November 19, 2013
From hispanicbusiness.com: “Lakeshore Technical College receives Department of Labor grant to train health care IT workers” – Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) recently received a grant of$897,039 to enhance and expand career pathways for dislocated workers, veterans, and other adult learners, to build a skilled workforce in the information technology (IT) sector within health care. The grant is part of a larger $23.1 millioninvestment by the U.S. Department of Labor to Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges to address emerging needs in the IT sector.
The announcement was made by LTC President Dr. Michael Lanser to kick off a presentation at LTC’s Cleveland campus onNovember 6 on Health Care and the Health Care Workforce in Wisconsin. LTC plans to use the grant dollars to establish three new programs which will combine health and information technology skills to create more career pathways.
The Health Information Management Program will be accessible completely online. The Health Information Technician Certificate will provide Information Technology students with the knowledge & skills needed to put their IT degree to work in a health care setting, while students pursuing clinical careers will have the opportunity to add an information technology certificate to their education credentials. The grant will also impact future Pharmacy Technician students who will work with a new, state-of-the-art Pharmacy software system. Students in these areas will be immersed in hands-on learning throughout these programs and will be issued a tablet computer for regular and ongoing use throughout their program.
“We are excited about these initiatives and we look forward to ensuring our future students graduate with the most relevant health care education to meet employer needs, ” said Lanser.
Judy Warmuth, Vice President-Workforce Development Wisconsin Hospital Association was the keynote speaker for the event. In her presentation, Warmuth expressed the need for having qualified individuals in these career fields.
“Health care will be a strong employment sector well into the future,” said Warmuth. “There are many, many kinds of jobs in health care and new ones will emerge and jobs in health information technology, care management and population health will be especially strong.”
Wisconsin’s technical colleges received one of the largest single awards from the Department of Labor’s investment, and the collaboration makes the technical college system one of the few applicants to receive back-to-back grants. In the previous round, LTC shared in an $18.3 million grant to expand innovative programs that produce high-skilled workers in advanced manufacturing.
November 13, 2013
From wisconsinagconnection.com: “Ag Business Export Training Sessions to be Held” – Food and agricultural companies can build an export plan in just three months by participating in the ExporTech training program. The course consists of three day-long sessions spaced one month apart, plus individualized assistance to develop a comprehensive export expansion strategy. Since 2010, this program has successfully helped about 75 Wisconsin businesses rapidly grow export revenue.
The sessions will be held at Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland on November 21, December 12 and January 23. One-on-one coaching will be provided between sessions.
Session outcomes will include development of an executable export strategy, identification and removal of export obstacles, identification of ideal export markets and the creation of a practical international growth plan. Experts will provide insight into potential overseas markets, management of logistics, and how to best meet documentation and certification requirements. At the completion of the ExporTech program, participating companies will have the tools they need to begin or streamline their exporting effort.
ExporTech sessions are geared toward company leaders including owners, CEOs or other executives. Companies producing value-added products, grains, fruits, vegetables, ginseng, livestock genetics, wood products and more should consider attending.
The program is presented by the Wisconsin Manufacturing Extension Partnership, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture and Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation.
The cost is $5,000 per company, and scholarships are available to cover half of the cost. For more information, contact the WMEP at 262-442-8279.
November 7, 2013
From fox6now.com: “Gov. Scott Walker visits Lakeshore Tech. College on Wednesday” – Governor Scott Walker toured Lakeshore Technical College on Wednesday, November 6th to learn about their apprenticeship program and mobile training lab. Lakeshore Technical College is hosting a two-week public open house of its facilities and lab to celebrate Manufacturing Month.
“Lakeshore Technical College is providing critical, high-quality training to students, employees, and high school teachers,” Governor Walker said. “We need partners in the technical college system and business community to make our commitment to worker training a success. Manufacturing Month was about more than just touring technical colleges and manufacturing companies. We wanted to take the opportunity to emphasize how a job in manufacturing is a great family-supporting career and one that is full of highly skilled and innovative workers.”
Lakeshore Technical College offers training to high school students, summer training for high school teachers, and assessments of workers’ skills and competencies.
Their mobile lab allows the college to provide on-site training in industrial maintenance and programmable logic controls.
The lab also helps high school students earn up to five credits in the electro-mechanical technology program; these credits help students enter the workforce quickly after graduation.
The fall legislative agenda includes additional investments in apprenticeship training, incentives for high school students who graduate with job ready credentials, and scholarships for students at technical colleges.
Additionally, the budget provided funding for career planning beginning in 6th grade.
Many times our students do not understand the potential a career in manufacturing can have for them. These investments are part of our commitment to growing the manufacturing industry and ensuring our students are ready for a career as soon as they enter the workforce.
November 4, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Thriving manufacturing sector shows it stuff at Expo” – The breadth and depth of Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector was on display at the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference.
Clintonville’s Specialized Products Ltd., Middleton’s Meridian Laboratory, Green Bay’s The Lake Companies and many others demonstrated why Wisconsin is the nation’s second-largest manufacturing state. More than 16 percent of the state’s economy is tied to manufacturing, and to hear business representatives tell it Thursday at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay, business is good.
Gina Webster of Specialized Products said a statement that Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector grew 35 percent during the last four years seems right.
“That sounds pretty consistent with what we experienced,” she said. “This year has been down a little, but last year we had a fantastic year.”
The positive attitude among Wisconsin manufacturers also reflects a national trend. U.S. factory activity expanded in October at the fastest pace in 2½ years. Overseas demand and healthy U.S. auto sales appear to be supporting factory output. The housing recovery is also lifting the furniture and wood products industry despite a recent slowing in home sales.
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for October rose to 56.4 from 56.2 in September. A reading above 50 indicates growth.
U.S. factory activity has now risen at an increasingly fast pace for five straight months, according to the ISM’s index. In October, a measure of new orders rose slightly. And a gauge of production fell but remained at a high level. Factories added jobs, though more slowly than in September.
Factories also expanded in Europe this month, though at a slightly slower pace, according to surveys in that region. Manufacturing indexes have all picked up in China, Japan, and South Korea.
The overseas strength is boosting demand for U.S. factories. A measure of export orders jumped to its highest level in nearly a year and a half in October, the ISM report said.
Meridian Laboratory in Middleton is representative of many small Wisconsin businesses that do precision work for global distribution. A quarter of its rotary-electrical products go to Korea and 20 percent to Japan. It has a growing presence in China, and the rest goes to customers throughout the United States. The company has 11 employees. Most of them have been with the company for 20 years or more.
The company’s willingness to do small precision orders fills a niche, said Sven Krause, new business development manager.
“We are small, specialized and specific,” he said.
Specialized of Clintonville specializes in wire-harness assembly, electromechanical assemblies, soldering, mold production and prototyping, among other things. The company has 130 employees.
“Probably our biggest problem is we’ve grown so fast in 20 years,” Webster said.
For The Lake Companies, the challenge is finding workers with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and manufacturing experience. The software services vendor has 35 employees.
“We have always been challenged at that,” said Karen Sikorski, senior account manager.
One solution has been to hire former employees of customers — they don’t go after current workers — or find people with ERP experience in other industries.
Sikorski said a number of their customers are expanding, adding either work areas or employees.
Creating new manufacturing workers was one theme of Thursday’s event. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College of Green Bay and Lakeshore Technical College of Cleveland were on-site with mobile training labs, and groups of high school students toured the exhibit hall, which had more than 130 vendors.
The mobile labs allow the college to expose high school students to up-to-date equipment.
“As you drive down to the high school level, the biggest challenge you have is facilities,” said Peter Thillman, dean of workforce and economic development at Lakeshore. “That’s the big thing, to get the equipment in their hands.”
Kevin Grabian, instructor for NWTC, said jobs are available to those who want and prepare for them.
“You can come out of TC with an electromechanical degree and have your pick,” he said. “You can’t be just an electrical guy or just a mechanical guy. They want both.”
The expo was sponsored by First Business Bank-Northeast, Insight magazine and NEW Manufacturing Alliance.
November 4, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Continuing education a must for Ag producers” – More and more, producers are seeking training to stay knowledgeable in the ever-evolving landscape that is the agriculture industry.
Lakeshore and Moraine Park Technical Colleges have been providing continuing education for adult agricultural producers for nearly 40 years. The Farm Business and Production Management Program provides training to emerging managers and seasoned producers in five different areas of continuing education.
A mainstay in Wisconsin agriculture, the program supports Wisconsin’s largest industry — agriculture. Each year, one of five individual courses is offered. The focus this fall/winter will include transferring the farm assets and management to the next generation, interpersonal skills, employee management and creating a safe farm working environment. The new program starts in late October and runs through the end of June 2014.
The Farm Safety section has been added to the course offering for this year. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, which is part of the U.S. Department of Labor, recently began dairy farm inspections in Wisconsin. Our goal in teaching farm safety is to assist producers to make sure their farms are safe places to work and see that the dairy would pass an OSHA inspection.
As farms in eastern Wisconsin have grown so have the number of employees on these operations. When I started my career as a dairy herdsman in western Pennsylvania, farm employment was one of the least desirable jobs. Today, the work is not nearly as long and physical as it once was.
In fact, these positions are extremely complex and require professional staff with computer skills, mechanical ability, an understanding of livestock physiology, skills with people management, and a full understanding of business management.
In the future, opportunities in agriculture will certainly attract some of the best minds. These jobs range from $30,000 to over $75,000 per year. How many jobs in eastern Wisconsin pay in that range? Our youth will not have to leave their homes to seek great employment opportunities outside of the state.
Participants in the programs range in age from 18 to the late 50s with an average age of 30. Both men and women participate. Enrolling students are employees on large dairies, many are the sons and daughters of the owners of their businesses, some are from Hispanic backgrounds and some are agriculture business professionals. The average size dairy operation of those participating in the program is just over 300 cows and 500 acres.
Because the program is delivered in a variety of methods, participants tend to stay involved for many years. With the rapid change in technology, continuing education becomes a must if an agricultural company is to remain viable from one generation to another. The discussion groups meet at several venues in rural communities.
Farm tours are also part of the way the program is conducted. The classroom sessions are discussion-based and focus on the challenges faced on today’s farms. Classes meet 10 times through the winter months or about every other week at the Boltonville Fire Station, Regional DRR office in Plymouth, Moraine Park Campus in Fond du Lac and the Pizza Ranch in Waupun. The class time is a combination of lecture, discussion, problem solving and application of what has been delivered.
Enrolled students also can attend the cutting-edge seminar series. The Progressive Operators series include daylong seminars held at Lakeshore Technical College and are sponsored by the LTC Farm Business Program and the eastern Wisconsin Extension Service. The 2014 program will be titled “Would you work for you?”
Topics for the Dec. 6 program include business place culture, delegation, empowerment, the importance of standardizing procedures and employee training. Also on the first day, an immigration attorney will share the latest information related to congressional legislation and work visas. The Jan. 31 program will entertain human resource issues such as motivating, retaining and facilitating good communication in your business.
Greg Booher is a Farm Business & Production Management instructor at Lakeshore Technical College working in many counties in eastcentral Wisconsin. Contact him at (920) 960-0551 or emailhim at firstname.lastname@example.org.
October 23, 2013
From iwantthenews.com: “Manufacturing Mobile Lab to visit High School” – Lakeshore Technical College will celebrate Wisconsin Manufacturing Month by conducting a two-week public tour of its Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Lab to local high schools and job centers in October.
Anyone interested in learning more about today’s high tech and high demand careers in manufacturing will have an opportunity to talk to LTC staff and participate in demonstrations of the same type of equipment that manufacturers use on a daily basis.
The Advanced Manufacturing Mobile Lab will visit Kiel High School on Oct. 24 from 3 to 5:30 p.m. and will also make six other stops in Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties in the last half of October for the public to learn more about today’s high tech and high demand careers in manufacturing.
October 17, 2013
From iwantthenews.com: “Amerequip earns regional youth award” — Amerequip, a manufacturer of custom equipment for the lawn, landscape, agricultural and construction markets, will receive the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance’s Youth Apprenticeship Award at the Excellence in Manufacturing Partnership Awards on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.
The award is one of several to be given out at the event, which will spotlight best practices of manufacturing/education partnerships throughout the New North region.
Amerequip has a long standing commitment to ongoing educational programs. in particular, Amerequip has been an active participant in several innovative internship and apprenticeship programs offered through the State of Wisconsin and several of Wisconsin’s technical colleges.
Lakeshore Technical College nominated Amerequip for the award for its partnershp with the Sheboygan Youth Apprenticeship program, which provides training and job skills while students are in high school. The firm currently has five high school apprentice students training with them in the areas of welding, quality assurance, engineering, assembly and machining, with the goal of growing the program to 10 students annually going through the Amerequip program. As a result of Amerequip’s lead in the YA program, other small local manufacturers have joined the effort, with 65 students now participating in the program.
September 30, 2013
From shoeboyganpress.com: “LTC offers active shooter, workplace violence seminars” – Lakeshore Technical College is offering seminars intended to help the public respond to incidents of school or workplace violence. Seminars will be held Oct. 16 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Nov. 14 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on the Cleveland campus in the Public Safety building.
The seminar will address school and workplace violence, with a major emphasis on the active shooter. Participants will learn how to respond to threats, what to expect from law enforcement’s response, what to teach children about the immediate actions to take when confronted by an active shooter and what plans businesses and citizens should have in place in case an incident occurs.
The seminar is designed for everyone, especially parents and those in the business and school community, according to a news release.
Instructor Jason Wilterdink, who has 15 years of experience as a law enforcement officer, is a full-time instructor at LTC, a master instructor in use of force and is certified by several organizations as a firearms instructor. He also has served as an instructor and expert witness in self-defense, training, safety, security, health, wellness and fitness.
Wilterdink also served in an international police mission for the United Nations where he served in Liberia as the team leader for the crowd control team and lead instructor for physical security, operational security and civil unrest in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1509.
The cost of the seminar is $89. To register by phone with credit card, call 888-468-6582, ext. 1366.
September 6, 2013
From htrnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College building expansion begins” – CLEVELAND — Lakeshore Technical College’s building expansion and renovation project, announced in late April, began when ground was broken on July 25. By expanding the college’s Flexible Training Arena and renovating the Trade and Industry building on the Cleveland campus, LTC will help fill local manufacturers’ pressing need for welders, machine tool and industrial maintenance workers while alleviating waiting lists, according to a news release from LTC.
The project will be completed in two phases, the first of which is expanding the 18,000-square-foot Flexible Training Arena to 32,400 square feet. Remodeling of the Trade and Industry building will begin in January. The project will allow for more graduates, and updated equipment will train workers with the machining, welding and robotic skills that manufacturers need.
“Thanks to the support of local business and individuals, we’ve been successful in raising enough private funds to break ground,” LTC President Michael Lanser said in the news release. “Our first additional class will graduate and be employment ready by August 2014.”
Nearly $900,000 has been raised thus far as part of the first capital campaign in the college’s 100-year history. LTC hopes to raise $2.1 million in private funds to help offset the $6.1 million project, and it now will broaden its reach to local communities for support.
“By collaborating with local business and philanthropic organizations to help fund the project, we are able to reduce public funding to the point of not requiring a referendum,” Lanser said. “It allows us to address our local manufacturers’ employment needs more quickly.”
A recent report from the U.S. Commerce Department shows Wisconsin ranks second among all states in manufacturing earnings. Manitowoc County derives 29 percent of all earnings from manufacturing. According to a report prepared for Gov. Scott Walker by former Bucyrus Erie CEO Tim Sullivan, the manufacturing worker shortage will reach a critical stage in 2018 as Wisconsin must fill 925,000 jobs, many of them in the skilled trade area, due to growth and baby boomer retirements. In the Lakeshore area alone, an annual average of 293 openings exists for machinists, welders, millwrights, industrial and maintenance mechanics, electricians and electromechanical workers.
LTC currently has capacity to provide an average of fewer than 100 graduates for those positions, and the lack of facilities further limits LTC’s ability to address the incumbent worker training needs of local manufacturers and creates waiting lists that thwart student interest, the news release states.
“We know that 87 percent of LTC grads live and work in the Lakeshore area,” Lanser said. “Our local manufacturers will benefit from that, and the family-supporting wages they pay to our first group of graduates will add nearly $9.5 million to the local economy in just five years. It may also attract new employers looking for a skilled workforce. It’s a great value.”
August 26, 2013
From htrnews.com: “Project Mini Chopper” – It’s hard to believe it has been six years since the inception of Project Mini Chopper.
What started as a casual conversation in 2007 among local employers about the impending worker shortage has grown into an exciting collaboration among The Chamber of Manitowoc County, the Economic Development Corporation of Manitowoc County, Lakeshore Technical College, Manitowoc County school districts and area businesses.
It has been said that the true legacy of a good idea is in its sustainability. Although the economic conditions have changed considerably since 2007, one thing remains the same today as it did six years ago: the concern of having an adequately skilled workforce to sustain the needs of area employers.
This concern makes Project Mini Chopper just as relevant today as it was during its planning stages.
So what is the risk: a worker shortage or a skills gap?
Both. We all know that manufacturing has evolved from its repetitive and often low-skilled roots, to a highly-skilled and technically-agile workforce able to think strategically, solve problems, and work as a team.
The brawn-powered processes of yesteryear are replaced with brain-powered 21st century manufacturing methods with innovative, creative and adaptive prowess.
Gone are the days that a high school diploma (or even the lack of one) is ample qualification for a “factory job,” where you were all but guaranteed a lifetime of employment at a livable wage.
Today, without a post-secondary credential (ranging from an occupational certificate to an advanced degree), career options are severely limited. More than ever, postsecondary training is necessary to acquire the skills necessary to thrive in today’s efficiency-driven manufacturing world.
Project Mini Chopper exists, and continues to flourish, because of the skills gap (the gap between the skills possessed by the workforce and the skills needed by manufacturers).
Its mission is to convey to our youth, parents, and community the importance of acquiring the technical and soft skills needed by area employers, in addition to promoting the challenging opportunities awaiting them in 21st Century manufacturing careers.
Last year, four area companies invested both time and money in the development of our future workforce by sponsoring a Project Mini Chopper team: HMF Finishing sponsoring Two Rivers, Miller Ag-Bag sponsoring Lincoln, LTC sponsoring Valders, and Manitowoc Motor Machining, Eis Implement Inc., School District of Mishicot and Dowco co-sponsoring Mishicot.
Sponsoring companies make more than just a financial investment in their high school team. A company liaison is designated to collaborate on all aspects of the bike, from design to final build, in the process providing valuable professional mentoring throughout the project.
As mentioned earlier, through interaction with the company, school instructor and project committee members students learn important technical skills (mechanical design, welding, painting, electro-mechanical, materials management and procurement, and quality control), as well as the increasingly-important soft skills and management skills (budget, project and time management, teamwork, safety, problem-solving and public speaking).
Thus, Project Mini Chopper provides a well-rounded learning experience that will benefit students regardless of their post-graduation career track.
If you are interested in investing in this project and our future workforce, please call The Chamber, (920) 684-5575.
August 14, 2013
From sheboyganpress.com: “Kleefisch touts Sheboygan jobs effort” – When it comes to being successful in a global economy and creating new generations of workers to compete in the skilled marketplace, Sheboygan County has a lot to be proud of.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch was in Sheboygan Monday morning to give the keynote address during the Lakeshore International Network and Knowledge Exchange, or LINKE, Wisconsin Global Trade Conference, and took a few minutes to talk about Sheboygan County’s role.
“If you consider Sheboygan a little community, I will tell you it is the little community that could,” Kleefisch said. “You guys in Sheboygan County actually have some really good things going on.”
LINKE is a business consortium that provides local companies with networking opportunities and relevant information on global business trends.
In addition to Kleefisch, the other keynote speaker was FBI Special Agent Byron Franz, who works with corporations, colleges and universities to protect intellectual property and trade secrets.
Kleefisch said one of the best examples of Sheboygan County’s can-do attitude is the partnership that has developed between education, government and the private sector to identify the needs employers have and to train students to fill those needs.
That includes the partnership between Lakeshore Technical College and area companies that are helping to fund an expansion of the advanced manufacturing areas of the Trade and Industry building.
“In Wisconsin, we have more manufacturers per capita than any other state in the country so that’s a really big deal, particularly here in Sheboygan County,” Kleefisch said. “ I would argue that because we have such a great partnership between our private sector and government and education, you will start to attract a lot of interest in investors and also folks who are considering relocations and joining the supply chain of this area because they’ve got a workforce that is ready.”
A ready workforce, she said, is key.
“We have 30,000 jobs available every single day, open, on our jobcenterofwisconsin.com website … and yet we still have folks who are on unemployment,” she said. “We need to make sure the folks who are on unemployment are gaining some of the skills our employers need their employees to have in order to get employed. That’s fixing our skills gap.”
Another issue Kleefisch talked about Monday was the growing opportunities exporting presents for Wisconsin companies.
She said that according to the Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, 97 percent of the exports from the United States are made by small businesses, if small business is defined as having 500 employees or fewer.
“Isn’t that cool?” Kleefisch said. “97 percent. Who would have even thought?”
That statistic presents an opportunity for Wisconsin businesses, because the market is growing.
“We know that for the first time … since 2007, we’re actually seeing our traditional economic markets overtaking emerging economic markets in a promising future,” Kleefisch said. “That means the U.S. and Japan, others, Europe, with established economic markets, are actually seeing a very promising future, even more promising than the emerging markets like, say, China and India and Brazil. That’s very exiting.”
August 6, 2013
From sheboyganpress.com: “Baldwin encouraged about jobs by LTC visit” – Sen. Tammy Baldwin says she worries about the middle class and the people whose lives have been irreversibly changed by the recession and job loss.
On Monday, she met some of those people at Lakeshore Technical College and was heartened by what she learned.
“Their enthusiasm inspired me,” said Baldwin after touring the campus and its public safety, robotics and advanced manufacturing programs. “They’re really excited about the challenge they have either just tackled or are about to tackle. I know going back to school in one’s 40s or early 50s has got to be incredibly intimidating but again, it really inspired me.”
Baldwin, who has made manufacturing jobs one of the centerpieces of her work on Capitol Hill since she was elected in November, serves on a variety of Senate committees that have an interest in the work LTC is doing.
They include the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, and its work with the Workforce Investment Act, the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee and the Energy and Natural Resources Committee.
Baldwin has traveled across the state visiting technical colleges to learn about how they are training students for high-skilled positions, growing their manufacturing programs, and partnering with local businesses and organizations to address local employment and skill-training needs.
“Advanced manufacturing in the 21st century is different than it was last century,” she said. “A lot of folks who were displaced in the deep recession and for other reasons from manufacturing jobs, you would think they are ripe for the picking for advanced manufacturing industries, but (that is) not so much the case. Really, many have had to go back mid-career to get advanced skills. That’s exciting and an opportunity.”
Alan Michaels is one of those people.
Now 51, Michaels enrolled in the LTC’s electromechanical program after his first career in dairy farming ended.
Talking with Baldwin outside LTC’s mobile advanced manufacturing lab, Michaels said his opportunities are already better than they would be if he’d gone for a liberal arts bachelor’s degree.
“The demand for electromechanical graduates is greater than the supply,” said Michaels, 51, of Glenbeulah. “Everybody’s getting two, three, four job offers.”
Michaels and Rich Hoerth, the executive dean of manufacturing, trades and agriculture, also talked briefly about the stigma that still keeps high school graduates out of technical schools like LTC in favor of four-year colleges.
“The problem is, (parents and high schools) are sending them to college and not to a tech school, where the jobs are and the pay is,” Michaels said.
After touring the public safety program facilities, including the props used to teach aspiring firefighters how to handle fires in buildings, train cars, trash bins and vehicles, Baldwin checked out the robotics lab and machine tool lab.
“The reason I ran for the U.S. Senate in the very first place is I want to see Wisconsin manufacturing thrive, I want to see the middle class grow and become strong again,” she said. “We’re a state that historically has grown things and made things and I think we can’t get ahead in a globally competitive future without a strong investment and strong attention to our manufacturing and industrial sector.”
Baldwin said the students she met, including Monica Larson and Michael Nelson, are symbols of what technical education and public-private cooperation can mean in the lives of families and communities.
“As they are trying to improve themselves, improve the future prospects for their families, their children, they’re living the American dream,” Baldwin said. “I want to make sure there’s adequate public support for what they’re doing. Whatever that form takes, I want to be there supporting what they’re doing to improve their communities, their families and their lives.”
July 31, 2013
From sheboyganpress.com: “Agriculture continues high-tech emphasis” – By Greg Booher, LTC farm business instructor - The term “precision agriculture” has recently entered the American vernacular. The term can be used in regards to many of the new developments in agriculture. Global positioning is literally allowing crop producers to drive their equipment within less than an inch of where planting is desired.
Although the technology is very expensive, the equipment has been able to increase production while at the same time reducing input costs. When the investment in this high-tech equipment is spread over enough acres, the cost per unit of production can drop dramatically. As old equipment reaches the end of its useful life, producers can weigh the decision either to replace the planter or hire a custom operator who has the high-tech equipment and reap the benefits of the newest technology.
The processes of managing herd health and the milking of cows is coming under a metamorphosis. Some early adaptors are already using cloud-based computer technology to find when cows are ready to be bred, when they have a change in rumen health or a spike in their body temperature. In fact, these herd management tools have the ability to catch something wrong with a cow before a human can detect something is wrong or, in some instances, before the cow herself knows she is getting sick.
Robotic milking has been used by a very few U.S dairymen for almost 15 years. Although only a handful of Wisconsin producers have successfully used robotic milking, European producers have made great strides adopting robotic milking. A major reason why American dairymen have been slow to adopt this technology is due to the cost of the technology in comparison to the cost to manually milking cows. Labor in the U.S. is a lot lower than other countries.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with a 1,200-cow Australian dairyman about their labor costs. The Australian government has strict wage and labor controls. The government mandates dairy farm labor will be paid the equivalent of $25 per hour US and their dairy milk price is lower than the average in the United States. Therefore, it is not hard to understand that high-tech labor saving tools will be more quickly adopted where a more rapid payback is possible.
I am currently working on some feasibility studies, but have not found much real-time data to help make a definitive decision comparing conventional parlor milking with employees to robotic milking. Each robot has a price tag of approximately $250,000 and can milk up to only 60 cows per robot. Some initial results have indicated improvement in detecting sick cows, improved reproductive performance, some flexibility in how the herd is managed and in some cases it appears production may improve.
Certainly the labor paid to milk cows is way less but the investment is substantial. Time will tell how bottom line indicators like return on investment will shake out. If you have some interest in studying precision dairy management, give me a call and we can discuss this over a long cup of coffee.
July 29, 2013
From sheboyganpress.com: “LTC advanced manufacturing expansion begins” – The Lakeshore Technical College building expansion and renovation project officially began when ground was broken on Thursday.
By expanding the college Flexible Training Arena and renovating the Trade and Industry building on the Cleveland campus, LTC will help fill local manufacturers’ pressing need for welders, machine tool and industrial maintenance workers while alleviating waiting lists, officials say.
The project will be completed in two phases, with Sheboygan contractor Jos. Schmitt and Sons managing the first phase. The current 18,000-square-foot Flexible Training Arena will be expanded to 32,400 square feet.
By January of 2014, the remodeling of the Trade and Industry building will begin.
Not only will the project allow for more graduates but updated equipment will train workers with the machining, welding and robotic skills that manufacturers need.
“Thanks to the support of local business and individuals, we’ve been successful in raising enough private funds to break ground,” said LTC President Michael Lanser in a news release. “Our first additional class will graduate and be employment ready by August 2014.”
Nearly $900,000 has been raised thus far as part of the first capital campaign in the college’s 100 year history. LTC hopes to raise $2.1 million in private funds to help offset the $6.1 million project and will now broaden its reach to local communities for support.
LTC announced the project in April.
“By collaborating with local business and philanthropic organizations to help fund the project, we are able to reduce public funding to the point of not requiring a referendum,” Lanser said. “It allows us to address our local manufacturers’ employment needs more quickly.”
July 25, 2013
From insightdigital.biz: “Chopping it up” — An innovative project in Manitowoc County aims to rev up an interest in manufacturing among young people — helping to propel them toward the technical careers that need skilled people.
The Mini-Chopper program currently operates in four Manitowoc County schools with help from the local Chamber of Commerce, the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) and local company sponsors.
From wifr.com: “Blackhawk Tech College to Offer Nuclear Technician Associate Degree” – Blackhawk Technical College is joining with Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, WI, to offer a new associate degree program starting this fall semester for those interested in becoming a nuclear technician, one of the most rapidly expanding technical fields in the United States.
BTC already offers 32 credits of the program requirements including mathematics, sciences, technical studies and general education courses. Students at BTC will be able to complete the other required nuclear technical classes through interactive television and online platforms. Lakeshore will offer much of the nuclear specific curriculum in the two-year program.
BTC is committed to introducing students to a program that offers this specialized training in a field that presents opportunities in a growing and lucrative industry. It is an example of BTC’s goal to offer programs that help train students to meet the ever increasing needs of the local, state and national communities.
“What is most exciting about this program is that it offers interested students a wide array of future employment possibilities in fields such as the nuclear industry, medicine and environmental safety, just to name a few,’’ said Dr. Diane Nyhammer, BTC’s Vice President of Learning. “The program itself will help lead to employment, but students interested in further studies may also use it as a springboard to a four-year degree in high demand fields like health physics and radiation safety.’’
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that there will be a 14 percent growth in nuclear technician jobs by 2020 as the need for specialized training to operate equipment and monitor radiation levels in nuclear research and production increases.
The median pay for nuclear technicians is $68,090 a year, or $32.73 per hour, according to the Bureau. Nuclear technicians commonly operate special equipment and assist physicists, engineers, medical researchers and other professionals in nuclear research and production.
“We see this program as another example of how we can combine the best educational opportunities offered by the Wisconsin Technical College System to enhance the employable skills of our students and meet the ever-changing and increasing needs of employers in our state and around the nation,’’ Nyhammer said.
Students interested in more information about the Nuclear Technology program at Blackhawk should call the BTC admissions office at 608-757-7665 or contact email@example.com by email.
July 8, 2013
From sheboyganpress.com: “LTC schedules active shooter seminar” – Incidents of school or workplace violence can happen at random, but there are ways the public can be better prepared for the worst.
Lakeshore Technical College is offering a seminar from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. July 25 intended to help the public respond effectively. The seminar will be held on the Cleveland campus in the Public Safety building.
The seminar will address school and workplace violence, with a major emphasis on the active shooter. Participants will learn how to respond to threats, what to expect from law enforcement’s response, what to teach their children about the immediate actions to take when confronted by an active shooter and what plans businesses and citizens should have in place.
The seminar is designed for everyone, especially parents and those in the business and school community.
The instructor, Jason Wilterdink, has 15 years of experience as a law enforcement officer. In addition, he is currently a full-time instructor at LTC, a master instructor in use of force, certified by several organizations as a firearms instructor and has served as an instructor and expert witness in self-defense, training, safety, security, health, wellness and fitness.
Wilterdink also served in an international police mission for the United Nations where he served in Liberia-West Africa as the team leader for the crowd control team and lead instructor for physical security, operational security and civil unrest in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1509.
The cost of the seminar is $89. To register by phone with credit card, call 888-468-6582, ext. 1366.
July 5, 2013
From htrnews.com: ” LTC instructor honored at state ag banquet” – CLEVELAND — Sheryl Nehls, Lakeshore Technical College Dairy Herd Management program instructor, is the state winner of the Outstanding Postsecondary/Adult Agricultural Education Program Award.
The Wisconsin Association of Agricultural Educators presented the award on June 26 at the 95th Annual Professional Development Conference in Green Bay, according to a press release. During the three-day conference, Nehls also was recognized as one of 11 outstanding agricultural education teachers in the state for her outstanding educational qualities in instructional and experiential learning, student organizations, partnerships and marketing and professional growth.
“I am humbled and honored to have been selected for this award,” said Nehls. “It’s really a tribute to all the wonderful students, farm owners and colleagues I have been fortunate enough to have worked with over the years. They are the ones who help make our program so successful.”
Nehls’ dedication to students and the farming community is why she has been selected as the 2013 Outstanding Post-secondary/Adult Ag Ed Program Award, according to the release. Nehls has been working with post-secondary students for the past 32 years. Nehls was recognized for adapting new curriculum by working with more than 60 dairy farm businesses each year.
The Lakeshore Post-secondary Agriculture Student organization has won numerous awards in Nehls’ tenure with the most recent being the first-place state Dairy Specialist Team. Her dedication to student organizations has landed her the role of being the 2013 host coordinator for the Midwest Dairy Challenge, the release stated. Nehls also works with Youth Options students and serves as a judge for many FFA and high school speaking contests.
From htrnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College to offer violence seminar” – CLEVELAND — Incidents of school or workplace violence can happen at random, but there are ways the public can prepare. Lakeshore Technical College will offer a seminar on July 25 intended to help the public respond effectively. It will be held from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Public Safety building on the Cleveland campus, 1290 North Ave.
The seminar will address school and workplace violence, with a major emphasis on the active shooter. It’s designed for everyone, especially parents and those in the business and school community. Participants will learn how to respond to threats, what to expect from law enforcement’s response, what to teach their children about the immediate actions to take when confronted by an active shooter, and what plans businesses and citizens should have in place in case an incident occurs.
The instructor, Jason Wilterdink, has 15 years of experience as a law enforcement officer. He currently is a full-time instructor at LTC, a master instructor in use of force, and certified by several organizations as a firearms instructor. He has served as an instructor and expert witness in self-defense, training, safety, security, health, wellness and fitness.
Wilterdink also participated in an international police mission for the United Nations where he served in Liberia, West Africa, as the team leader for the crowd control team and lead instructor for physical security, operational security, and civil unrest in accordance with U.N. Security Council resolution 1509.
The cost of the seminar is $89, and the class number is 41906. To register by phone with a credit card, call (888) 468-6582, ext. 1366. For more information, visithttp://www.gotoltc.edu/seminars/activeShooters.php or contact Ruth at (920) 693-1167 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 17, 2013
From htrnews.com: “Cultivating career options: LTC provides agricultural education opportunities to women” – MANITOWOC — Traditionally speaking, farming may be considered a man’s profession. These days, however, women are proving they can milk cows, pick rocks and get the job done just as well as any man.
“It’s not just a man’s world anymore, there’s so many more opportunities, said Sheryl Nehls, instructor in dairy herd management at Lakeshore Technical College. “It’s not as much physical anymore, not that they can’t do that.”
LTC offers two programs in the field of agriculture — dairy herd management and, farm business and production management. Typically, the later program attracts established farm owners and operators, according to Nehls.
Each year, roughly a third of the class is made up of females, Nehls said. Organizations such as FFA have opened the doors for women, she said.
“Women are becoming that essential part of (the industry) as well,” said Terrilynn Hastreiter, LTC farm business and dairy herd management instructor. “They’re entering the industry strong. I think a lot of them are going to go back to that family farm and work with mom and dad, or at least dad, or whoever owns it at the time.”
What draws them in varies, but Nehls said there is one thing in particular that usually catches female students.
“By in large, they like working with cattle and our program focuses on that,” she noted.
Some of her female students have gone on to work with fresh cows, meaning those that have recently given birth to a calf.
“That’s the maternal aspect of the women maybe that appeals to them. There are so many niches to specialize in,” Nehls added.
On the farm
To get hands-on experience, students involved in the dairy herd management program, participate in going to site farms on Wednesdays during their last semester. At farms, like Soaring Eagle Dairy in Newton, students gain one-on-one knowledge from the owner or a herds manager and learn new skills, along with seeing firsthand how the farm utilizes technology. Last year, 12 farms participated and up to 18 students are able to participate at a time. Students rotate through the farms and spend a minimum of fours a week at each.
“We don’t have a farm facility on campus so we use the farms in the area,” Nehls explained., adding that LTC may be the only college nationwide to utilize site farms.
“I went to Madison for four years and sat in a classroom to learn about cows,” she joked.
In addition to the site farms, students take part in an internship program. The program is seven days a week for nine months and roughly 21 hours a week. That’s in addition to 30 hours of classroom time, including farm tours twice a week for dairy lab, and studying.
“It gives them a taste of the industry and what it’s really like for the time commitment,” Nehls said.
Lessons learned through opportunities like the site farms and internships are invaluable.
Know your neighbor
“Networking is going to be the No. 1,” Hastreiter said. “By getting out there and talking to individuals they’re going to learn what not to do and to do.”
It may also lead to new opportunities.
“Females are stepping up and taking those manager roles,” Hastreiter said. “Twenty years ago, you probably wouldn’t have seen that. I think it’s phenomenal. Women have proven that they can go through the program and they do succeed.”
“Every student is so different and that’s what makes the industry so interesting is because there are so many viewpoints,” Hastreiter said.
The creation of new forms of technology also have aided in streamlining certain aspects of farming.
“We’ve made the job so that it doesn’t have to encompass their whole life,” Nehls said. “I think a lot of women have seen that you can still have time to raise a family. … The technology really was the key to that.”
Beyond the classroom
Staying on top of the changes is important to the LTC instructors.
“It’s something we need to do as instructors to keep up with our teaching,” Hastreiter said. “It’s not just going back to the farm anymore, it’s specializing.”
The young people entering the workforce is about the same, Hastreiter said, but the opportunities have increased as technology has opened more doors, including genomic testing. Service technicians who understand not only the equipment, but how it functions on the farm are in demand as well.
“We’re taking that computer savvy individual and mixing it with the dairy savvy, “ Hastrieter said. “Technology is going to be implemented in every farm of every size eventually. … We learn from each other. Hearing ideas gets my brain going. It’s really learning from others.”
“The way we do things is just so drastically different,” said Nehls who grew up on a farm in Dodge County with holsteins, jerseys and Swiss. “We now design things for cows, not people.”
When not teaching in the summers, Nehls enjoys traveling to other farms to learn things she can bring back to the classroom. Four years ago, she visited an LTC graduate who was employed at a dairy farm with 4,000 cows in New Mexico to see how heat stress is handled in that area.
“No matter where you go, you can learn and tie that back into the industry,” she said.
“It’s not just a lifestyle, it’s a career,” Nehls added. It was her mother who urged her to check out an open position at LTC and she’s now been teaching for 32 years.
“I originally had my heart set on becoming a dairy agent … I’m fortunate that I can show them (female students) as a role model that there are no barriers.”
June 4, 2013
From htrnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College honors apprentices” – Thirty apprentices were honored recently at Lakeshore Technical College’s annual Apprenticeship Completion Banquet at Millhome Supper Club in Kiel.
The banquet recognized the completion of the paid-related classroom instruction for individuals in LTC’s apprenticeship programs, according to a news release. In those programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC’s registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.
Keynote speaker Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, recognized the apprenticeship completers and relayed his own personal experience as his mother works as a machinist and his father as a welder.
“Without apprentices, we wouldn’t have many of the modern conveniences we have today,” Newson said. “Apprentices have made things simple, convenient and have been driving innovation for years.”
Apprentices from Manitowoc County who were recognized at the banquet, including their apprenticeship area and sponsoring employer, are:
Francis Creek – Marshall Marquardt, carpenter (construction), Hamann Construction Co.;
Manitowoc – Russell Buretta, tool and die maker, LDI Industries; Eric Chase, machinist, KNM; Jason Hastreiter, machinist, HG Weber & Co.; Bruce Heimerman, maintenance mechanic, Federal Mogul Corp.; Matthew Heinzen, tool and die maker, Manitowoc Tool & Manufacturing; Brian Hetue, maintenance mechanic, PolyOne Corp.; Adam Korte, industrial electrician, Parker Hannifin Corp.; Daniel Luckow, machinist, Stecker Machine Co.; Jarek Ordiway, machinist, LDI Industries; Hayden Schmidt, machinist, Jagemann Stamping Co.; Paul Senn, maintenance mechanic, LDI Industries; Ryan Tollefson, sheet metal worker, Aldag Honold Mechanical; and
Whitelaw – Dennis Bratz, maintenance mechanic, Nemak.
From sheboyganpress.com: “Lakeshore Technical College celebrates 100-year mark” – CLEVELAND — Lakeshore Technical College celebrated its 100th anniversary Wednesday afternoon with an hour-long program that included a student’s tearful testimonial, a Lakeside Foods representative toasting the college with a can of the company’s peas, and two retired LTC presidents helping to unveil a plaque that will be used on an outdoor centennial monument.
“I never thought I would say it, but I love being in college,” said Alyssa Young, a student in the Administrative Professional program. “I love going to class and that I don’t really mind doing my homework. And it’s all thanks to amazing staff and faculty here at LTC. My teachers are very understanding, and if I have to miss class because my son is sick … they understand because they’ve been there, too. … This place is like a second home to me and it’s going to be … a sad day when I graduate, but I will always be proud to say that I’m a Lakeshore Technical College graduate for the rest of my life.”
Young decided to enroll after seeing her mom and sister graduate from LTC last year. She said she hadn’t been making enough money to support her 5-year-old son and herself, and when she saw her family members graduate she decided she wanted to earn a degree.
“I want to be able to support my son and give him a better future,” she said.
“Please know that you are the reason that we do what we do,” LTC President Mike Lanser told Young after her emotional remarks.
Dean Halverson, CEO of Leede Research, which has offices in Manitowoc and Minneapolis, attributed the direction his life has taken to his time at LTC. After earning an associate degree from the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc in 1980, Halverson decided he wanted to pursue a career in marketing, and someone suggested what then was called Lakeshore Technical Institute.
“A lot of people say something changed their life, but I can honestly say it did change my life,” he said.
As a student, he worked on market research surveys for WCUB radio two years in a row and decided he enjoyed it. The day after graduating in June 1982, he typed 96 letters to Wisconsin radio stations announcing the formation of Leede Research. The company will celebrate its 36th anniversary in June and has a staff of just under 85.
He attributes his ability to make a living through his own company “to what happened here, and really what happened here that was so unique was bringing together students, instructors and thebusiness community and doing it in a way that was very hands-on.”
Richard Opie, an instructor in the paralegal program, speaking on behalf of the faculty, said technical colleges are “uniquely adaptable to the changing needs of the community. We come up with new programs … within six months of their request. … If there’s a need in the community we come up with it.”
Technical colleges also are open to students of all ability levels and allow students to meet their goals within a year or two, Opie said.
Tom Reilly, senior vice president-human resources for Manitowoc-based Lakeside Foods, which has been in operation for 125 years, provided employer remarks.
“What Lakeside and LTC know is the secret for longevity and success, and that is satisfying your customers, especially with their changing expectations and demands,” Reilly said.
Lakeshore Technical College achieves success through “phenomenal facilities” and “a terrific staff,” he said just before toasting the college with a can of Lakeside peas.
Retired LTC presidents Dennis Ladwig, who served in that capacity from 1988-2003 when Lanser took over, and Fred Nierode, who was president from 1967-88, assisted with the dedication of a plaque that will be used for a centennial monument. The monument will be part of a garden that will be designed and developed by the school’s horticulture students on the west side of the Lakeshore Building “that we hope to have in place by the fall,” Lanser said. A time capsule will be placed under the monument.
LTC used the occasion to present its first TopTech Awards, which will become annual and are designed to recognize K-12 educators. This year’s recipients from Manitowoc County are Ron Schneider and Dave Teske from the Kiel Area School District, and from Sheboygan County the recipient is Ed Hughes from Sheboygan Falls.
The celebration also included the national anthem sung by LTC student Ruby Garcia; presentation of the governor’s proclamation of May 8, 2013, as Lakeshore Technical College Day in the state of Wisconsin by Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development; remarks by LTC District Board Chairman John Lukas and Wisconsin Technical College System Board President Mark Tyler; and comments from LTC alumna Shirl Breunig and support staff representative Kelly Carpenter.
April 29, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Tech school expands to meet skills gap” – The training labs at Lakeshore Technical College have been booked solid, up to 18 hours a day, and the waiting lists are nearly 30 people deep.
“The waiting list for example, machine tool and especially our welding program, are such that we can have a program filled and before the start of the program, we already have almost the next program filled,” explained Executive Dean of Manufacturing Richard Hoerth.
With a changing job market, some employers have been dealing with what they call a skills gap.
They say they are willing to hire, but can’t find qualified people to fill the spots.
And it seems more people are beginning to understand the gap in skilled labor in the state. And so the college decided there’s only one way to address the growing need and interest, expand.
The more than $6 million project includes doubling the size of LTC’s Flexible Training Arena and modernizing the Trade and Industry building.
The expansion project is one of the largest of its kind for the nearly century old school. Officials expect the expansion will increase the number of graduates by 50 each year.
“The manufacturing sector in Manitowoc County and the lakeshore in general is extremely important. It’s about 37% of our employment,” explained Connie Loden, Executive Director of the Manitowoc County Economic Development Corporation.
Economic development officials feel the expansion is coming at the right time, but the skills gap stretches beyond Wisconsin.
According to an annual survey by ManpowerGroup, skilled trades was the hardest job to fill last year in the U.S, and it’s topped the charts since 2010.
“As the economy grows, we’re part of that solution and our employers need a skilled workforce to grow and that’s where we come in, is working with them and working with the students in the area,” explained LTC President Michael Lanser.
The college plans to break ground on the project in June. Officials say grants, loans and private investments will cover the costs.
In addition to this milestone, the college will celebrate its 100th anniversary on May 8th.
April 23, 2013
From htrnews.com: “LTC students receive awards at national conference” – Seven Lakeshore Technical College students qualified to participate in the National Postsecondary Agriculture Student Conference in Louisville, Ky., and two other LTC students attended. More than 700 students from agriculture colleges and universities from 16 states were in attendance. Participants from LTC placed at both the national and state levels, according to a news release from the college.
In the national team competitions, LTC placed fourth out of 21 teams in Dairy Specialist and was the highest-placing school with a one-year program. The Dairy Specialist team included Sam Nigon, Nick Miles and Jenny Nash. Nash placed ninth overall, Miles placed 12th, and Nigon placed 15th out of 64 competing individuals.
In national individual employment interview competitions, Kyle Holtz took second place in Forestry and Natural Resources, Nigon placed fourth in Dairy Production, and Dianne Philipsen took fourth in Agriculture Education.
At the state level, LTC had two teams in the Dairy Specialist category with one team taking first place and the other taking third place. In the state individual employment interview competitions, five students placed highly in their respective categories: Philipsen was first in Agriculture Education, Nigon was first in Dairy Production, Holtz was first in Forestry and Natural resources, Wouter Star was second in Dairy Production and Calvin Abts was third in Dairy Production.
“We are very proud of the accomplishments these students attained at the conference,” said Sheryl Nehls, LTC Dairy Herd Management instructor. “LTC is one of very few one-year programs at nationals, and we always competed well with the two-year schools.”
PAS is one of 10 career and technical student organizations approved by the United States Department of Education as an integral part of career and technical education. Its motto is “uniting education and industry in agriculture.”
April 5, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Prison inmates taught job skills in new program” – A group of 10 women inmates at Taycheedah Correctional Institution, near Fond du Lac, are learning basic manufacturing skills in a new program designed to help them find jobs when they’re released and earn college credits for finishing the class.
The training also has been launched at state prisons in Oshkosh and Kettle Moraine, where inmates spend six weeks learning skills such as machine maintenance and blueprint reading.
The programs are from Lakeshore Technical College, the state Department of Corrections, and the state Department of Workforce Development, said Jim Golembeski, executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board.
Corrections spent $100,000 to get a 25% ownership stake in one of the mobile laboratories used to provide the training, and it’s considering buying another mobile lab it will own outright.
Taycheedah inmates are in their third week of training, which is held every day, about seven hours a day, for six weeks.
“During the day, they get a break for lunch and that’s about it,” said Rich Hoerth, a Lakeshore Technical College dean who oversees the program.
The training starts with the basics of quality control and safety, and then moves into other areas including machine maintenance and repair, machine operation, computer controls and blueprint reading.
The lessons were developed based on the needs of manufacturers, some of whom are clamoring for skilled labor.
Nationwide, thousands of manufacturing jobs cannot be filled because of the growing skills gap and because the jobs have become technically more demanding, according to employers.
Wisconsin will have fewer than half of the metal manufacturing professionals it needs by 2021, according to a report from Manpower Group. Demand for these skilled tradespeople will grow by nearly 50%, but the supply will decrease about 12% as the industry gets slapped by a wave of retirements.
Much of the inmate training focuses on math skills, including the ability to take precise measurements. There also are lessons in using hand tools and understanding mechanical fasteners, shafts, couplers, gears, pulleys, bearings, levers, cranks, cams and springs.
Inmates are allowed out of their cells several nights a week for math tutoring, Golembeski said.
There’s a hands-on assessment at the end of the course that tests an inmate’s ability to troubleshoot and repair a machine in a given amount of time. All of the Oshkosh inmates who completed the training passed the test.
The mobile laboratory could be used for training at high schools, and the assessment test could be used outside of the prison system.
It’s too early to say whether the inmate program is a success, based on whether people find manufacturing jobs when they’re released from prison or continue their training at a technical college.
But having some mechanical knowledge will be useful, Golembeski said.
“Those six college credits are going to be helpful, too. In some cases, these women will be the first in their immediate families to earn any college credits. We are hoping they will continue their education when they’re released.”
Taycheedah has had other job-skills programs, including one that trained inmates to be dental technicians in jobs that paid about $40,000 a year in Milwaukee County, according to Department of Workforce Development figures.
But someone with a felony drug conviction would have trouble getting a job in the health care field, Golembeski said.
“If you have a conviction for theft or bad checks, you’re also not going to get a job in the financial field, or even in retail, where you would be handling money and credit cards,” he said.
“Manufacturing is a place where your felony conviction, for the most part, isn’t going to stand in the way of getting a job that’s in high demand and has a high wage. If you have the skills and keep your act together, there are a lot of opportunities.”
On April 15, Golembeski said, he and some women from area manufacturing companies will be at Taycheedah to meet with the inmates in the training program, including several of them from Milwaukee.