem-based comprehensive curriculum that is developed and updated by subject matter experts – including teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals, and school administrators. The hands-on learning engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they may not otherwise pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to post-secondary training and career success in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
The science department is offering Principles of Biomedical Sciences, the foundational course in the biomedical sequence. Eighty-five students have signed up for this course.
In the technology education department, Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering are being offered for the first time. In the IED class, students will use industry standard 3D modeling software. POE students will encounter major engineering concepts such as mechanisms, energy, statics, materials, and kinematics. The classes build on the skills introduced to all seventh and eighth graders at the junior high this past year.
April 10, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Few employers show up to recruit MATC students” – Employers who have said there’s a shortage of welders in Wisconsin – and that it’s serious enough to threaten their business prospects – didn’t turn out in large numbers Tuesday for a Milwaukee Area Technical College job fair that could have introduced them to 50 job candidates.
Eight companies attended the event at the college’s campus in Oak Creek, which was intended to help recent and upcoming welding program graduates find employment.
For years, companies have lamented a lack of welders, especially for work that requires a high level of skill and knowledge. In some cases, they’ve said, the shortage has created production bottlenecks at their manufacturing plants.
MATC has ramped up its welding programs to help address the need, and college officials said they expected more businesses to be at the job fair.
“I think there is some fair criticism” for employers who complain about a shortage but didn’t show up for the fair, said David Dull, president and CEO of Allis-Roller LLC, a metal fabricator in Franklin that was at the event.
“It’s easy to complain,” said Dull, who is also a MATC board member.
Some companies have started welding classes in their factories, and some have said MATC’s programs haven’t met their needs for highly specialized and demanding jobs.
“I would say it’s challenging to find skilled help,” Dull said, adding that some companies might be turned off by a job fair that doesn’t have experienced candidates for them.
Area business leaders have said the welder shortage is going to get worse as thousands of older workers retire and there aren’t enough young people willing to take their place.
“Welding is more than just grabbing a stick and going to work. There’s a lot of science and knowledge involved,” said Mike Kuehnl, manager of student employment services at MATC.
“I was hoping for more employers” at the job fair, Kuehnl said. “I can’t speak to the reasons why more didn’t show up. Maybe they don’t need people right now, and it’s quite possible we might be catching up a little bit with the demand.”
Welding has been a sensitive subject at the technical college.
A labor union, for instance, has asked the college to stop training nonunion employees who could step in as replacement workers at Caterpillar Inc.’s South Milwaukee plant in the event of a strike.
Labor officials also have questioned whether there is a welder shortage.
“If there is one, we shouldn’t have to be pulling teeth to get companies at a job fair,” said Michael Rosen, faculty union president at MATC and economics instructor at the college.
“I think some employers want to keep flooding the market with job candidates so they can keep wages down,” Rosen said. “In a market where companies are looking for welders, the only way to attract them is to pay a higher wage.”
Some research, though, suggests these shortages are real and can be expected to worsen.
Wisconsin will have fewer than half the metal manufacturing professionals it needs by 2021, according to a recent report from ManpowerGroup. Demand for these skilled tradesmen will grow by nearly 50%, but the supply will decrease about 12% as the industry gets slapped by a wave of retirements, the report said.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that two-thirds of the fastest-growing occupations from 2012 to 2018 will be in apprentice-based fields. More apprenticeships could help fill some of the skills gap. But many young adults, especially, don’t realize they could earn a good living in a manufacturing career, Dull said.
“More than half of the jobs in the state don’t require a four-year degree, but nearly 100% of the students are being told to go to college. To me, that’s the biggest disconnect,” Dull said.
But Marc Levine, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor of history, economic development and urban studies, says the skills gap is a myth.
“All of the data suggests that companies that have been crying the loudest about a shortage of skilled workers have exaggerated the claims,” said Levine, who last month published a research update titled “The Myth of the Skills Gap in Wisconsin.”
There are about 2,000 unemployed welders in Wisconsin and about 500 job openings here a year for them, according to Levine.
In Wisconsin and surrounding states, there are about 17,000 unemployed welders, he said.
Levine says the only welder shortage he’s aware of is in places like North Dakota and Wyoming, where a boom in the oil and gas industry has resulted in a widespread lack of skilled help.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If there really were a shortage of welders here, you would expect employers to be lining up for them at the MATC job fair,” Levine said.
April 8, 2013
From wausaudailyherald.com: “NTC opens revamped public safety training center” – Northcentral Technical College is expanding its presence in Merrill after a devastating tornado hit the campus in April 2011. The revitalized Public Safety Center of Excellence offers advanced training in a technically integrated and realistic environment. The 36-acre site is located on the edge of the city of Merrill, an area rich with a natural environment suitable for multiple uses including water rescue and wilderness training.
“After the tornado, we evaluated current and future public safety training needs to ensure our Center of Excellence provides the highest level of hands-on tactical training for public safety professionals,” said Lori Weyers, president of Northcentral Technical College. “Because of the unique and varying training we will be able to offer, we expect several thousand public safety personnel a year to gain practical, hands-on experience right here in Merrill.”
The NTC Public Safety Center of Excellence provides state-of-the-art training for public safety personnel and positions NTC as a leader in the Midwest for emergency management training. The fire training area features a utility training area with five unique props, leak detection field, burn tower, splash tower and extrication pad, as well as confined space and flashover simulation trailers. The Emergency Village replicates local business storefronts on a simulated multi-block street to provide real-life training scenarios for emergency responders. Adjacent to the Emergency Village is an Emergency Vehicle Operations Course, or EVOC, featuring traffic signal lights and light poles mounted with cameras. Training activities in the Emergency Village and on the EVOC track can be monitored from the Command Tactical Operations Center, which is outfitted with technology that controls training targets and digital recording throughout the village and track. This training environment allows full-darkness, night-time activities that simulate the conditions most police officers confront on late-shift assignments.
“This facility will allow learners to bridge the gap between classroom discussion and actual emergency management situations by simulating critical events without the inherent risks of actual hazardous materials and exposure to severe weather conditions,” said Bryce Kolpack, NTC Dean of Public Safety.
The center also will feature mock campgrounds and deer stands for rural police training, as well as a search and rescue building. The college already is planning for additional training features on site, including a collapsed building prop, rail car props and an indoor shooting range.
Training is already under way at the revitalized Public Safety Center of Excellence, with a ribbon-cutting celebration slated for April 24. The community is invited to tour the facility at an open house after the ribbon-cutting from noon to 2 p.m.
For more information on the Public Safety Center of Excellence, visit www.ntc.edu or call 715-675-3331.
March 19, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “Gateway asks voters for go-ahead on $15.6M public safety training facility” – RACINE COUNTY — In both size and scope, a new state-of-the-art public safety training center sits atop the list of projects included in the $49 million referendum proposed by Gateway Technical College.
As the most expensive single item in the proposal, school officials say the $15.6 million facility would not only provide better instruction to new officers and deputies but also draw in more experienced first responders, from southeastern Wisconsin and beyond, looking for specialized training in areas like tactical driving and active shooter situations.
In 2007, the college opened its law enforcement academy after renovating portions of their Kenosha campus at 3520 30th Ave. It offers programs for both incoming officers and deputies who are required by the state to undergo 520 hours of training as well as to veteran officers.
Racine Police Chief Art Howell said that his department currently sends its new officers to the academy but sparingly uses the facilities in Kenosha to provide specialized training to its veteran officers.
“We send people all over the state now and it’s expensive to do that,” Howell said. “Obviously if we had a high-caliber institution around here it would be cost effective for us to use that.”
Renovating the current campus back in 2007 meant converting a basement storage room into a five-lane, 50-foot shooting range and holding Emergency Vehicle Operations Course (EVOC) training in the parking lot at Dairyland Greyhound Park in Kenosha.
The current proposal calls for a new 24-lane, 150-foot shooting range and an on-site driving course complete with simulated intersections, street lights and highway ramps.
Sturtevant Police Chief Sean Marschke said that veteran officers in the state are required to undergo 24 hours of annual training, some of which is done in-house, but also must take four hours of biennial tactical driving training. That has meant sending officers out to technical colleges in Waukesha or Fox Valley.
“A lot of things they’re planning on doing are already being done around the state but just aren’t available here locally,” Marschke said. “With training budgets in a crunch and gas almost $4 a gallon, sending officers to other spots in the state just gets very, very expensive.”
A final location for the facility has not been selected yet, according to Gateway’s President Bryan Albrecht, but sites in Racine, Kenosha and Walworth counties are also being investigated. Voters in those counties will vote on the referendum April 2.
Marschke said that regardless of what county is selected, it would likely mean a 50 percent reduction in the costs associated with sending an officer to training like gas, lodging and overtime pay.
The proposal would also replace the current simulated city, composed of a couple storefronts, with a three-block simulated city. A new facility would also enable the college to build labs for crime scene investigation, something not currently offered in Kenosha.
Racine County Sheriff Chris Schmaling wrote in an email that he is very pleased with the current training Gateway provides but would benefit from a closer facility and additional course offerings. Mount Pleasant Police Chief Tim Zarzecki also said that he is in support of expanding training at Gateway.
An expanded physical training area and a larger, dedicated classroom may also mean adding an additional class at the school, according to Provost Zina Haywood.
Albrecht said he doesn’t anticipate finding any problems with filling another class because of the number of applicants the college already turns away, in part because state statute caps classes at 24 students and some of the facilities are shared by other programs on the Kenosha campus.
Overall, the college has estimated that a new facility would lead to a 15 percent increase in enrollment and could not only help keep local officers from going elsewhere but could mean other revenue coming from agencies outside of the district.
Marschke said that he agrees and would like to see the area become a training hub like the counties he currently sends his officers to.
“It’s really a good opportunity to have something here locally for our law enforcement that serves our residents to have a state-of-the-art training facility,” Marschke said. “I think we’ll draw agencies outside of the district as well.”
From starjournalnow.com: “Nicolet partnerships with PK-12 districts mean student success” – Every year about 2,000 students take credit classes at Nicolet College. But just as many area elementary, middle and high school students also participate annually in Nicolet activities created just for them.
Earning college credits while in high school, exploring a wide variety of careers, sharpening academic skills, taking in educational theater events and learning about college life in general are just some of the activities.
Key to making these successful has been the strong relationship Nicolet College has built with the eleven PK-12 school districts in the Nicolet College District, said Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster.
“The focus of these partnerships is to prepare students for college so they can get the skills necessary to be successful in their careers,” Burmaster said. “By working together, we’ve been able to smooth the pathway to higher education and make it easier for students to make the transition to college.”
Lakeland Union High School Superintendent Todd Kleinhans said it’s been exciting to see how the partnership between the high school and Nicolet has grown in recent years.
“The partnership today is stronger than ever,” Kleinhans told the Nicolet College Board of Trustees during a meeting the board recently held in Minocqua. “Both the high school and the college have a shared vision that places a strong emphasis on getting students college-ready and career-ready. We are thrilled at how well this partnership has been working and we look forward to making it even stronger in the future.”
In all, Nicolet has in place nearly two dozen different programs, activities and services with all of the school districts within the Nicolet District.
College in the High School Classroom
Hundreds of Northwoods high school students earn college credits every year without ever leaving their school.
“This gives them a great jump-start on college,” Burmaster said. “By earning college credits while still in high school, they shorten the amount of time they actually spend in college which can translate into a fairly significant cost savings.”
Every year, about 200 high school students earn both high school and Nicolet College credits through the College in the Classroom program. These classes are taught by college-certified instructors in the high schools and include a wide range of academic subjects.
Nicolet also offers a Youth Options program, where high school students take college classes on the Nicolet campus. Currently, 62 high school students are attending Nicolet classes through the Youth Options program.
In the Lakeland and Tomahawk high schools, Nicolet offers Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) classes. So far, more than 50 students have received this professional certification through Nicolet classes held at these locations. This coming fall, Nicolet CNA classes will also be taught at Rhinelander High School.
For the past two years, Nicolet has held PreCollege Academies for high school freshmen and sophomores. Each academy met for five consecutive Saturdays and gave students the opportunity to explore careers and sharpen academic skills in environmental science, engineering and health occupations. To date, more than 100 students from throughout the Northwoods have participated in PreCollege Academies.
Heavy Metal Tour
This past October, about 350 8th grade students converged on the Nicolet campus for the Heavy Metal Tour. The day-long event gave students the opportunity to explore careers in manufacturing and the trades. During the day, students toured six area manufacturing plants, Nicolet labs and classrooms and attended presentations in the Nicolet Theatre to hear from manufacturing professionals about careers in the field. The event will be held again in 2013.
This perennial favorite gives Northwoods 6th through 9th graders the chance to explore numerous different careers in fun, hands-on classes held afternoons for one week in the summer.
Examples of classes have included Lake Ecology, Solar Sprint, Sports Engineering, Crime Scene Investigation, Middle School Marketplace, Joining the Geek Squad Can Be Cool, and Rock and Roll 101. The next College Camp will be held in August.
Engineering, problem-solving and communication skills are the focus of Lego Camp at Nicolet, held during the summer for first through sixth graders. The half-day, week-long event has students building a variety of creations using specially designed Lego kits complete with electric motors. Lego Camp will be held again this coming summer.
The Amazing Race
This past fall, 50 6th through 8th graders from North Lakeland School participated in the Amazing Race on the Nicolet campus. The event had students darting between Nicolet labs and classrooms, answering questions about careers and college at each location.
Campus tours and visits
Numerous times throughout the year, the college invites students to campus to learn what the college has to offer and to give them an overall feel for Nicolet.
Welding, auto tech and carpentry competitions
Every year, dozens of high school students exploring careers in the trades converge on the Nicolet campus to test their abilities in friendly competitions.
Along with fine-tuning their skills, “students also learn what it takes to be successful in these fields and what kind of training they will need,” said Teri Phalin, PK-16 coordinator and career coach at Nicolet. “They see that it takes solid math skills, good communication skills, plus they have to know how to work as a team and solve problems.”
From weau.com: “CVTC’s new Fire and Paramedic Training Center will benefit the community” – All of our area Fire and Police Departments along with volunteer Firefighters in smaller towns will soon have access to a brand new training facility.
It’s part of a new Fire and Paramedic Training Center at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
CVTC calls the new center a “state of the art” facility. When it’s finished, it’ll include a live burn area; a preparation and observation area; storage for emergency service vehicles; and a physical fitness training area for the fire, paramedic and law enforcement students.
“We really emphasize the applied learning, the hands-on learning. We want to replicate real life situations as much as possible so when they do happen students and the existing workers will have that experience and more confidence,” said the President of CVTC Bruce Barker.
“The hands-on training is very, very important. It allows us to have that firefighter to go from a new firefighter to a productive firefighter a lot quicker,” said Deputy Chief of the Eau Claire Fire Rescue, Scott Burkart.
Burkart said a fair share of new firefighters that are hired, have attended CVTC. And the more experience they have right away, the more beneficial it is to the community the department serves.
“It’s less ‘on the job’ type of training that we have to do. That is a cost savings to us also,” said Burkart.
The Eau Claire Fire Department also has a mutual aid agreement with a lot of surrounding fire departments.
Burnkart said knowing the training came from one institution, will help everyone to mesh much better, and react quicker.
“Everyone will benefit from it, not only the firefighters, but also the communities too, because it’s a cost effective way to get that experience and training that we can’t receive any other place,” said Burkart.
“Our police and fire deal with life-threatening situation all the time, so providing them better training; they will be more aped to have confidence to perform better in those situations. It may save your life or my life someday,” said Barker.
The CVTC foundation and L.E. Philips Family Foundation came up with the money for the facility. The construction is expected to start toward the end of May and be ready for the students this Fall.
March 12, 2013
From digitaljournal.com: “Weld Fixture Tooling Company Filled a CAD Drafter Internship Position” – On January 29, 2013 Rentapen Inc., an area product holding fixture company, filled a CAD Drafter Internship position with a young and experienced student from Waukesha County Technical College. He is joining a CAD Drafting team made up of men and women of all ages. Christopher Doll has been a part of Rentapen Inc.’s, team since 2005 and is the Engineering Lead Designer and has a Masters of Science in Engineering from University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee.
According to The Social Liberian, “There are eight different age generation categories.” Rentapen Inc., the Weld Fixture Specialist, is currently employing four different age generations. This local Waukesha, WI, company is employing generations as young as Generation Y (Born: 1977-1994) and as experienced as the Baby Boomer I Generation (Born: 1946-1954)
Rentapen Inc., has been in business since August 20, 1976 and has been able to stay in business through many different generations, but there is one key piece that holds this company together; they are accepting of all ages and are willing to teach their employees. Have you ever heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” in the case with Rentapen Inc. you can. Every day the younger and older generations work side by side to reach a common goal: to build, design, and create the best weld fixture components in the manufacturing industry.
“I am in the Baby-Boom Generation and I am learning new things from the other team members all the time,” said Susan Straley, President of Rentapen. “Just last week our staff was teaching me about our website and social media.”
There are many conflicts in the manufacturing industry when it comes to generation differences. Like any business today, conflicts can come from recruiting, building teams, the many different changes in a company, and different styles of management. However, Rentapen Inc., is embracing the generations and changes; in their industry change is a good thing because it allows for growth, efficiencies, and cost savings.
The weld fixture specialist is excited for the growth of their line of RAPid Tooling Components™. With the different generations working together there has been an increase in the orders for RAPid Shims™ and the CAD Drafters in the office are busier than ever.
Rentapen Inc., is a Waukesha, Wisconsin based company that provides Weld Fixtures and 3D CAD models to manufacturers. Since 1976, Rentapen Inc has consistently saved customers time and money. Rentapen Inc., is a Certified Woman Owned Business and owns RAPid Tooling Components™.
March 11, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “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.
February 28, 2013
From channel3000.com: “Dentists warn of high acidity in some energy drinks” – MADISON, Wis. - Popular energy drinks claim to give people hours of energy, but dentists said people may be bathing their teeth in acid when they consume energy drinks.
They come in flashy containers, promising a boost to get you through those long days.
“A lot of people really do sit and just drink this stuff,” said Madison College dental hygiene student Alicia Selzler.
But when the jolt runs dry, new research shows, people are left with are serious hazards to their teeth.
“I used to drink these in high school myself,” said Selzler. “And I always wanted to do hygiene, but I never really thought of what this is actually doing to my teeth until I saw this.”
Selzler is no stranger to sugar’s destructive path, but the experiment she’s conducting with her classmates at Madison College examines the acid content of energy drinks.
“The citric acid is the one ingredient that we noticed that if it was listed near the top of the ingredient list, that was one of those solutions we knew we were going to get a low pH,” said Marcy LeFave, Madison College dental hygiene faculty member.
On a pH scale, a reading of 7 is neutral, like water. The lower the number, the more acidic the chemical. Students measured the pH of a variety of drinks. Coffee and milk showed pH scores of around 5 and 6, respectively. Root beer was around 4.
But a sugar-free bottle of Vitamin Water Zero showed a high level of acidity in a test, Selzler said.
“It’s actually Vitamin Water Zero,” said Selzler. “It’s showing a pH of 3.15. So the pH of that product is really, really low.”
The energy drink in the experiment logged a pH close to 3 as well. Battery acid reads -1 on the pH scale.
And with the popularity of these types of drinks, researchers said it’s only a matter of time before a rising number of dentists expend more of their energy on tooth decay.
“I always tell my patients, and I’ve learned from my hygienist and my teachers, if you sip all day, you get decay,” said Selzler, “So this is kind of what we like to show people, the acid and what it’s all doing.”
With sugar, the decay process begins after the sugar reacts with the bacteria in a person’s mouth to produce the acid that eventually gets to his or her teeth. When drinking energy drinks high in citric acid, it skips the sugar-bacteria chemical reaction completely. Researchers said the citric acid could damage a person’s teeth faster.
January 15, 2013
From lacrossetribune.com: “West Salem first responder sees the ‘other side of 911′ – WEST SALEM — Spencer Lewison found his calling in a CPR class. Lewison, 20, switched career paths and colleges, and in a matter of months he was taking calls as a volunteer first responder.
It was the feeling that he got after leaving that class that drove him to leave behind a liberal arts degree for a field he knows won’t net him fame or money, Lewison said. The feeling sends him flying to the scene of emergencies, seeking experience as he works toward a career as a paramedic.
“Not many people get to step into those shoes and be the other side of 911,” Lewison said. “Being that answer is just phenomenal in my mind.”
When he isn’t in Eau Claire, Wis., for college, Lewison volunteers for the West Salem Emergency Medical Team and is studying to become a paramedic.
He started with the unit in May, as he finished a semester-long training program at Western Technical College.
Soon, he was pulling overnight shifts as a responder, and heading into Festival Foods the next morning for work.
“When I first started doing it, I noticed the whole adrenaline rush,” Lewison said. “Since my first call, I loved it.”
Being a first responder meant Lewison is often the first person to a scene. It’s often up to him and other volunteers to check vital signs, get names, and make sure the scene is safe.
When Tri-State Ambulance arrives, he is responsible for making sure they have the information they need to treat a patient.
“To have someone’s life in your hands at the age of 19 is a big deal,” Lewison said.
Major car crashes or routine calls, Lewison treats each emergency with equal concern, said Seth Melde, who studied with Lewison at Western, and volunteers with him in West Salem.
“It’s about the patient when we’re there,” Melde said. “It’s about making sure the patient is comfortable no matter what.”
Team President Duane Kneifl calls Lewison “one of our young guns.”
Kneifl rides with Lewison often, at all hours. Despite Lewison’s age, he has a unique ability to communicate with patients when he’s at a scene, Kneifl said.
“He connects with them,” Kneifl said. “He just really relates to what their problems are.”
That connection drives Lewison.
He calls it something different, but he got his first taste of it not long after high school.
He graduated from West Salem High School in 2011 and entered Winona State University in the fall as a tentative music major.
Unsure of his future, a friend recommended he try out classes to become an emergency medical technician.
He took a CPR class in November and walked away changed.
“You knew walking out of there that you could save someone’s life,” Lewison said.
Now, Lewison talks about the faces of his patients. Those faces are why he jumps at the chance for a midnight call when he’s home in West Salem. Those faces are why he is studying at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, Wis., to become a paramedic, and hopefully, one day, a flight medic.
“I just like to see the look on their face,” Lewison said. “When they light up because someone cares for them.”