December 9, 2013
From wpr.org: “US Labor Secretary Visits Racine Technical College, Praises IT Training for Jobs” – By David Cole - U.S. Labor Department Secretary Tom Perez visited a technical college in southeastern Wisconsin yesterday, praising job training and highlighting a $23 million federal grant to Wisconsin tech schools.
Aaron Andrews is a former truck driver and current Gateway Technical College student who’s looking to better his life by launching a career in information technology. “[I'm] looking to graduate here in May, for IT network security specialist. With three more classes, I can actually have two associate degrees next year, for security analyst.”
The future is bright for students like Aaron, says Katie Gilbert of Teksystems, a firm that recruits IT professionals for other companies. She says the unemployment rate in the field is just four percent, even lower for people like Aaron: “We’re expecting to see a huge jump in demand for that particular skillset.”
Helping people like Aaron get the training they need to fill those job is the point of a $23 million federal grant that was recently received by the state’s technical colleges.
Appearing at a Gateway technology center yesterday to highlight the grant and to hear the stories of Aaron, Katie and others, was U.S. Labor Department Secretary Tom Perez. He had praise for the schools, noting that the grant, among the largest in a $2 billion federal initiative to expand training, was awarded on merit. “You have the elements of success! And it starts with partnership. It continues with having an industry-based approach.”
Officials hope the three-year grant will fund cutting edge IT training for some 3,000 workers statewide over the next several years.
December 4, 2013
From jsonline.com: “IT project to train workforce” — By Tom Perez, US Secretary of Labor - Information technology is a driver of the modern economy — in Wisconsin, nationwide and around the globe. But you don’t need to be Jeff Bezos to have a successful IT-related career.
The Wisconsin Technical College System has designed a new project that will allow more adult learners — in particular veterans, laid-off workers and others whose livelihoods have been disrupted by trade — to acquire the skills necessary to get good IT jobs.
During a visit Wednesday to Gateway Technical College in southeastern Wisconsin, one of the partners in this 16-college consortium, I will highlight a $23 million statewide grant that the federal government is making to support this innovative and dynamic curriculum.
I’m eager to see firsthand how federal dollars will improve Gateway’s ability to create a pipeline of workers with the IT competencies needed in advanced manufacturing. I’m looking forward to talking with students, with school officials from several of the community colleges and with the business partners who are essential to the program’s success.
The grant is a part of the U.S. Labor Department’s TAACCCT program; that stands for Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training. As an acronym, it leaves something to be desired. But as an investment in our community colleges’ capacity to prepare Americans for 21st-century jobs, it is critical and unprecedented.
Partnership on several levels is the key to the program’s success; indeed, it is a prerequisite for consideration for a grant. Local businesses in particular are directly involved so that the colleges are aligning their instruction — hand in glove — with local industry’s needs.
This kind of demand-driven approach is the only sensible way to build human capital and empower the workforce. There’s no point in offering a certification or credential in advanced widget manufacturing if no company in the area is hiring widget technicians.
Working in collaboration with several employer partners, the Wisconsin IT project will give people the training required to become everything from human resource specialists to multimedia artists, from web developers to pharmacy technicians. Grant dollars will be used throughout the Badger State — to enhance programs in computer support, to create new career pathways that combine health and IT-related skills and more.
Skills development is a pillar of President Barack Obama’s strategy to grow the economy from the middle out, not from the top down. We have a talented and resilient workforce. But for our workers to climb ladders of opportunity, they need us to strengthen the rungs. They need us to invest in their potential.
Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training does exactly that, helping workers learn precisely those state-of-the-art skills that employers need and that will keep our economy strong for decades to come.
The program is now in its third year, having pumped nearly $1.5 billion total into community colleges nationwide. The latest round of funding, announced earlier this fall, includes 57 grants that will support projects in every state, plus the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. They will expand programs in a range of growing industries including advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care.
The career training program helps businesses stay on the competitive cutting edge in a complex global economy. And for workers, it serves as a springboard into the middle class, catapulting them into jobs that can support a family and provide basic economic security.
We’re proud to help Wisconsin community colleges offer top-notch IT instruction. And the career training program overall is critical to the Obama administration’s mission of creating economic growth, opportunity and widely shared prosperity.
November 22, 2013
From kenoshanews.com: “Albrecht testifies before education committee in Washington” – A Congressional hearing on technical education included testimony from Gateway Technical College’s president.
Bryan Albrecht joined three other speakers at the session, hosted by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.
The hearing was titled “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: Improving the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.”
The hearing was part of Congressional discussions on renewing the act and its school funding to help with technical and career education.
The committee wanted to explore ways to improve the education programs given that students ages 16 to 19 have a 22 percent unemployment rate nationwide.
Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges and 423 secondary school districts had to split the roughly $20 million in Perkins funds given to the state for fiscal year 2013, Albrecht told the committee.
He said Gateway has used the funds to speed up help for dislocated workers and employees seeking new skills.
Businesses and schools also must work together to improve career and technical education in and after high school, he added. Gateway has joined with Snap-on Inc. and Trane to develop curriculum, training and industry certifications matching those companies’ skill needs, Albrecht said.
He also mentioned Gateway and SC Johnson have developed curriculum based on industry standards as the basis for the college’s boot camp manufacturing program. The boot camp, started at Gateway in fall 2006, is an accelerated program teaching skills in various fields.
He said Perkins money has been used so Gateway instructors could teach their curriculum in advanced engineering, manufacturing and information technology to LakeView Advanced Technology Academy juniors at that academy in the Kenosha Unified School District. Those students can earn between 18 and 40 college credits, giving them a post-secondary head start.
The college also has credit transfer agreements with the 14 high schools in Gateway’s jurisdiction, he added.
Albrecht said there’s been a decline in manufacturing jobs in southeastern Wisconsin, leading parents to encourage their children to study other fields.
A program called “Dream It. Do It.” attempts to explain modern manufacturing jobs to youngsters, he said.
“Numerical control is not standing in front of a lathe all day,” he said. “We have to use new ways of thinking about manufacturing.”
November 8, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “Community Newsletter: University of Wisconsin – Parkside” – With a little more than two months complete in the fall 2013 academic semester, University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford has been busy creating and strengthening opportunities for student success and community involvement.
In September, Ford and Gateway Technical College President Bryan Albrecht signed seven new transfer 2-plus-2 articulation agreements. Students graduating from Gateway Technical College with degrees in accounting, business management, marketing and supervisory management will have the opportunity to transfer into programs in the UW-Parkside College of Business, Economics, and Computing. Students graduating with a Gateway Technical College degree in graphic communications have the opportunity to transfer into UW-Parkside’s graphic design (art) degree program in the College of Arts and Humanities.
Depending on the degree, Gateway Technical College students will see 54 to 62 of their credits accepted at UW-Parkside. This is considered a true 2-plus-2 agreement, where students transfer into the university with junior standing.
“For decades, Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside have worked together to benefit our communities and provide the talent base our businesses and organizations need,” Ford said.
Most Gateway Technical College and UW-Parkside students live and work in southeastern Wisconsin, so the agreement has the ability to greatly impact area students, their families and businesses and organizations in the region.
October 1, 2013
From fox6now.com: “Gateway Technical College program helping dislocated, underemployed” — Welding bootcamp developed with employer cooperation and based on employer expectations. View video from Fox6now.com
September 25, 2013
From kenoshanews.com: “Gateway, Parkside strike transfer agreement” –
Gateway Technical College students graduating with degrees in accounting, business and supervisory management, marketing, and graphic communications can now transfer to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside as juniors and work toward bachelor’s degrees.
Gateway President Bryan Albrecht and Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford announced the new program agreements at a ceremony Tuesday at Parkside as their school mascots hammed it up behind them.
Because about 62 percent of Parkside graduates stay in southeastern Wisconsin, Albrecht said the effort ripples beyond the campuses.
“It’s all for us to provide stronger support for our communities,” Albrecht said.
Gateway student Greg Kiriaki, 29, said he’s looking forward to transferring to Parkside to earn a business degree.
He went to college for a semester straight out of high school, then worked in construction. He’s put down roots in Kenosha and said he appreciates the chance to complete his education without leaving the area.
“It’s nice to stay here without losing a chunk of my credits,” he said.
Gateway students like Kiriaki will see 54 to 62 of their credits transferred toward Parkside degrees.
The relationship between Gateway and Parkside goes back to the time before Parkside was even a university; Ford said the first UW Extension classes in the Kenosha area were held in Gateway buildings.
“For decades, we have worked together so our community residents could move their careers forward,” Ford said.
Parkside and Gateway already have similar agreements in general studies, HVAC/geosciences, civil engineering and physical therapy, and 94 students are enrolled at both schools.
August 19, 2013
From kenoshanews.com: “Gateway Technical College offers support for military veterans” — By John Krerowicz - Russel Timms, who survived three tours of duty in Iraq, faced challenging Veterans Administration paperwork after he decided to return to college.
“If I had had to fill all that out on my own, it would have been a nightmare,” said the 31-year-old U.S. Army veteran from Kenosha.
Timms had help from counselors at Gateway Technical College, which began emphasizing veteran services in December when officials were considering how to serve students better, said Anne Witte, a student support counselor on the Elkhorn campus.
Timms graduated from Gateway in May with an associate degree in electrical engineering technology. He has received other degrees from Gateway, too. He plans to attend the Milwaukee School of Engineering this fall for a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering.
He said making the college attractive to veterans is a good idea.
“It’s nice to see fellow soldiers getting an education and bettering their lives,” he said. “It makes sense as there are quite a few veterans going to school there.”
There aren’t figures on the number of veterans attending Gateway, mainly because the application used statewide for the 16 Wisconsin technical colleges did not ask about military service, Witte said. That changed this past school year.
However, Witte did say Gateway figures showed 36 students received state financial aid benefits for veterans and 272 received federal benefits during the 2007-2008 school year. That’s jumped to 205 receiving state benefits and 491 with federal help for the 2012-2013 school year.
Gateway offers veterans help with financial aid, job-related matters and psychological issues, said Barbara Wagner, student adviser at the Burlington center.
Student veterans sometimes go through mental and other health issues such as trauma, loss and grief, as well as possibly difficult transitions into school settings, Wagner said.
Gateway has licensed counselors who can help with brief therapy and referrals for long-term therapy, she said.
“In many cases they’ve come from structured daily activities and now they have a lot more freedom to decide what they’re going to do,” Witte added. “That often can be culture shock.”
Veterans sometimes have concentration, memory and irritability problems affecting their education.
“Sometimes we see they have hypervigilance, a constant state of threat awareness, especially if they’ve seen combat, and that raises their stress levels,” she said. “We try to get them to lowering that threat level.”
Assisting veterans is a way to show appreciation for those who have served the country, Witte said.
“This is a benefit they’ve earned,” she said, adding, “Look what they do for us. It’s an awful lot, the sacrifices they make. We want them to know they’re appreciated. We owe them that.”
Services for military veterans include:
– lunch gatherings on topics such as finances, social media and employment, employers’ needs, interviewing skills, resumes.
– “red shirt Fridays,” where the clothing could be bought with lettering about Gateway supporting U.S. troops.
– a scholarship fundraiser — the first for veterans, called “Boots on the Ground” — drew in almost $625. Continuing veteran students can apply for the funds between late August and mid-October. The first veterans scholarship is to be awarded at the January 2014 Continuing Student Awards Ceremony.
– the Student Veterans of America Club, a national organization the school joined several months ago.
Veterans who want to consider attending Gateway can call 1-800-247 7122.
July 22, 2013
From kenoshanews.com: “Gateway shows off remodeled energy labs” – Gateway Technical College hosted a gathering Thursday to feature its six remodeled and refurbished energy systems training labs on the Kenosha campus.
Beverly Frazier, college dean of manufacturing, engineering and transportation, said the spaces were stocked with almost all new equipment, some of it donated by local businesses. She estimated a value on the donated items at well past $100,000.
Larry Hobbs, Gateway heating, ventilation and air conditioning instructor, pointed out an $11,000 boiler that was donated to the college, for example.
“There are pieces here we couldn’t afford to buy otherwise,” he said.
The labs offer subjects such as sustainable energy, refrigeration, renewable energy and geo-exchange.
Some of the businesses also donated time to develop curricula, trainers and technical assistance during the four-year lab re-work. This is different from the traditional approach of a school buying its own equipment and developing its own courses, Frazier said.
“There has been a change in what industries’ needs are, and education should evolve with that,” she said. “We’re now more in tune with their needs, and they’re more involved with education” to make sure graduates have the skills the companies need.
Students are learning about a field but also practicing the skills, another shift from the typical lecture/note taking/exam approach, Hobbs said.
“Students use laptop computers to wirelessly turn equipment on and off and to record data,” Hobbs said.
Matt Gates, vice president/energy management services and solutions for Trane, which has several Wisconsin locations, said predictions are that job growth in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning field might grow 34 percent, as the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics has estimated through 2020. The labs were redone to help meet that need, school officials said.
“We will continue to have a need for, and we’ll be willing and able to hire, people with the technical skills to survive and succeed,” he told a group at the ceremony.
Morna Foy, Wisconsin Technical College System president, added that a course/program partnership between Gateway and Trane — whose 100th anniversary was acknowledged at the ceremony — has been a model for collaboration between education and business. She said working with industry is necessary so colleges know what skills are needed and how to improve teaching them.
“Employers say it’s tough finding folks with the skills they need,” said Foy. “A lot are frustrated. It’s also tough for educators to keep up, and it’s tough for students as well.”
Some businesses haven’t bought into the collaboration idea, he admitted.
“They’re not always willing to put the work into it, but it is worth it,” she said.
The six energy systems training labs on the Gateway Technical College’s Kenosha campus include facilities for teaching:
- Electric energy, with systems used in the heating, ventilation and air conditioning field
- Sustainable energy, focusing on alternative systems such as photovoltaic solar energy, solar thermal hot water, small wind and fuel cells
- Industrial heating, as well as cooling
- Refrigeration, including preservation of food industry products
- Residential heating and cooling, including gas and oil furnaces and heat pumps
- Geo-exchange, for home and small commercial use.
July 10, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “Gateway offers sustainability camp” – KENOSHA — Gateway Technical College is offering hands-on sustainability camp for students who have this year completed sixth through eighth grades. Camp will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. July 22-25 at the Center for Sustainable Living on the Gateway Technical College Kenosha Campus, 3520 30th Ave.
The Youth Leaders in Sustainability summer camp is a four-day event which provides students a way to engage in the “green” issues of the day. Experienced Gateway Technical College instructors and other local experts lead exploratory, hands-on activities in areas of water and resource conservation, forestry, bird ecology, urban farming, horticulture, environmental technologies and hands-on service learning projects.
Campers will build a solar car, learn how to plant and care for vegetables and build a freshwater filtration system, among many other activities. In addition to activities at the center, field trips are also planned.
Cost to attend is $99. Registration includes lunches, snacks and a T-shirt. To register, go to www.gtc.edu/webadvisor and select Professional Development, and then Youth Leaders in Sustainability. For more information, contact Stephanie Sklba at firstname.lastname@example.org or (262) 564-2662.
July 9, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “Gateway: no second referendum” – STURTEVANT — Gateway President Bryan Albrecht does not plan to go back to the public with a second referendum, but he said Monday something needs to be done for Gateway Technical College to continue offering law enforcement training.
Instead of pursuing another referendum for a public safety training center, Albrecht plans to explore partnerships, particularly with other government entities such as municipalities, he said Monday at a Gateway Technical College Board retreat at the SC Johnson iMET Center in Sturtevant, 2320 Renaissance Blvd.
In April residents across three counties, including Racine, voted down a $49 million funding request from Gateway for a package of construction projects that included a $15.6 million public safety training center.
The proposal included plans for a new 24-lane shooting range and an on-site driving course complete with simulated intersections, street lights and highway ramps.
The college has a five-lane shooting range in Kenosha, but it is in poor condition, Albrecht said. Also Gateway offers driving training at a rented parking lot at the former Dairyland Greyhound Track in Kenosha, but the future of the track is in limbo and Gateway officials do not know how long that option will be available.
If nothing is done, Gateway could lose its state accreditation to teach law enforcement classes, Albrecht said.
To continue offering law enforcement training, Albrecht presented the board with three options: renovating Kenosha’s campus for an estimated $6 million, another smaller referendum, or pursuing partnerships.
His recommendation, which the board agreed with, was to pursue partnerships with other local governments.
Albrecht understands other government entities’ spending is limited by state law, but he said some municipalities own land and former industrial buildings that Gateway could renovate and lease.
A “public-public partnership” is the ideal option Albrecht said because the Wisconsin Technical College System Board has not always approved public-private partnerships where the private sector partner generates income from the college, rather than donating funds.
Gateway is limited in how much it can spend to physically expand its campus by state law, but Albrecht said the college does not have similar state-imposed limits on improvements to leased properties.
Ideally Albrecht said he is looking to lease a property with a building of at least 40,000 square feet and 10 acres of land, where a driving track could be built.
He plans to report back to the Gateway board in October with an update on any possible partnerships.
Albrecht has looked at properties in Kenosha, Burlington and Racine, but he said he is having difficulty finding the optimal piece of property.
Scott Pierce, one of the members of Gateway’s board, said he supports the college’s law enforcement training. But if Gateway cannot get public support for a public safety training center, Pierce said the college should take a serious look at the program and decide if the college should continue offering law enforcement training.
“I know this is harsh,” Pierce said during the meeting. “But sometimes you have to cut your losses.”
Also Neville Simpson, another board member, questioned the value of spending a large amount of money on something that only benefits a small number of people.
But Albrecht said thousands of people every year come to Gateway for law enforcement training.
In the 2012-13 academic year an estimated 5,000 people took law enforcement training classes at Gateway, said Bill Whyte, Gateway’s vice president of human resources and facilities.
If the college was able to expand its facilities, Gateway projects enrollment in the college’s law enforcement training classes would jump 30 percent, according to Whyte.
Albrecht said Monday he does not plan on asking for another referendum for a public safety training center, but he said he does not want Gateway to eliminate its law enforcement training.
“I don’t consider that an option,” Albrecht said of eliminating the training. “It’s too important for the community.”
From bizjournals.com: “Gateway Tech launching aviation manufacturing program” – By Jeff Engel - Gateway Technical College will launch a new program this fall to meet industry demand for aviation manufacturing workers.
The program was developed in partnership with DeltaHawk Engines Inc. of Racine, which wants to create a pipeline of workers to fill projected openings.
It’s a two-semester diesel aviation manufacturing certificate program funded through a Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant that covers development of curriculum, equipment purchases and training assemblers and technicians.
“This certificate brings a variety of programs together, providing training for this career field which is expected to expand in the near future,” said Debbie Davidson, vice president of Gateway’s Workforce and Economic Development Division. “This training collectively offers skill development in the disciplines of our aviation, diesel and manufacturing programs.”
Gateway will hold public information sessions at Horizon Center for Transportation Technology, 4940 88th Ave., Kenosha, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on July 15 and from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on July 24.
June 25, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “Several Gateway Technical College students take honors” – Seven Gateway Technical College students captured honors at the national leadership conference of the Business Professionals of America held May 8-12 in Orlando, Fla.
Gateway Technical College students took first through third place in the following categories, competing against students from across the United States:
- First place: Web Design Team: Kasey Knudson, Kelly Kendra and Nicole Rugen.
- First place: Financial Math and Analysis: Mark Short.
- Second place: Presentation Management Team: Elizabeth Klinzing, Holly Anderson and Magan Lawrence.
Rugen also placed fourth in Graphic Design Promotion, Short placed sixth in Insurance Concepts and Klinzing took 10th in Interview Skills.
Students were judged by industry professionals who are able to also share their expertise with students.
BPA is the national career/technical student organization for students preparing for careers in the business field.
June 25, 2013
From itjungle.com: “Take a Survey, Help Gateway Technical College help you” – by Dan Burger –There are two ways to look at the IT skills shortage: macro and micro. Macro is an industry-wide view and micro is how the skills shortage affects the organization where you work. A week ago, in the But Wait There’s More section of The Four Hundred, readers were encouraged to participate in a survey designed to gauge the severity and focal points of the IBM i skills shortage. Equally important was the objective of matching up companies that are searching for talented entry-level workers with IT educations that included IBM i-related skills with the colleges that specialize in that training.
One of the best-known schools for IBM i education is Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin. Jim Buck, who guides the IBM i educational curriculum at Gateway and who is monitoring the survey responses, called me last week to say he had 81 responses from IBM i shops interested in collaborating on skills development and the idea of developing an improved pipeline of talent from two- and four-year colleges to their companies.
Buck is working with IBM’s Academic Initiative program and with the administrators at Gateway Technical College to apply for a Department of Labor grant that would further the development of a standardized IBM i curriculum that could be implemented at participating colleges and universities. In addition, with the help of the grant money, he plans to develop a “teach the teacher” program that would benefit schools where IBM i curriculum is in demand. Also in his sights is the building of advisory groups–made up of IBM i shops, independent software vendors, and IBM i business partners in the sales channel–at the schools.
Buck describes this as “industry-driven training” and he is emphasizing the role of IBM i shops in the preparation of training and the job placement support following the completion of training.
Receiving surveys from 81 companies in just one week had Buck ecstatic. He admitted that his best-guess estimate one week earlier was that maybe two dozen surveys would be completed. The surveys and the early indication of company interest will be used to support the Department of Labor grant request. Apart from the grant-writing process, Buck plans to contact the companies that participated in the surveys and guide them to colleges that can help them with current hiring needs as well as advice on setting up advisory councils at schools were training can be tailored somewhat to specific skills that are in demand.
Companies interested in helping themselves get connected to a skills pipeline while also helping the IBM i community and their local communities by hiring home grown talent can become participants by taking the survey, which is only a click away.
Do your part. Be helpful.
June 21, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Opinion: A partnership to fill jobs” – An article June 9 by the Journal Sentinel’s John Schmid provided an overview of the debate among researchers about the existence and extent of a skills gap in Wisconsin (“Program’s new approach to skills gap? Talk to employers”). However, the debate misses the immediate need to focus on a tangible solution. With area manufacturers working together with technical schools, we have an opportunity to begin that process.
We are in a manufacturing-rich region poised for growth. That growth is being squeezed by an increasing demand for advanced skills and an impending demographic shift that will mean too few workers to fill the void left by retirees. Time is of the essence to focus on action. Our ability to train, attract and retain talent to career pathways in manufacturing is simply critical to this region.
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Manufacturing Careers Partnership is a collaborative effort in the truest sense of the word. We share a common mission: to give people the skills they need to fill jobs and create a pipeline of talent now and in the future. The only way we can accomplish our mission is to have educational institutions, workforce development agencies and employers at the same table, talking — in detail — about their needs. And that’s exactly what we are doing.
Our first project, Welding 101, is designed to create a baseline of common skill requirements for entry-level welders among a significant number of employers and to improve manufacturers’ ability to attract and retain talent. To date, more than 50 companies have participated in a survey that asks, in great detail, what employers need from their welders on day one. As more employers complete the survey, we can move with confidence toward aligning course competencies across the region’s technical colleges.
We are pleased to be working in alignment with our manufacturers and our technical colleges: Gateway, Milwaukee Area, Moraine Park and Waukesha County, as well as the Wisconsin State Technical College System on this project. Together, we can give an individual employee the skills to succeed in a welding position and give employers a starting point for building a manufacturing career pathway.
Getting clear on what we, as technical colleges can teach, and we as employers, can then train, lays out a progressive and practical path to solving one of our region’s most pressing needs. We recognize that this project is a starting point. Workforce challenges are complex and the issues impacting the entire talent pipeline will not be solved with a single approach. But much like an entry-level position, we need to tackle Welding 101 and gain some experience and tangible success.
How you can help: if you are an employer of welders, please take the Welding 101 survey at www.mmac.org.
This op-ed was signed by Bryan Albrecht, president, Gateway Technical College; Dave Biddle, manager of technical services, Joy Global (MCP co-chair); Michael Burke, president, Milwaukee Area Technical College; Shelley Jurewicz, vice-president for economic development, MMAC/Milwaukee 7; David Mitchell, president, Monarch (MCP co-chair); Barbara Prindiville, president, Waukesha County Technical College; and Sheila Ruhland, president, Moraine Park Technical College.
June 21, 2013
From wiscnews.com: “Madison College finalists to visit Portage” — By Jen McCoy - The next president of Madison College will be one of three finalists who will visit the campuses next week.
After 33 applicants from around the nation, the finalists are: Stephen M. Curtis, president of Community College of Philadelphia; Jack E. Daniels, president of Los Angeles Southwest College; and Ann Valentine, chancellor of the Wabash Valley Region of Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana.
“They’re all highly accomplished in a number of areas, and I think it was reflective of Madison College with its national presence reflected in our pool of candidates. We’re very pleased,” said Jon Bales, District Board trustee.
Public forums have been scheduled for each of the MATC regional campuses and at its Truax campus in Madison. For Portage, the open meet-and-greet will be from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. from Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.
Valentine will be at the Portage campus on Monday.
“We’re hoping for and open to feedback directly from the public. There will be a chance for questions and answers, people can see what motivates them, how they interact,” Bales said.
Before joining Wabash Valley in 2011, Valentine served for six years as president of Minnesota State Community and Technical College. She has also served as vice president and provost at Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin for five years; as chief academic officer at Independence Community College in Kansas; and dean for general education at Moraine Park Technical College in Wisconsin. She coordinated the Interdisciplinary Health Professions Education Program in the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences at the University of Iowa while also developing and delivering curriculum for the program, according to a news release.
Jack E. Daniels
On Tuesday, Daniels will meet the public in Portage.
Prior to Daniels position as president of Los Angeles Southwest College in July 2006, he served for three years as president at Lincoln Land Community College.
Daniels served for five years as president of Central College, one of five community colleges within the Houston Community College System. He also served as a tenured psychology faculty member at Laney College and has held several administrative roles at other community colleges and a baccalaureate/graduate granting institution, according to the release.
Stephen M. Curtis
Curtis will be at the Portage campus on Wednesday.
In 1999, Curtis was named the fifth president of Community College of Philadelphia. He previously served as president of Hudson Valley Community College/SUNY and, in The City University of New York, as acting president of Queens College, acting president of Borough of Manhattan Community College, and as dean of academic affairs at the same institution, according to the release.
Bales said he hopes to have a new president for MATC chosen by the end of next week and installed this summer.
There will be high expectations for the new president Bales said.
“One is to maintain a culture of innovation and really help us with that the commitment the public has given us with the new facilities by turning them into meaningful programs for public, steer that well; Secondly, sustain an environment open to change, the rate of the change of applied fields is pretty dramatic, keep that momentum, and critical to keep community involvement. We want somebody who’s very engaging; and finally somebody who can really capitalize on our biggest asset, which is the faculty and staff,” he said.
Residents are encouraged to provide feedback by contacting Bales at 235-8622.
June 17, 2013
From itjungle.com: “Industry-Driven Training Aims at Skills Gap” – The skilled workforce is a big concern for all companies. In the IBM midrange community, you won’t find many people who believe it isn’t a problem. Potential entry-level employees with IBM i skills are scarce. And companies that are hiring tend to be particular about that. In most instances, organizations are not looking for one-dimensional individuals. Broad-based skills, including multiple languages and operating systems, are more the norm.
What’s being done to address this?
Some companies have found success when the IT and HR departments work together on a recruitment strategy that has close ties to colleges where IBM i skills are part of the computer science curriculum. They are on advisory boards that help determine the classroom subjects. It’s an effective strategy, but it’s not one in widespread use.
Replicating success is not difficult when you have a good template. That’s the thinking of Jim Buck, who is in the process of applying for a grant to do just that. Buck, who heads up one of the most successful IBM i educational tracks at the collegiate level for Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin, hopes the Department of Labor grant will allow Gateway to begin a program to train instructors at other colleges and universities. Among his priorities is helping other institutions set up advisory councils with IBM i shops.
At Gateway, Buck has an advisory council with 12 members representing IBM i shops. They help establish the curriculum and specific skills they view as important for the entry level jobs they hope to be filling now and in the years ahead. It’s the connection and collaboration between companies that need to replenish their workforces and the colleges that can best provide the skilled people that is critically (and I don’t use that word lightly) important.
Buck describes this as “industry-driven training” and he is emphasizing the role of IBM i shops in the preparation of training and the job placement support following the completion of training. The curriculum roadmap consists of three core classes: an introduction to programming, enterprise system concepts, and DB2 programming. The colleges and their advisory boards can select educational tracks to best fit business requirements and employment opportunities.
Gateway is relying on a consortium of community colleges across the U.S. (the 125-member National Coalition of Advanced Technology Centers), as well as schools that participate in the IBM Academic Initiative. The initial group of colleges that are expected to prove the program is viable includes: Muskegon Community College in Michigan, Central Piedmont Community College in North Carolina, the Community College of Baltimore County in Maryland, Metropolitan Community College in Nebraska, and Moraine Valley Community College in Illinois. Each of these schools will be developing partnerships with IBM i-based companies, including software vendors and IBM business partners.
The targeted student population includes college students as well as dislocated workers, the unemployed, veterans, and other adults. Those who complete the training will earn industry-recognized certifications, which will be spearheaded by COMMON.
There are a lot of companies in the IBM i community who could help themselves, help the IBM i community, and help their local communities by lending a hand to this. If your organization isn’t involved in an advisory council relationship with a tech school, the question needs to be asked, “Why not?” Is it because there is no plan for investment in IT personnel for the future? Is it because there’s no investment in IT infrastructure? For all the companies who say they can’t find people with the right skills, are there companies that believe in taking an active role to change that outcome?
“If this consortium of schools gets this grant–and they are asking for up to $25 million to build these centers of excellence–it will be the biggest step forward in teaching Power skills in the 17-year history of the Academic Initiative. This is an enormous step,” says Pete Glass, program manager of the Power Systems Academic Initiative. “But we need to have names to give the grant application strength.”
Companies that are interested in getting involved with this project can take the first step by completing a brief survey that, when compiled, will identify the severity of the skills gaps and rank their importance. Participation in the survey will result in follow up from the project coordinators who can help determine ways in which your company can benefit from this collaboration and how an effective skills pipeline can be hooked into your company.
June 10, 2013
From kenoshanews.com: “Job picture leads GTC to stop radiography program” – The 16 students enrolled to start the two-year radiography program at Gateway Technical College this September will be the last group to start the program for at least a few years.
According to Mike O’Donnell, dean of health sciences at Gateway, the program was closed to new applicants after school officials found a decline in the job market for graduates with radiography degrees.
After collaborating with an advisory committee, made of professionals from the southeastern Wisconsin area, O’Donnell and other Gateway officials saw the job market was steadily declining for recently graduated radiographers. These are the people who take X-rays, MRIs and the like at hospitals and medical centers.
In addition to the professional input, Gateway surveyed those who already had graduated with the degree and found they were working multiple part-time jobs, some of which involved working on call.
“There probably wasn’t going to be any full-time jobs with benefits in hospitals for the students,” O’Donnell said. “They aren’t hiring new radiographers.”
However, Jake Nunn, director of imaging with Aurora Health Care, said Aurora is hiring radiographers, but fewer of them as the demand has decreased because more are graduating with radiology degrees. A radiographer takes and processes the images; a radiologist is a doctor who interprets and diagnoses disease or injury from the images.
“In the past we saw a shortage of these candidates, but new training programs have created a growing number of applicants. Like Gateway, we have identified this shift and decreased the number of caregivers in our own training program,” Nunn said.
The radiography program is expensive, too, O’Donnell said. The price of running the program, license requirements, becoming accredited and the lack of jobs for graduates made Gateway officials question the program.
“We looked at all those factors and asked ourselves if the program was the best use of Gateway’s resources,” O’Donnell said. “We asked ourselves if it was ethical to take Gateway students’ tuition money if they’re not going to get a job when they graduate.”
In December, O’Donnell and his co-workers closed enrollment to the radiography program, despite having 100 students on a waiting list.
Gateway notified those on the waiting list and asked if they were serious about becoming radiographers.
After the group was narrowed, students that had been on the waitlist for the longest time were accepted into the final radiography program at Gateway.
Sixteen students, as well as four or five alternates, make up the class that will graduate in 2015.
Gateway advisers assisted the other students in choosing another program to enroll in or transferring to another college with an open radiography program.
“We got them (the students who didn’t get in) into other programs,” O’Donnell said, even in some programs that might have already been full. “We gave the students special accommodation because they had already been on the wait list for so long.”
Although some students were upset that they didn’t get into the program their chose, O’Donnell said that once the job market was explained, students weren’t as upset.
“Nobody wanted to invest time and money in something they weren’t going to get a job in,” he said.
From bizjournals.com: “Gateway Technical College manufacturing programs earn industry recognition” – Gateway Technical College’s advanced manufacturing programs have received the stamp of approval of a national industry group.
The Manufacturing Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based affiliate of the National Association of Manufacturers that is dedicated to improving and expanding U.S. manufacturing, has named Gateway a charter member of the institute’s “M-List,” which recognizes schools that prepare workers to the level of industry standards in advanced manufacturing.
Gateway is the only charter member in Wisconsin to receive the honor, the college said.
The list recognizes programs that are aligned with industry standards and that award students with credentials in the “NAM-Endorsed Manufacturing Skills Certification System.”
“With such a trusted standard, it takes the guesswork out of hiring welders, machinists, production workers and other key positions that make manufacturing hum,” the institute said.
The list includes community colleges, technical schools, high schools, four-year colleges and universities.
From kenoshanews.com: “Baldwin gets crash course in latest manufacturing technology in Kenosha” — U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin had an industrious day in the Kenosha area Wednesday. The freshman Democrat from Madison operated a laser engraver, carving her office’s slogan, “Fighting for Wisconsin!” into a refrigerator magnet, and she tried her hand at precision torque wrench use. And that was all before she co-piloted a simulated plane flight. Baldwin took in these demonstrations and more during tours of two Gateway Technical College facilities and a Kenosha manufacturing plant.
The senator visited Gateway’s SC Johnson integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology Center in Sturtevant and the Horizon Center for Transportation Technology in Kenosha — the latest stops in a survey of such facilities across the state, as part of an effort to study and promote workforce training and manufacturing job creation efforts.
“I don’t think you can have an economy built to last that doesn’t make things,” Baldwin said while at the iMET Center, a recently dedicated facility that includes a flexible manufacturing lab and training centers for computerized machining, welding and fabrication and other skills.
While Baldwin said manufacturing has taken some hits that cannot be controlled — not the least of which being the changing global marketplace — the senator said there are areas, such as worker training and education, where constructive action can be taken.
“We can, we must,” Baldwin said.
Impressed by GTC
Baldwin said she was impressed by what she saw at the Gateway facilities, where she heard about partnerships between the technical college and companies including Snap-on and Xten Industries, the latter of which she toured at the end of the day. She also joined a student for a cruise over Kenosha in a flight simulator and rubbed elbows with a dozen or so members of a welding/fabrication boot camp — a 15-week, full-time program that resulted in a 92 percent job placement rate for its last batch of graduates, said Mark Mundl of the Racine County Workforce Development Center.
“And that one guy who’s not working is lazy and has decided to sit on his couch,” Mundl told Baldwin.
Baldwin said she recently toured a similar, though more established manufacturing lab at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, which, she said, has brought significant benefits to that region.
“So this is a really great investment in this area,” Baldwin said, of iMET.
Baldwin’s on-the-ground research comes as she is serving on a Senate committee that, this summer, will likely study the reauthorization of the federal Workforce Investment Act, a 15-year-old law that serves as the framework through which federal dollars are delivered to local workforce programs.
Among the things Baldwin said she’s learned is the power of public-private partnerships.
“We have to think more creatively these days, because of the financial picture that we’re in,” Baldwin said.
An example Baldwin saw firsthand Wednesday was the mutually satisfying agreement between Gateway and Snap-on. Gateway needed to replace aging automotive education facilities in Kenosha and Racine, and Snap-on needed training programs for the high-tech diagnostic tools it now produces, explained Matt Janisin, an instructor at the center and coordinator for the National Coalition of Certification Centers, an international network of educators and corporations that supports training efforts.
“What started with one company and one school is now up to multiple companies and we’re up to 120, 125 schools across the country and one in Morocco,” Janisin said.
From kenoshanews.com: “New approach to EMS training stresses, continuity, mentoring approach” – A joint effort among three community entities has seen success in a new approach to a traditional emergency medical service training program.
Students this year have been exposed to the new training process organized by leaders from the Kenosha Fire Department, Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.
Kenosha Fire Department’s Division Chief of EMS Jim Poltrock said in the past, Gateway had its students complete their field time with the department, but there was little organization and consistency to the process.
“The way the program was set up before was kind of chaotic,” he said. “There was no structure, and students were jumping shifts and were randomly assigned to work with different professionals each time.”
The new approach assigns students to work with a specific EMS person to establish a relationship and better develop their skills and evaluate students more accurately.
“Continuity is key,” Poltrock said. “While working with the same person each day, preceptors are able to monitor what their personal skills are and focus on areas the student needs to improve on. They also become more comfortable in asking questions, because they’ve established more of a relationship.”
Crista Kruse, mentor Kenosha/Racine manager at the University Wisconsin-Parkside, has been involved in the implementation of the new plan this year through the UW-Parkside Center for Community Partnerships. The center bridges the university with nearby communities through extended learning opportunities. She said the more formalized approach is beneficial to students.
“The mentoring approach is kind of a new trend, and research shows it works,” she said. “It’s beneficial to both the employer and the student, so it’s a win-win.”
Both students and preceptors have to go through an application process and meet specific requirements to be a part of the program.
“Our agreement within this joint effort is that we’ll provide our best, and they send us their best,” Poltrock said.
Students in support
Both students and preceptors said the changes are successful and beneficial to everyone.
Kenosha Fire Department Capt. Steve Allemand, an EMS preceptor/peer mentor, said the traditional training program used to be “hit or miss,” because students would come and go, riding with different paramedics at different stations.
“Now, there’s more ownership, so it’s almost like it’s your own kid,” he said. “You can actually keep a better eye on them for how they’re progressing along. It’s a huge difference.”
Allemand said he has always enjoyed teaching and coaching his own children, so he was interested right away in becoming a teacher and mentor.
“Fire and EMS is kind of a family affair, so it really helps out that you have the same person there with you the whole time to get the full experience,” said Steffanie Olson, 24, who is enrolled in the program and close to completing her ride time with the Kenosha Fire Department.
“This program helps build your confidence as a medic, and it also helps facilitate the fact that they know where you’re at with things,” she said. “(Allemand) knows what I’m looking for in my education to make me a well-rounded paramedic at this point.”
Olson was among those who responded to a rollover injury accident on Friday. It was the first time she had been involved with Flight for Life in Kenosha, but she felt prepared.
“I always feel that I have a good support team here,” she said. “Even if I’m not sure on something, I can just look over my shoulder and someone will be there to give me a little extra support. These guys run a good ship, so it’s easy to pick up and jump in.”
Students work with the same shift every day, so everyone on the shift contributes to the training, Allemand said.
“We all have slightly different perspectives due to our position, age and rank, so it helps to give students a full view of what EMS actually is,” he said.
Overall, Allemand said the program will help southeastern Wisconsin have better EMS care, because the students are better trained for the future.
“It’s a vision that’s long term, and it’s going to be something very positive,” he said. “It’s hard to break the traditions of how things were done, but once people see the benefits to this and the positive repercussions of it, there’s absolutely no way places could not do this.”
May 15, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “First Urban Farm student joins Gateway grads” – KENOSHA — A Kenosha woman accepted her diploma Tuesday night, becoming the first student to graduate from Gateway Technical College’s Urban Farm advanced certificate program.
Diana Haglund was joined by about 340 fellow Gateway graduates at the ceremony held at the University of Wisconsin–Parkside Sports and Activity Center, 900 Wood Road, in Kenosha, that recognized those graduating from the 2013 spring and summer semesters.
“It’s really nice to see someone who grabs something like this and takes off with it,” said Gateway Urban Farm Director and horticulture instructor Kate Jerome about Haglund, the first person to receive a certificate from the program which started in the spring of 2012. Haglund also received two associates’ degrees in horticulture, according to Gateway spokesman Lee Colony.
The ceremony recognized 770 prospective students from the 2013 spring and summer semesters. The total number of students in this year’s class is lower than previous years because Gateway held its inaugural December graduation ceremony in 2012, which recognized 527 students, according to Colony.
The 2013 Distinguished Alumni Award was presented to Waukegan Fire Department firefighter and paramedic Nathan Skewes, of Yorkville, who graduated in 2006 from the college’s Fire Science program. Skewes has been recognized for his excellence by his employer and recently qualified for the world finals of the Firefighter Combat Challenge, in which contestants compete against one another in a physically demanding course that simulates on-the-job situations.
The night’s keynote address was delivered by Jean Moran, CEO of Label Makers, Inc., who is credited with introducing a number of programs designed to grow the company and empower employees, including continuing education and tuition reimbursement programs.
Earlier on Tuesday, a ceremony was held for the college’s high school graduation and HSED/GED completion.
A student from each county’s campus was awarded the Second Effort Award and a $250 Gateway scholarship. The recipients were Nick Greening from the Racine campus, Shenendoah Doran from the Kenosha campus and Darien Martinez from the Elkhorn campus.
May 13, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Gateway Technical College offers its ‘fab lab’ in Sturtevant for small-business use” – When Pioneer Products Inc. was asked to make the tooling for a boat part that was designed in Germany, cast in Missouri, for use by a manufacturer in Florida, the Racine company used three-dimensional printing for a prototype that could be shared by everyone in the manufacturing process.
With 3-D printing, objects can be replicated by laying down successive, ultrathin sheets of plastic, metal or other materials from a computer drawing.
It’s like using a hot glue gun that’s controlled by a computer.
The process, more correctly called additive manufacturing, is already widely used in industry. Elaborate “printers” construct sophisticated parts, not just with plastic, but also with metals.
For the rest of us, a basic 3-D printer, fed by spools of plastic filament, can be bought for as little as $1,300.
As the cost of the technology comes down, more manufacturers, inventors and artists are using it to make either prototypes or finished products.
Three-dimensional printing can save a lot of time and money in the design process, said Dan Defaut, a manager with Pioneer Products, a machine shop that does work in a variety of industries including automotive, marine, medical and aerospace.
Gateway Technical College, in Sturtevant, has partnered with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and other colleges on rapid prototyping projects that use 3-D printing.
Manufacturers – and anyone else – can use Gateway’s design fabrication laboratory for training or building a prototype with the latest technologies.
“A company like S.C. Johnson has a full slate of 3-D printers and experts on staff, so they can handle this. But smaller companies are working with us so they don’t have to buy all of this equipment,” said Greg Herker, fabrication lab program coordinator.
“We are targeting small and midsize companies. We also are trying to target more artists, architects and others, because that’s how the real world works. Products aren’t just designed by engineers,” Herker said.
An array of uses
Gateway is part of a not-for-profit program aimed at developing and expanding industry in southeast Wisconsin and northern Illinois.
That program, called the State of Ingenuity Initiative, funds a business incubator and laboratory in Rockford, Ill., that does rapid prototyping with 3-D printing using materials not yet available at Gateway.
“Our function in life is to help businesses grow so they can hire more people,” said Mike Cobert, director of the Eiger Lab, in Rockford.
Three-dimensional printers are now making all kinds of things, including medical devices, replacement parts for airliners, architectural models, jewelry and customized salt shakers.
Eiger Lab was hired to replicate museum artifacts in Italy because, by Italian law, the original items could not be taken from the museum for traveling exhibits.
The copies were sent to an Illinois company that cast them in bronze.
Eiger did something similar for the U.S. Capitol, where officials wanted to replace a chandelier. It also has done work for large companies that want 3-D printing for projects but don’t want to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the advanced equipment required for that type of work, partly because the technology is constantly changing.
Three-dimensional printing is well-suited for short production runs, one-off items where setting up a full production line wouldn’t be practical or affordable, and to make items suitable for sales pitches and meetings with investors.
It’s used for making customized prosthetics, where an exact fit is critical.
“Originally, this was just a model-making program. But right now, I think we are at the point where we are seeing many of the things that can be done with 3-D printing,” Herker said.
Affordable printers are lowering the cost of entry into manufacturing in the same way that e-commerce lowered the barriers to the sale of goods and services, according to Gartner Inc., a Stamford, Conn., firm that follows technology trends.
Printers for hobbyists, who want to make things like jewelry and craft items, cost less than $2,000. Recently, the office supply retailer Staples began offering a 3-D printer that can produce objects in 16 colors and is aimed at the small-business market.
“It’s not that hard to operate the equipment. Once you have the design file, it’s almost like sitting at your computer and selecting the ‘print’ button,” Herker said.
The technology has spawned businesses such as 3D Creations, a Milwaukee firm that envisions a world where people have a printer at home that could download and make a replacement part for something like a vacuum cleaner.
The printers also are useful tools for inventors, said Jesse DePinto, co-founder of 3D Creations.
“It’s kind of like the do-it-yourself culture on steroids. There are people who want to make their own products, either to save money or because they can’t find what they want at the store,” he said.
Three-dimensional scanners, which scan objects and create the drawings used by 3-D printers to make things, are advancing the technology in ways now only imaginable.
“Ten years from now, assuming there’s a utopia where everybody has their own printer, not everybody will know how to design things with CAD (computer-aided design) software. So the easiest way would be to have a hand-held wand where you could scan something and replicate it,” DePinto said.
3-D PRINTED GUNS
A Texas company recently said it used a 3-D printer to make a plastic gun capable of firing real bullets and passing unnoticed through metal detectors, and that it posted the schematics online for anyone to use.
Critics say the technology means someone could open a gun factory in their garage, and that plastic guns could be manufactured by terrorists using readily available 3-D printers.
In theory, anyone could download the plans and use them to manufacture a weapon.
From Chicagotribune.com: Corporate Leaders at Harper Event Urge Community College Presidents to “Talk to Us” – Executives representing some of the largest manufacturers in the U.S. urged community college presidents to reach out and form partnerships to help them train desperately needed middle skills workers.
Middle skills workers fill positions that typically require more than a high school diploma but less than a bachelor’s degree.
The recent resurgence in American manufacturing has created steep demand for middle skills workers with math, communication and problem-solving skills, especially in today’s high-tech manufacturing environment. Some middle skills jobs pay more than jobs requiring a bachelor’s degree, with median salaries often eclipsing $50,000.
“Assembly and manufacturing positions are among the toughest roles to fill,” said Alan May, Vice President, Human Resources at Boeing Defense, Space and Security. “Finding this talent is key to meeting increasing customer demand for our products while helping to improve the U.S. economy and bring down unemployment.”
The call for closer college and corporate partnerships came at a skills summit at Harper College in Palatine, which brought together human resources executives from Fortune 500 companies and community college leaders from across the country. In addition to manufacturing, the summit attracted human resources executives from other sectors, including retail, health care, logistics/supply chain and information technology, who also reported difficulties in filling middle skills jobs. The conference was sponsored by The HR Policy Association’s Workforce Development Roundtable, Motorola Solutions, Harper College and the Community College Auto Communities Consortium.
Corporate leaders said part of the disconnect between employers and colleges may stem from the difference between their fast-changing business environment and, what they say is the often slow pace of changing curricula and programs to meet their needs.
“Frequently we talk about our speed and education’s speed,” said Molly Steffen, Recruiting Manager at Caterpillar. “We’ll have a [training] program, then suddenly the technology changes and the job is different.”
Community college presidents acknowledge cumbersome academic processes can be frustrating for both sides, but they say working to close the time gap and collaborating closely with corporate partners to stay ahead of the technology curve can pay off for everyone.
“The stronger the relationship and the communication is between community colleges and employers, and the more we struggle though this journey together, the better opportunity we have to be the right side of the curve.” said Dr. Steven Ender, President of Grand Rapids Community College.
Bruce Brda, Senior Vice President of Motorola Solutions, said the explosive growth of high-tech communications and mobile applications and platforms means he can’t predict what his workforce needs will look like in the next five years, but said active communication with community colleges is critical to make sure new employees have skill sets they need to be successful.
“Work is changing drastically and at an even faster pace than previously seen in business,” said Brda. “The skills for future employees continue to evolve, and the only way to stay aligned is to communicate our needs with educators.”
Employers say finding workers with the right technical skills is only half the battle. They say they often find newly hired employees can’t pass a drug test or turn out to have a poor work ethic.
You can be the best welder we have, but if you don’t show up every day, obviously that’s inefficient for us,” said Steffen. “Especially people new to their careers, they have the world in front of them but they may lose that opportunity if they are unable to fulfill their commitment to work.”
To help combat the problem, community colleges such as Gateway Technical College in Wisconsin have begun emphasizing soft skills including interviewing, personal presentation and communication skills along with technical training.
“We tell our students they’re not applying for a job when they graduate from college, they’re applying for a job when they enroll in college,” said Bryan Albrecht, President and CEO of Gateway Technical College. “They have to be constantly thinking about what it takes to be successful, and that starts with professionalism, the way you respond to your teachers, businesses on campus and the community.”
To help close the skills gap and evaluate a student’s work ethic, companies are looking at supporting more paid internships similar to those offered through Harper’s advanced manufacturing program, which promises a paid internship with local manufacturing partners after a student completes four classes. The program recently was awarded a $12.9 million federal grant to replicate the partnership throughout Illinois.
Executives and college presidents say finding and training middle skills workers of the future cannot be ignored any longer. A recent report by Georgetown University predicts the U.S. will be short at least 3 million high-tech workers by 2018. Summit attendees say the need to find solutions and act quickly has never been more urgent.
“One of the messages of the summit is this: if we are to have a real partnership and a real relationship with corporations, we have to deliver,” said Harper College President Dr. Kenneth Ender. “We can’t over-promise, but whatever we take on, we have to deliver.”
From journaltimes.com: “Computer boot camp offered” – RACINE — A Youth Computer Numerical Control Boot Camp will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday beginning July 15 to Aug. 30 at the SC Johnson iMET Center.
This is the first time this program is being offered in Racine County. The program connecting youth and local employers prepares Racine County youth for a career in manufacturing. Working with local employers and educators, the Racine County Workforce Development Center and Gateway Technical College are implementing the program this summer for the upcoming school year.
The Youth CNC Boot Camp will have the same curriculum as the adult boot camp, but the boot camp for youth will extend over longer periods of time. When the school year begins, students will attend their high school in the morning and boot camp classes at the iMET Center during the afternoon.
Students wishing to participate need to be at least 17 years old and entering their senior year of high school. Students will earn a high school diploma and college credit from Gateway Technical College upon completion of their senior year. The value of the training is $4,000, however, as a result of a grant from SC Johnson, there will be no cost to the student.
Students applying to the program will be required to visit a local manufacturing facility which employs CNC operators. Tour dates and times are included with the application materials.
Employers participating in the program will provide work experience and mentoring to the student working at their host site, and will interview and select the student who will be placed at their facility.
Employers interested in being a host site should contact Valerie Hanson (262) 638-6603 or email@example.com at the Racine County Workforce Development Center.
April 12, 2013
From journaltimes.com: “Governor’s manufacturing message resonates at Gateway” – STURTEVANT — As Gov. Scott Walker shook hands around the room at Gateway Technical College’s SC Johnson iMET Center Thursday, Brandon Dear pressed a small metal disc into the governor’s hands.
“It was kind of a token of appreciation,” explained Dear — a welding circle with the technical college’s name and Walker’s initials stamped into the metal.
Walker spoke Thursday at the iMET, or Integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology, Center as part of his Forward Manufacturing Tour, a statewide speaking circuit designed to connect with manufacturers and reinforce the value of the evolving industry to Wisconsin’s economy.
Dear, 24, was one of several Gateway students in attendance, along with local officials, business owners and state leaders who braved the rain to reach the center at 2320 Renaissance Blvd. in Sturtevant.
The governor reinforced positions from his state budget, including closing the skills gap through job training, and starting career tracks and workforce development training earlier. He talked about expanding exports to China, something the governor’s upcoming tour to the country is designed to foster.
Walker also summoned his oft-used punching bag to the south to favorably compare Wisconsin’s pension system, business taxes and bond rating to those in Illinois.
Those factors aside, in recent months Illinois’ job growth has actually increased at a faster rate than Wisconsin’s, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, which recently knocked the dairy state to No. 44 in job growth nationally.
Walker announced plans to stimulate those stumbling numbers by convening local business and political leaders near state lines, and “invite hundreds of northeastern Illinois manufacturers to come up and visit us.” The goal, he said, is to show them the state’s positive business climate and incentivizing tax credit, ideally luring businesses across state lines.
To Dear, those promises are personal. Gaining skills means getting a job, he said, and getting a job means providing for his family, including a three-year-old daughter.
Although he was more or less ambivalent on the governor’s specific proposals, Walker’s core idea really resonated with Dear: “We do need a lot more jobs,” he said. “We need skills to get a job that supports our families. (Gateway) gives us those skills.”