From mtlcraft.com: “Moraine Park Technical College is again offering CNC & Welding Boot Camps” – Moraine Park Technical College is combating the skilled worker shortage by launching manufacturing skills academies in a series of 15-week boot camps.

The next information/testing sessions are scheduled in August 2014 for Fall CNC Boot Camp at the Fond du Lac Campus and Welding Boot Camp at the Jackson Campus. Registration is required. Each session will include: Information, Tours, TABE Testing, and Mechanical Aptitude Testing.

From biztimes.com: “Fill the skills gap” – by Cary Silverstein – A question constantly asked by business people and the unemployed is: “What are we doing to close the skillset gap in Wisconsin?”

The answer lies in businesses and the community getting together to solve this “gap.” According to Competitive Wisconsin Inc.’s Be Bold 2 study by ManpowerGroup, the unmet demand for metal workers, including welders, is expected to reach 7,101 by 2016. Should these positions remain unfilled, it is estimated that state and local government lost revenues could amount to $265,410,915 over a 10-year job lifecycle.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin, a non-profit 501(c)(3) established more than 40 years ago, has developed a new generation training solution that addresses the growing skilled worker shortage in the greater Milwaukee, Wausau, Fox Valley and Green Bay regions. It is called the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

The HCCW has developed this partnership with Miller Electric Mfg. Co., Monarch Corp., Joy Global, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, technical colleges, government agencies and private foundations with the intent of solving the critical shortage of skilled welders in Wisconsin. Together, they have created a unique employer-approved education and training program, which addresses this shortage in a manner that benefits the underserved low to moderate income (LMI) workers who are often unemployed/underemployed and who are often constituents of the HCCW. This program is not exclusive to any ethnicity, and is open to any state resident.

This HCCW Training Initiative is an anti-poverty solution that connects unemployed and under employed workers with accredited welding skills development and training at no cost to trainees. This program offers a pathway to a higher paying career in welding at an accelerated pace. The median starting pay for skilled welding positions is $35,450 a year. This is a paid training program that takes up to 16 weeks to complete. The participants are immediately job eligible upon completion of the program. This is followed by ongoing on-the-job training to enhance their newly acquired skills.

This initiative differentiates itself by including essential life skills training for participants, including time management and punctuality, critical thinking and problem solving, financial education and communication skills. This program is designed to supply workforce-ready candidates who are able to step into entry-level welding positions. Participants will complete essential life skills training in a mentorship-based support group setting before advancing to the employer-approved welder training course provided by the tech colleges.

What makes this program different?

Solving the skilled welder shortage isn’t just providing technical training. A true solution involves addressing those issues (substance abuse and a lack of essential life skills) which ultimately disqualify someone from employment. This unique program has three primary components: a support system program with trainee mentorship, essential life skills training and technical skills training via technical college partners.

The HCCW provides employer-approved essential life skills training to each candidate including:

  • Time management and punctuality
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • First impressions/building relationships
  • Computer literacy
  • Maintaining a household budget
  • Communication skills (may include English language instruction)

Technical training is provided by area technical colleges via an employer-approved training curriculum. The 14 to 16 week curriculum includes basic welding, blueprint reading and weld symbols, math, and manufacturing techniques.

Projected results of the initiative

This initiative produces an individual that is responsible, punctual, accountable and reliable, with a strong work ethic and a drive to succeed. These candidates are ready to enter the job market with all the skills necessary for entry level welding positions. The technical college credentials earned in this program are transferable and can be used to attain further, more complex welding credentials. This initiative simplifies and eases the rigors of the traditional hiring process, which permits the employers to review a candidate’s metrics and a trainee’s video profile. Also, they can hire an employee with a proven track record, worthy of further training investment.

The HCCW Training Initiative is a real solution to the shortage of skilled welders. By providing essential life skills and technical training, candidates are able to obtain well-paying jobs. This initiative facilitates upward economic mobility for the LMI constituents served by the program. Once employed in an entry level position, these new employees have the opportunity for further employer training and tuition reimbursement programs. The result is they strengthen themselves and their employers through the adoption of life-long earning skills. The dual nature of this program will help the unemployed/underemployed while providing sorely needed skilled workers, keeping Wisconsin’s manufacturers strong. This training initiative recently received national recognition and substantial funding by the American Welding Society after their review of the program. The HCCW Training Initiative is now considered to be the top AWS skills development program in the nation.

The next step

If this pilot project proves successful, we as business communities should duplicate it across the board in our state. Closing the skillset gap in this and other vocational areas will strengthen our economy and bring new jobs to our communities, while reducing unemployment in areas where few opportunities exist. The resources, both educational and technical, exist in our community. We need to leverage these resources and provide the unemployed with new skills so they can rejoin the workforce and provide a better standard of living for themselves and their families.

The HCCW says its partners report that in the Racine-Kenosha manufacturing sector there are more than 1,000 skilled worker vacancies. Filling the local manufacturing sector’s jobs would contribute to the state and local economy year after year.

Companies interested in joining this program should contact the Hispanic Chamber at skillstraining@HCCW.org.

 

From nwtc.edu: “Seven NWTC students win gold at SkillsUSA State Conference” — Seven Northeast Wisconsin Technical College trades students will compete against
the nation’s best after taking gold in the SkillsUSA Wisconsin State Leadership & Skills Conference April 29-30 at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

NWTC students Trevor Lustilla, Brandon Janssen, Chris Lacenski, Jacob Schultz and a team of Brent Champan, Jeff Lidbury, and Nathan Mertens each captured first place in their categories and will move on the national SkillsUSA Conference in Kansas City June 23-27. Lustilla took gold in Automotive Refinishing Technology, Janssen in CNC Milling, Lacenski in Welding, Schultz in Welding Sculpture, and Champan, Lidbury and Mertens won for Welding Fabrication. Instructor Doug Tennant was also named State Advisor of the Year.

In the SkillsUSA competition, students work against the clock and each other, proving their expertise in areas like electronics, computer-aided drafting, precision machining, medical assisting, culinary arts and more.

Other NWTC students placing in the state competition include the team of Matt Baenen, Dylan Pulley, Cory Wotachek, who took silver in Automated Manufacturing Technology, Sam Buhk, Fred Culvahouse, and Amy Koenig, who captured bronze in the same category, Alan Stefanic, who won bronze in Automotive Refinishing Technology, Eric Burch with a silver in Diesel Equipment Technology, Cole Dollar who won silver in Welding, and James Maryniak, who won silver in Welding Sculpture.

From wausaudailyherald.com: “Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin seeks Wausau-area participants for training” – By Jorge Franco — The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin Advanced Manufacturing Partnership is emerging this spring with a new-generation training solution to address the growing skilled worker shortage in the Wausau region.

The HCCW Partnership is a collaboration including the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturing Alliance, chaired by John Peterson of Schuette Metals and co-chaired by Kathy Drengal of Greenheck Fan Corp. The alliance also includes Northcentral Technical College, the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board and the outstanding leadership of Miller Electric Manufacturing Company. The HCCW training initiative is made possible under Gov. Scott Walker’s Fast Forward skills development program and the ITW Foundation. We’ve received national recognition and substantial funding from the American Welding Society.

This initiative is an employer-driven and mentor-based anti-poverty solution that connects Wausau’s unemployed and under-employed workers with accredited welding skills development and training at no cost to trainees. It is designed to fill existing higher paying job vacancies to the benefit of everyone including the state and local economies.

According to Competitive Wisconsin Inc.’s “Be Bold 2” study by ManpowerGroup, the unmet demand for metal workers, including welders, is expected to reach 7,101 by 2016. To the extent these positions are to remain unfilled, the HCCW estimates that state and local government lost revenues could amount to more than $265 million in lost income, sales and property tax revenues over a 10-year job lifecycle.

This program offers a pathway to a higher-paying career in welding at an accelerated pace. The median starting pay for skilled welding positions is $35,450 a year. The program is a paid training that takes 14 to 16 weeks to complete. Participants are immediately job-eligible upon completion with lifelong learning and earning skills. This program is followed by ongoing HCCW support programming and on-the-job training to continue workplace advancement.

In the Wausau region alone, more than 200 welder graduates of this program are in high demand based on a recent five-day sign-up period offered to manufacturers by the HCCW.

The initiative distinguishes itself from traditional skills training by including essential life skills training for participants, including time management and punctuality, critical thinking and problem solving, financial access to lifeline financial services along with financial education and communication skills development among other topics. It is designed to supply workforce-ready candidates who are able to step into entry-level welding positions. Participants will complete essential life skills training in a support group setting before they advance to the employer-approved customized welder training course provided by Northcentral Technical College.

This initiative facilitates upward economic mobility for trainees and at the same time provides skilled workers in order to help keep manufacturers strong in the Wausau region. People of any ethnicity can participate; the program is open to any resident in the Wausau region. The HCCW is now recruiting training initiative participants and is excited to be a part of the Wausau community.

If you’re interested in participating as a training candidate or a manufacturer, call 1-844-890-5096 or email skillstraining@hccw.org for more information.

From thenorthwestern.com: “Life after Oshkosh Corp” — Evaristo Mondragon Jr. got used to the lines.

He had lined up for interviews and skill tests at job fairs across the Fox Valley, welding gear usually in tow, since February. An assembler at Oshkosh Corp. for four years, until he was laid off last July, Mondragon’s unemployment benefits had run out and graduation from Fox Valley Technical College’s welding program in May approached fast.

The cold-calls to companies throughout the valley, like the job fairs, produced only glimmers of hope. Mondragon, 30, was told he wasn’t quite qualified yet, even for the part-time jobs, so often he can still recite the standard response from memory.

“‘We like everything about you, but we really need someone with three to five years of welding experience,’” he said.

So earlier this month, when officials at Ariens Co. directed him to another line, after the lines for his interview and another for the skills test, he wasn’t sure what this line was for.

“Eventually one guy walking by told us ‘They’re offering you a job,’” Mondragon said. “A couple of days later, I got offered a job on second shift. They either liked something in my skills test or they liked everything.”

This summer more than 700 Oshkosh Corp. employees will face those same lines as they look for new work in the wake of another layoff driven by declining orders for the company’s military transport trucks.

But examples like those of Mondragon and others who were let go in previous layoffs offer hope, for both the former employees and for the broader economy, that there is life after Oshkosh Corp. for the company’s former employees.

Life after layoffs

Mass layoffs are never easy affairs.

They can depress a regional economy, push longtime employees into a crowded job market, strain families and require government assistance to support and retrain people in the name of recovery.

And then there’s Oshkosh Corp.’s 2013 layoffs.

As defense revenues declined by more than 30 percent, the size of the company’s workforce had to shrink. After 8,700 Mine-Resistant All-Terrain Vehicles and 26,000 Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles trucks and trailers rolled off the line, layoffs had to come once the orders were filled.

But an odd thing happened: The region’s economy absorbed a significant portion of the 1,150 production and office employees Oshkosh Corp. laid off last year.

After the layoffs in April and July of 2013, local unemployment rates in Winnebago, Outagamie and Fond du Lac counties continued to decline for the rest of the year. At a job fair Oshkosh Corp. held last year to help more than 500 laid off workers find new jobs, it boasted that participating companies had more jobs to fill than there were employees being laid off.

And that hasn’t changed. Even today, 19 companies have 121 welding and metal fabrication jobs available in the region according to Wisconsin TechConnect, a job service offered through Wisconsin’s technical colleges.

“It shows the brilliance of the economy up there,” said Reed Hall , CEO of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. They’ve been through these issues before,” Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. CEO Reed Hall said. “The good news is there are not a lot of mass layoffs going on. Mass layoffs at a 10-year low which is a good sign for our economy.”

Support systems

When Oshkosh Corp. completes the layoff this summer of another 700 production and 60 office employees itwill have laid off more people than the combined workforces of both hospitals in Oshkosh.

Affected employees aren’t the only ones taking notice, though, as local, state and federal agencies continue to look for ways to help soften the blow.

Just last week, the WEDC unveiled a special loan program to help manufacturers, fabrication shops, machine shops, parts suppliers and other parts of the supply chain months ahead of time specifically to help Oshkosh Corp. suppliers.

Hall, WEDC’s CEO, said the agency would provide a loan or loan guarantee of $50,000 to $250,000, provided the company matches 50 percent of the loan amount, to help businesses fund equipment purchases, add staff and take other steps to pursue other business opportunities.

“We certainly understand the impact the Defense Department cuts have and how that ripples through our economy,” Hall said. “We’re doing what we can to retain these jobs here in Wisconsin. And Oshkosh Corp. will make it through. We have a lot of confidence in Oshkosh Corp., that they will … grow again.”

The WEDC program is just the most recent of a series of federal, state and local efforts to mitigate the impact of the layoffs.

The Department of Defense took notice last fall and awarded the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission an $837,000 grant to find ways to soften the blow of defense cutbacks on the company’s supply chain. The grant includes funds to explore diversifying the economy and specifically allocated funds for a marketing and cluster study for the aviation business park under development at the southeast corner of Wittman Regional Airport.

Chamco CEO Elizabeth Hartman said the study will identify a focus, or market, for the aviation business park that would identify 20 to 30 companies economic development officials could target to fill the park.

“When they reach out to contacts, they really try to identify potential folks that would want to be a part of a cluster centered around a business issue or cluster,” Hartman told the Council in March. “You already have built-in prospects as a result. There’s also a marketing aspect to it, but there might be some additional work we want to do locally.”

Moving forward

Some former Oshkosh Corp. employees, like Mondragon, went back to school for new training. He said the state offered him $1,000-per-semester to help with tuition and that FVTC staff “was a pleasure to work with” and helped make sure he started school in the fall.

Fox Valley Technical College Welding Instructor Ben Cebery said the college’s Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center welcomes 64 new students to its one-year welding certificate training program each school year. In addition, students are able to take individual courses to upgrade their skills.

“All of our classes have filled up to the max for a long time now,” Cebery said. “There’s definitely a mix between laid off workers and young people here for their first series of training. The night classes are definitely a big mix.”

Others found new jobs, like machinist Pat Wallace, who said he was offered three jobs within a month after he was laid off last summer.

“It was a good time to be laid off,” Wallace said.

Wallace opted to take a job as an inspector at Eagle Supply and Plastics over ones at F. Ziegler Enterprises and Mercury Marine because it paid better and he could work first shift. An added bonus: He’d be working with his friend and former Oshkosh Corp. coworker John Schmitz.

Wallace, 55, was prepared for the worst, though, because he had already been there five years ago. He had worked at Marvel Manufacturing for 22 years when the recession struck. Sales plummeted and so did the hours.

In 2009, Wallace landed at Oshkosh Corp. at a time when production was ramping up so fast then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates visited the company on Nov. 12, 2009. Gates called what he saw the most impressive military vehicle production run since World War II.

Workers hired at that time largely knew going in that they were being hired for the duration of the order, and that peacetime would bring reduced orders and a scaled back work force.

Wallace said his job search experiences, in good times and bad, have taught him that staffing companies can be useful, but workers should avoid signing contracts with them; that age isn’t the issue older workers may think it is, and that building up savings is key.

“It worked out that my training and experience were right for Eagle,” Wallace said. “The only thing I was worried about was health insurance. I’m older. But I had money in savings to hold me over.”

From htrnews.com: “Mini-choppers take shape at area schools” – By Phillip Bock – Motorcycles are taking shape in metal shop classrooms across Manitowoc County as students work toward a Friday deadline to complete their bikes in time for a late-April motorcycle show.

This year five schools are participating in the mini-chopper program, which provides students with real life experience and promotes careers in manufacturing as they build mini choppers as part of their academic curriculum. The project is a collaborative effort by the Economic Development Corporation of Manitowoc County, The Chamber of Manitowoc County, local high schools, Lakeshore Technical College, and sponsorship by area business.

“Some of the benefits of the mini-chopper program is that students get to work with area manufacturing and area businesses to not only design, but fabricate, construct, and stay within budget, a complete mini-chopper,” Ryan Zimmerman, a technical education instructor at Lincoln High School said.

Students at Lincoln are creating two mini-choppers this year, small-sized motorcycles that incorporate sponsorship logos into their designs. The students are creating one bike for Lincoln, which incorporates theschool’s colors and the iconic tower into the design, and a second bike for the Manitowoc Public School District.

“We figure out how we want it to look, paint colors and things like that,” Lincoln student Logan Newberg said. “This year we bent and cut the whole frame.”

Students start from scratch and first sketch out a design on paper or in a computer assisted design (CAD) program. At Lincoln, students first built a mock-up of the bike using plastic PVC piping before building the steel frame.

“The entire machine was challenging once they left the plastic design stage,” said Gerald Neuberger, a technical education instructor at Lincoln. “We practiced welding and cutting, but it just isn’t the same as when you have to get a perfect fit.”

McKinley gets in on design

Students at McKinley Academy in Manitowoc built their own bike this year — a first for the school. Without fabrication facilities on-site, students partnered with LTC welding instructor Mitchell Schmidt and used the college’s facilities to fabricate their bike.

“When we first started, the students said they wanted to be completely different and did not want it to look like a typical mini- chopper,” Schmidt said. “One thing they didn’t realize was how much work would go into finish it, but the more you struggle the more you learn.”

The McKinley bike is certainly unique. Students created single-sided axles for the front spoke and rear-swing arm, utilized a bicycle tire and golf cart wheel, and combined elements of dirt bikes, such as a kick-start, to give the bike a truly one-of-a-kind look.

“Originally the gas tank was not as big as we thought it would be, but we decided to leave it and I think it is looking pretty good with how it is turning out,” student Miles Schreiber said.

Students in Two Rivers, Valders and Mishicot are also creating bikes, which are set to be unveiled during an annual Northeastern Wisconsin Charity Motorcycle Show on April 25.

Production is completed under tight deadlines and, in addition to time management, students learn skills such as team work, budgeting, and engineering design.

“I enjoy being able to be a part of something bigger than myself and working with somebody to make a product that works,” Courtney Spangenberg, a senior at Lincoln, said.

Local manufacturing companies help fund the program, provide parts, and assist with other tasks, such as painting and chroming the bikes.

Students will be putting the finishing touches on their bikes over the next week as the unveiling deadline rapidly approaches.

“A lot of after-school hours have been spent getting this thing done,” Zimmerman said. “Getting things done on deadline was definitely a challenge this year.”

From wjjq.com: “Nicolet College offering accelerated welding program” –In response to a high demand, Nicolet College is offering an accelerated program for welding students.

According to the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, they forecast ten percent job growth between 2010 and 2020 for skilled welders.

Students at Nicolet will be able to earn an accelerated welding technical diploma over the summer and fall semesters, 7 months.

Dean of Trade and Industry Brigitte Kumbier says “The accelerated format is a great way for students to quickly get the skills they need to start careers in this high-demand field.”

In addition to regular skills, the students also learn new technology such as robotic welding and computerized cutting.

You can contact Nicolet College for more information on the accelerated welding program. Classes begin June 2.

 

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

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

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

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

Q. How many youth are participating?

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

The breakdown of participants by school district is:

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Financial Services – Accounting, Banking, Insurance

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

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

• Information Technology – IT General, Hardware, Software

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

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

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

Q. What are the programs greatest needs?

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

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

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

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

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

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

From fdlreporter.com: “Green Bay hiring reflects statewide needs” — GREEN BAY — Job openings in Green Bay reflect those statewide, with truck drivers, customer service and sales representatives, and registered nurses in greatest demand.

“The top positions are almost identical,” said Jeffrey Sachse, economist with the state Department of Workforce Development. “The only thing that pops up is more welder openings than CNC openings, because of the nature of the work.”

Welders have been in demand in the region for several years. Green Bay, Marinette and Sturgeon Bay have a lot of fabrication and shipbuilding companies that require welders.

Sachse said that more than anytime during the last three years, hiring is up across the board. All industries are looking for new workers. Much of that is driven by the increasing flood of baby boomer retirements. Many boomers put off retiring during the 2007-09 recession and its aftermath when retirement funds took a hit, but now are making the move.

Construction jobs have grown the most in the region, driven by the U.S. 41, Schreiber Foods and Lambeau Field projects.

“The greatest concentration is on the Highway 41 corridor,” Sachse said.

Construction jobs increased by 7 percent in 2013.

“That’s twice the industry average,” Sachse said. “Those are per-recessionary growth numbers, and it’s more than twice the growth of any industry over that same period.”

The demand for health care workers is growing as baby boomers age and health care systems add facilities and bring older ones up to date.

In addition to nurses, the Green Bay area has openings for nursing assistants, medical and health services managers and personal care aides.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay has waiting lists for its health care programs, though not as long as they once were, and it ramped up its manufacturing programs to add weekend and evening classes.

“Some of our graduates six months out are making $36,000 a year as welders. Electromechanical technology graduates are making $50,000,” said Jennifer Pigeon, manager of career services at NWTC.

From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Information technology, nursing head list of local jobs” — WAUSAU — Information technology is on the A-list of in-demand jobs in Marathon County right now.

Laurie Borowicz, vice president of student services at Northcentral Technical College, says the college is doing its best to keep up with demand for positions in the IT field.

“We could take 50 more students in IT tomorrow if we could find them,” Borowicz said. “That’s probably our issue right now, is finding people, getting people into these high-demand programs.”

The technical college is trying to make it easier for students to take the IT track by offering more courses in the evenings and online, she said.

Jim Warsaw, economic development director for Marathon County Development Corp., said there’s a growing concentration of IT and technology-related businesses in the Wausau area and those employers currently can’t openings.

“NTC doubled their graduating class in IT and it still isn’t enough to keep up with demand,” Warsaw said.

In addition to IT, Warsaw said, other popular positions in the area include welding, skilled trades, manufacturing, health care, sales and nursing.

Most job activity, he said, is with companies that were prepared to come out of the recession when things turned around, most of which are larger employers.

“Small businesses are still trying to cope with the recession’s impact on their cash flows and equity positions,” Warsaw said.

The job of certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is big right now, according to Marathon County Job Center W2 job developer David Cruz.

One reason for that growth is that it’s easier to get started in a certified nursing course than in a registered nursing program, Cruz said.

Overall, the unemployment picture has improved in Marathon County over the past year.

The most recent figures from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development show the December 2013 unemployment rate for Marathon County at 5.7 percent. That’s nearly a full percentage point better than the 6.6 percent registered in December 2012.

From htrnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College offers non-traditional occupation exploration classes” — CLEVELAND — Lakeshore Technical College will be offering the opportunity to explore non-traditional occupation opportunities through free, 16-hour exploration classes. NTO exploration classes are designed to give women the opportunity to experience “hands-on learning” in fields that have traditionally had few females in their ranks and that may offer higher pay and greater satisfaction. Four different exploration classes will be offered in the manufacturing field.

Introduction to Machine Tool Skills will be held from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. April 7, 14, 21 and 28 Participants will learn about career opportunities in the machine tool field, the terms and skills used in machine tool, workplace safety and tools, hands-on introduction to the operation of the following machines: drill press, milling machines, lathes, saws and CNC.

Introduction to Industrial Maintenance Skills will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. April 22 and 29 and May 6 and 13 Participants will learn about workplace safety and tools, the terms and skills used in industrial maintenance, career opportunities in the industrial maintenance field and an introduction to math, precision measurements, blueprint reading, hand and power tools, mechanical fasteners, pumps, PVC pipe and copper tubing, motor wiring and more.

Introduction to Industrial Electrical Studies will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. April 23 and 30 and May 7 and 14 Participants will learn about workplace safety and tools, the terms and skills used in industrial maintenance, career opportunities in the industrial maintenance field and an introduction to math, precision measurements, blueprint reading, hand and power tools, mechanical fasteners, pumps, PVC pipe and copper tubing, motor wiring and more.

Welding for Women will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. May 20 and 27 and May 21 and 28 Participants will learn about the terms and skills used in welding, workplace safety and tools, Gas metal arc welding, and oxyfuel/plasma cutting, fabricate a box or project of choice and career opportunities in the welding field.

Space is limited. Preregistration is required and may be completed at www.gotoltc.edu/nto or call LTC Sheboygan at (920) 208-5884 or LTC Manitowoc at (920) 683-2846 for more information.

From lacrossetribune.com: “Lincoln students get creative with junkyard sculpture in welding contest” — Lincoln High School students are too creative to weld a sculpture of just any old fish out of scrap metal for the Chippewa Valley Technical College Manufacturing Show’s Junkyard Battle welding contest.

“I came up with the idea of the fish body,” said senior Nicki Danielson. “I just thought an angler fish would be awesome.”

But that wasn’t all. They had it in a tank of water, set up a system by which it could be raised from the tank by turning a wheel, had a spout of water coming out of its mouth through use of a pump system and integrated a little game with prizes. The effort was good enough to win second place, with another angler fish sculpture from Fall Creek taking first. The Lincoln team took first place at last year’s show.

Lincoln High School had a strong showing at the manufacturing show, with over 40 students coming in attendance. The students and other participants and visitors to the show experienced just how interesting and fun manufacturing can be. Area high school students were heavily involved in this year’s show. Besides the Junkyard Battle, students created complicated mazes in the machine tooling technics contest, and in electromechanical technology, students built robots to navigate a simple maze as fast as possible.

Visitors were able to don masks and try their hands at welding under the watch and with assistance from a CVTC student or instructor. People saw automated machines that could play guitar, set up bowling pins and make a golf putt – all designed and created by CVTC students. The chair on the flight simulator moved with the banking of the plane on the screen. In the nano engineering technology area, students demonstrated the properties of liquid nitrogen.

Nearly 40 companies from around the Chippewa Valley set up displays to show their company’s role in area manufacturing, and to recruit future employees.

“In the Chippewa Valley, close to 40,000 people make their living in manufacturing,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker in opening the show along with Gov. Scott Walker. “Ninety-one percent of our graduates have jobs within six months, 89 percent are right in the state of Wisconsin, and 70 percent are in northwest Wisconsin.”

A major purpose of the show was to present the modern face of manufacturing.

“If you go in our shops, they’re bright, they’re clean, they’re automated, and it takes a high skill level to operate the equipment,” said associate dean of manufacturing Jeff Sullivan.

To many of the young people attending, there was just a lot of fun stuff to do, like race robots and show off their junkyard fish sculptures.

The Lincoln team’s sculpture incorporated concepts of metal working, making it an educational piece as well. The tank of water, for example, can serve as a common welding shop tool.

“You can put a piece of metal you just welded in the fish’s mouth and lower it down to cool it. It’s called a quench tank,” Danielson said.

“We made a prototype of the sculpture out of cardboard,” said team member Edwin Ramos. “Nicki was the lead welder in putting her dream together.”

Team member Daniel Brown brought a lot of the junk used to make the sculpture.

“I got a lot of used junk trucks sitting around. I had an old fuel pump from a Chevy truck and an old fuel line, and wired it all up,” he said, explaining how he made the pump system for the spout of water.

Ramos explained another part of the process.

“We used an old water boiler, band saw blades, a weight bench, and a chain for the hook,” he said.

Many students in Scot Kelly’s principles of engineering class helped on the sculpture.

While many high school students took part in competitions, many students and members of the public came to learn more about opportunities in manufacturing. Jonathan Hurd, 23, of Fall Creek was eyeing up a new career by visiting the various program areas.

“I’m interested in electromechanical technology, but I’d love to learn it all,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I came, to get a feel for it all.”

Becky Larson of Eau Claire came with her husband and their son, Nick, who is in eighth grade. “I wanted to see what opportunities are out there for a job, and so many of the jobs that are coming up are going to be in manufacturing,” she said.

Larson, a middle school counselor, was also picking up information for her students who are beginning to think about careers.

“Electromechanical technology was fun with all the projects they do, like the ‘Smoke on the Water,’ one that played guitar by itself,” said Nick Larson.

Approximately 2,000 people attended the show, including Walker, who noted in opening remarks to an audience mostly of high school students that the Wisconsin flag displays the tools of manufacturing.

“It’s part of our heritage and our history, and it’s part of our future,” Walker said. “Manufacturing is leading our state’s economic recovery, and we need to encourage the next generation of workers by educating everyone about the great, family-supporting jobs available. These students are the future of our workforce; and by providing quality, highly technical training, we are setting them up for success and securing Wisconsin’s place among the top manufacturers in the country.”

From bizjournals.com: “Waukesha County Technical College, Lincoln Electric partner to create welding lab” – By Denise Lockwood – Waukesha County Technical College and Lincoln Electric, which makes welding equipment, are partnering to create a welding demonstration and training facility at the college.

The lab features a 4,000-square-foot space that holds 55 Lincoln Electric welding stations, which brings the technical college’s total welding space to about 8,000 square feet with 93 welding stations. The Lincoln Electric Southeastern Wisconsin Training Center is owned by Waukesha County Technical College and sponsored by Lincoln Electric, a Cleveland-based company that’s providing welding, cutting, and fume control equipment and technology for the lab.

The partnership offers graduates the opportunity to learn on state-of-the-art equipment. The school currently has 250 students in its welding program.

“Partnering with Lincoln Electric allows WCTC to continue to grow and expand our welding programs and meet the needs of local industry,” said Mike Shiels, dean of the School of Applied Technologies.

Bob Dempsey, district sales manager for Lincoln Electric, said the training center benefits WCTC by providing updated equipment addressing every arc welding process as well as a comprehensive fume control system, and students become better prepared for employment in a number of industries.

The training center is located at the college’s Pewaukee campus, 800 Main St.

From fox6now.com: “Veteran settles into his dream job after switching careers” – Getting a job with nothing but a high school diploma can be difficult. Starting a career without a high school diploma can be nearly impossible. That’s the challenge many of our military members face when they leave the service — but one veteran was able to turn his Army experience into opportunity.

“Ever since I was 10 years old, my grandpa brought me to my uncle’s welding shop, and after seeing that atmosphere, you know, guys welding, grinding metal, flames — it just seemed like a really cool job to do and I was like ‘man, I want to do that,’” Jeremy Jurkiewicz said.

But life’s blueprint for Jurkiewicz put him on a different path out of high school. At the age of 19, he sought to wear the badge of a police officer. He started by joining the Army’s Military Police Corps.

“I enlisted to serve and deploy and just for a job,” Jurkiewicz said.

For the next three years, he experienced the life of a cop, including a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. It was during this time Jurkiewicz says he discovered policing wasn’t for him.

His love of welding was reignited when he left active service, but starting a new career from scratch is no easy task. Like many of his peers who are former military, Jurkiewicz faced a choice — jump into the job search with what experience and education he had — or retrain himself.

“If there`s something that you want to do, pursue it.  Go to school or look online, see what classes they have to offer.  Something sparks your interest, go for it. Pursue it,” Jurkiewicz said.

Jurkiewicz credits his motivation and mettle to his time in the Army. It’s that mettle which helped him to get into “Welding Boot Camp” at Gateway Technical College in Racine. He eventually graduated, and landed a job at Metalworld Incorporated.

“When they talk about a skills gap, it’s not so much the hard skills as far as finding guys that know how to weld, like to work with their hands. It’s really guys that are willing to do that five days a week on a week-to-week basis,” Metalworld Inc. President Gary Meier said.

“Anyone can get a job, but not everyone can get a career and a career that you want to do and you love doing every day.  I don’t get up every day and be like ‘oh I gotta go to work.’ I’m excited to go to work, work, learn and progress in my skills and just become the best welder and fabricator I can become,” Jurkiewicz said.

Jurkiewicz is still serving as an Army Reservist. His welding career has progressed since he last spoke with FOX6 News. He no longer works at Metalworld in Racine — after taking a job with Compo Steel Products in Milwaukee.

From beloitdailynews.com: “BTC’s manufacturing facility takes shape quickly in Milton” – By Shaun Zinck – MILTON — The new Blackhawk Technical College advanced manufacturing facility in Milton is on schedule and on budget, said college President Tom Eckert.

A year ago in February the college announced it had leased a building at 15 N. Plumb St. in Milton to house several of its advanced manufacturing programs.

Work began on half of the building in the fall with plans to move three programs by the 2014-15 academic year. Eckert said about 50,000 square feet of the 105,000-square-foot building is currently being remodeled.

“We are putting in general classroom in the front of the building for general education course. Also that is where the office complex will be located for staff,” he said. “Each of the labs will also have their own specialized classrooms.”

Once work is complete this summer, equipment will be transferred over to the building just in time for students in the welding, industrial maintenance and precision machining (CNC) to occupy that half of the building this fall. Work on the second half will continue during the academic year, Eckert said.

The other programs — heating, ventilation, air conditioning/refrigeration technician, mechanical design technology, industrial engineering technician and computer systems technology — will start holding classes in the 2015-16 academic year.

Gary Kohn, marketing and communications manager for the college, said the new space will bring all the programs closer together to allow for more collaborative projects between the students.

“So you might have a CNC student working with a welding student working with an industrial maintenance student,” he said.

Kohn said a lab station will be built as a connection between another building during the second phase of construction and renovation.

The entire renovation cost will be about $12 million, Eckert said. He said nothing unexpected has come up during the first phase of renovations.

“They did a really great job predicting exactly what it would take to do the job,” he said.

The welding program at BTC has been in high demand as of late. The college had to add a third welding section in order to increase the number of students it could admit into the program. The college currently has about 105 welding students in three different sections. The new facility will double the capacity for the programs, however, that doesn’t mean double the students just yet, Eckert said.

“We don’t know how many students (the building will hold),” he said. “We are still in decision-mode on what shifts we will have for each program.”

The college entered into a 10-year lease at the location, and can exercise two five-year renewals. Last year, the college said it would pay about $1.47 per square foot for the lease space or about $155,125 for the first year. The second year the rate increases to about $2.88 per square foot or about $302,688 per year.

Prior to choosing the Milton location the college looked into locating the facility at the Ironworks campus in Beloit. Funding the project proved too costly, Eckert said at the time.

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Walker checks out manufacturing program at Green Bay West” — A future Green Bay West High School program expected to give students a hands-on look at a career in manufacturing is one of the ways public and private partnerships are helping support the state’s manufacturing sector, Gov. Scott Walker said Monday.

Walker said the Bay Link Manufacturing program, and its partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and the Northeastern Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance, offers a unique, real-world, teaching opportunity to help fill future job positions.

“We’re making it relevant and we’re making a real-world connection to the valuable careers in manufacturing. Our hope is that more young people see this and want to pursue those careers,” Walker said Monday. This “will not only help us fill the jobs that are open today, but … help employers and manufacturers here, and across the state, open the door to creating more jobs in the future.”

Bay Link Manufacturing is being set up at West High School to give students real-world manufacturing experience. That includes hard skills such as welding and fabricating parts for area businesses to “soft” skills like interviewing for a job, sales, and communication with co-workers, said Andy Belongia, the Bay Link Manufacturing instructor.

The program is expected to launch this fall. Twelve to 15 students will apply for class as they would for a job and will have job reviews, Belongia said.

Profits will go back to the program and potentially to scholarships for students.

This is the second stop for Walker in the Green Bay area in a matter of days. Both stops have focused on a manufacturing in the region and state and the need to build on the existing workforce. Last week the governor was at MetalStorm, a De Pere metal fabricator.

“I repeatedly hear from manufacturers not only the need to fill existing potions, but if they could fill those on a consistent basis they’d take on more work … and that would help us put more people to work,” Walker said.

The state Senate is scheduled to vote today on Walker’s proposed property and income tax cut plan.

The tax cut bill and one that makes $35 million available for a variety of worker training initiatives are the only proposals before the Senate today.

Walker’s proposal would reduce property taxes for the owner of a median-valued home by $131 on the bill mailed in December. The income tax cut would reduce the lowest bracket from 4.4 percent to 4 percent, saving the typical taxpayer $46.

Democratic critics have argued that the tax cuts need to be more narrowly focused to benefit the middle class, increase spending on worker training programs, reduce debt and address projected shortfalls in Medicaid and transportation funding.

From wiscnews.com: “Welders wanted: Employers with jobs struggle to fill them” – By Peter Rebhahn – It’s a familiar story: An economy still shell-shocked from the Great Recession of 2008-09 has left businesses downsizing and workers scrambling for a dwindling supply of low-paying jobs without benefits.

But what if the story isn’t as true as we think?

“We lose a lot of business because we do not have enough people to staff our shop,” said Larry Willer, operations manager for W.M. Sprinkman Corp. in Elroy.

Sprinkman needs more welders. In fact, Willer said, the welder shortage is one of the biggest problems the company faces.

Willer said the welder shortage has persisted for years in spite of starting hourly pay “in the teens,” plenty of overtime opportunity and a full benefit package that includes vacation time and health insurance.

“We’re looking to expand our night shift and we would probably hire in the neighborhood of anywhere from 10 to 15 welders if we could find qualified people,” Willer said.

That would be a big staff increase at Sprinkman, a manufacturer of stainless steel tanks for the dairy, food and beverage industry. It now employs 56 people – about two-thirds of them welders.

The company, which Willer said has benefitted from the microbrewing boom within the beer industry, serves customers nationwide from its 14,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in downtown Elroy.

Sprinkman’s customers include Fortune 500 giants such as Coca Cola and the Campbell Soup Company, as well as many smaller companies such as Capital Brewery in Madison.

The welder shortage is not Sprinkman’s problem alone.

At Walker Stainless Equipment in New Lisbon, Human Resources Manager Nancy Jacques said the “Welders Wanted” sign has occupied a prominent spot on the lawn at the front of the company headquarters for years. They’re looking to fill 20 vacant welder positions right now.

“It’s hard to find associates who are interested in the trade or who have any skill in welding,” Jacques said.

Walker, which also makes stainless steel equipment for customers nationwide, is Juneau County’s biggest manufacturing employer, with more than 500 workers in New Lisbon and at another facility in Elroy. About 225 of the company’s employees in Juneau County are welders, Jacques said. Like Sprinkman, business at Walker is good. Jacques said it’s frustrating to leave jobs unfilled.

“Walker’s market continues to expand,” Jacques said. “Therefore, the need for experienced welders increases also.”

Last week, the Juneau County Board of Supervisors took official notice of the problem when it passed a resolution that asked Western Technical College to “provide the necessary leadership, teachers, technical assistance, and monetary support for the establishment of the type of welding courses needed by Juneau County manufacturers at the New Lisbon High School.”

In fact, talks between officials from the technical college and New Lisbon schools are already well underway.

New Lisbon schools Superintendent Dennis Birr said the high school teaches a welding class. He said he’s “solidly behind” allowing the technical college use of the school’s welding laboratory. Talks with technical college officials about a sharing arrangement have been going on for more than a year, he added.

“The school’s perspective has been that we have a welding lab and we’d be happy to let it be used to help more people get the welding skills that help local employers,” Birr said.

The high school’s welding lab accommodates about a dozen students. Birr said the welding class attracts a mix of students – some who are merely curious and others who think they might like a career in welding. But even the career-minded students at New Lisbon are still only high school students who, unlike college students, haven’t necessarily made up their minds to pursue a career in welding.

The problem is meeting the increased immediate demands of industry. Training welders to step from a classroom and into a real-world job at a manufacturer like Sprinkman or Walker would require an expensive upgrade to the high school’s facility. That’s an expenditure Birr said the district isn’t interested in making because the existing facility meets its limited needs.

“The people who would be taking this class aren’t our students,” Birr said.

Patti Balacek, director of business and industry services for Western Technical College, said the hope is to copy in New Lisbon the success of a similar high school-technical college link-up in Black River Falls.

“It’s been an incredible boon for everyone, but it also was a year and a half of a lot of work, a lot of fundraising,” Balacek said.

In Black River Falls, Jackson County and the Black River Falls School District came up with $80,000 to create the Welding Skills Institute at the high school. The Ho Chunk Nation, which provided Jackson County’s $50,000 contribution, played a key role in the Black River Falls funding. The Black River Falls School District contributed the other $30,000.

Other partners in Black River Falls included the Department of Corrections, Jackson County Circuit Court and the state Department of Corrections.

“If we were to proceed with New Lisbon, it will take a great deal of commitment from a number of partners,” Balacek said. “I respect that the Juneau County board would like Western to provide some of the leadership, but it was only successful in Black River Falls because other people made a significant contribution to making this happen.”

She said she awaits word of a grant application that could allow expansion of the college’s welding training. But right now the technical college doesn’t have the money for an upgrade to the New Lisbon High School welding lab, said Balacek, who added she has also discussed the issue with Mauston school officials.

One of the problems educators face, Balacek said, is getting high school students to understand that manufacturing jobs are no longer the dirty, noisy and dangerous occupations they once were.

“The view of manufacturing is something we have to help young people understand has changed, and can lead to a very viable and financially sound career move for many people,” Balacek said.

Willer said a few of Sprinkman’s welders live outside Juneau County, but attracting welders from distant areas runs up hard against a fact of life that all manufacturers face.

“People generally do not relocate for a shop job, so it limits us to people within a reasonable driving distance of our shop,” Willer said.

Willer said Sprinkman gets many job applications but the “vast majority” of applicants have no skills. They don’t understand that precision welding is exacting work that can’t be learned on the job in a week.

“These guys are fabricators,” Willer said with a nod toward workers on Sprinkman’s shop floor. “We don’t call them welders. We call them fabricators.”

Willer said company officials are considering taking matters into their own hands.

“We have gotten to the point where we are also looking at developing our own welding course and training people for the work we have available,” Willer said. “We can provide, I feel, good-paying jobs with benefits and a future – if they have the skills.”

From channel3000.com: “Madison College works to close job training gap” — A survey of 341 Wisconsin CEOs reveals a growing concern about finding enough skilled employees to fill job vacancies and facilitate growth.

View video from channel3000.com

From yourdailyglobe.com: “Nicolet College names welding student of the year” – Three weeks after starting Nicolet College’s welding program, Chad Lawfer, of Minocqua, was ready to quit.

Learning the tig welding process was proving to be more than a challenge.

“I have to say, there was one point where I had just had it,” Lawfer said. “I was ready to walk.”

But he didn’t, digging deep to persevere.

On Dec. 17, Lawfer was named Nicolet’s Welding Student of the Year.

“Lawfer definitely deserves it,” welding instructor Warren Krause said. “He could have taken the easy way out and just quit, but he didn’t. He stuck with it and one day everything just clicked for him and he was able to do all of welds.”

Not only was he able to do the welds, he did them to a very high standard, earning straight As.

As good of a student as he is technically and academically, he also has other talents called soft skills which employers seek out, according to Chuck Kopp, adjunct welding instructor.

“Lawfer always comes in with a positive attitude and is always willing to help other students,” Kopp said. “He has a strong work ethic, knows how to communicate well, and is just a great guy to be around. Manufacturers today want new employees with these traits and skills.”

Lawfer said his instructors deserve the credit for his success. “They’ve just been fantastic,” he said. “They take the time to work with you until you really understand what they are teaching. I owe it all to them.”

 

From northlandsnewscenter.com: “WITC’s welding program helps inmates find work after incarceration” – School may not be in session at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College in Superior, but learning through WITC’s welding program is still sparking.

The welding room at WITC was filled with the bright flicker of flames as people on probation, parole, or currently incarcerated, took advantage of the Accelerated Welding Program being offered through the Wisconsin Department of Corrections Employment Program.

“We’ve been doing these for about five or six years,” said welding instructor Dan Wilkinson.

Years of teaching valuable skills that can make all the difference in the lives of participating inmates.

“It’s great that they’re giving us an opportunity to learn something, because a lot of us don’t have skills,” said Matthew Sanford, an inmate at the Gordon Correctional Facility.

The intense learning program involves many different styles of welding, to prepare inmates for possible careers after the completion of their sentence.

“We’ll bring these guys in for three weeks and there’s an employer at the end of it that’s agreed to interview them… so that’s the big piece of this program… that there’s an opportunity,” said Wilkinson.

…an opportunity that is paying off for many.

49% of the program’s 59 past participants are now working in the area either in a welding capacity or as a general laborer.

“A lot of us never had the opportunity for this and the fact that they’re giving us the opportunity means so much,” said Sanford.

Accelerated Welding Programs like these are among the most successful community corrections employment programs in the state, providing the spark for success after incarceration.

The current welding class is the fifth Accelerated Welding Program that WITC, NW-CEP, and Wisconsin DOC have partnered on.

From host.madison.com: “Northeast Wisconsin Technical College plays key role for Marinette Marine” – MARINETTE – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is playing a key role in preparing workers for the Marinette Marine shipyard.

The school operates the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, where workers are taught a variety of skills including welding and electrical work, as well as leadership, communications and conflict resolution skills. In the last two years, more than 1,800 students have gone through the training center.

The facility is within walking distance of the shipyard and includes computer labs, classrooms and shops, one filled with welding booths, another with electrical components like those used on the littoral combat ship (LCS). There are also programs for pipe fitters and metal fabricators.

“We were written right into the LCS contract because they needed to show that they had the ability to train thousands of people,” said Brian Lancour, coordinator of the training center. “We’ve become experts on the shipyard.”

Aaron Short, 26, a native of Escanaba, Mich., had been working as a welder at Miller Tractor Supply in Green Bay and in June applied to work at the shipyard. He started in October and began welding training at NWTC. He makes $16.50 an hour compared to the $11.50 he was making at Miller. But he’s also in a more physically demanding job, performing welding tasks while on his knees, crouched down or in some cases using mirrors to weld in tight spots.

“It’s nothing like I’ve ever done before,” said Short, who will soon be married. “It’s definitely testing my skills and getting me better at a lot of things.”

Wade Smoot, 41, of Madison, is a Lancaster High School graduate who most recently was an iron worker for a Stoughton company that did work on Camp Randall and at Epic Systems in Verona. He was attracted to the shipyard by the pay, benefits and community.

“I just wanted something different and this is really neat to build ships,” said Smoot, who was learning how to weld aluminum.

 

 

From wausaudailyherald.com: “Local high school girls learn about male-dominated fields” – More than 50 girls from nine central Wisconsin highschools learned Friday what it would be like to be welders, mechanical designers, machinists and other professionals in the manufacturing and technical fields.

They were taking part in a program called Females in Technology & Trades at Northcentral Technical College. The idea was to expose the girls to professions that are in what have been traditionally male-dominated fields to ensure that they know of all the career opportunities available to them.

The program was organized by Laurie Schulz, a mechanical design instructor at NTC. Schulz worked as a designer for years and said she had no problems working in a male-dominated field, but not all young women know that such careers are even possible.

The F.I.T.T. program, Schulz said, was meant to change that by both exposing the girls to all of the programs NTC has to offer and giving them a chance to do some hands-on activities, such as welding.

Maddy Krueger and Katherine Russell, both juniors at Tomahawk High School, participated in the program to find out what they might do after graduation.

“I think this is really interesting,” Krueger said. “I’m in a shop class at school, and I’m interested in mechanical comprehension and design. So I thought that would interesting to learn.”

Russell wants to become a materials sciences engineer, designing materials that can do new things.

“There’s a need for more women in engineering fields, so I wanted to learn more about that. And I’ve never welded before, so I’m really nervous,” Russell said. “I really learned a lot today about what NTC had to offer. I didn’t know we had an engineering and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school so close as Wausau.”

The program was beneficial for female students, Schulz said, so that “they can see what types of options are out there for them that are nontraditional, compared to what they may normally do.”

 

From antigodailyjournal.com: “Dr. Lori Weyers, who heads NTC, complimentary in board address” – The Langlade County Board of Supervisors couldn’t have asked for a more complimentary guest at its November meeting today.

Dr. Lori Weyers, who heads the sprawling Northcentral Technical College, paid a visit and with her staff, explained what is happening at the college, improvements, advances being made and across the system, all with student success in mind.

Targeting the Antigo campus, she explained there are currently 1,700 students enrolled, which is one in every nine people living here. Last year there were 87 graduates, with many students going on to employment but more are continuing their education at campuses across Wisconsin and Michigan to start their university careers as juniors.

“We have partnered,” she said, telling the board that the NTC program has worked with universities to meet requirements for the students from the eight campuses accepted as juniors.

Larry Kind, dean of the campus in Antigo, outlined the gains being made at the local site and the advances that the wood technology facility has brought to the education program. Those changes also include a nursing program.

The NTC representatives who accompanied her explained there are jobs for the graduates of the two-year program, noting the information technology and welding programs as attractive fields for employment.

Weyers said the partnership with NTC and the Langlade County Board on the wood technology center is working well, and established a guideline for programs that have continued.

“You were the first,” she said, noting that the supervisors here worked with the college on construction of the wood technology facilities.

“You were the leader,” she added, “without you we may have not had these other things happen.”

The presentation by Weyers and her staff brought applause from the board.

From northlandsnewscenter.com: “WITC receives grant to expand welding program” – Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College recently acquired a grant to bulk up its welding program.

The money is being used to buy new equipment and get students to work more quickly.

WITC in Superior was one college of 16 to receive part of a 14.9 million dollar grant that was recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant. The grant is intended to assist students entering into the welding field. WITC has already put some of the money to good use.

The grant was also used to purchase welding equipment, including a robotic welder and to expand the college’s capacity to provide short–term training to meet immediate needs of employers.
The expansion will grow the adult manufacturing career pathways program.

“What it allows us to do is block our classes, which was really actually a pretty smooth transition for the welding program because we already teach that way, where one class builds on the class before it,” said Welding Instructor Aleasha Hladilek.

The U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration has funded 55 percent of the career pathways project which totals just over 600–thousand dollars. The program supports dislocated workers.

“Going back to school, it’s given me a future for me and my kids, where I can go out and get a decent paying job.” said Student Jacob Hochstetler.

WITC hopes to train more than 25–hundred students during the next two years and connect them to manufacturing business.

 

From wbay.com: “Middle School Girls Take on “Man’s Work” – Green Bay - Middle school girls got the chance Tuesday to learn about welding and robotics at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

It’s called “Women at Work,” and it’s an effort to get more young women interested in typically male-dominated fields.

More than 100 girls from middle schools in the area spent the morning learning about trades like welding with a simulator.

“It gives feedback electronically to the instructor and to the student. It’s actually mechanical movement, so they get that effect,” NWTC welding instructor Jon Russell explained.

In another session, the students use robots to learn about animation.

“We took a robot and we were picking up garbage and deciding if it was trash or recyclable,” Bayview Middle School student Madelyn Jorgensen described.

The goal is to give young women the opportunity to explore careers in these types of trades which typically attract men.

The girls also had the chance to meet with employers to learn about the different trades.

“There are lots of job opportunities for these women in these different trades areas. They’re able to get paid pretty well at some really hands-on type jobs that are really kind of fun,” Angie Arneson, a technology and engineering teacher in Denmark Middle School said.

According to NWTC, only three to five percent of students in the welding program are women.

But these students say they’re inspired by Tuesday’s workshop.

“Girls can definitely do these jobs. Girls have better hand-eye coordination I’ve heard. So things like welding where you have to be very specific would probably be better for girls,” Denmark Middle School student Ellie Babiash said.

 

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