From “MSTC centennial events scheduled central Wisconsin campuses” - WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Mid-State Technical College is celebrating its centennial as a leading provider of higher education and training in central Wisconsin.

Smaller beginnings 100 years ago have evolved into a network of educational opportunities throughout what is now known as the Mid-State Technical College District. Today, the college provides more than 100 associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates, including 10 Wisconsin Technical College System programs you will only find at MSTC.

In celebration of the centennial, people throughout the college district are invited to attend centennial celebrations at each of MSTC’s four locations.

The first of the four centennial celebrations will be held from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday at the Wisconsin Rapids Campus, 500 32nd St. N., Grand Rapids. A re-dedication ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. in rooms L133/L134, followed immediately by a commemorative outdoor photo.

Visitors can experience hands-on demonstrations, visit high-tech labs and classrooms, explore career programs and certificates, discover new learning technologies, and meet faculty, staff, students, and college leaders, according to Centennial organizers. Approximately 600 to 650 high school students also are expected to be on campus that same morning for centennial themed events.

A similar celebrations also is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Marshfield Campus, 2600 W. Fifth St., Marshfield.

Each celebration event is open to the community and honors MSTC’s past while celebrating its future. Attendees can enjoy a traveling historical display and a local flavor of snacks and refreshments from businesses throughout the college district. The Stevens Point Campus Centennial Celebration will be held on the new Stevens Point Campus and coincide with the grand opening and ribbon cutting.

The MSTC Foundation kicked off the year’s celebration by hosting a Centennial Bike Ride & Walk on Sept. 14. This non-competitive event which included 100K, 50K, and 10K bike routes and a 10K walk option drew 150 bikers, walkers and volunteers. More than $8,000 was raised with all event proceeds going to student scholarships. About 80 percent of all MSTC students receive some kind of financial assistance.

MSTC, one of 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System, serves a resident population of approximately 165,000 in central Wisconsin with campuses in Marshfield, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids, and a learning center in Adams. MSTC students often save money and graduate with less debt than their four-year institution counterparts—a big reason why 95 percent of MSTC graduates say they are satisfied with their MSTC education. Instructors are industry experts who are passionate about sharing their skills and insights. Smaller classes and flexible scheduling foster student success. Students gain the real-world skills and experience employers seek, contributing to the fact that nearly 9 out of ten MSTC graduates are employed within six months of graduation.

Go to for more information about these centennial events or to learn more about MSTC’s history.

From “Event inspires administrators to go two-wheelin’” – GRAND RAPIDS — These days, Sue Budjac, of Rome, and Connie Willfahrt, of the town of Arpin, might consider riding their bikes to their Wisconsin Rapids campus office as a simple jaunt.

That might not have been the case last spring, when Budjac, Mid-State Technical College president, and Willfahrt, vice president of student affairs and information technology, decided to participate in Saturday’s centennial bike ride, a kickoff event to the college’s 100th anniversary celebration.

The ride will highlight the employee wellness program and offers a ride — or walk — at three levels: a 100K and 50K bike ride and 10K ride or walk, Budjac said.

“It (also) allows us to extend an invitation to community members throughout our district in hopes of engaging them in our celebration,” Budjac said.

The noncompetitive event benefits the college’s scholarship program.

“In addition to celebrating the college’s 100 years, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate and help reduce barriers for our students, because the funds that, either through donations that have been made or through registration fees, those funds are going to go to assist students through emergency loans and scholarships,” Budjac said.

More than 80 percent of the college’s almost 9,000 students at its four campuses get some type of financial assistance. The average age for students is about 28, and many are working and have families, Budjac said.

“They struggle every day to achieve their education goal, and a scholarship makes a huge difference in them being able to continue with school,” she said.

It might have been easy for the administrators to sit back and be content to help facilitate and support the event from a bystander aspect. But these two women decided to lead by example. They bought bikes, helmets — even bike wear.

“If I were a designer, I would design much more complimentary bike shorts,” quipped Budjac.

Willfahrt laughed.

“It’s not about fashion; it’s about comfort,” she said.

“What really motivated me was the excitement that has been brewing throughout the weeks and months of planning and wanting to jump in and be part of that,” Willfahrt said.

It’s been a work in progress, but both could be considered accomplished bikers. Willfahrt participated in her first official event, a 70-mile ride in Door County, which she proudly finished in just more than five hours.

Budjac’s practice route was a 60-mile trek around Lake Petenwell.

“That’s a lot of butt-to-seat time,” Budjac said, regarding the length of the rides.

Both said they have relished the training journey and look forward to Saturday’s ride. They’ll both participate in the 100K ride — just more than 62 miles.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying this, so I anticipate participating in an event at least once or twice a year,” Willfahrt said.

Budjac is along for the ride, but more as a recreational biker.

“I don’t see another 100K in my future, but I’ll keep riding,” Budjac said.

From “MSTC celebrates centennial with ride/walk” – In celebration of 100 years of central Wisconsin education and training in what is now known as the Mid-State Technical College, or MSTC, District, the MSTC Foundation is hosting a Centennial Bike Ride & Walk on Sept. 14. This non-competitive event includes 100K, 50K and 10K bike routes and a 10K walk option. All routes begin and end at MSTC’s Wisconsin Rapids Campus.

The 50K and 100K bike routes meander throughout north Wood County. The 10K bike and walk routes go around Lake Wazeecha in South Wood County Park. Beverage and snack stations will be provided for participants along each course.

Registration costs $25 per person and includes opportunities for prizes. Children 12 and younger are free and must be accompanied by an adult. An event T-shirt will be provided to all participants who register by Aug. 21. All biking participants must wear helmets.

Proceeds of this event support the educational programs of the college through educator and student grants and scholarships. Contributions are tax-deductible.

Additional information and the event registration form are available online at or call the MSTC Foundation office at 715-422-5322 or email

MSTC’s Centennial Celebration includes a total of five events during the 2013-14 school year. In addition to the Bike Ride & Walk, people throughout the college district are invited to attend centennial celebrations at each of MSTC’s four locations: Wisconsin Rapids Campus on Oct. 10, Marshfield Campus on Oct. 22, Adams County Center on Nov. 5, and Stevens Point Campus on June 4, 2014. Each celebration event honors MSTC’s past and celebrates its future. Centennial organizers say visitors of the final four events will have the opportunity to learn about new technologies, view fascinating hands-on demonstrations, tour facilities, and explore MSTC student services and academic programs.

MSTC, one of 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System, is a leading provider of higher education offering more than 100 associate degrees, technical diplomas and certificates, including 10 Wisconsin Technical College System programs you will only find at MSTC. Student-focused and community-based, MSTC serves a resident population of approximately 165,000 in central Wisconsin with campuses in Marshfield, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids, and a learning center in Adams. Smaller classes, flexible scheduling, and instructor involvement all foster student success and contribute to the fact that nearly 9 out of ten MSTC graduates are employed within six months of graduation.

From “CVTC buries time capsule Monday” – A message for the future was left underground Monday at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

The school dedicated and sealed away a time capsule that’s going to be opened in 25 years. The capsule contains items ranging from a pair of a scissors from the barber-cosmetology program to student handbooks to a copy of the college’s budget.

CVTC President Bruce Barker told us “September of last year was actually our 100th anniversary and so we think it’s fitting to pay tribute to all those who came before us and honor what they accomplished and to look forward. Also to savesome of the memorabilia from today so that the people can look at it in the future.”

The group also re-dedicated a 1987 time capsule that was opened last year.

The time capsules were sealed in large plastic canisters and placed underground in chambers, and identified with a stone marker.


From “Centennial celebration planned for MSTC” — By Sue Budjac, president of MSTC - Warm summer days and the presence of students heading to summer classes remind me that a new academic year is right around the corner.  Yet this Fall Semester will be a little different.  While every year is important, this one has special meaning because Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) celebrates its centennial in 2013-14.

MSTC’s Centennial Celebration is an opportunity to honor and treasure our past and celebrate our exciting future.  I can’t imagine commemorating this milestone without our former and current students, retirees and current employees, board members, and many business and community partners.  MSTC’s 100th birthday illustrates the value and significance of the training and services that MSTC provides to Central Wisconsin.

Each of MSTC’s four locations will host a centennial celebration during the upcoming academic year.  These free events offer fascinating, interactive, hands-on demonstrations and display new learning technologies and facilities.  Wisconsin Rapids Campus will lead off the festivities on October 10 with a program showcase for middle and high school students/staff in the morning and a variety of afternoon and early evening activities for members of the community.

Marshfield Campus and Adams County Center will host similar events on October 22 and November 5, respectively.  Stevens Point will close out the festivities in the New Year with the grand opening of the new Stevens Point Campus (1001 Centerpoint Drive), tentatively scheduled for January 30, 2014.  Bookmark to learn more about MSTC’s Centennial Celebration as details become available.

Future students will have many opportunities to explore MSTC’s 100+ career programs and certificates to determine which one right for them.  Former students can also reconnect through MSTC’s new alumni association; visit to sign up!

You are also invited to attend this summer’s Centennial Bike Ride & Walk Event on September 14.  This event includes 100K, 50K, and 10K biking routes and a 10K walk option, with all routes beginning and ending at MSTC’s Wisconsin Rapids Campus.  The cost is $25 per person and proceeds benefit student scholarships/grants and college educational programs.  Contact the MSTC Foundation Office at 715-422-5322 or visit for additional information and registration.

As I pause to reflect on 99 years of MSTC education and job training, I am humbled by the quantity and quality of talent that has passed through our hallways over the years.  A century of experience has refined our ability to maintain a vibrant selection of programs and respond quickly to changing employer needs.  This is a key reason why 85% of MSTC graduates are employed within six months of graduation and 95% of employers believe an MSTC education meets or exceeds their expectations.  If you are seeking a new job or career and want to get back into the workforce quickly, consider an affordable education 100 years in the making.  Call Mid-State Technical College at 1-888-575-MSTC, visit, or stop by the MSTC location nearest you.  Fall Semester begins August 19.

From “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.

Alumnus success

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.”

‘Uniquely adaptable’

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.

Centennial monument

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.

TopTech Awards

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.

Other presenters

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 “Editorial: Tech schools fill big need” – It’s a crown jewel in Wisconsin’s educational system, but doesn’t always get the attention, or the appreciation, it deserves.

The state’s 16 vocational-technical colleges collectively serve tens of thousands of residents, from teenagers to the elderly. Students come to learn scores of skills that help them obtain good jobs, from carpentry to high-tech positions.

One of the smaller — but more sophisticated of those 16 schools that serve Wisconsin is Blackhawk Technical College. Its main campus is on Prairie Road between Beloit and Janesville. Branch campuses are in Monroe and in the Eclipse Center in Beloit. There’s a smaller training center at Janesville, and an aviation unit at the Southern Wisconsin Regional Airport.

WE DRAW READERS’ attention to Blackhawk Tech because the college is observing its centennial next week. There’s a campus open house from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and a celebratory dinner and scholarship fundraiser on Saturday, Oct. 13. And there’s much to celebrate.

BTC currently has some 5,700 students. Enrollment tends to fluctuate from perhaps half that number to over 6,000. Since the General Motors plant in Janesville shut down in 2008, former GM employees have joined younger and older students to retrain for new careers.

Blackhawk Tech’s president, Thomas Eckert, proudly asserts that the school has dedicated itself to meeting current shortages of skilled workers, be it in construction, manufacturing, the medical profession or other fields. Meanwhile, there are assorted courses for those who simply want to find fulfillment in art, literature and so forth.

STUDENTS’ AGES VARY from the mid-teens to 90 and sometimes beyond. If there’s enough demand for classes in basket-weaving or parachute jumping, the technical colleges probably can provide the teaching required.

Blackhawk Tech’s student body currently consists of about 3,000 at the central campus, whose facilities constantly are being improved; to the Beloit campus’s enrollment of about 1,400 and a similar number at Monroe.

Eckert is proud to point to BTC’s record of having most who graduate with technical, associate or other forms of certification, find the right employment soon after they complete their one- or two-year stints at the college. Eighty-seven percent of grads find jobs within six months.

ALL OF WHICH suggests that the technical college system helps Wisconsin keep its manufacturing, construction, medical and service industries supplied with the workers needed. It’s been doing that since the state directed public school systems back in the Fall of 1912 to create “vocational schools” for young people wanting to find paying jobs instead of finishing high school, or older folks who were either under-employed or had no job-training.

Older Beloiters will remember the Vocational-Adult school on Fourth Street, which served until the 1960s. Other cities, including Janesville, had similar schools. The popularity — and productivity — of the local schools prompted the state to create 16 districts, each to be served by a central campus and branches as needed. The Blackhawk Tech district, serving primarily Rock and Green counties, is the fifth smallest of the state’s 16 tech colleges.

It turns out that the colleges have been a good investment. Blackhawk Tech’s current budget is about $50 million. That may seem like a lot, but consider that in a year’s time, as many as 4,000 get the training they need to enter the workforce. That’s a good investment. Tuition, often supplemented by financial aid, accounts for about half of the budget. Local property taxes and state aid make up the difference.

AGAIN, THOSE FIGURES may seem hefty, but Eckert says that the community, in one way or another, realizes benefits of $140 for every $100 spent.

Wisconsin’s public school system is, of course, vital as well as costly. And the University of Wisconsin system, with its two- and four-year campuses (including UW-Rock County) ranks with some of the best among the state. So do our private colleges, including Beloit College. We’re fortunate, indeed, that the Badger State’s technical college system bridges what would otherwise be a wide gap between the public schools and the colleges that not everyone wants, or can afford, to attend.

ANNIVERSARY CONGRATULATIONS go out to the technical college that serves our area so well, and to the foresighted leaders of earlier years, who saw the need, and filled it.

MATC to celebrate 100th year

September 25, 2012

From “On Campus: MATC to celebrate 100th year” – Madison Area Technical College hits the century mark this year and has a party planned to celebrate — and raise a pile of cash. The North Side college will host an event Oct. 26 at Alliant Energy Center to spotlight its array of programs that serve about 40,000 people annually through a curriculum of technical, liberal arts and sciences and adult basic education.

There will be food and dessert, not surprising for a school well-known for turning out top chefs.

The event, “A New Century of Promise,” runs from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. and costs $125 to attend. It will include presentations on the college’s programs and an auction to benefit the school.

The college had humble beginnings. In 1912, 63 students crammed in a single room above a fire station on South Webster Street to take the area’s first vocational classes from what was then called Madison Industrial School. Popular courses were hat making, typesetting and stenography.

The college is now embarking on its biggest building boom since the 1970s thanks to a $133.7 million building referendum voters approved in 2010.

From “CVTC at 100: Still working to train skilled workers” – Jobs mostly demanded a strong back and a fifth-grade education or less before the Industrial Revolution.

As electricity spread across cities and machines began powering the economy in the early 20th century, employers required brains and brawn.

Locally, the lumber boom had run its course in the Chippewa Valley by then, leaving local workers to change with the times and search for the next big industry.

To break into careers in burgeoning industries or new businesses, they needed more training than traditional schooling could offer.

This need prompted the state government in 1911 to create what eventually became the Wisconsin Technical College System, including Chippewa Valley Technical College.

Turning 100 years old next month, CVTC is Eau Claire’s oldest institution of higher education — predating UW-Eau Claire by four years.

The basics

Funded through local property taxes and state aid, what were known as continuation schools sprouted up in Wisconsin with populations of 5,000 or more.

In October 1912, Eau Claire opened its school with seven classes, including shop arithmetic, carpentry, sheet metal, cooking and citizenship. Chippewa Falls opened with a few classes in the same year, and Menomonie followed in 1913.

Some of the original subjects have remained through the years, but in a much more sophisticated and technologically advanced form.

“The basics are still there,” said Bruce Barker, CVTC’s current president.

Machinists still need to study math, but it’s now used to program computers that tell machines what to do.

Carpentry skills are still taught at CVTC, but they’re used to build energy-efficient homes out of green materials.

The college’s offerings also have grown into 61 programs, most of which will have demonstrations or displays at Saturday’s centennial celebration.

To go with the school’s milestone, it has produced “CVTC: A Century of Proven Education,” a 100-page book detailing its history.

Dealing with downturns

Along with jobs created by post-World War II prosperity and other economic good times, CVTC has helped local workers through rough patches too.

In addition to helping local workers during the massive unemployment in the Great Depression of the 1930s and more recently the job losses of the Great Recession, CVTC retrained workers when a major Eau Claire employer closed.

Chippewa Valley Technical College was on the front line to retrain workers and offer career assistance when the Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co. plant, which employed more than 1,300, closed in June 1992.

“We sort of moved into Uniroyal,” said Norbert Wurtzel, CVTC’s president from 1974 to 1994. “We were down there in the building with those people.”

As the plant was closing and after the doors were shuttered, CVTC employees were on-site to train workers for other industrial jobs or new career paths entirely.

Some chose paths in health care or more advanced manufacturing — two economic sectors that saw growth during Wurtzel’s tenure.

“The exciting part was that technology all the way from automotive to health care and (other sectors) was changing so rapidly, and we were able to bring on new faculty and help current faculty upgrade,” he said. “It was just an exciting time with ideas, innovations and creativity on their part.”

To meet employment needs created by large additions to Sacred Heart Hospital, Luther Hospital and Midelfort Clinic in the late 1960s and ’70s, CVTC expanded its health care programs and added a building for them in 1973 on West Clairemont Avenue.

Advances in computer technology in the 1980s also made manufacturing more sophisticated. CVTC students could design metal parts on a computer and fabricate them with precision on electronically controlled machines — a cutting-edge concept at the time, Wurtzel recalled.

Wurtzel gives credit to instructors during his tenure that suggested new programs CVTC could teach that would help students get jobs.

“We succeeded in a lot of those areas because of faculty who were willing to roll up their sleeves,” he said.

Auto shop legacy

CVTC initially taught students how to fix Model T Fords, the automobile that revolutionized transportation and gave birth to assembly-line manufacturing. Now the college teaches repairs for hybrid and electric engines.

Tom Day attended the school during the era when automakers were adding more steel to vehicles to increase safety.

Graduated from Gilman High School in 1976, Day didn’t want to spend four years in college. An interest in cars led him to the automotive collision repair program taught at CVTC.

When he attended the college, it was called District One Technical Institute, a name adopted when the state created 16 technical school districts in 1968, resulting in an 11-county area that paid taxes to support the Eau Claire-based school.

In those days, auto body technicians had to do all steps of the repair process from taking off the damaged steel, welding repairs, smoothing out dents and matching paint. Now each of those tasks is done by different people, he said, due to more sophisticated automobile materials and demand for quicker repairs.

Hired a couple of weeks before graduation, Day has been working at the body shop of Eau Claire car dealer Ken Vance for 35 years. He now is the shop’s manager.

“That was a better career choice for me, and it’s proven to be a good choice,” he said.

Day was recognized in 2008 as a distinguished CVTC alumni for his accomplishments and the career day he’s hosted for several years at the dealership, allowing high school students to see where CVTC’s automotive repair classes can take them.

Changing student needs

Starting as continuation schools that mostly taught teenagers, technical colleges now have adult students from every stage of their lives.

“You’ll literally be seeing students of all ages,” Barker said, recalling commencement a couple years ago when the school graduated two 60-year-old nursing students.

The school still gets many recent high school graduates — a quarter of the Chippewa Valley’s high school seniors go to technical colleges for their education.

But the average age of a CVTC student is 27 because of all the older adults seeking training in a new career, Barker said.

“We’ve always been the home for the working adult, the underemployed or unemployed adult,” Barker said.

As students collectively trended older, the school changed to meet their needs.

During the ’70s and ’80s, the college had club and varsity sports teams. The Tech Tigers competed against other technical schools in basketball, hockey, golf, volleyball and bowling.

Those sports were popular at the time, Wurtzel, the former college president, said, but they were discontinued at the behest of students as their priorities changed.

“There was a shift in student interest,” he said.

Instead of spending their fees on sports, student leaders reallocated much of them toward establishing a child care center for CVTC students’ children, which was created with help from the Hobbs Foundation.

That represented a change in the college’s demographics, as students with families just didn’t have the time for competitive sports, Wurtzel observed, instead wanting to spend time with their spouses and children.

Campuswide activities including winter carnivals and talent shows also fell by the wayside through the years.

“As the college grows, it’s really tough to find those common hours,” said Alisa Hoepner Schley, student life specialist. “Today our student population is quite diverse, they have many competing priorities from working to balancing family.”

The current slate of entertainment activities includes occasional guest speakers, lunchtime comedians and noon concerts. Clubs also create community service opportunities and the chance to attend conferences to help with professional development, Hoepner Schley said.

Mission still same

As much as the Industrial Revolution gave birth to technical colleges, improvements in technology have kept them changing.

“You can point to some strong similarities between 1912 and 2012,” Barker said.

Energy, the driving force behind industry, continues to evolve.

“Back then, we moved from wood to coal to oil,” he said. “Now you’re looking at something similar from that oil and coal to the next stage — what’s going to power our economy in the future.”

To teach students about new, renewable energy technology, the college has plans to build a $7.8 million Energy Education Center in Eau Claire next summer.

One of the area’s latest growth industries, sand mining, is driving increasing enrollment in the college’s trucking, engine repair and manufacturing programs, Barker said.

To keep up with needs of area employers, college offerings are continuously changed so that students can get a job quickly after graduation.

Of the students who graduated earlier this year, 92 percent found a job within six months, 89 percent of them in their field of study, Barker said.

Technology and hot industries may change, but CVTC’s mission has remained essentially the same through the past century.

“There may have been subtle changes, but the strong directive has always been to make a highly trained workforce,” Barker said.

From “NWTC Centennial” – NWTC is having a centennial party on the Green Bay campus on Saturday, Sept. 29, and you’re invited!

The College is inviting all of our community friends and neighbors–especially those who may never have been on campus. Every department in academics and student services is pulling out all the stops with demonstrations, expert advice, simulations, and mini-workshops.  The grand finale is a musical and comedy show by Frank Hermans of Let Me Be Frank Productions. You’ll even get free lunch and ice cream sundaes!

Here’s a sample of what you, your family and friends can find at the NWTC Centennial Celebration on Sept. 29.  In the meantime, follow us on Twitter –  #nwtc100.

11:00 a.m. Welcome Ceremony

11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Have questions? “Ask the Experts” Sessions – 20-30 minute presentations by faculty

  • Learn how to save money on energy this winter! Energy efficiency in your home including demo of sealing windows
  • Start thinking about solar energy; what do you need to get started?
  • Food and wine pairing presentation
  • Organic presentation
  • Incorporating universal design and aging-in-place principles in new and existing homes
  • Crime ware:  How criminals attack your computer and what you can do about it
  • Start your own business

11:30 a.m.-2:00 p.m. Hop on a free trolley or bus to see
high tech demonstrations, displays and simulations

Trades and Engineering Technologies

  • CNC mobile unit tour and demos
  • Solar lab display
  • Garden art display – welding and metal fab demos
  • Metallurgy demo
  • Building and Construction:  Robot demo and Wall-E model
  • Seasoning your furnace and AC units
  • Utility Field Lab: Utility equipment demos; climb a utility pole if you dare
  • Landscape Horticulture Learning Center: Sustainable agriculture and organic gardening info, small farm animal petting zoo, learn about raising chickens
  • Automotive Center: Alternative fuel vehicle display; learn how to maintain your high-mileage car

Public Safety/Tactical Training Center

  • Jail cell tactics demo
  • Simulation of deadly force deployment


Health Science:

  • Blood pressure reading
  • Vision screening
  • Hand washing (with GLITTER!)
  • Flexibility tests


Business and Information Technology

  • Keyboarding tests (time your speed!)
  • Video production demo
  • Photography demo
  • Run your personal free credit report
  • Restaurant simulation


Center for Business and Industry

  • Artisan Center demos including wood turning, jewelry making, and quilting
  • Children’s obstacle course, make-it-take-it projects, and so much more
  • Local chef cooking demos and food samples


Public Safety/Rescue, CSI and Justice

  • Ambulance protocol, tour, and overview of operations (ambulance outside area entering gym)
  • Crime scene enactment  - can you solve the crime?
  • Mock Trials in the Courtroom at 12:00 and 2:00.  YOU BE THE JURY
  • On lawn: EAGLE III helicopter landing at 11:30 with tours by pilot and medical staff throughout the event



  • Free lunch
  • Create a sundae with Student Services
  • General Studies Trivia Contest

2 p.m. Centennial musical and comedy
by Let Me Be Frank Productions

Bring your friends, family and neighbors! See you Sept. 29!

From “Moraine Park Technical College Time Capsule Opening and Dedication Ceremony” – On August 17, 2012, Moraine Park Technical College held a Time Capsule Opening and Dedicatiton Ceremony. The time capsule from the College’s 75th anniversary was opened and the College dedicated a new time capsule in celebration of the 100th anniversary.

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NWTC celebrates 100 years

September 4, 2012

From “NWTC Centennial interview with NWTC President” – NWTC President Dr. Rafn appeared live on WBAY’s News at Noon to discuss the Centennial Celebration of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, set for September 29th, 2012 on the Green Bay campus.

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From “Moraine Park is planning culminating centennial event Aug. 16″ – It’s been 100 years of providing innovative education for Moraine Park Technical College. With its humble beginnings above a downtown Fond du Lac laundry mat, Moraine Park is excited to celebrate its growth with students, staff and community members on Thursday, August 16. Everyone is welcome to attend Moraine Park’s time capsule opening and dedication ceremony from 3-5 p.m. It will be held on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus at the O-1 entrance.

Experience Moraine Park’s culminating centennial event by witnessing the opening of the 1987 time capsule and viewing items to be included in the new time capsules, all while mingling with Moraine Park past and current students, staff and community members.

The Moraine Park-themed Culver’s custard flavor will be revealed, with samples for all attendees to enjoy. A live radio remote from WTCX will provide entertainment for all, along with games, prizes and family-friendly activities.

The 1987 time capsule will be opened and new time capsules dedicated at 4:30 p.m.

From “Area Technical College Celebrates Centennial” – A Northland technical college celebrated a big milestone Tuesday, 100 years of education. Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College has been around for a century.

In 1912 when WITC was established Superior became the second city in the state to have a vocational school. Since then the school has grown. It now has four campuses across the state with more than 24,000 students. In Superior this school is a staple the community couldn’t live without.

The superior based school threw a huge bash to celebrate their centennial, complete with face painting, a balloon artist, delicious food and so much more. Former president and class of 1972 alumni, Chuck Levine said WITC gave him a great life.

“I have been blessed with a career at the college because WITC gave me a degree,” said Chuck Levine, President Emeritus at WITC.

At the celebration, Levine helped open a time capsule from 198, discovering some things from the college past. Superior’s Mayor, Bruce Hagen, also declared Tuesday WITC centennial day.

From “WITC, Rotary celebrate a century” – In 1912, the state’s first Rotary Club was formed in Superior. That same year, the Evening Vocational School — precursor to Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College — opened.

Non-resident tuition was 50 cents per week; the first teacher worked for $2 per night.

Both WITC and the Superior Rotary Club will mark their centennials next week. One will turn100 with flowers and music; the other with a lawn party and time capsule.

WITC invites the public to a free Community Lawn Party 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at 600 N. 21st St. The event features free cupcakes, coffee, lemonade and Italian ices, tours of the building and music selections spanning the last 100 years provided by Sounds Unlimited. Children’s entertainment will include a moonwalk, face painting, balloon animals and games.

At 4:30 p.m., Superior Mayor Bruce Hagen and Douglas County Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Finn issue proclamations declaring July 10 WITC Centennial Celebration Day.

At 5:30 p.m., Dave Minor, chairman of the WITC board of directors, talks about WITC and its impact, followed by statements from state and local representatives.

At 6:30 p.m. Wisconsin Technical College President Dan Clancy and WITC President Bob Meyer plan to be on hand for the opening of the 1987 time capsule. It was filled the year “Dirty Dancing,” “Fatal Attraction” and “Three Men and a Baby” were released, and the radio station was awash with tunes from U2, Bon Jovi, Michael Jackson and Madonna.

At 7 p.m., WITC-Superior Campus Administrator Diane Vertin delivers closing remarks.

In 1912, Superior became the second city in Wisconsin to establish a vocational school, with Racine being the first. Based on college estimates, more than 65,000 students have become WITC graduates.

Everyone is invited to join in the fun, said Allison Iacone, marketing and public relations associate with WITC.

From “Western’s evolution: It’s all in the time capsule” – Alumni and school officials honored Western Technical College’s history and uncovered pieces of the past Monday for the institution’s 100th anniversary celebration.

Community leaders praised the college’s history of educating and training students for the changing workforce.

“Western is a place where dreams begin and lives change,” said Sandra Schultz, a 1987 graduate. “Thank you for making dreams become a reality.”

Western opened in 1912 as the La Crosse Continuation and Adult Schools, after the Legislature passed a 1911 law establishing a vocational school system.

Jayme Hansen graduated from Western in 1998 and found a job at Northern Engraving. Later, he took a new a job in Western’s marketing department as a graphic designer. “They taught me the basics that I needed to get into the workforce,” he said. “I’ll be forever grateful for that.”

Western President Lee Rasch unpacked a time capsule filled with pamphlets, newspapers and other items from the college’s 75th anniversary.

Contents included:

  • Floppy disks.
  • A May 9, 1987, edition of the Tribune, with a tease on the cover for a story on page three: “Jobless rate at low point for decade.”
  • Interior design magazines. (Western officials decided to end the interior design program last year because of more than $2 million in budget cuts.)

For all the evidence of change, the time capsule was also proof of Western’s long-standing tradition of evolution, Rasch said. Many programs in the school’s history have been modified, added or cut.

“It’s in our DNA,” he said.

The centennial is a testament to Western’s success in adapting its programming to the needs of employers and of students, said Jessica Klinkner, a marketing student. “It shows how strong and determined this college is.”

More change is in store for Western as college officials continue to tweak the curriculum. More students are interested in earning credits that transfer to a four-year university, and many employers want skilled workers trained in the newest technology, Rasch said.

“Employers are looking for the full package,” he said. “They have a challenge, too.”

Eventually, college officials want the school to be more energy efficient and serve more students, Rasch said. “We’re determined to be successful,” he said. “The future of Western is one that is very bright.”

From “Western Technical College Celebrates 100 Years” – Western Technical College celebrated 100 years of education on Monday, May 14th.

Western Technical College was established in 1912 and at that time, vocational schools started in abandoned warehouses or shops. According to Western faculty and staff, Western Technical College was one of the first ‘specifically vocational’ colleges established in the country.

100 years later, faculty members, alumni, and current students who attend Western listened to stories of the past, and shared hopes for the future of their school.

Dr. Lee Rasch, the President, unveiled items from a time capsule put away 25 years ago.

Floppy disks, and a ‘state of the art calculator’ at the time were just a few of those items.

Dr. Rasch said Western has always been on the cutting edge of technology and while that’s always changing, he said the passion of the students and faculty members at Western is always constant.

“It’s in the DNA in this organization and our faculty and staff are committed to do everything that we can to help someone succeed. No matter where they are, or where they are in life it’s our absolute commitment. So you see that in 1912 and you still see that in our organization today,”smiled Rasch.

A table of items from 2012 will be placed in a new time capsule that won’t be opened until 2062.

Dr. Rasch adds that going forward, the biggest challenge is to be current and flexible in the programs they offer–but to do it in a way that is sustainable and affordable.

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From “Old, new come together at BTC commencement” – BELOIT — On Saturday, more than 500 students crossed the stage at First Christian Church in Beloit during Blackhawk Technical College’s commencement.

They included fresh-faced youths and second- or third-career adults. They were single men and women without ties; they were parents and grandparents. They wore dress shoes and flip-flops.

All different kinds of people with one thing in common: They were continuing the technical college tradition that started 100 years ago when Wisconsin established a Board of Vocational and Adult Education.

It was appropriate that Saturday’s ceremony was a blend of old values and traditions with new ideas and trends.

– History repeating itself: College President Dr. Thomas Eckert reminded students that Blackhawk was first established because the state recognized the need for trained workers to meet manufacturing demands. Today, manufacturing is seeing a resurgence in the state, and the health care and technical fields are as strong as ever.

– Looking back—but only for a moment: Silvia Shephard, a legal administrative professional and the student of the year, was the student speaker.

“When I was working on this speech, I looked for words of wisdom from past graduation speakers,” Shephard said.

But after attending a leadership conference, she decided hers was the class of the future: forward looking and unafraid.

She encouraged students spend just a moment thinking about their ultimate dreams, their goals for their lives.

Then she said, “Now let go of everything you think might stand in its way.”

Don’t let those dreams collect dust the shelves of busy lives, Shephard advised.

– Tradition and change: Keynote speaker Thomas Westrick has served on Blackhawk Technical College’s board for 19 years and has spent his life working in the field of adult education.

He took a look at the early days of technical college education and shared with students some of the early educational choices such as “fountain pen tip grinding,” “cobbling” and “child psychology”—a course only offered to women.

“Police problems” was another early course.

“I’d like to see the reading list for that course,” Westrick joked.

Westrick noted that only a few of those early courses, such as “arc welding” and “automobile engine repair,” were still around.

“Blackhawk Technical College has had to reinvent itself numerous times,” Westrick said. “You may have to redesign yourselves, too.”

Unlike the job market of the 20th century, when workers often worked for the same company all of their lives, often with the same set of skills, today’s workers will have to continue to learn.

He offered students advice from Reid Hoffman, author of “The Start Up of You:”

– Don’t let the title of your degree or your certificate put you in a box.

– Build relationships both inside and outside of your field.

– Prepare for change.

Finally, don’t get caught in your past.

– New careers and new choices: Students graduated with degrees in a variety of traditional subjects ranging from accounting to welding.

Some of the traditionally female fields, such as early childhood education, continue to produce only female graduates. Other traditionally male fields, such as electric power distribution and air conditioning, heating and refrigeration technology, produced only male graduates.

Still, evidence of changing career choices were all over the program. Two women graduated from the welding program. Men graduated in a variety of health care fields.

– An old-fashioned rendering: In the past two decades, attempts to “improve” the national anthem have become increasingly disconcerting. “The Star Spangled Banner” has been jazzed up, countrified, rocked and whooped with mixed success.

From “Moraine Park centennial recognized by Legislature through resolution” – Moraine Park Technical College has been providing innovative education to the communities it serves for the past 100 years and now, the College’s efforts have been officially recognized by the Wisconsin Legislature.

Thanks to a Senate resolution honoring Moraine Park’s 100 years of vocational and technical training, the entire state can help celebrate the accomplishments of the College during its centennial year.

State Senator Jessica King and Representative Jeremy Thiesfeldt joined Moraine Park President Sheila Ruhland, students and staff to present an official copy of the resolution. Ruhland expressed thanks to King and for her willingness to bring Moraine Park’s Centennial Resolution forward, and to Thiesfeldt for co-sponsoring the resolution in the Assembly.

“Moraine Park has touched the lives of hundreds of thousands of people over the past 100 years through education and training,” said Ruhland. “We also know the important role our College has in partnering with business and industry to help keep Wisconsin’s economy strong. Thank you Senator King and Representative Thiesfeldt for understanding this importance and for taking the time to recognize us with this Centennial Resolution.”

King and Thiesfeldt received a tour of Moraine Park’s Integrated Manufacturing Center from instructors Tom Roehl, Jeff Quackenboss and Craig Habeck, where they learned how students are getting workforce-ready through the Center’s realistic and hands-on training.

“This is an institution of innovation and I really appreciate what Moraine Park does and recognize the important role your technical college and the system plays in the economy,” said King. “Our commitment to quality education and training are growing in importance.”

Thiesfeldt echoed the thoughts of King. “Congratulations on your efforts, it’s been great working with a college willing to meet the needs of the community,” Thiesfeldt said.

For more information on Moraine Park’s Centennial, visit morainepark .edu/100years.

From “Western Technical College honored in State Senate” – MADISON, Wis. — Western Technical College was honored in the State Senate Tuesday. Lawmakers passed a resolution on the floor honoring Western during their centennial year.

State Senator Jennifer Shilling says Western continues to be highly respected in Wisconsin.  Shilling says in these tough economic times, Western shows it can help workers, businesses and the community. “Western Tech has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to react to changes in the local economy in a way that is both nimble and innovative in order to best serve businesses and workers in our region,” says Senator Shilling.

Western President Lee Rasch and V.P. Mike Pieper were at the capitol for the vote.

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From “City building retires” – 

After a full life of making luggage in its early years, later training workers and then providing exercise for Eau Claire’s adults and children, the time has come to retire.

At least that’s the plan for the building at 1300 First Ave.

Fond du Lac developers intend to turn Eau Claire’s former Parks and Recreation building into apartments for people 55 and older.

Most of the building will remain intact, but it will be remodeled as 21 apartments. A section of the building will be torn down and replaced with a four-story wing with another 10 apartments, but Commonwealth Development (not to be confused with Eau Claire-based Commonweal Development) told the city it plans to match the look of the rest of the brick building.

Across Oxford Street, an auxiliary parking lot the city is selling with the building is planned for six townhouses for senior citizens.

Commonwealth paid a $2,000 option to buy the property for $290,000, Eau Claire finance director Rebecca Noland stated in an email. That option expires April 30, but the company can extend it until the end of 2012 by paying an additional $4,000. That extension allows the developer to apply for income-based senior housing tax credits from the state.

Plans submitted by Commonwealth proposed closing the deal by the end of 2012. Blueprints will be done and construction completed in 2013 of the apartment buildings currently dubbed “Oxford Square.”

The project’s status for property taxes is indeterminate, but the developer has agreed to at least some form of annual payment to the city.

If it proves tax-exempt, Commonwealth agreed to still pay the city a dollar amount equal to the taxes on the $290,000 purchase price. Should it be subject to taxes, it would yield about $700 per unit.

Based on the building’s storied history, this would be the first time in about 70 years that the building will not be publically-owned.

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From “MATC commencement looks back over 100  years of history and into the school’s future” – Madison Area Technical College marks its 100th anniversary next year and continued celebrating it Thursday night during its mid-year commencement ceremony.

MATC President Bettsey Barhorst noted that construction was an inconvenience to navigate around for those attending the graduation ceremony at the Truax campus.

“But it does represent a very important time in the college’s history. Not only are we celebrating our 100th anniversary in 2012, but we’re also moving forward with important building projects,” Barhorst said.

MATC, also known as Madison College, serves about 40,000 people annually through a curriculum of technical, liberal arts and sciences and adult basic education. More than 1,800 students are graduating this session and about 200 participated in the commencement.

Frances Huntley-Cooper, the college’s district board chair, told the crowd that more than 80 percent of MATC students stay in the Madison College district and 96 percent stay in Wisconsin after they graduate, “ensuring the future of our great state.”

Stanislaw Luberda, who addressed his fellow graduates, is a returning student who had worked as a videographer for about eight years before pursuing a degree in visual communications at MATC.

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From “November 16 is MATC Day in City of Milwaukee and Milwaukee County” – Elected officials from the City of Milwaukee, Milwaukee County and the state of Wisconsin celebrated Milwaukee Area Technical College’s centennial at a luncheon Nov. 16 on the college’s Downtown Milwaukee Campus.

Close to 150 business and community representatives gathered to mark 100 years of innovative education MATC has provided to area residents and businesses. MATC President Dr. Michael L. Burke, MATC District Board Chairperson Melanie Holmes and MATC Foundation Board Chairperson Dr. Robert Davis shared remarks with the luncheon attendees.

United States Senator Ron Johnson remarked in a letter that was read at the luncheon, “MATC has served as the ‘bridge to a better future’ for countless students pursuing degrees, diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships in 200 program areas. I commend your milestone and congratulate you and the thousands of staff members and educations who have made MATC a distinctive leader in the service of higher education.”


Gateway buries time capsule

November 10, 2011

From “Gateway buries time capsule” — Photos from the Journal Times show Gateway Technical College’s 100-year anniversary time capsule.

View Journal Times photos

From “Centennial Website Unveiled” – Western Technical College is celebrating its 100th year of education during the 2011-2012 academic year. In honor of the centennial anniversary, the college has created a website to highlight significant moments from the last 100 years.

The website,, explains how the college started in 1912 as a continuation school for adults, high school dropouts, and trade training. It chronicles the changes through the wars, recessions, and depressions in response to the needs of western Wisconsin. And, it describes how the college has developed into its present form, continuing to serve those original populations as well as degree-seeking students.

“Western has been in the same downtown La Crosse location for 100 years, and the college and the community have gone through many changes since then,” said Lee Rasch, Western president. “We hope those who visit the website will enjoy a glimpse of not only our history, but the history of the city, the state, and the country. It has certainly been an interesting century.”

A gallery of photos gives a visual timeline of the college’s expansion in La Crosse and into the regional locations as well. From two rooms in the Longfellow school building, Western has expanded to a 15-building campus in La Crosse, regional locations in Black River Falls, Independence, Mauston, Tomah, and Viroqua, and a public safety training center in Sparta.

A list of centennial events can be found on the site, and current students and staff, as well as alumni and retirees are able to share their memories. “We have the historical point of view from the college, but we’re hoping to add personal stories to the mix,” explained Rasch.

Retired employee Bert Hoch is credited for much of the information that appears on the site. A link to her History of Western Technical College document, completed in 2003, can be found there. Hoch worked with retired Dean of Industrial Technologies Bill Welch, Sr. to gather information about the early days of the college.

“We’re fortunate to have retirees who stay connected to the college and are willing help us document our rich history,” said Rasch. “We’re excited to tell people why the school was started here in La Crosse, and how it came to be what it is today.”


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