From kenoshanews.com: “New approach to EMS training stresses, continuity, mentoring approach” – A joint effort among three community entities has seen success in a new approach to a traditional emergency medical service training program.
Students this year have been exposed to the new training process organized by leaders from the Kenosha Fire Department, Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Kenosha Fire Department’s Division Chief of EMS Jim Poltrock said in the past, Gateway had its students complete their field time with the department, but there was little organization and consistency to the process.
“The way the program was set up before was kind of chaotic,” he said. “There was no structure, and students were jumping shifts and were randomly assigned to work with different professionals each time.”
The new approach assigns students to work with a specific EMS person to establish a relationship and better develop their skills and evaluate students more accurately.
“Continuity is key,” Poltrock said. “While working with the same person each day, preceptors are able to monitor what their personal skills are and focus on areas the student needs to improve on. They also become more comfortable in asking questions, because they’ve established more of a relationship.”
Crista Kruse, mentor Kenosha/Racine manager at the University Wisconsin-Parkside, has been involved in the implementation of the new plan this year through the UW-Parkside Center for Community Partnerships. The center bridges the university with nearby communities through extended learning opportunities. She said the more formalized approach is beneficial to students.
“The mentoring approach is kind of a new trend, and research shows it works,” she said. “It’s beneficial to both the employer and the student, so it’s a win-win.”
Both students and preceptors have to go through an application process and meet specific requirements to be a part of the program.
“Our agreement within this joint effort is that we’ll provide our best, and they send us their best,” Poltrock said.
Students in support
Both students and preceptors said the changes are successful and beneficial to everyone.
Kenosha Fire Department Capt. Steve Allemand, an EMS preceptor/peer mentor, said the traditional training program used to be “hit or miss,” because students would come and go, riding with different paramedics at different stations.
“Now, there’s more ownership, so it’s almost like it’s your own kid,” he said. “You can actually keep a better eye on them for how they’re progressing along. It’s a huge difference.”
Allemand said he has always enjoyed teaching and coaching his own children, so he was interested right away in becoming a teacher and mentor.
“Fire and EMS is kind of a family affair, so it really helps out that you have the same person there with you the whole time to get the full experience,” said Steffanie Olson, 24, who is enrolled in the program and close to completing her ride time with the Kenosha Fire Department.
“This program helps build your confidence as a medic, and it also helps facilitate the fact that they know where you’re at with things,” she said. “(Allemand) knows what I’m looking for in my education to make me a well-rounded paramedic at this point.”
Olson was among those who responded to a rollover injury accident on Friday. It was the first time she had been involved with Flight for Life in Kenosha, but she felt prepared.
“I always feel that I have a good support team here,” she said. “Even if I’m not sure on something, I can just look over my shoulder and someone will be there to give me a little extra support. These guys run a good ship, so it’s easy to pick up and jump in.”
Students work with the same shift every day, so everyone on the shift contributes to the training, Allemand said.
“We all have slightly different perspectives due to our position, age and rank, so it helps to give students a full view of what EMS actually is,” he said.
Overall, Allemand said the program will help southeastern Wisconsin have better EMS care, because the students are better trained for the future.
“It’s a vision that’s long term, and it’s going to be something very positive,” he said. “It’s hard to break the traditions of how things were done, but once people see the benefits to this and the positive repercussions of it, there’s absolutely no way places could not do this.”
May 21, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Dental clinic expansion could double patient capacity” – GREEN BAY – It may be a little easier for certain people in Brown County to get care from the dentist.
The NEW Dental Clinic on the Green Bay campus of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has been serving low-income and uninsured people for about a year and a half.
An expansion is expected to double the facility’s capacity.
Tammy Marcelle suffers from cerebral palsy and arthritis. She and her service dog Puppy checked in to the dental clinic Monday.
“Before I found this place, I haven’t been to the dentist in 20 years,” said Marcelle of Green Bay.
Marcelle met with her dentist Gretchen Evenson.
“A lot of these people have been trying to find dentists for years. No one sees the medical assistance. We’re happy that we devote our entire clinic to these people,” said Dr. Evenson, NEW Dental Clinic dentist.
NEW Dental Clinic provides dental services often free-of-charge to low income or uninsured people in Brown County.
The clinic was formally dedicated Monday morning. NWTC provided the space as part of a federal grant. St. Vincent Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center provided $330,000 for equipment.
“Getting care and getting that taken care of also pulling the teeth when appropriate so it doesn’t abscess and can cause further health problems is really important,” said Bonnie Kuhr, NEW Dental Clinic CEO.
Bonnie Kuhr says another dentist will be hired Tuesday. Kuhr says 10 people will staff the expanded office and serve an estimated 6,000 people a year.
“You didn’t have to do that,” said Marcelle.
Marcelle and Dr. Evenson have formed a friendship, but an upcoming root canal may put that friendship to the test.
“I think she should just pull it so we don’t have to deal with it. But that’s not her attitude,” said Marcelle.
“Tammy’s a character. She’s had some dental work that was done, and then of course, once the dental work is done, then we want to continue to monitor these patients and make sure that they get the continued care they need,” said Dr. Evenson.
“It’s a relief that people with low incomes have finally a place they can come and get things done. They need it,” said Marcelle.
May 21, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Cadott’s Weiland brothers take different paths to the golf course” – CADOTT — Twin brothers Scott and Eric Weiland are like typical twins in some regards.
The two brothers hold many traits in common.
They’re both competitive. They’re both passionate. They have common interests. Their personalities have specific quirks, but in general are quite similar.
However, on the golf course it’s a different story. Both enjoy the game, obviously.
But the paths they took in joining the Cadott boys golf team, and the paths they hope to take after graduating this year are markedly different.
Seniors on a Hornets golf team that hopes to advance to the WIAA Division 3 state tournament in June, Scott and Eric Weiland will be heavily counted on to do their share if Cadott is going to reach its ultimate goal.
Scott is the more experienced golfer of the two, having played as either the No. 1 or No. 2 player on the Hornets since he made the varsity squad as a freshman. So far this year, Scott has taken medalist honors at two Cloverbelt Conference meets and was just a couple strokes from qualifying as an individual for state a season ago.
Meanwhile, Eric is the No. 4 player, having joined the team a few weeks into the season last year after having tried baseball his first couple years of high school.
At first, both Scott and Eric began their golfing careers together in middle school, learning from Cadott golf coach Brad Rogers at a summer junior program. In fact, according to Scott, Eric was the better golfer when the two were just starting out.
But Scott soon developed a deep passion for the sport that made it a primary focus in his life, while Eric liked to try other activities, enjoying golf more as a pastime.
“Even back then (in middle school), Scotty was more of a student of the game. He really just ate it up, was studying it, was really serious,” Rogers said. “Pretty much all the time, Eric had his driver and was bombing for the fence.”
When the two began high school, Eric decided to go out for the baseball team instead of joining the golf team. After a couple years in baseball, Eric, at Scott’s urging, decided to join golf.
“I had a lot of things I wanted to do and I wanted to try them, see if I did like them,” Eric said. “That (baseball) is one of the things I tried quick. I ended up not liking it at all so then I went back out for golf. Scott helped me out a lot with everything.”
Not only did Scott want Eric to join golf because he thought he may enjoy it more, but the Hornets also needed a guy who could shoot consistently after a few seniors graduated from the year before.
“I thought it would help the team because we were losing a couple of our golfers that were seniors, graduating,” Scott said. “We needed a solid No. 4/5 seed and I thought he would have the talent to do it.”
However, when Eric joined the team midway through last season, the rust of not having played golf for a couple years was apparent. In his first practice round, he shot a 63, leaving Rogers a bit deflated. But, four-iron in tow (Eric doesn’t currently carry a driver), he got his game back into shape and has become a steady player for the Hornets.
“He really worked on the game, was consistently working on it,” Rogers said. “By the end of the season, he was shooting high 40s. That was all within a matter of about three or four weeks. He’s a quick learner, stuck with it.”
This year and beyond
As Scott and Eric finish up their high school careers, their paths will once again diverge.
With plans to attend UW-Stout in the fall, Scott wants to have a career in golf — his passion since his cousin Ray Weiland, Jr. took him out on the course about six years ago. Between taking lessons with Cadott golf pro John Pozarski, working at Whispering Pines Golf Course and spending his free time on the links, Scott has devoted much of his life to the sport and wants to keep it that way.
Meanwhile, Eric hopes to start a career as a fire medic and is already a volunteer firefighter. Enrolling at Chippewa Valley Technical College following the school year, saving peoples’ lives and helping out in any way he can is Eric’s goal in life.
Unfortunately, that goal will also mean that the Cadott golf team’s road to state could be a bit bumpier.
Eric begins an EMT class on Tuesday — the same day of regionals for Cadott, meaning the Hornets will need to manage without a player who has developed into a consistent performer for the team.
But with the way Scott — who Rogers believes will make it to state as an individual at the very least — and the rest of the team has been playing, a trip to state is still within the realm of possibility even if Eric isn’t available for regionals.
It is fitting that this is how it played out though. As unfortunate as the timing is, Eric is simply following his passion. Scott is following his.
The golf course brought them together as brothers for the past two years, but the real world will once again send them in different directions, albeit maybe a bit sooner than they would have liked.
Said Rogers: “Eric pretty much lives for firefighting and fire rescue, while Scotty lives for golf.”
From wuwm.com: “New College Grads May Be Entering An Improving Job Market” – Thousands of local college students graduated over the weekend. UWM and Marquette were among those holding commencement ceremonies. More grads will pick up their diplomas next weekend, including at MSOE and MATC.
The last few years have been tough for college grads. They entered the labor force amid a slow-moving economy, when employers were hesitant to hire. And the competition often included experienced people, laid off during the recession. Dennis Winters says now however, there are hints the job hunt may be a bit easier. He works for the state Department of Workforce Development.
“The economy is growing slowly and the employment situation is a bit laggard yet, but I think things are picking up throughout the rest of the year and in the future, so graduates have something a little better to look at,” Winters says.
Another agency that sees promising data is Milwaukee-based Manpower Group. It tracks hiring trends.
“There was healthy hiring last quarter, so I think we’re going to see continuous improvement. It’s certainly not going backwards,” says Chris Layden, who heads one of the Wisconsin divisions of ManpowerGroup. He says some new grads have an advantage over experienced people looking for work.
“Companies are looking for fresh talent out of college, particularly leading companies within the Milwaukee market that are always trying to bring in fresh perspectives and hiring potential.”
Layden says the greatest demand for graduates remains in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The trend puts graduates from the Milwaukee School of Engineering in good standing. Erik Oswald works in MSOE’s careers office. He says employers sought out the school’s students throughout the economic downturn.
“Even in the height of the recession, our students were getting jobs. They maybe were just having one offer at a time. But as things are recovering, the biggest thing we’re seeing is that students are able to choose between two or three offers again,” Oswald says.
Oswald says the pay is good, even for those just entering the workforce.
“The average starting salaries for the 2011-2012 class for all of our graduates was $55,368,” Oswald says.
On the other edge of downtown, Marquette University reports high demand for its grads, across the spectrum. Andy Brodzeller is spokesman.
“One anecdote is that involvement in our career fairs that we host in the fall and spring semester — we’ve seen additional participation by companies and employees. This past year, actually we had to turn down employees, because we simply didn’t have enough space for them in the ballrooms at the career fair,” Brodzeller says.
Brodzeller says grads with a leg up are those who participated in internships and got work experience. The head of UW-Milwaukee’s career development center echoes the sentiment. Cindy Petrites says students’ resourcefulness outside the classroom can be as important as their field of study.
“The person graduating today is probably looking at over a dozen job changes over the course of their lifetime. So it’s really important for us to be helping students to be really nimble in the way they are developing their skills, in the way they are thinking about how they can be marketable — not just for the jobs of today, but for the jobs of tomorrow,” Petrites says.
Another local institution has seen first-hand the changing employment picture graduates face. Mike Kuehnl is with MATC, who says “4,500 of our students already have bachelor’s or master’s degrees and they’ve come to MATC to get the skills that employers are looking for.”
Kuehnl says graduates in the greatest demand are those in the fields of information technology, manufacturing and health care.
May 20, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Kiel equipment maker succeeds with power” – KIEL — Change can be good for an organization. Just ask the management team at Amerequip Corp.
A couple of years ago, executives said that if the maker of custom equipment for the lawn, landscape, agricultural and construction industries remained owned by its workers through an employee stock ownership program, the company either would have gone bankrupt or been sold.
That’s not the case today, said Mike VanderZanden, president and CEO at Amerequip, who said the company now is on a growth path with a goal of reaching $100 million in annual revenues and boosting its employment from 155 to 500 employees by 2020.
“We as a team began looking at the cost of being an ESOP company and determined that it was becoming a drain on the business,” VanderZanden said. “It just limited the amount of money we could invest back into the business.”
In February 2011, VanderZanden and about a dozen company executives purchased the business from the ESOP to keep the business locally owned.
“When it came down to it, we just have a strong commitment to our team members at Amerequip and they’re more like family now,” he said. “Our mission is to become a significant employer of choice, and what’s exciting for us now is we believe by doing the right things for our team members, we believe we will have nothing but strong profitability and financial success.”
The company’s niche is working with some of the world’s largest power equipment manufacturers — John Deere, Caterpillar, New Holland and Case — and doing work for Oshkosh Corp.-owned McNeilus, which produces refuse trucks and cement mixers.
Amerequip is an original equipment manufacturer, which means what it produces is ready to be sold and put to use.
Where the company is focusing its strategy is doing more work for existing customers, VanderZanden said.
“When we talked about where we wanted to take the company, one way was to try and secure between 50 and 100 customers and do a variety of work for them, but we chose instead to work more closely with a few customers that are large global organizations and find ways to push deeper into each one,” he said. “The idea is providing great service to those customers, better than anyone else could do.”
Diversifying its production mix with its larger customers who make assorted equipment with varying uses, also can shield the business from downturns in the economy, VanderZanden said.
Much of what Amerequip does is in house, from painting, fabrication and assembly as well as designing and engineering products for its customers. The company recently invested about $3 million to expand and upgrade existing facilities.
“It’s what makes us unique,” VanderZanden said. “We have a lot of the capabilities of some larger OEMs but because the decision makers are on site, we can be faster on the turnaround.”
People contribute to the company’s success, VanderZanden said. It has partnered with Moraine Park Technical College to provide training to its employees, which allows them to keep their skills current.
“Continual education is a critical part of our success,” VanderZanden said. “Investing in our employees to ensure we remain on the cutting edge and relentlessly improving, is vital to our long-term strategies.”
Keeping up with economic trends and other factors that influence business operations including health care reform and the regulatory climate, is important to shaping the company’s direction.
VanderZanden said the company’s board is composed of executives from other business sectors, who provide insight on issues that could influence operations. The board also supports the model of strengthening ties and seeking opportunities with Amerequip’s major customers.
“We’ve taken the approach that as long as we focus on revenue growth and growing the business, we will be all right,” he said.
On the horizon
Tim Dorn, vice president of sales and engineering at Amerequip, said building stronger ties with its pillar customers is a cornerstone of the company’s growth strategy.
“We are focusing on diversity, not only customer to customer, but within each customer,” he said.
Dorn said Amerequip’s major customers are experiencing modest but sustainable growth.
“As we look out in 2013, I think it’s going to hold tight,” he said. “We’re not expecting a major uptick because things still feel a little sensitive and people seem to want to hold off on things to see where things go, but we are working to diversify our markets to drive our own growth as best as we can.”
VanderZanden said Amerequip’s primary customers are expecting moderate growth during the next 12 to 18 months.
“Right now there is some softness as a result of the poor spring we had,” he said. “But as we look out 18 to 36 months, it’s definitely sustainable. No one is predicting double-digit growth but at least we can expect continued improvement.”
From chippewa.com: “Diesel Technician students land jobs before graduation” – EAU CLAIRE — Jason Koger of Elk Mound didn’t have any problem finding a job, and right in his home town, after graduating from Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) on Friday, May 10. In fact, he was working at the Lawrence Transportation Services facility in Chippewa Falls while still completing the Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technician program at CVTC.
His fellow graduate, Josh Gagner of Chetek, also landed a job well before graduation, at the Lawrence facility in Barron.
Koger’s and Gagner’s experience is typical of students in the program. A shortage of diesel mechanics in the area has companies recruiting CVTC students well before they earn their technical diplomas.
“I was always interested in diesel engines,” said Koger. “I liked the smoke, but I learned that’s not the power.”
“I wanted to drive (trucks) at first,” said Gagner. “But when (CVTC instructors) talked to me about fixing them instead of driving them, I was sold.”
Gagner had been working relocating utility lines, but decided to look for a job with a little less stress. He loves diesel mechanic work and sees himself working in the field his entire life. There’s plenty of opportunity.
“I had two job offers and I only applied for two jobs,” Gagner said.
“I didn’t have any problem getting into Lawrence,” Koger said.
Most CVTC graduates are not as heavily recruited as the Diesel/Heavy Equipment Technician students, but statistics show 92 percent of them will be employed or continuing their education in the coming months.
CVTC honored 626 graduates in 47 different programs Friday night, with 375 graduates receiving associate degrees and 251 receiving technical diplomas. On Thursday night, CVTC honored 67 graduates at its River Falls campus, including 60 receiving associate degrees and seven receiving technical diplomas.
The most popular programs among this spring’s graduates are Nursing, with 60 graduates, Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement with 54 graduates, and Business Management with 53.
Among the graduates was Randi Johnson of Eau Claire, in the Dental Hygienist program, who was chosen as the student speaker. She urged the graduates to get out of their comfort zones.
“Being willing to step out of our comfort zones led us here,” she said. “Now that we’ve gotten to this point in life, we should push ourselves to keep improving. We will feel uncomfortable in the future, whether it’s in an interview for our dream job or buying our first house. But the moments where we feel unsure usually turn out to be the ones that change our lives and help define who we are.”
Faculty speaker Steve Chronis, from the Criminal Justice/Law Enforcement program, urged graduates to take advantage of opportunities.
“Life is all about deciding to answer the door when opportunity knocks and what you decide to do with the opportunity,” Chronis said. “My hope for each and every one of you is that the education you received at CVTC has opened a door of opportunity for promise and discovery that will last a lifetime.”
Featured speaker Paul Gabriel, executive director of the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, put a new twist on the notion of wishing graduates “good luck.”
“For years, I’ve heard graduates refer to themselves as ‘lucky’ to have made it here,” he said. “But, what’s luck really got to do with it? … If you feel fortunate to be here, it’s not luck at all. It’s the success that you have created for yourself.”
Gabriel told the graduates to make their own fortune. “You make it by realizing your potential, by living and thriving and being happy.”
From wjfw.com: “Nicolet College holds career expo for seventh graders” – Rhinelander - You may not like hunting for jobs. And searching for a career is just as hard, but Nicolet College made the process fun for seventh graders today.
Nicolet College held their first Career Expo at the Rhinelander Ice Arena. About 700 seventh graders wandered through the tables.
“It is so important because I think there are so many great professions in our area that people just don’t know about. And especially at that seventh grade age, they’re just learning about careers and really starting to investigate maybe what direction they want to go,” says Teri Phalin, Nicolet Career Coach. The Expo showed off a wide range of careers from around the Northwoods. There were 42 careers showcased, including photographers, lawyers, EMT’s and many more.
“We have Ponsse who have a really great simulated logging machine. We have Dream Flight. We have PT offices. We have an exercise instructor,” said Teri Phalin.
Even Newswatch12 came out for some of the fun. But it was the students who enjoyed it the most.
“Students are loving this! Every student, I just said, has been walking past me with a huge smile on their face. They’re getting some really great information but they’re having fun while they’re doing it as well.”
Nicolet College Career Coach Teri Phalin said the Expo was a success and hopes to do it again next year.
May 15, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Dreams come true for local CVTC grads” – Eau Claire — Friday night was a dream come true for Lori Hruza of Chippewa Falls and Devyne Gass of Cornell. Their paths were longer and a bit more winding than many of their fellow Chippewa Valley Technical College graduates, but they all came to the same place together: walking across the stage to receive their diplomas.
Hruza, 42, and Gass, 45, received associate degrees in nursing. They are now well prepared to pass their exams and become registered nurses, opening up greater career opportunities than they have experienced before in their lives.
“Dreams do come true,” said Hruza. “I always wanted to do nursing, and after my third child I decided to go back to school.“
Hruza has been many places in her adult life, as her husband pursued a military career. She worked in child care and taught preschool, at one point in Hawaii. But she always dreamt of becoming a nurse.
“It’s interesting learning about the human body, and I always enjoyed helping people,” she said. It became easier to pursue her dream after her children were older, and she chose CVTC’s nursing program.
Now, ready to enter the nursing profession and after seven years living in Chippewa Falls, she’s excited about a new adventure. “We’re moving to Hawaii!” she said.
Gass has already been working as a licensed practical nurse at a nursing home in Ladysmith. She attended Northcentral Technical College in Wausau some years ago for that training. She’s been wanting to advance her career.
“I wanted to get into a school that’s closer,” she said. “But it took a while to get back into the program.“
Now she’s on the verge of being an RN. It won’t mean an immediate change of scenery for her, but Gass knows it will open up many more employment possibilities.
“It’s been a long time coming,” she said.
That feeling was shared by hundreds of people at UW-Eau Claire’s Zorn Arena, which hosts the CVTC graduation each fall and spring.
CVTC honored 626 graduates in 47 different programs Friday night, with 375 graduates receiving associate degrees and 251 receiving technical diplomas. On Thursday night, CVTC honored 67 graduates at its River Falls campus, including 60 receiving associate degrees and seven receiving technical diplomas.
The most popular programs among this spring’s graduates were nursing, with 60 graduates, criminal justice/law enforcement with 54 graduates, and business management with 53.
Among the graduates was Randi Johnson of Eau Claire, in the dental hygienist program, who was chosen as the student speaker. She urged the graduates to get out of their comfort zones.
“Being willing to step out of our comfort zones led us here,” she said. “Now that we’ve gotten to this point in life, we should push ourselves to keep improving. We will feel uncomfortable in the future, whether it’s in an interview for our dream job or buying our first house. But the moments where we feel unsure usually turn out to be the ones that change our lives and help define who we are.“
Featured speaker Paul Gabriel, executive director of the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association, put a new twist on the notion of wishing graduates “good luck.“
“For years, I’ve heard graduates refer to themselves as ’lucky’ to have made it here,” he said. “But, what’s luck really got to do with it? … If you feel fortunate to be here, it’s not luck at all. It’s the success that you have created for yourself.“
May 14, 2013
From dailyunion.com: “Madison College-Fort welds relationship with industries” — Job seekers in Jefferson County are finding more opportunities to be trained in programs that allow them to enter the workforce quickly, thanks to the expanded Madison Area Technical College campus in Fort Atkinson.
In September, a ribbon-cutting saluted completion of a $1.9 million campus renovation and expansion that was part of the larger $134 million vision of growth within the college’s 12-county district.
Madison College’s $134 million Smart Community Plan for new facilities, renovations and upgrades at the affiliated campuses was approved by voters in the November 2010 election. The referendum received nearly 60 percent of the ballots from electors in the technical college district.
The plan called for meeting the increasing demand of local residents who need affordable education and job training during a time of struggle in the economy while Madison College’s student enrollment and waiting lists are at all-time highs, and interest rates and construction costs are low.
The Fort Atkinson project consisted of remodeling 3,000 square feet of existing space and adding 6,000 square feet of new space. The centerpiece of the expansion was the 3,000-square-foot metal fabrication/manufacturing lab.
Lynn Forseth, executive director for economic and workforce development in Madison College’s Eastern Region, said that starting with the spring semester, the Fort Atkinson campus has been able to provide degree-credit classes for the welding and industrial maintenance mechanic programs, customized contract training for area businesses and a middle college program for high school-aged students.
“It has really taken off,” Forseth said. “I do believe that what we constructed through the referendum was a good opportunity for this campus. It is serving our local industries.”
For many years, Madison College’s Fort Atkinson campus had been fortunate enough to be able to use nearby Fort Atkinson High School’s technical education lab for welding and manufacturing classes. Since 2001, evening classes were offered at the high school.
Prior to that, when the Fort Atkinson campus first was built, there was a welding lab. Over the years, the equipment and ventilation system grew old, prompting administrators to clean out that space and work with the School District of Fort Atkinson when the high school was built nearby.
However, at the high school, the Madison College courses had no room to expand and were limited to flexibility in scheduling. Another concern related to equipment maintenance.
With the addition of the 3,000-square-foot metal fabrication/manufacturing lab at Madison College’s campus, training opportunities have increased dramatically.
“All of the effort that went into providing the training needed by our industrial members is paying off,” said Fort Atkinson Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dianne Hrobsky. “The facility and the quality of the training that we are getting out of the Fort Atkinson campus is removing some of the obstacles that have impeded growth for so many businesses.”
She noted that the industrial sector is strong in this area and is vital to the community’s overall economic base.
Classes are offered at the Fort Atkinson campus in computerized numerical control, welding, oxy-fuel/plasma cutting, manual machining, programmable logic controllers and metal fabrication.
Planning sessions recently were held with various industries along the State Highway 26 corridor to determine their needs. Forseth said the top skills sought are welders, machinists, CNC operators and industrial maintenance mechanics.
“We’re serving all of those needs with this lab and we would like to continue to provide that level of instruction,” Forseth said.
Through only one semester of instruction, students who have taken classes in the new lab already have been hired by area companies. One Janesville-area company hired three of the Fort Atkinson campus’ students.
Forseth said Madison College already is looking ahead to the potential next step, which is development of a new program offering in overall metal fabrication.
Currently, the welding program is a one-year diploma program, and some students, many of whom also have a job, struggle to have the time to take all the required classes while maintaining employment.
She said schedules are designed to accommodate those working adult students as much as possible.
Generally, the jobs that are available are in more customized manufacturing.
“You need people to be able to read blueprints and make those modifications and make adjustments to meet the customers needs,” Forseth said. “We know most of the manufacturing and production is going to be customized work that requires a higher level of skill.”
May 14, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Kondex founder heads MPTC commencement lineup” – Jim Wessing, co-founder and president of Kondex Corp. in Lomira, will be the keynote speaker at commencement ceremonies for Fond du Lac’s Moraine Park Technical College.
Graduation will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the Fond du Lac High School Field House. MPTC President Sheila Ruhland president will preside over the ceremony.
“I am both humbled and honored to be the keynote speaker at MPTC’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony,” said Wessing, who noted his wife, Sue, earned three separate degrees from Moraine Park while they were raising their family and growing Kondex. “I have experienced firsthand the feeling of accomplishment by Sue as our children and I applauded her each time she walked across the stage, realizing the completion of another milestone in her life.”
Associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas and certificates will be presented by Moraine Park District Board Chair Dr. Richard Zimman, Vice Chair Vernon Jung Jr., and board members Donna Goetz and Shirley Kitchen.
Wessing is a trustee of the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union Building Association and Ag Sector Board Director of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. He is past president of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Wisconsin Buy Recycled Business Alliance.
Wessing, who received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is also a member of The Executive Committee and a long-time Junior Achievement instructor. His awards include FEMA’s Golden Presidents Club and C.P. Nicholson Memorial Award. Wessing was the 2000 CCLT Distinguished Graduate and in 2009 was named the Lomira Future Business Leaders of America Business Person of the Year.
Kondex was presented with the 2013 C.L. Greiber Award of Merit by the Moraine Park Association of Career and Technical Education in recognition of contributions to the improvement, promotion, development and progress of career and technical education in Wisconsin.
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Mother of 8, battling melanoma, earns paralegal degree” – Most days Carol Pingel concentrates on chewing the ear of the elephant rather than trying to eat the whole thing.
It’s a catchy reminder to focus on small, manageable goals. And it is something that has helped the mother of eight complete an associate degree at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College while cancer slowly kills her. She graduates with honors Thursday.
Pingel has Stage 4 melanoma. She sometimes feels too ill to get out of bed. She has worked on homework in the bathroom and she has thrown up on her laptop’s keyboard. She used a feeding tube last month. She’s had crying jags.
“But I needed to finish, “ Pingel said. “If you make a goal, it is doable. That’s such an important message I want to pass on to my kids.
“Eventually, they’re going to have to be without me, and if I can leave any lasting memory, it’s that fighting, goal-getting, reaching for your dreams, you can do it. That’s what I would like my legacy for them to be.”
In high school, Pingel — now 44 — dreamed of becoming an attorney, but said “eight kids later, decided a two-year paralegal degree was the next best thing.”
Pingel lives with her husband Jeff in Embarrass. Four of her eight kids — who range in age from 5 to 26 — live at home.
The busy mom completed a mix of online and in-class courses to earn her degree. She also interns with the Brown County District Attorney’s Office, and would like to work in a public defender’s office.
Pagel receives her diploma on Thursday night, but money is tight, and a friend helped Pingel buy her cap and gown. And another covered her fee to enter the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.
Not giving up
About a year and a half ago, Pingel learned she has a melanoma that eventually will take her life. Doctors don’t know how long she has, and Pingel said her goal is to live long enough to see her youngest child, now 5, graduate from high school.
“I don’t know if that’s possible,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “But that is my goal.”
Pingel acknowledges her cancer, but she has plans for the future.
“My degree was one of the things I wanted to finish. I’m hoping to find a job, with an employer who is willing to work with my illness.”
Pingel takes 27 pills a day and she said intravenous chemotherapy treatments every other week are painful. Yet it’s the medications and treatments that are keeping her alive, she said.
“One morning I wake up fine,” she said. “The next day I wake up and I can’t move.”
Pingel has battled cancer for about half her life. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer 21 years ago, and went in and out of remission for years. About four years ago doctors found cancer cells on her cervix, ovary and uterus. She had major surgery and thought she would be free of cancer. But a routine biopsey check uncovered the melanoma — inside her body.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Tumors often resemble moles, and some develop from moles. Melanoma kills about 8,790 people in the U.S. each year, according to the nonprofit foundation.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 120,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. More than 68,000 of those cases were invasive melanomas in 2010, the most recent information available. More than 29,000 cases were diagnosed in women.
“I think the worst part is the side affects,” Pingel said. “The chemo sores on my face and arms, the scarf or bald head, those are the things that make people start to look at you weird.”
Pingel’s oldest son, 26-year-old Joseph Reese serves in the Wisconsin National Guard and is stationed in Afghanistan. Her daughter, Sunshinnia, 22, will graduate with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire three days after Pingel receives her diploma.
Daughter Rhondalay, 20, is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and will be home for the summer.
Her other children include 10-year-old Laurel, described as a hugger by Pingel, and 13-year-old Jeffrey, a protector. Five-year-old Johnathon has autism, and 23-year-old daughter Chandra Reese has two daughters of her own.
Pingel said her children have been a big help, including 15-year-old Teddilyn, who helps manage the household. The family often eats spaghetti or macaroni and cheese as easy meals.
“If it’s a good day, I’m up early getting ready for my internship and school, “ Pingel said. “Later, I help the kids with homework, everything from geometry to kindergarten assignments. At 7 p.m., when the kids go to bed, I take my night medications and hopefully I’m in bed by midnight.”
Completing college became important when she realized her cancer had no cure, Pingel said.
“There were certain things I wanted to do in life,” Pingel said. “I got a bronze medal in ballroom dancing. I got a motorcycle license. Now I will have my degree.”
The Pingel family doesn’t splurge much, but spends time playing board games and watching movies. Carol Pingel has long loved ballroom dancing and met Jeff more than two decades ago on a dance floor. Now she watches as her children ballroom dance.
“I gave it up two years ago when my heart started acting up,” Pingel said. “But dancing has always been a part of me, and now it’s being passed on.”
And she hasn’t checked off all the items on her bucket list. She’s looking to find a paying job, and would love to see the Grand Canyon.
“I don’t care about New York or Disney World, but I’ve always wanted to see the Grand Canyon,” she said. “I’m sure it’s beautiful.”
Sharon Chacon, a behavioral science teacher at NWTC, said she shared a part of Pingel’s story with one of her classes during preparation for an exam.
“I wanted to help them keep from getting too upset over one test in the greater scheme of things,” Chacon said. She told Pingel that after the class discussed her story, “The mood shifted. Students that had stopped trying, began trying again. There was more laughter and helping.”
Pingel takes it all in stride.
“I just want everyone to know, everybody gets dealt a hand in life,” she said. “This is the one I’ve been dealt.
“When life gives you a bald head, grab a scarf and move on.”
May 13, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Gateway Technical College offers its ‘fab lab’ in Sturtevant for small-business use” – When Pioneer Products Inc. was asked to make the tooling for a boat part that was designed in Germany, cast in Missouri, for use by a manufacturer in Florida, the Racine company used three-dimensional printing for a prototype that could be shared by everyone in the manufacturing process.
With 3-D printing, objects can be replicated by laying down successive, ultrathin sheets of plastic, metal or other materials from a computer drawing.
It’s like using a hot glue gun that’s controlled by a computer.
The process, more correctly called additive manufacturing, is already widely used in industry. Elaborate “printers” construct sophisticated parts, not just with plastic, but also with metals.
For the rest of us, a basic 3-D printer, fed by spools of plastic filament, can be bought for as little as $1,300.
As the cost of the technology comes down, more manufacturers, inventors and artists are using it to make either prototypes or finished products.
Three-dimensional printing can save a lot of time and money in the design process, said Dan Defaut, a manager with Pioneer Products, a machine shop that does work in a variety of industries including automotive, marine, medical and aerospace.
Gateway Technical College, in Sturtevant, has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other colleges on rapid prototyping projects that use 3-D printing.
Manufacturers – and anyone else – can use Gateway’s design fabrication laboratory for training or building a prototype with the latest technologies.
“A company like S.C. Johnson has a full slate of 3-D printers and experts on staff, so they can handle this. But smaller companies are working with us so they don’t have to buy all of this equipment,” said Greg Herker, fabrication lab program coordinator.
“We are targeting small and midsize companies. We also are trying to target more artists, architects and others, because that’s how the real world works. Products aren’t just designed by engineers,” Herker said.
An array of uses
Gateway is part of a not-for-profit program aimed at developing and expanding industry in southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
That program, called the State of Ingenuity Initiative, funds a business incubator and laboratory in Rockford, Ill., that does rapid prototyping with 3-D printing using materials not yet available at Gateway.
“Our function in life is to help businesses grow so they can hire more people,” said Mike Cobert, director of the Eiger Lab, in Rockford.
Three-dimensional printers are now making all kinds of things, including medical devices, replacement parts for airliners, architectural models, jewelry and customized salt shakers.
Eiger Lab was hired to replicate museum artifacts in Italy because, by Italian law, the original items could not be taken from the museum for traveling exhibits.
The copies were sent to an Illinois company that cast them in bronze.
Eiger did something similar for the U.S. Capitol, where officials wanted to replace a chandelier. It also has done work for large companies that want 3-D printing for projects but don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the advanced equipment required for that type of work, partly because the technology is constantly changing.
Three-dimensional printing is well-suited for short production runs, one-off items where setting up a full production line wouldn’t be practical or affordable, and to make items suitable for sales pitches and meetings with investors.
It’s used for making customized prosthetics, where an exact fit is critical.
“Originally, this was just a model-making program. But right now, I think we are at the point where we are seeing many of the things that can be done with 3-D printing,” Herker said.
Affordable printers are lowering the cost of entry into manufacturing in the same way that e-commerce lowered the barriers to the sale of goods and services, according to Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn., firm that follows technology trends.
Printers for hobbyists, who want to make things like jewelry and craft items, cost less than $2,000. Recently, the office supply retailer Staples began offering a 3-D printer that can produce objects in 16 colors and is aimed at the small-business market.
“It’s not that hard to operate the equipment. Once you have the design file, it’s almost like sitting at your computer and selecting the ‘print’ button,” Herker said.
The technology has spawned businesses such as 3D Creations, a Milwaukee firm that envisions a world where people have a printer at home that could download and make a replacement part for something like a vacuum cleaner.
The printers also are useful tools for inventors, said Jesse DePinto, co-founder of 3D Creations.
“It’s kind of like the do-it-yourself culture on steroids. There are people who want to make their own products, either to save money or because they can’t find what they want at the store,” he said.
Three-dimensional scanners, which scan objects and create the drawings used by 3-D printers to make things, are advancing the technology in ways now only imaginable.
“Ten years from now, assuming there’s a utopia where everybody has their own printer, not everybody will know how to design things with CAD (computer-aided design) software. So the easiest way would be to have a hand-held wand where you could scan something and replicate it,” DePinto said.
3-D PRINTED GUNS
A Texas company recently said it used a 3-D printer to make a plastic gun capable of firing real bullets and passing unnoticed through metal detectors, and that it posted the schematics online for anyone to use.
Critics say the technology means someone could open a gun factory in their garage, and that plastic guns could be manufactured by terrorists using readily available 3-D printers.
In theory, anyone could download the plans and use them to manufacture a weapon.
May 13, 2013
From madison.com: “Grants help fuel CNG growth” – Since 2009, the Wisconsin Clean Transportation Program has been promoting and doling out $15 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy to aid government and private companies with alternative fuel programs.
The grants have helped build 13 private and four public alternative fueling or electric charging stations and has deployed 278 vehicles, with another 35 planned.
Officials estimate the program will displace over 1.6 million gallons of petroleum a year.
CNG-converted vehicles from the program include 19 for Dane County and 26 for the city of Milwaukee.
Another series of grants totaling more than $1.2 million from the Department of Energy is also helping CNG development.
It includes a $500,000 grant for planning, training and infrastructure development in a partnership with the Wisconsin Technical College System and over $764,000 for the Lake Michigan Corridor Alternative Fuel Implementation Initiative that includes Wisconsin, Illinois and Indiana.
From starjournalnow.com: “More Northwoods students earn Nicolet College credits while in high school” – Northwoods high school students are increasingly taking advantage of the chance to earn college credits while still in high school through Nicolet College.
The fastest-growing and increasingly popular option is through Nicolet’s transcripted credit classes, which has seen enrollment jump 75 percent in the past four years. Currently, 461 area high school juniors and seniors are on track to earn college credits in the 2012-13 academic year. The program started between Nicolet and Rhinelander and Elcho high schools in 2009 with 264 students.
“This is a fantastic way for high school students to get a jump start on their college education,” said Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster. “We’re very excited with the success of the program and expect it to grow in the future as more Northwoods high school students take advantage of this valuable opportunity. By taking transcripted credit classes, students can shorten the amount of time they are in college. This allows them to enter the workforce sooner and also typically save money on what they pay for a college education.”
Credits earned count toward both their high school diploma and college degree. These college-level courses are taught right in the high schools by instructors who meet specific certification requirements, said Teri Phalin, PK-16 coordinator and Career Coach at Nicolet. Currently, Nicolet offers transcripted credit classes in business, accounting, welding, automotive technology, and medical assistant, and recently added classes in the University Transfer program, she explained.
Statewide, more than 21,000 high school students take dual credit classes through the 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).
To celebrate this success, Gov. Scott Walker declared Tuesday, April 30, as Dual Credit Day in Wisconsin. WTCS President Morna Foy and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Evers commemorated the day at a special event at Lomira High School, the site of the first dual credit career prep program.
“These partnerships not only ensure that the students know what to expect in college,” Foy said, “but the college credits they earn can also result in cost savings and an accelerated career path.”
With an estimated 65 percent of available jobs over the next 10 years requiring skills provided by technical education, the state’s economy depends on students being college- and career-ready upon high school graduation.
“We need every child to graduate from high school prepared for success in college or career,” said Evers. “Dual credit programs allow kids to earn college credit at their high schools with no cost to their families, all while gaining valuable skills that serve local communities and businesses well.”
May 13, 2013
From thenorthwestern.com: “FVTC graduates follow their dreams” – Molly Willis tried the traditional four-year college route.
But after struggling to find the path she wanted to follow, the 25-year-old Oshkosh woman left the university behind, taking a job as a reception with the Bergstrom Automotive group.
Working closely with the administrative assistant, Willis realized that was what she wanted: a job that kept her busy every day, but never doing the same thing.
The Brookfield native began taking classes at Fox Valley Technical College in the administrative professional program, while she continued to work full-time.
“I knew what I didn’t want,” Willis said. “But (FVTC) had the administrative professional program and I thought that would be perfect for me and what I was looking for.”
Willis, along with nearly 1,000 others walked across the stage and collected their diplomas at Fox Valley Technical College’s spring commencement ceremonies at Kolf Sports Center Sunday.
Some of the graduates started at FVTC after graduating from high school, others waited before finding the path they wanted to go down and still others were switching career paths.
“Its never too late to follow your dream. You just have to have it. With the right amount of determination you can accomplish anything,” student commencement speaker Chandra Riley, a graduate of the culinary arts program, said. “All you have to do is set your mind to it. Visualize yourself achieving your goal and the steps to get there will fall into place on their own.”
For Abu Muhit, that dream involved a trip across the ocean and the realization of the vital role automobiles play in the United States.
The 25-year-old Oshkosh resident came to the United States from Bangladesh in 2008. Upon arriving, he realized that it was very common to have an automobile for everyday use and transportation.
“The place I’m from, we never had any cars,” said Muhit, who will be working at CarX in Fond du Lac as a technician. “I wanted to know about cars and how they work.”
Muhit originally enrolled at FVTC to improve his English. He eventually began taking classes in the automotive technology program, with hopes of owning his own auto shop in the future.
“You’re going to walk off this stage today and start a new life,” said Catherine Tierney, the president and chief executive officer at Community First Credit Union, who gave the commencement address.
For Willis, the new life will involve continuing her job at Bergstrom Automotive, where she will work as executive assistant to CEO John Bergstrom. It also means the possibility of continuing her education at a later date.
“Just having my associate’s degree, my options are much more open,” she said. “I’m seeing where the chips fall now.”
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.”
From wpr.org: “La Crosse college will building homes with advanced energy efficiency” – Western Technical College will soon be building three “passive homes”: buildings with a rare design that significantly reduces the amount of energy use.
A La Crosse neighborhood filled with quaint, single-family houses will become the home for three new, three-bedroom passive houses. In a passive house, heating energy usage can be reduced up to 90 percent. The wall insulation is much thicker than what’s found in a standard home.
Western Technical College architectural technology instructor Mike Poellinger says the air tight windows play a key role in the design.
“The windows actually become part of the heat source. We have a great amount of window glazing on the southern exposure as we’re collecting that heat. It’s minimized on the northern exposure; usually it’s there for lighting a stairwell or secondary lighting, and we minimize on the east and west.”
Poellinger says passive homes are quieter since they don’t have active heaters.
Western is hiring a contractor to start building the first passive home this summer. Western building system technology instructor Josh VandeBerg says students and instructors will be able to study the home as it’s built.
“We’re on this lesson here, talking about air tightness. Ding! Let’s go to the passive house and take a look at it in action. Not only is this house bringing my students to the passive house and the community to the passive house, but it’s also an opportunity to for my students to learn some of the very principles we’re talking about in the classroom.”
The Western Technical College Foundation will sell the homes. There are two other certified passive homes in Wisconsin.
From wiscnews.com: “Car lover gets his career in gear” – Most young guys love hot cars. It’s been a passion that started when Henry Ford cranked his first engine.
But at 19 years old, Brady Beth of Reedsburg has found a way to turn his love of cars into what is already an award-winning profession.
Last month, Beth won the coveted first place award from Skills USA, once known as VICA, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, for the second year in a row for his successful completion of auto body collision-related tasks.
He was competing against about 40 other entrants from technical schools around the state in his category.
It’s the first time in Madison Area Technical College-Madison history that any student has won a first place Skills USA award two years in a row.
Both years, Beth completed completed 12 welds with perfection, and repaired seven dents, two cracked fenders, and a crack and a tear in a plastic bumper.
There also were written tests and a mock job interview.
Just after that, he succeeded at a real job interview and got a position with Avenue Auto Body in Middleton, where he will go to work full-time after he graduates in two weeks.
“I like to make cars look new again,” Beth said. “To see something wrecked up, you can make it perfect again.”
He gives a great deal of credit to his MATC-Madison auto body and collision instructor, Tim Hoege.
“He’s really good at what he does,” Beth said. “He’s helped me a lot.”
Beth worked for Koenecke Ford since he was 16 alongside his dad, Dale Beth, another auto body technician.
“I was supervising and watching them,” Beth said with a smile. “But at 16, I actually started working on cars there.”
Not only did Beth take first place at Skills USA two years in a row, last year he place 13th at the Skills USA national competition in which he competed against contestants from 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Guam.
He’ll try at the nationals again next month in Kansas City, Mo.
“It’s very difficult to win the state event twice,” Hoege said. “It’s quite a competition. Some people have the touch. Brady can see what has to be done and visualize it before it’s done. You need to visualize it completed in your head before it’s done. He can do that.”
Beth said he won’t be happy with 13th this year at nationals.
This year better be the top five,” Beth said. “This year I know what to expect.”
Last year he came in first place with the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, Car Show competition in which contestants are selected based on an auto-body idea submission. Beth’s was chosen among the top five and he painted an image on the hood of a Honda Civic to gain first place.
The SEMA Show is touted as the world’s largest auto trade show event that is said to bring more than 60,000 domestic and international buyers together.
Hoege said many winners of the Skills USA competition are picked up by major auto market companies as sales representatives or executives.
“These companies want these winners because they know they have the passion and the drive to want the best out of themselves,” Hoege said.
Beth said future plans include dreams of owning his own business, but he’d like to stay close to home.
“I want to stay in the Reedsburg area,” Beth said. “I’d rather work here.”
From leadertelegram.com: “CVTC students learn house construction on the job” – CHIPPEWA FALLS — A group of Chippewa Valley Technical College students is getting hands-on experience building job skills for their futures while helping prospective home buyers at the same time.
For the past three years CVTC has partnered with the Chippewa County Housing Authority to provide homes for low- to moderate-income residents. CVTC students help build the homes, which are sold to people who may not otherwise be able to afford them.
The homes will be listed for sale at $165,000 apiece, said Ruth Rosenow, Chippewa County Housing Authority director. Purchasers of the homes built by CVTC students must earn at least $22,600 annually but cannot make more than $36,600, she said.
“This program helps CVTC students and, at the same time, the people buying these homes,” Rosenow said.
On Tuesday Matt Burke, a 20-year-old CVTC student from Chippewa Falls, worked on a deck of one of two homes he and 13 college students have built in Chippewa Falls along Stump Lake Road on the city’s east side.
Burke had never worked in construction before signing up for the class. He’s pleased with the finished product and the skills he has learned.
“It’s nice to see what you can accomplish,” Burke said. “I just like working outside. You’re in different places, and you are always doing something different.”
Joe Dahmer, 19, a CVTC student from Menomonie who has helped construct the homes, said he has worked construction jobs with his father since he was 13. He has even traveled to Mexico to build homes as part of church mission trips.
“I really enjoy construction,” Dahmer said. “I decided to go into the program because it’s hands-on, and you can’t do that anywhere else.”
Brian Barth has taught the CVTC residential construction program for the past nine years. He said his students are quick learners who enjoy their work.
“They get the sense of accomplishment at the end of the day,” he said of students building homes.
Students are putting their hands-on construction experience to good use. Of his 14 current students, 11 have construction jobs lined up for after they graduate, Barth said.
“The construction industry, there is going to be an extreme shortage of workers in the next few years,” he said, noting the sector is recovering after several slow years.
Rosenow said her organization purchased eight lots in a neighborhood on the east side of Chippewa Falls to be used as sites for homes built by CVTC students. The two 1,300-square-foot homes built this year have identical floor plans.
The housing authority financed the $235,000 project, with home sale proceeds to go toward the housing authority’s revolving loan fund. Neither of the two homes has been purchased yet, but they would be ready for someone to purchase by Friday, Rosenow said.
From fox11online.com: “Preparation key in search for missing” – FOND DU LAC – Investigators say having a plan in place to deal with an abduction before it happens is key.
“If something is going to happen, it’s going to happen in the first 24 hours and the quicker we can get on it, the quicker we can get the information out to the general public, the better chance we have of resolving it,” said Lt. Cameron McGee with the Fond du Lac County Sheriff’s Dept.
McGee says having that plan in place helps allocate resources to the search effort quickly and effectively.
“These things have a tendency to explode very quickly and if we have a plan in place up front, it’s easier to manage, easier to do that because these things they get very big, very fast.”
It’s the kind of training Fox Valley Technical College’s Criminal Justice Training Center provides. Center director Brad Russ trains law enforcement officers on search techniques in missing persons cases.
“Time is of the essence. When we do our training, we talk about the need to mobilize everyone immediately,” said Russ.
McGee say technology helps spread the word of possible abductions quicker than ever before.
“We have Amber Alerts now, we have the resources of the National Center for the Missing and Exploited, other agencies out there today that we didn’t have back then, 10, 20 years ago.”
And Lt. McGee has a warning for those who would even think about harming children…don’t do it in Fond du Lac County.
“If that means calling in state resources or federal resources or whatever it takes, at least around here these cases are dealt with in the absolute highest priority. We have to tolerate a lot of things around here, but when it comes to messing with our children, we don’t have any tolerance for that whatsoever.”
Each February, Fox Valley Tech hosts a national missing persons conference.
The FBI’s most recent report indicates 87,000 active missing persons cases; more than one third of them are children.
May 9, 2013
From nbc26.com: “Upcycling project at Fox Valley Tech” – Interior design students at Fox Valley Technical College are re-using what’s already been recycled.
Some of this semester’s final designs included “upcycled” art as part of a textile drive for Goodwill Industries. The students use of the art is also aimed at improving understanding of where those textiles come from.
FVTC Interior Design Instructor Kris Figy says, “We learned that there’s a lot of textile waste and we want to bring that to the attention of people, so we wanted a public awareness campaign. So we’ve created a display in our hallway talking about some of the facts.”
The group decided to partner with Goodwill because they have a large amount of resources available to help recycle clothing and textiles.
From sheboyganpress.com: “Lakeshore Technical College celebrates 100-year mark” – CLEVELAND — Lakeshore Technical College celebrated its 100th anniversary Wednesday afternoon with an hour-long program that included a student’s tearful testimonial, a Lakeside Foods representative toasting the college with a can of the company’s peas, and two retired LTC presidents helping to unveil a plaque that will be used on an outdoor centennial monument.
“I never thought I would say it, but I love being in college,” said Alyssa Young, a student in the Administrative Professional program. “I love going to class and that I don’t really mind doing my homework. And it’s all thanks to amazing staff and faculty here at LTC. My teachers are very understanding, and if I have to miss class because my son is sick … they understand because they’ve been there, too. … This place is like a second home to me and it’s going to be … a sad day when I graduate, but I will always be proud to say that I’m a Lakeshore Technical College graduate for the rest of my life.”
Young decided to enroll after seeing her mom and sister graduate from LTC last year. She said she hadn’t been making enough money to support her 5-year-old son and herself, and when she saw her family members graduate she decided she wanted to earn a degree.
“I want to be able to support my son and give him a better future,” she said.
“Please know that you are the reason that we do what we do,” LTC President Mike Lanser told Young after her emotional remarks.
Dean Halverson, CEO of Leede Research, which has offices in Manitowoc and Minneapolis, attributed the direction his life has taken to his time at LTC. After earning an associate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc in 1980, Halverson decided he wanted to pursue a career in marketing, and someone suggested what then was called Lakeshore Technical Institute.
“A lot of people say something changed their life, but I can honestly say it did change my life,” he said.
As a student, he worked on market research surveys for WCUB radio two years in a row and decided he enjoyed it. The day after graduating in June 1982, he typed 96 letters to Wisconsin radio stations announcing the formation of Leede Research. The company will celebrate its 36th anniversary in June and has a staff of just under 85.
He attributes his ability to make a living through his own company “to what happened here, and really what happened here that was so unique was bringing together students, instructors and thebusiness community and doing it in a way that was very hands-on.”
Richard Opie, an instructor in the paralegal program, speaking on behalf of the faculty, said technical colleges are “uniquely adaptable to the changing needs of the community. We come up with new programs … within six months of their request. … If there’s a need in the community we come up with it.”
Technical colleges also are open to students of all ability levels and allow students to meet their goals within a year or two, Opie said.
Tom Reilly, senior vice president-human resources for Manitowoc-based Lakeside Foods, which has been in operation for 125 years, provided employer remarks.
“What Lakeside and LTC know is the secret for longevity and success, and that is satisfying your customers, especially with their changing expectations and demands,” Reilly said.
Lakeshore Technical College achieves success through “phenomenal facilities” and “a terrific staff,” he said just before toasting the college with a can of Lakeside peas.
Retired LTC presidents Dennis Ladwig, who served in that capacity from 1988-2003 when Lanser took over, and Fred Nierode, who was president from 1967-88, assisted with the dedication of a plaque that will be used for a centennial monument. The monument will be part of a garden that will be designed and developed by the school’s horticulture students on the west side of the Lakeshore Building “that we hope to have in place by the fall,” Lanser said. A time capsule will be placed under the monument.
LTC used the occasion to present its first TopTech Awards, which will become annual and are designed to recognize K-12 educators. This year’s recipients from Manitowoc County are Ron Schneider and Dave Teske from the Kiel Area School District, and from Sheboygan County the recipient is Ed Hughes from Sheboygan Falls.
The celebration also included the national anthem sung by LTC student Ruby Garcia; presentation of the governor’s proclamation of May 8, 2013, as Lakeshore Technical College Day in the state of Wisconsin by Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development; remarks by LTC District Board Chairman John Lukas and Wisconsin Technical College System Board President Mark Tyler; and comments from LTC alumna Shirl Breunig and support staff representative Kelly Carpenter.
From starjournalnow.com: “Nicolet upgrades workforce training to boost economic development” – The economic recession of 2008 and 2009 caused a seismic shift in the American landscape. Perseverance, adaptation and resilience were all key to make it through the economic downturn.
“It was a time of dramatic change that happened relatively quickly,” said Nicolet College President Elizabeth Burmaster. “With everything that was happening in the economy, we knew at Nicolet that we were going to have to change how we approached workforce skills training as well.”
The recession deepened and enrollment at Nicolet surged to record levels as the unemployed sought job training for new careers. Employers realized existing employees needed higher skill sets for companies to be efficient and profitable.
“More was being expected of employees and we had to adapt to that in the type of workforce training we provided,” said Sandy Bishop, director of Workforce Development at Nicolet. “Technical skills have always been important and always will be. But along with solid technical skills, we were seeing more demand for employees with what some call soft skills. Knowing how to effectively work as a team, solving problems independently and quickly, communicating effectively, resolving conflict and adapting to change are all skills that many businesses require in their employees.”
Nicolet adapted by placing greater emphasis on these skills in classroom curricula, not only in credit classes, but also the whole complement of short-term, non-credit workforce development workshops that Bishop oversees.
“Employers have raised the bar on what they expect from their workforce,” Bishop explained. “In many ways, it’s like instilling the mindset that every employee is personally responsible for the success of the business. Everyone has to work together responsibly and effectively to be successful.”
Bishop stressed that teaching the latest technical skills is still at the core of what is taught in classes and workshops, and adding this extra level of soft skills was largely driven by what the college was hearing from area employers.
“Nicolet puts a strong emphasis on working in close partnership with area employers and this change is a great example of the effectiveness of these relationships and how the college can adapt to changing needs,” she said.
The numbers show that employers like the training Nicolet offers. Last year, 105 Northwoods employers contracted with the college to provide workforce development training, sending nearly 3,000 registrants to dozens of different workshops, classes and certification seminars.
Entrepreneurship and business development
Another recession-driven growth area for Nicolet has been in the areas of helping entrepreneurs launch businesses, and assisting existing new and small businesses in growing their operations.
“These two areas are key to lifting the Northwoods out of recession and growing the local economy,” said Michelle Madl-Soehren, Nicolet Business Development coordinator. “Many of the new jobs that are being created are coming from small business.”
To help fuel this growth, Madl-Soehren and others at Nicolet have developed a series of laddered workshops that offer increasing levels of instruction and advice for entrepreneurs looking to start a business and those looking to grow an existing business.
In the past year, Madl-Soehren has held 15 Explore Starting a Business workshops throughout the Northwoods to introduce students to the idea of business ownership.
“Starting and building a successful business is a step-by-step process and all the pieces have to be in place in order for any business to do well,” she explained. “In these workshops, we identify the critical components and then work with individuals to help them bring all the pieces together.”
The workshops–which are offered for free–have been held throughout the Northwoods in many different communities including Tomahawk, Minocqua, Eagle River, Crandon, Lac du Flambeau and Rhinelander. More than 50 people have attended these workshops.
As a follow-up for those wanting more detailed business development information, Nicolet recently launched the new 10-session E-Seed Innovative Entrepreneurship Training Program.
“Instruction covers practical, real-world management and planning tools that include all of the basics of starting a business,” Madl-Soehren said.
Specific topics include determining if business ownership is right for each individual, feasibility testing, business concept development, creating a business plan, bookkeeping and accounting systems, and legal issues facing business owners. Expert guest speakers also share their insights on running a successful business. Today, 10 students are enrolled in the E-Seed series currently offered by Nicolet at the Vilas County Business Incubator in Eagle River.
For more information about workforce and business development training opportunities at Nicolet, contact the college at (715) 365-4493, (800) 544-3039, ext. 4493; TDD (715) 365-4448. More information is also available online at nicoletcollege.edu. Once there, click on the Continuing Education link in the upper right corner of the page.
May 6, 2013
From wxow.com: “A walk in the shoes of a dementia patient” — More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. The number could rise to as many as 16 million by 2050.
Alzheimer’s is the largest category of dementia. Dementia is not a disease, but a term used to describe symptoms caused by disorders affecting the brain. Seven of 10 Alzheimer’s patients live at home, but many caregivers aren’t equipped to deal with the symptoms.
In the Coulee Region, The Alzheimer’s Association provides assistance to families.
“I think it’s definitely a difficult disease for caregivers to understand because it effects every person differently,” said Brett Williams of The Alzheimer’s Association. “So someone can learn about Alzheimer’s Disease, but until you really learn how each person is going through it, there’s no way to really understand it.”
At Western Technical College, students entering healthcare fields have a tool allowing them to walk in the shoes of a dementia patient. The virtual dementia tour is part of an Alzheimer’s training course. Participants are asked to perform simple tasks but with limitations that simulate those of a person suffering from dementia.
“It helps the worker communicate effectively and communicate appropriately,” said Linda Schneider, an adjunct instructor at Western.
The course limits all your senses, from sight to motor skills to hearing, so even listening to the instructions is difficult. There are even inserts in the participants shoes to create a pins and needles sensation dementia patients experience.
“Dementia is not normal aging at all,” Schneider said. “Dementia is a problem happening in the brain. It’s a disease within the brain.”
And it’s a common disease, according to the National Institute on Aging, half of those over 85 suffer from some type of dementia.
“One thing I learned on the dementia virtual tour was how confused I was,” said Jacquelyn Ross, a Western student who went through the simulation. “I just couldn’t’ believe how much was really going on and then still expected to act like a normal person.”
Experiencing just how frustrating it can be to just fold a sheet, helps caregivers understand the struggles their patient faces.
“A lot of people need to know,” Ross said. “Not enough people know.”
Despite being told exactly what to do and having an instruction sheet, when News 19′s Kristen Barbaresi only managed to do one of the five tasks correctly. She set the table for two instead of four, filled both glasses instead of just one and wrote a letter about her family, instead of a letter to her family.
“Help with the expectation that they have of working with a person that’s got these kinds of cognitive impairments as well as impairments of aging with hearing and feeling,” Schneider said.
27 percent of Alzheimer’s patients suffer from minor depression and 22 percent have major depression and the course helps participants understand why.
“I’ve put myself in their shoes,” Ross said. “You know that there’s no cutting corners. It’s just what it is.”
The Alzheimer’s course is funded by the Bridges to Healthcare grant Western received in 2011. The course is the result of feedback from employers who said personal care workers need more training in dementia, especially with the aging population.
The course isn’t only helpful for students. The idea is expanding to the community and professions dealing with the elderly.
“We’re looking at doing some additional training in the next year,” said Sandra Schultz, Bridges to Healthcare Grant coordinator. “We’re doing a foundation course with the Alzheimer’s association. And we’re also looking at doing specific training with various groups such as the law enforcement and we’re looking at the EMT group.”
May 6, 2013
From newrichmondnews.com: “WITC president honored by group” – Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College President Bob Meyer was recently selected to receive a Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education’s 2013 President’s Award. This award is presented each year to outstanding professionals in career and technical education.
“I’m humbled and appreciative to have received this recognition because of the high regard I have for the Wisconsin Association of Career and Technical Education,” Meyer said.
The Wisconsin Association of Career and Technical Education combines the efforts of more than 800 professionals from all levels of education in Wisconsin, as well as business and industry partners, to promote Career and Technical Education. WACTE’s focus is on professional development of its members and development of CTE leadership statewide.
“As we consider the vital role CTE plays in our economy preparing ‘job ready’ individuals, I am grateful for WACTE’s role in advocating for the importance of CTE across Wisconsin,” Meyer said.
“Bob set aside funding for WITC employees to attend CTE events at a time of unprecedented budget cuts,” said Leslie Bleskachek, WACTE’s president, who also serves as WITC academic dean, Business Division. “He also attended and participated in many of the organized events during the year. The fact that he set aside time in his very busy calendar demonstrates his commitment to CTE, its stakeholders and students. In addition, he clearly places a priority on these supportive events, which serves a model for our other members, who might claim it is difficult to find time in their schedules for CTE support. If a president can find the time and resources, others can as well.”
Meyer received his award April 11 during the annual Professional Development Conference in Middleton, Wis.
Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College serves the educational and career needs of more than 25,000 residents.