November 26, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Mayville Engineering plans to expand, hire 100 workers” – Mayville Engineering Co. is planning to expand five of its plants in Wisconsin, resulting in 100 new manufacturing jobs, the company said Monday.
The expansion is the result of orders from existing customers as well as new work the company has landed, said Mayville marketing manager Brian Johnson.
Mayville Engineering Co., is an employee-owned firm based in the Dodge County community that shares its name. Mayville is about 55 miles northwest of Milwaukee.
Nationwide, the company employs about 2,000 people and generates more than $300 million in sales.
“We’re putting in some pretty significant equipment and we have to hire a bunch of people, so we’re trying to get the word out,” Johnson said.
“We’ve been successful at getting really good people in here and we’re in one of those situations right now where we need to get some more,” Johnson added. “It’s a good place to be.”
The new jobs will be primarily at the company’s two plants in Mayville, two plants in Beaver Dam and a plant in Wautoma. The company also has two plants in Neillsville in west-central Wisconsin, as well as plants in Michigan, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia.
“We have a number of new products that we are launching with some key customers in the agriculture, construction and power sports industries,” Johnson said.
Mayville Engineering specializes in making the parts used to build equipment ranging from large trucks to agricultural equipment to all-terrain vehicles. It does prototyping, production manufacturing, fabricating, tube forming, coating and assembly services in a variety of markets.
“We’re a key supply chain partner for a number of the large original equipment manufacturers,” Johnson said.
Company leaders realize they are hiring in a marketplace where demand is high for skilled labor. “That is something that we hear a lot,” Johnson said. “It’s no small challenge.”
The company’s position as an employee-owned business gives it an advantage when seeking to attract workers, he said.
“When they are looking at opportunities, we find that a lot of people are interested that they have a chance to earn stock in the company,” Johnson said. “That’s kind of a compelling advantage that we have.”
The company also has successfully entered into partnerships and apprenticeship programs with Moraine Park Technical College and Mayville High School.
The company is hiring for skilled manufacturing positions, including robotic and manual welders, laser operators, brake press operators, CNC machinists, punch press operators, tool and die makers, painters and material coordinators.
But the company also wants to hear from folks who might not have significant manufacturing experience. “Even if it’s not a long one, if they have a good work history that they can show us, we’re looking for good people who are going to fit into our culture,” Johnson said.
Growth and expansion at Mayville Engineering is an example of the positive part of what is proving to be an up-and-down performance of manufacturing in recent times. Manufacturing is a key sector of Wisconsin’s economy.
Diversification is key
“The recovery has been so uneven,” said David J. Ward, CEO of NorthStar Consulting Group, a private economic consulting and research firm in Madison. “There’s no pattern.
“We’ve had nothing out there that would say to manufacturers or anybody else, ‘Hey we’re on a roll,’” he said.
An important aspect for manufacturers is to have business across sectors, Ward said.
“Certain sectors are doing OK. Others, they’re not contracting or anything, they’re just kind of bumping along,” he said.
Having a diversity in business is exactly the strategy that Mayville has pursued.
“We really transcend a lot of different markets,” Johnson said. “So, if one market might be having a hard time, we have other markets that are growing.”
Job fair Dec. 7
Mayville Engineering will hold a job fair from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 7 at its Dodge County headquarters, 715 South St., Mayville, to recruit for manufacturing positions, including robotic and manual welders, laser operators, brake press operators, CNC machinists, punch press operators, tool and die makers, painters, and material coordinators.
November 18, 2013
From beloitdailynews.com: “Technical training key to successful manufacturing careers” – Good news for people concerned about employment in America today: Well-paying jobs in the manufacturing sector—actually, more than 600,000 of them—are waiting for workers who have been properly trained.
That’s why now may be the time to take a second look at a career in manufacturing.
Why are so many skilled labor jobs unfilled? Part of it has to do with perception. Many people, especially young people, think a career in manufacturing involves working in noisy, dirty surroundings in a job that gathers little respect and less attention. Those stereotypes may have been more accurate decades ago, but are really not today.
Manufacturing plants and facilities are now highly automated, and it takes a great deal of training and knowledge to operate the machinery and equipment. People can’t simply walk in off the street and get those jobs.
As high school students think about plans following graduation, a career in a skilled labor field isn’t top of mind with most. In fact, a recent poll found that while 70 percent of Americans think manufacturing is the most important industry as far as effect on the national economy goes, only 30 percent say they’d encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.
While conventional four-year college programs are a good fit for some, many students would thrive in a technical education program if given the chance. Often in only two years, a young man or woman can get a technical degree, start working a meaningful job that offers career advancement, and make a decent living doing so. The average hourly wage for manufacturing jobs is about $24, according to Businessweek.com.
The private sector is doing its part to encourage manufacturing careers. Many technical schools and community colleges are partnering with Snap-on Incorporated to teach specific disciplines designed to give students added skills to make them more employable. The company is a leading manufacturer of tools, equipment and diagnostics for the transportation, aviation, aerospace and manufacturing sectors, and has developed certification programs for students to receive extra training in certain technical disciplines.
The goal of the Snap-on certifications is not to teach how machinery operates or how an aircraft flies, but rather, to show students the proper and best way to use specific tools and equipment to become more productive in their jobs.
Most Snap-on certification courses comprise 16 hours of instruction and are blended into the school’s existing technical course program. More than 100 technical schools across the country offer certifications as part of their curriculum. To facilitate the certifications in the partnering schools, Snap-on works with the National Coalition of Certification Centers (NC3), an organization that validates and oversees the certification assessment standards.
For more information on the certification program or to see a list of participating schools, visit www1.snapon.com/Education.
November 8, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Manufacturing a new image” – Baldwin-Woodville High School student McKenzie Kohls asked Wisconsin Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch and a panel of manufacturing experts for some reassurance about the field.
“My grandfather was a welder who came home looking like a coal miner every day,” Kohls said. “How has manufacturing changed?
It was a good time to ask. Dispelling the myths of manufacturing was the theme of panel discussion during a Women in Manufacturing event held at Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire Tuesday to mark October as national Manufacturing Month. The event, sponsored by Wisconsin Gold Collar Careers Manufacturing Works Group, included a tour of CVTC’s Manufacturing Education Center and a public-private speed networking session.
Students from Eleva-Strum and Baldwin-Woodville schools attended the panel discussion in person, and students in Bloomer, Cumberland, Gilmanton, Pepin, Shell Lake, Turtle Lake, Shell Lake and Webster schools followed via video conferencing.
In answering Kohls’ question, Mary Isbister, president of GenMet, a metal fabricator in Mequon, Wis., dispelled the notion that welding was a dirty job in modern manufacturing.
“You can’t have smoke and dust and dirt in places that have advanced manufacturing equipment,” Isbister said. “The equipment that we use, and the processes that we use, have advanced light years. It doesn’t look like it used to.”
Changing the image
Both manufacturing professionals and educators have been working for years to change the image of the sector.
“We still have people who view manufacturing as a dirty place, with things lying all over,” said Craig Simingson, superintendent of the Eleva-Strum School District, which received much praise at the event for having one of the best manufacturing education programs in the state. “But these are professional places where you’re not going to wear your Metallica t-shirt to work every day.”
Dawn Tabat, COO of Generac Power Systems, a Wisconsin home generator manufacturer with facilities in Whitewater, Waukesha and Eagle, acknowledged there was some truth to manufacturing’s poor image in years past.
“There were a lot of people making good money in manufacturing for what were pretty low-skilled jobs,” Tabat said. “But those unskilled jobs are gone. U.S. manufacturing got smart. These are jobs that are going to require a lot of special skills. There’s a whole new world in manufacturing.”
“These are ‘smart jobs,’” said Kleefisch. “We need your brains. We need your bright ideas in manufacturing.”
“I always use the term ‘advanced manufacturing.’ We won’t hire you unless you go to school after high school,” said Dan Conroy, vice president of human resources at Nexen, a manufacturer of power transmission and other products with a plant in Webster, Wis.
Conroy said about 12 percent of jobs in his company require only a high school education, but those positions are never open. Another 70 percent require a technical college education, and 18 percent require a university degree. Kleefisch added that over the next decade, between 54 and 72 percent of jobs will require more than a high school education, but less than a university degree.
Some of the students present asked questions about job opportunities available and the courses they should be taking to prepare themselves for the jobs available. The panelists explained that there are a wide variety of careers available, from operation of sophisticated equipment, to the design and maintenance of that equipment, improvement of manufacturing processes, and many levels of support positions.
“You can do almost anything within manufacturing, but you have to understand how manufacturing works. Today’s manufacturing operates very complex equipment,” Isbister said. She urged students to have an understanding of mathematics and how it is applied, but a broad education is valuable. “There probably aren’t too many classes that wouldn’t be advantageous to you.”
Women were particularly encouraged to explore careers in what is still a heavily male-dominated field. Tabat shared her story of a 42-year rise from production and secretarial work at Generac Power Systems to human resources and eventually chief operating officer.
“I started out with a small company and the company grew bigger and bigger, and I grew with it,” Tabat said. She added only six percent of her type of position is held by women nationally.
Isbister noted that a woman who started in customer service at GenMet eight years ago, “basically runs the place when I’m not there.”
“There are no other places that have a greater opportunity for women to compete on a level playing field than manufacturing,” Tabat said.
“You can use a laser cutter to break the glass ceiling,” Kleefisch said.
Gold Collar Careers are high tech manufacturing jobs that are pushing the limits of technology by demanding bright individuals who understand and embrace the latest machining, electronic, computer, and other technologies; and creative thinkers with applied/hands-on abilities to solve problems and get things done.
November 7, 2013
From wsau.com: “Governor Walker talks about jobs grants, casinos and more at appearance in Wausau” – Governor Walker made an appearance in Wausau at Northcentral Technical College today to discuss a new grant project called Wisconsin Fast Forward.
“Workers need to have access to the most up-to-date employment information,” Governor Walker said. “By providing quality worker training and cutting-edge labor market information, our workers will be best equipped to re-enter the workforce in places where opportunities are available.”
The funding will work to create new jobs and training in manufacturing and small manufacturing businesses with 50 or fewer employees, construction, and customer service representatives. Walker says business leaders tell him Wisconsin is a great place to place customer service positions. “It’s easy to understand folks in the Midwest. The people in the Midwest he found to be overwhelmingly pleasant and easy to get along with.”
The state is looking at continued growth in the customer service industry and Walker says they want to help that grow. “The Department of Workforce Development estimates that through 2020 there’s going to be a 15% growth in customer service jobs, and an annual basis, that means 2200 new jobs each year.”
During questions after the speech, Governor Walker says he’s not in a big hurry to make a decision on the casino project in Kenosha. “This project has been before the Bureau of Indian affairs at the federal government for 20 years. And I’ve got considerable time as governor to take this matter up and fully consider the implications on it.”
Walker also said he’d be in favor of tougher OWI laws if they make it to his desk. “Ways we can toughen up, particularly penalties for repeat drunk drivers is something I’ve been in the past supportive of. And presumably, I’d have to look at the individual bills, but would be open to consider.”
He also addressed the continuing issues with the new federal health care law. Walker says the state is stepping up to make sure residents in need will be covered before the enrollment period is up on the Affordable Care Act. “Under our plan, everyone in poverty will covered. In the past, under my predecessor, there was a wait list for some on poverty, going forward everyone will be covered under Medicaid in the state of Wisconsin.” He says state officials are putting together training for insurance agents in Wisconsin in order to help them get people signed up for the exchanges and for insurance before the enrollment period is up.
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.
October 23, 2013
From weau.com: “Lt. Gov. Kleefisch talks women in manufacturing” – The state’s lieutenant governor was in Eau Claire Tuesday to talk about women in manufacturing.
Republican Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch moderated the “Dispelling the Myths of Manufacturing” event Tuesday afternoon at the Chippewa Valley Technical College.
The event, which was hosted by the Wisconsin Gold Collar Careers Manufacturing Works Group, brought together a panel of leaders in manufacturing to discuss women finding success in the manufacturing field.
Kleefisch says “…and today we got to meet the future of manufacturing, which was pretty cool.”
The panel included Wisconsin Manufacturing and Commerce Foundation President Jim Morgan, GenMet President Mary Isbister, and Generac COO Dawn Tabat.
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 18, 2013
From canadianmanufacturing.com: “Bridging the Skills Gap” – New Richmond, WI—A new partnership has been forged between industry and education, with Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc., and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC), both in New Richmond, Wisconsin forming a joint apprenticeship venture.
“We’ve been working together on this project since last spring,” says Nancy Cerritos, WITC academic dean of trade and technology. “Bosch is very proactive and realizes it will lose a significant portion of its skilled work force in New Richmond and Shell Lake over the next five to seven years. They wanted to create apprenticeships – which we have available and can develop — to create a better skilled work force for the future.”
Adds Mark Hanson, manager, continuous improvement coordination and technical functions at Bosch Packaging Technology: “We tried to hire local workers, but it’s not a densely populated area, and we have a need for highly skilled workers, so we had to come up with a new approach.
“By utilizing our strong relationship with WITC and the state we were able to custom-design a program that gives us the skilled workers we need.”
The program includes electro-mechanical technician and machinist apprentices. The electro-mechanic apprenticeship—the combination of an electrician and mechanic—is the first of its kind in the state and is now considered a new trade in Wisconsin.
Two WITC programs participate in this flagship effort: the Automated Packaging Systems program and theMachine Tooling Technics program, as these two WITC programs are best represented in the work at Packaging Technology.
The opportunity to become an apprentice was opened to Bosch employees, and four stepped up. Machinist apprentices are Josh Marquand and Brant Couch. Electro mechanical technician apprentices enrolled in the Automated Packaging Systems program are Philip Taylor and Paul Petty. These four apprentices will complete their respective program over a four or five year time span, while also working at Bosch.
What makes the program unique is what the participant receives at the completion of the apprenticeship – five years for an electro-mechanical technician and four years for a machinist – an Associate’s degree in technical studies, a technical diploma and a State of Wisconsin Certificate of Apprenticeship, commonly known as a journeyman card. A traditional apprenticeship usually results in only the journeyman card.
Upon acceptance in the program, the apprentice signs a contract with the State of Wisconsin that they will meet the obligations required for a journeyman card. During the apprenticeship, Bosch is responsible for ensuring the apprentices meet the minimum requirements, as well as assigning a shop-floor trainer and mentor to each apprentice.
The apprenticeship program works very closely with Wisconsin’s Workforce Development Department through Travis Ludvigson, Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, who produced the contract the apprentices signed. At WITC, Randy Deli, divisional dean of trade and technology, coordinates the college’s apprenticeship opportunities.
Once accepted in the program, apprentices receive a salary and benefits for their 40-hour-a-week schedule, during which they split time between on-the-job-training and classroom work. In addition, the program covers the cost for tuition and tools needed for coursework. Outside of the program, the normal curriculum requires classroom attendance for 30 hours a week, leaving little time for job training.
“This was a great opportunity for me,” says Taylor, one of the new apprentices. “It’s a perfect scenario, I get to continue working at Bosch, and in five years I’ll have a degree, diploma and journeyman card that will benefit my career and family.”
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.
From lacrossetribune.com: “Walker ‘still focused’ on jobs” — By Patrick B. Anderson - Training programs and new businesses will drive Wisconsin job growth, Gov. Scott Walker said Monday during a tour of Western Technical College.
The governor and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch visited with educators and students at the local technical college. Wisconsin is not on pace to add 250,000 private sector jobs by 2015 as Walker promised when he was elected. However, new businesses and schools such as Western will help more Wisconsin residents find work, Walker said.
“We’re still focused on that,” Walker said. “New jobs are going to come from small businesses, not big corporations.”
The governor toured Western and local offices for the Job Center of Wisconsin. The visit followed Walker’s proclamation of October as Manufacturing Month.
Kyle Larson, 21, took a break from his work at a vertical milling machine to talk to the governor. He started at Western’s machine tool program after struggling to find a job working on cars. Manufacturing work seemed to offer more opportunities to find work and move up the ladder, Larson said.
“I didn’t want to waste my time,” Larson said.
Lukas Bright, 19, saw the same type of job opportunities in welding. That’s partly what drew him to the field, the Western student said. He’s still in his first year, but already he’s already got work prospects.
“There’s hundreds of jobs available,” Bright said.
Western president Lee Rasch shared with the governor the local campus’ plans to add new facilities and take on more students. Voters passed an $80 million referendum last year for Western building upgrades, and work has already begun on some of the projects. Remodels and additions will create new learning opportunities for students who want to land a manufacturing job out of college, Rasch said.
“They’re looking for skilled workers,” Rasch said. “They want to know what we’re doing.”
Wisconsin added 24,305 jobs between March 2012 and March 2013, ranking 34th in the nation in job creation, according to the most recent numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The state added 72,710 jobs from when Walker took office until March, according to the bureau.
However, the state has added 11,000 new businesses under his leadership, and new businesses will help add more opportunities for Wisconsin workers, Walker said.
“We want to build off of our positive foundation and move the state forward,” Walker said.
Walker said his office has poured $100 million into workforce development. But direct state aid to Wisconsin’s technical colleges was held flat this year, and will increase by about $5 million next year. Western will also have more flexibility next year to use categorical grants from an existing $22 million pot of funding for worker training programs.
Worker training programs are a major focus for Wisconsin lawmakers, Walker said.
“As employers tell us as we go around the state, they have jobs,” Walker said. “We want to make sure we’re putting our money where it has the biggest impact.”
October 11, 2013
From leadertelegram.com: “CVTC lab launch nears” – A new tool is being developed at CVTC that will help narrow a skills gap in the manufacturing industry.
The Mobile Simulation Lab is a three-year project that began Aug. 1. A federal grant of nearly $800,000 is providing funding for a semi-truck trailer that will promote manufacturing skills in rural areas.
“We can provide high schools with more of the manufacturing skills employers need,” said Mark Hendrickson, a machine tool instructor at the college.
CVTC staff demonstrated a 3-D printer, laser engraver and virtual training equipment. The latter is a Realityworks product that trains students to weld in a virtual environment. Participants are graded and shown areas in need of improvement.
Training on the welding and machining curriculum is being planned for late summer/early fall of next year to prepare high school teachers to use the Mobile Simulation Lab resources, Hendrickson said.
The lab will be deployed at partner high schools – Alma Center Lincoln, Eleva-Strum, Greenwood, Neillsville and Owen-Withee – during the 2014-15 school year. It will stay at each location for nine weeks.
During summers and school breaks, the MSL will make appearances at local career fairs and other regional events.
“The overall goal of the laboratory is to provide educational resources and outreach to our rural high schools linked to manufacturing technology and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) career pathways,” Hendrickson said.
Bruce Barker, CVTC president, announced that the remodeling of a conference center that once served as an auditorium had been finished over the summer.
Seating capacity in the area, which is near the commons in CVTC’s Business Education Center, was increased to 380 from 220. A stage was removed, the floor leveled and audio-visual equipment installed.
It’s expected that the conference center, pending final approval, will be named after William and Gertrude Casper, whose foundation has a history of supporting CVTC.
“This was a public way for us to thank them and do it in a visual spot,” Barker said.
CVTC staff also provided presentations Thursday on two summer programs for youth: STEM Race Camps and Girls on Fire Camp. The former allows campers to work with radio-controlled cars in an effort to teach skills in areas such as data collection, problem solving, conflict resolution, and marketing and promotion.
Girls on Fire is a firefighter and emergency medical service career exploration camp for girls entering the seventh through 12th grades. Building confidence is one goal of the program, said Marcy Bruflat, a fire service instructor and program director.
“It’s important for them to know you can be whatever you want to be,” she said.
October 10, 2013
From wxpr.org: “Heavy Metal” Appeals to Students” – WXPR’s Ken Krall took a look at the future with some Northwoods 8th graders at Nicolet College in Rhinelander. He took the “Heavy Metal Tour.”
Not a rock band, but a job fair of sorts: the “Heavy Metal Tour” is sponsored by Nicolet College, Northcentral Technical College, 27 manufacturing employers, and boards and alliances.
Rene Daniels from North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board says the goal is to give 8th graders a look at careers they might not have considered.
“We’re trying to catch students at a point in their lives -these are eighth graders – when they’re starting to think about those careers and what they could possibly do. And we want to keep as many of our students here in the Northwoods as we can. And so we want to expose them to an industry and occupations that are in their own backyard. It really is eye-opening.”
Olivia from Minocqua said she had thought about a job in sports but saw other possibilities…
“I’m excited to find out more about the industry, cause I hadn’t really thought about a job there. So it’ll be nice to see what’s out there.”
Nate from Mercer wants to fly, but realizes people need to build the planes.
“I wanted to be a pilot – so I was thinking there would be some stuff, maybe making things for airplanes or how things are made.”
The students toured Rhinelander-area manufacturers and heard about training at the two technical colleges. Promoters say manufacturing jobs have changed a lot over the last decades, requiring computer and math skills. October is Manufacturing Month.
October 8, 2013
From nbc26.com: “Students Use Mobile Tech Lab” – HOWARD-SUAMICO — Technology is on the move today at one local school.
Students at Bay Port High School in Howard-Suamico got a visit from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s Mobile Tech Lab today. It features state-of-the-art equipment and programs used in the manufacturing industry. The goal of the visit is to spark interest in the field while at the same time, getting students familiar with the equipment.
“We’ve gained some additional enrollments within the program and these enrollments will eventually lead to these students going out and working in the industry,” says CNC Lab Technician Jerry Bronkhorst.
AT&T also made a donation that would allow students to get a semester of training in the mobile lab this fall.
October 3, 2013
From swnews4u.com: ”Community Corner: SWTC and Manufacturing” — By Duane Ford, president Southwest Wisconsin Technical College - As our economy rebounded the last few years, regional manufacturers requested help addressing workforce shortages and skills gaps.
In celebration of October being Manufacturing Month, I am reporting Southwest Tech’s response since 2011. The accomplishments that follow were made possible by numerous conversations and partnerships with area manufacturers as well as more than $3.93 million in total support from 27 different private, state, and federal grants.
Manufacturers reported a shortage of people with the interest and skills needed for manufacturing jobs. In response, Southwest Tech beefed up marketing, student recruitment, and youth programming; developed a Business and Manufacturing Bridge Program to help adult students lacking basic literacy skills to prepare for admission into one of our manufacturing related diploma or degree programs; and developed Gold Collar Certification, a short program that provides entry-level manufacturing competencies to unskilled and low-skilled people.
Manufacturers reported a shortage of maintenance technicians, welders, and CNC setup/operators. In response, Southwest Tech is increasing the number of students we can serve in our electromechanical technology program from 24 to 48 per year and in welding from 40 to 60; growing student numbers in CNC setup/operator; developing “flex-degree-like” learning systems for our supervisory management, welding, and CNC setup/operator programs; and creating new programs in logistics and supply chain management.
Manufacturers reported a need for more customized, incumbent worker training. In response, Southwest Tech increased the number of workers we train per year by more than 63% since 2009 and developed two new programs. One is helping maintenance technicians understand how the machines they work on network with computer systems. The other is helping electricians work in the specialized environments of dairy and food manufacturing plants.
Southwest Tech appreciates this region’s manufacturers and their workers. We are proud of our service to this sector. Manufacturing offers fantastic career opportunities. Happy Manufacturing Month!
October 3, 2013
From northlandsnewscenter.com: “Manufacturers revealed at WITC” – October is manufacturing awareness month which gave local businesses the perfect opportunity to show what they have to offer.
WITC hosted several businesses from around the Twin Ports.
The event gave people a better understanding of the partnership between industry and the college to educate the future work force.
WITC students have the opportunity to get hands on experience that will transfer directly to many of the careers highlighted at the event.
“Over 70 percent of high school graduates don’t want to go to a four year school but they are not sure what else to do. So our hope here tonight is to just start that process and getting the community to understand the manufacturers that are here,” said David Minor, president of the Superior and Douglas County Chamber of Commerce.
Ten businesses were at the event including Amsoil, Kestrel, and Field Logic.
September 25, 2013
From thenorthwestern.com: “Robotic welding program brings Walker to FVTC” – Learning to weld is normally a hands-on experience, but 14 Fox Valley Technical College students are taking a very hands-off approach to a new course.
Fox Valley Tech has introduced a course in robotic welding at its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center on Oshkosh’s south side this semester as it responds to changing demands of area manufacturers.
The new program, and the eight robots mounted with MIG welding guns, caught the attention of Gov. Scott Walker, who toured the manufacturing campus Tuesday afternoon.
“We can compete with anybody in the world, anywhere around the world, but we’re not going to compete the way we used to,” Walker said. “Advanced manufacturing means people who have multiple skills that can be applied using not only crafts they’ve learned here, but also all the technology that goes with it.”
FVTC Metal Fabrication and Welding Instructor Ben Cebery said the college was able to use a portion of a three-year, $3 million Advanced Manufacturing Pathways Plus grant the U.S. Department of Labor awarded FVTC earlier this year to develop the robotic welding course’s curriculum.
“We’re seeing more automation in manufacturing,” Cebery said. “Surveys with local companies suggested it was a good idea for students to be exposed to automation. This program prepares students for what we’re seeing and the demands of industry.”
Jay Manufacturing CEO Matt Jameson said the company has six robotic welding stations and a lot more manual welding stations at its west side fabrication shop. He said the company has hired several welders recently, and needs to hire as many as 20 more. He said the company views robotic welding training as a definite plus.
“The more versatile a person is, the more we can do with them,” Jameson said. “If they know manual and robotic welding, that’s just a bonus. In addition, the people we have interviewed who tested well almost all had some form of technical college training.”
Joe Serio, of Menominee Falls, and Austin Kopplin, of Oshkosh, both said they’re excited to learn how to program the robots and get them to execute precision welds. Serio said he knows welders are in high demand, but learning more advanced skills like computer programming is vital to finding a good job.
“Usually, we don’t get to deal with computers much while welding, but there’s always someone who needs to run the robot in case something happens,” Serio said. “This comes easy and it’s a pretty nice skill to learn.”
Kopplin said he’s been impressed by the amount of programming required to get the robots to work and the precision with which they execute commands.
“It’s consistent and perfect every time,” Kopplin said. “You get jittery welding for six hours at a time, but these things can run all night.”
Cebery said the college reached out to companies who said students need to be familiar with robotic welding and asked them to provide one or two robots they use. He said Ariens Co., in Brillion, and Muza Metal Products, in Oshkosh, are just two of the companies that stepped up to help out.
“Getting eight robots on the floor would have cost an astounding amount of money,” Cebery said. “Finding another way was vital. Fortunately, we were able to find a way via donations and gifted equipment that exposes students to the different types of robotic welders. They get to learn on each of them.”
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 20, 2013
From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Board helps launch metal manufacturing alliance” – In late May, the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board received a request from a manufacturing employer requesting current data and projections for two occupations in our region: welders and machinists. In response, we ran an initial report using Economic Modeling Services Inc., or EMSI, a labor market analysis software to which we subscribe.
EMSI uses U.S. Bureau of Workforce Information, U.S. Department of Education’s Center for Education Statistics and Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development labor data among other sources for compiling occupation reports. Based on those sources, the occupational data is not “real time,” but is based upon precise sampling, generally with a six- to 12-month lag time. Educational output data is closer to “real time.”
To augment the EMSI-generated data, the board was asked by several employers to conduct a survey of 22 regional metal fabricators. The survey results revealed that the growth rate in the welding and machinist occupations was significantly greater than that projected by EMSI. That result is to be expected with any “real time” survey of employers (precisely why you see the disparity in unemployment numbers as the real survey of household reports is compiled).
The results prompted the board’s Business Services team to convene a meeting of the respondents to the survey and explore potential solutions to the demand for these and other manufacturing occupations.
Fifteen manufacturing company representatives met to discuss opportunities and partnerships that could help meet this identified occupation demand. Out of these discussions, the group formed the Central Wisconsin Metal Manufacturing Alliance.
Six representatives stepped forward to lead the steering committee of the alliance. Kathy Drengler of Greenheck and John Peterson of Schuette Metals were elected steering committee co-chairs. Other steering committee members are Tom Felch of J & D Tube Benders; Bill Wenzel of Northland Stainless; Julie Mahr of Sulzeer Machine; and Jim Frings of G3 Industries.
The new group identified the following key objectives to help build the pipeline of qualified workers:
• Promote metal manufacturing careers — get youths informed and excited about these occupations.
• Advocate for the necessary educational infrastructure to meet demand.
• Work collaboratively with other partners in the region already engaged in addressing the issues.
• Strengthen PK-16 relationship/partnerships, including further development of apprenticeships, internships, job shadowing.
• Inventory current initiatives to avoid duplication.
The group is working on two initiatives to increase capacity in the region. Both initiatives include Northcentral Technical College and methods to assist NTC in increasing its capacity to serve students and increasing interest in metal manufacturing careers.
For more information about NCWWDB’s Employer Services, call me at 715-204-1647 or email email@example.com.
August 15, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Amerequip donates $10,000 to tech college” – KIEL — Amerequip, a manufacturer of custom equipment for the lawn, landscape, agricultural and construction markets, has donated $10,000 to Moraine Park Technical College Foundation’s Manufacturing Fund.
The fund is aimed at strengthening the appeal of manufacturing-related careers by offering manufacturing programs that reduce the transition time from degree to workforce, while providing manufacturers with direct access to students enrolled in those fields. It focuses on recruitment, retention and workforce readiness; offering students financial assistance as well as incentives to complete their degrees with performance based rewards.
Amerequip provides design and engineering services, along with production and manufacturing, of custom equipment for international and national customers in a variety of industries. The firm operates four Wisconsin facilities, with more than 155 employees.
August 14, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “Wisconsin manufacturing apprentices increase” — By Jeff Engel - A wide-ranging marketing campaign by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development aimed at drumming up interest in manufacturing apprenticeships has apparently shown results.
In April, DWD began promoting apprenticeships through billboards, public service announcements on TV, videos on its website, flyers and brochures for workers and advertisements on the Packers Radio Network, the state agency said. It worked with ad agency Laughlin Constable to develop the outreach effort.
Through the first half of the year, new apprentices increased 30 percent year-over-year to 1,383, according to the DWD Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. From April 1 through June 30, the number of manufacturers participating in the state program increased by 67 companies compared with the same period last year, DWD said.
One of those additions to the program is Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., now a registered apprenticeship employer. DWD Secretary Reggie Newson visited Ocean Spray’s Kenosha plant on Monday.
With the agreement, Ocean Spray will start by sponsoring three apprentices in maintenance technician apprenticeship training. The Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass.-based company produces canned and bottled juices and juice drinks.
“Ocean Spray’s ability to expand our markets and products is directly tied to our ability to find employees with the right skills,” said Tim Peoples, Ocean Spray’s Kenosha plant director. “We chose to start an apprenticeship program at our Kenosha plant to develop our work force while providing growth opportunities.”
The program combines on-the-job training with a journey worker and classroom learning, often at a technical college. Apprentices are enrolled for four to five years, with wages increasing along the way. They graduate from the program with a nationally recognized certification.
The average annual wage in manufacturing is about $51,400, more than $10,000 above the average annual wage for all occupations in Wisconsin, DWD said.
August 12, 2013
From starjournalnow.com: “Industrial manufacturing skills training info session Aug. 15 at Nicolet College” – With high local demand for workers with solid industrial manufacturing skills, Nicolet College will be holding an information session will be held Thursday, Aug. 15, for anyone interested in learning about the skills and training necessary to enter the field.
The Industrial Mechanical Information Event will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. in the college’s Manufacturing Lab in Art Tech Center 108 on the Nicolet Campus.
Anyone interested can drop in any time that is convenient for them to tour the lab and meet with instructors.
At 5:30 p.m., area manufacturing employers will take part in a panel discussion to talk about the specific skills they need in employees, how people can get these skills, and how an individual can go about applying for a job at the various manufacturing facilities.
Grants to cover all tuition costs are available to qualifying individuals. Nicolet staff will be on hand to help people fill out the grant applications as well as fill out the application for admission to Nicolet College.
Nicolet staff will also be on hand to give tips on how to write a good resume as well as what it takes to perform well in a job interview.
Nicolet offers a manufacturing skills training program that starts with students earning the short-term Industrial Maintenance Fundamentals certificate. Credits earned can then be applied to the one-year Industrial Electronics Maintenance technical diploma which then ladders into the two-year Industrial Mechanical Technician associate degree.
Wages in the Northwoods range from $12 to $24 an hour, depending on experience.
For more information about industrial manufacturing training at Nicolet, visit nicoletcollege.edu or call the college at 715-365-4451, 800-544-3039, ext. 4451; TDD 715-365-4448.
August 8, 2013
From ozaukeepress.com: “Boot camps provide technical know how” — By Sarah McCraw - The success of a quickly growing internship program is boosting efforts to create a new generation of workers in the skilled trades industry.
John Crane Orion in Grafton, which manufactures hydrodynamic bearings used in high-speed rotating machinery, was the first company to partner with Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac to launch Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machining Boot Camps in fall 2012.
The program is designed to fast-track CNC machining education and help strengthen an industry few have entered recently, Kristy Reed, operations people development manager for John Crane Orion said.
“In the future, more people are going to need more than a high school diploma but not necessarily a bachelor’s degree, so these types of certificate programs are filling the gap,” Reed said.
The boot camps are educating people about safe, clean and high-paying careers in skilled trades, breaking the stigma that manufacturing jobs are dirty and dangerous, Reed said.
The program provides students with 72 hours of internship experience that may lead to jobs at area manufacturing companies.
“I absolutely love this internship program, not only because it’s all accredited, but it really gives people three years of on-the-job training in just 16 weeks, so a huge learning curve is cut right there,” Reed said.
The boot camp is also setting a base standard of knowledge for CNC machinists, ending the reputation that they are niche positions within a single company, Reed said.
Businesses are certainly taking note of the level of performance from interns, Anne Lemke, economic and workforce development project manager at Moraine Park Technical College said.
“We’ve had really good feedback on the boot camp from the employers,” Lemke said. “It’s not just about the skilled labor of working the CNC machine. We need people who can work well, can listen well and have problem-solving skills.”
Lemke said John Crane Orion is one of three companies in Ozaukee County accepting interns for the 15-week program.
Students spend one day at an internship and four days in class doing lab work on equipment that is identical to that on shop floors.
“The program is 75% hands-on learning,” Reed said.
Terese Cordova of Jackson is finishing an internship through the boot camp at John Crane Orion, where she is learning how to make hydro-dynamic bearings and seals used in oil and gas-powered generators.
“Being here is really good for me because I can take what I’ve learned in the lab and see it applied in an actual manufacturing environment,” Cordova said.
Lemke said the biggest challenge has been finding people to participate in the program.
Students must pass a basic education, aptitude for learning, spacial recognition and mechanical aptitude tests to be accepted into the program.
“We have more employers waiting for an intern than we have students to fill the positions,” Lemke said.
Experience has shown that students who complete the programs are likely to secure a job, she said.
Of 28 people who completed the program last school year, 22 were hired by area companies, Lemke said.
“Students are so grateful for the opportunity,” she said. “A lot of people are unemployed because they’ve lost their job. This is giving them a great opportunity.
“We’ve also gotten a lot of compliments from the employers who have worked with us that our students are more skilled for the positions.”
Reed said interns at John Crane Orion handle a variety of jobs to get a full understanding of the production process.
Nick Schmidt of Grafton was hired by John Crane Orion in 2011 after he completed a similar boot camp through Waukesha County Technical College.
Schmidt said he was under-employed prior to going through the program.
“You get to learn the machining right away. You don’t have to learn all the little programs and stuff like that,” he said. “You learn how to actually make the part instead of trying to figure out what the machine is trying to do.”
A three-year, $705,000 grant from the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation provides funding for the program, Lemke said.
Students pay $500 for the boot camp, but $375 is reimbursed if they complete the course with a C grade or above and meet the 98% attendance rate.
“We tell students that CNC companies are constantly looking for help so the job security is there for you and you can take that wherever you want to go,” Lemke said.
August 6, 2013
From starjournalnow.com: “Industrial manufacturing skills training info session Aug. 15 at Nicolet College” – With high local demand for workers with solid industrial manufacturing skills, Nicolet College will be holding an information session Thursday, Aug. 15, for anyone interested in learning about the skills and training necessary to enter the field.