June 12, 2013
From 620wtmj.com: “MATC offers free culinary camps for students” – MILWAUKEE - Some local high school students can learn how to be masters in the kitchen, for free. MATC is offering two free week-long culinary camps starting next week.
MATC culinary arts instructor Mary Dess, along with student Maria Nasby, who attended two summers ago, talk about the culinary camps.
June 11, 2013
From biztimes.com: “Kinetic trains industrial knifemakers” — Kinetic Co. Inc. in Greendale has invested in its facilities and employees as it has grown.
The company, founded in 1948 in Milwaukee, has 110 employees at its 75,000-square-foot facility, which has been expanded four times, most recently in 2009. And there’s room for growth – the facility sits on 10 acres.
“We have room for more expansion. We are essentially full again,” said president Jared Masters.
Kinetic makes about 20 categories of knives and has around 5,000 different SKUs. The knives, most of which are made of steel, are adapted to meet the desired cutting style.
New employees must be thoroughly trained on how to set up each job, since there are so many different product set-ups, Cash said. Over the last five to 10 years, a lot of experienced employees have been retiring so he has undertaken a constant and more documented training process in the shop.
Kinetic recently received a $42,520 Workforce Advancement Training grant from Milwaukee Area Technical College for blueprint training, master CAM and surface grinding training.
There are two sections of nine workers each that started the courses at MATC’s Milwaukee campus on May 20, said Ginny Gnadt, senior specialist in public relations at MATC. The employees will also be trained in MSSC safety at work.
“This provides the company with better-trained employees and gives the workers a chance to make more money by having a higher skill level,” Gnadt said.
Since their father, Joseph, died in February, brothers Jared and Cash Masters have taken the helm at the industrial knifemaker.
Under Joseph, the company grew significantly in the last five years, entering new markets and widening its reach.
“We’ve expanded our focus,” said Cash, vice president. “Years ago it was just knives for paper.”
The company now serves steel mills, power plants and other industrial companies with both blade manufacturing and contract grinding and machining.
“We’ve got such a wide variety of product lines and products within those product lines that this is what’s helped us when the economy might slow down,” Cash said.
But that variety can also mean a longer lead time because of the number of product changes each machine undergoes, Jared said. Its diversity has also set Kinetic apart from competitors, since it serves several industries instead of just one.
Paper manufacturers like Kimberly-Clark Corp. still make up the largest portion of Kinetic’s customer base, while steel mills and food packagers are also drivers.
A thin perforation blade is used to create designs and perforate products like toilet paper, while thick contoured knives slice through metals. Most of the blades Kinetic makes aren’t sharp to the touch – they’re simply used with force.
Depending on the application, a blade is rough ground, milled or turned. Kinetic takes on any project it can perform, Jared said.
Many of Kinetic’s customers are in the Midwest, particularly for the contract machining work. It exports about 10 percent of its products, and is growing that segment in South and Central America, Jared said.
The company keeps its work in-house so it can control the quality, which sets it apart from competitively priced products, he said.
“When a piece of raw steel comes in the door, for all of our product lines we do 99 percent of the work here,” Cash said.
Kinetic had about $25 million in annual revenue in 2012, up more than 20 percent in the last three years. Jared expects about five percent growth for 2013.
The company invested almost $2 million in equipment last year. It moves employees around based on which areas are busier.
“We don’t do budgets,” Jared said. “If we need it, we buy it. If we don’t need it, we don’t buy it.”
June 10, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Program’s new approach to bridge skills gap? Talk to employers” – To some, it’s the scourge of the industrial Midwest. To others, it’s an economic mystery.
Why does it remain difficult to find workers to fill job openings at a time of persistently high unemployment? The phenomenon defies logic, not to mention Economics 101. Many manufacturers say they’d hire more people, and create more employment in the process, if only they could find qualified candidates.
The “skills gap,” as the issue is known, has not gone away in Wisconsin, even after years of debate, theories, white papers and innumerable complaints from frustrated plant managers.
Recent weeks have produced a flurry of fresh research and initiatives, showing that the disconnect continues to touch a raw nerve in a state known for its machine shops and metalworkers.
“Some people don’t think that it’s a reality,” said David Mitchell, president of Monarch Corp., a privately held Milwaukee machining and metal fabrication company. “But the skills gap is real. I live it every day. There’s not enough skilled labor out there. It really is my number one impediment to growth. I can find new customers. I can find new industries.”
Mitchell co-chairs a newly launched initiative, sponsored by the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, called the Manufacturing Careers Partnership. The MMAC program aims to systematically learn the exact needs of local industry, based on surveys of employers in southeastern Wisconsin, and then share the findings with the leading technical training colleges, such as the Milwaukee Area Technical College, so they can adjust their curriculum to the needs of the economy.
It will develop a pilot program for welders, which is the best known example of industrial skills shortages. Once the pilot program for welders is up and running, the partnership wants to adapt that pilot model to other areas of the economy, with machinists next in line, said Shelley Jurewicz, who is overseeing the MMAC effort.
The notion of canvassing employers on their needs seems long overdue, Jurewicz said.
“It sounds like something that should have been done already, but it wasn’t,” she said.
“People are holding back on investment, because they don’t know if they should expand, because they don’t know if they have ready talent,” said Scott Jansen, director of the newly created Office of Skills Development, an arm of the state Department of Workforce Development.
Jansen’s job will be to build a new agency within the agency, with its own $15 million budget for 2014-’15. The funding is earmarked for customized job-training programs, tailored for the specific needs of Wisconsin-based employers.
At the same time, the state workforce agency last month said it plans to hire a Boston-based web development firm to build an automated online system to connect “job seekers with openings that employers need to fill.”
The issue is hardly limited to Wisconsin. The competition to find talent has become a global pursuit that vexes many industries, as California’s high-tech industries recruit engineers from India and Wisconsin’s welding shops cede work to Texas, according to research at ManpowerGroup Inc., the global recruitment and placement company based in Milwaukee.
Manpower, which studies talent shortage issues around the globe, says Wisconsin ranks as the No. 5 state in terms of demand for welders, behind Texas, Ohio, California and Pennsylvania. But Wisconsin does not even make it into the top 10 states in terms of the supply of welders.
Separately, Manpower used data from the CareerBuilder Internet-based job placement database to search for job advertisements for welders in metro Milwaukee between March 2012 and February 2013. It found 861 postings but only 183 active candidates for the positions.
A training disconnect?
There is broad consensus on a few of the main causes. One of the most-often cited is the perception that manufacturing is dumb, dirty, dangerous and declining. Kids who saw their parents’ generation endure layoffs, furloughs and plant shutdowns shun manufacturing careers.
Another problem, which has been cited for years, is that the main tech schools haven’t bothered to align their teaching curriculum with present-day needs, focusing on graduation rates instead of job placement rates, Jurewicz said.
“The tech colleges are crazy that they don’t talk with employers enough,” Jurewicz said. “Do I get frustrated? Of course I do.”
MATC spokeswoman Kathleen Hohl said the school has established advisory committees for each of its associate degrees and technical diploma programs, meant to give input on the curriculum. “It’s a valuable part of our process,” Hohl said.
The MATC welding program, which has come under heavy outside criticism in recent years, currently has an adviser from GenMet Corp. in Mequon, one of the companies that have complained loudest about the inability to hire skilled metalworkers. It also has representatives from the two big metro Milwaukee mining equipment companies, Joy Global Inc. and Caterpillar Inc.
In addition, others in the region’s academic community strongly dispute that Wisconsin lacks skilled workers. One recent report referred to the notion as a “myth.”
That report by the Center for Economic Development at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee found “no statistical evidence of a skills shortage.” One of its key findings was that wages in those trades, such as welding, have not increased in Wisconsin, as one would expect if those skills were in demand.
“If Wisconsin employers were encountering a shortage of skilled labor, wages would be going up, but in Wisconsin real wages have declined since 2000,” the report found. Nor is there evidence that Wisconsin employers added hours to their existing workforce to compensate for an alleged skilled labor shortage, it said.
However, others have expressed concerns not only that there is a real skills gap, but that it could get worse before it gets better.
Among the concerns: demographics and the looming retirement of the “baby boom” generation. Economists at the Department of Workforce Development project that roughly 1 million jobs will have opened up in Wisconsin between 2010 and 2020, including about 680,000 to replace workers leaving the workforce. Roughly 340,000 are growth positions.
Right now, it’s unclear whether enough replacement workers are in the pipeline.
State feels global wage pressure
And then there’s another issue: globalization-driven pressure on wages.
Wages in the United States have come under unprecedented pressure, partly from the last recession but also from low-wage foreign competition. In the most recent 12-month period, private-sector wages fell 1.1% across the entire U.S. economy.
Wisconsin feels wage pressure more acutely. In the most recent period with comparable data, Wisconsin’s wages were under twice as much pressure, falling 2.2% in the private sector.
At the same time, wages are rising in developing nations such as China in what amounts to a global leveling of wages.
For any industry that feels low-wage foreign competition, the phenomenon of wage equalization puts factory managers in a Catch-22: They can’t increase pay without becoming uncompetitive, but they can’t fill the jobs with uncompetitive wages, said Jonas Prising, a senior executive at Manpower.
The more closely a Wisconsin company competes with China, the less latitude that employer has to lure a worker with higher wages.
Globalization radically changes what used to be a textbook rule-of-thumb in the pre-global age: When there’s a shortage of labor, wages will rise to attract the talent. That is no longer a reliable expectation, Prising said.
Never before have companies and managers had such instant access to prevailing wage rates around the world, he said.
In its 2012 survey of U.S. employers who have trouble filling job openings, Manpower found that 54% said candidates turned down the work because they expected higher pay.
“The big difference today, compared to almost every other recession, is our understanding and transparency of wages and who we compete with and where,” Prising said. “This is a very new phenomenon.”
From wuwm.com: “New College Grads May Be Entering An Improving Job Market” – Thousands of local college students graduated over the weekend. UWM and Marquette were among those holding commencement ceremonies. More grads will pick up their diplomas next weekend, including at MSOE and MATC.
The last few years have been tough for college grads. They entered the labor force amid a slow-moving economy, when employers were hesitant to hire. And the competition often included experienced people, laid off during the recession. Dennis Winters says now however, there are hints the job hunt may be a bit easier. He works for the state Department of Workforce Development.
“The economy is growing slowly and the employment situation is a bit laggard yet, but I think things are picking up throughout the rest of the year and in the future, so graduates have something a little better to look at,” Winters says.
Another agency that sees promising data is Milwaukee-based Manpower Group. It tracks hiring trends.
“There was healthy hiring last quarter, so I think we’re going to see continuous improvement. It’s certainly not going backwards,” says Chris Layden, who heads one of the Wisconsin divisions of ManpowerGroup. He says some new grads have an advantage over experienced people looking for work.
“Companies are looking for fresh talent out of college, particularly leading companies within the Milwaukee market that are always trying to bring in fresh perspectives and hiring potential.”
Layden says the greatest demand for graduates remains in the STEM fields: science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
The trend puts graduates from the Milwaukee School of Engineering in good standing. Erik Oswald works in MSOE’s careers office. He says employers sought out the school’s students throughout the economic downturn.
“Even in the height of the recession, our students were getting jobs. They maybe were just having one offer at a time. But as things are recovering, the biggest thing we’re seeing is that students are able to choose between two or three offers again,” Oswald says.
Oswald says the pay is good, even for those just entering the workforce.
“The average starting salaries for the 2011-2012 class for all of our graduates was $55,368,” Oswald says.
On the other edge of downtown, Marquette University reports high demand for its grads, across the spectrum. Andy Brodzeller is spokesman.
“One anecdote is that involvement in our career fairs that we host in the fall and spring semester — we’ve seen additional participation by companies and employees. This past year, actually we had to turn down employees, because we simply didn’t have enough space for them in the ballrooms at the career fair,” Brodzeller says.
Brodzeller says grads with a leg up are those who participated in internships and got work experience. The head of UW-Milwaukee’s career development center echoes the sentiment. Cindy Petrites says students’ resourcefulness outside the classroom can be as important as their field of study.
“The person graduating today is probably looking at over a dozen job changes over the course of their lifetime. So it’s really important for us to be helping students to be really nimble in the way they are developing their skills, in the way they are thinking about how they can be marketable — not just for the jobs of today, but for the jobs of tomorrow,” Petrites says.
Another local institution has seen first-hand the changing employment picture graduates face. Mike Kuehnl is with MATC, who says “4,500 of our students already have bachelor’s or master’s degrees and they’ve come to MATC to get the skills that employers are looking for.”
Kuehnl says graduates in the greatest demand are those in the fields of information technology, manufacturing and health care.
May 1, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Etiquette, networking skills on college seniors’ plates” – The banquet table has eight place settings positioned close to one another. Crystal glasses crowd the space above china plates, and rolls sit nearby, atop small plates.
But which roll goes with which plate? And which plate with which glass?
“BMW,” advises Margery Sinclair, etiquette coach and author. “From left to right: Bread and butter; meat and main; wine or water.”
That might not seem like college-level work, but with students getting ready to head off to interviews, internships and jobs, schools are setting aside some time – and some courses – to prepare them in ways beyond technical and management skills.
Sinclair is regularly called on to help students; earlier this month, she was featured at a Backpack to Briefcases luncheon put on by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. She sees lunch or dinner as a way for prospective employers to wean candidates out.
“A lot can be determined by the way you conduct yourself,” Sinclair said, explaining that if candidates have good manners while eating, it most likely means they conduct themselves appropriately in other aspects of their life.
At UWM, business students can take an entire class on how to land their dream job and how to maintain it. The class covers networking, interviewing do’s and don’ts, appropriate work attire, résumé and cover letter coaching, and etiquette.
Greg Krejci, director of career services at the Lubar School of Business, said 205 students signed up.
“This class is not just fitting for graduates but also for second-semester sophomores and juniors who are looking for internships,” Krejci said. “Oftentimes, the employees that assist with the course are actively recruiting companies.”
Students in the class have been known to walk away with internships and full-time jobs in their back pockets.
“We have some employers that will meet some students at mock interviews and then set up actual interviews,” Krejci said. “We have had students, like those in supply-chain management, saying, ‘I couldn’t have done it without this class.’ “
The course also devotes time to the importance of benefits, how to properly invest and what ways students can pay off their student loans.
Employers visit classes
Other area schools have similar resources, or schedule special events to assist their students.
Milwaukee Area Technical College offers weekly “Meet the Business” sessions that are informal opportunities for students to have face-to-face interaction with employers, who come to their classroom and have an open dialogue about job openings and what types of employees they are looking for.
“This absolutely generates employment,” said Jenny McGilligan, student employment specialist at MATC. McGilligan said many students have résumés on hand for these sessions.
MATC hosted a professional forum three weeks ago for transportation students where six employers spent an hour and a half speaking with students about how they can be hired in the industry and what they should be doing to be hired.
“Teachers can tell students what to do, but when you get the hiring manager telling you this is what you need to do, all of a sudden they pay attention,” McGilligan said.
Don’t wait too long
One problem schools warn against is showing up for help just weeks before picking up a degree.
Laura Kestner-Ricketts, director of Marquette University’s Career Services Center, said she is not concerned with her “superstar students” who are active early on in the career search.
“I have had students who have had jobs since October, students who have been persistent and devoted,” Kestner-Ricketts said. “Our superstar students are just fine.”
But she is concerned with the students who are just starting the job process and are showing their anxiety.
“It’s the students who are coming to see us for the first time now – that have no internships, never written a résumé – that are having a much more difficult time,” she said.
The Career Services Center has assisted 538 seniors, 34% of the graduating class, this year, not to mention students from other classes. It uses Q&As with professionals from designated industries, speed-networking events, workshops on how to effectively use LinkedIn and more – all with the idea of arming students to transition to the work world.
Career center employees say it’s all part of building a package – education, interviewing skills, networking abilities, résumés that inform and sell. And yes, negotiating that lunch table setting.
Thank-you notes are key
One final word from Sinclair: Send a thank-you note. The recruiter and potential employer are doing you a favor, Sinclair said, and they deserve gratitude.
“Be short, sincere and specific,” she said. “Three sentences at the most, otherwise it’s a letter. Out of 10, maybe one or two send a thank-you note.”
The note draws attention – in a more memorable way than grabbing the wrong roll.
April 25, 2013
From matctimes.com: “A first wave of Human Resources students prepare to enter the workforce” – At the end of the spring 2013 semester, a pioneering group of students will graduate with an associate degree in Human Resources, a watermark for the human resources industry as well as for MATC and the state of Wisconsin.
It may be surprising to hear that, until a couple of years ago, there was no human resources program in any college in Wisconsin. As the understanding of the role, as well as the importance, of a human resource practitioner within a business grew however, so did the need for education within the field; a realization Jacqueline Cook came to when she left WE Energies after more than 30 years of work and came to MATC.
Now the coordinator of the HR A.A.S. degree program, Cook looks back and says creating a department from scratch almost single handedly wasn’t easy, but she knew from the moment she arrived that it was necessary. Cook was hired at MATC for management development and business administration but, upon taking a closer look, she was surprised that there was no business ethics program or associate degree for business ethics. She’s happy to say that MATC now has both. Cook completed the process to create a degree program in 10 months, a process that typically takes 18 to 24 months to complete. Cook believes it was more than simply hard work that enabled this. “When something is designed appropriately and truly ordained and meant to be, I believe it happens,” she says.
In most fields, people are unsure of their future as they prepare to leave college and enter the workforce. But, because of Cook’s time in the field and relationships she’s made with important people, the soon-to-be graduates seem confident that they will be able to secure a job directly out of school. Justin Douglas, president of the Human Resources Student Organization, is in his second semester of the program. As he readies himself to enter the job market Douglas understands the value of the program, as well as what Cook has done to deliver success to her students. “Miss Cook has been working with a lot of leaders in the industry around Milwaukee to set up internships and develop students who have the skills, knowledge and ability to get a job.”
Thanks to Cook, Douglas is no stranger to the work of creating relationships with people in the field. He has worked closely with Cook to create an articulation agreement with Wisconsin Lutheran College so that Glynda Young, secretary of the Human Resources Student Organization, can apply 56 of her already earned credits to her next degree.
This is one agreement of several that have recently been made between other colleges. Thanks to agreements like this, students know they have options when they graduate from MATC. Cook says, “I’m always talking to my students about understanding that everything you’re doing is strategic, and your partnerships should be those that you can leverage to get a ‘win win’ not only for you but for that organization that you’re being involved in.”
Cook thinks not only about jobs when teaching her students, she also tries to teach students that the skills they learn here will go anywhere. “When we look at an organization, we understand that it should have a mission, a vision, a philosophy, values, culture, and develop strategic goals. As individuals, we should do likewise.”
Cook believes that in an industry where relationships are so integral to the success of the individual and the company they are involved with, it is very important to let her students go as better people with a set of values; values that they maybe didn’t have when they first stepped into her classroom. It’s for this reason some students have nicknamed her “The Beast” as a term of endearment. She tries to teach that, regardless of the job you’re in, you leave there having left a mark and that mark should work to create a reputation for your own success. Cook says, “I believe accountability is very important.”
Cook added, “I personally couldn’t have survived in the industry if I did not understand process, protocol, and the need for accountability.”
“I try to make sure that I’m not too rigid, that I’m respectful, that I have integrity, and I’m honest. Being that I teach HR, validity, consistency, reliability, all of those things are very important. I think sometimes students underestimate that.”
For Cook, it’s been a challenge that’s been bittersweet.
In the end, however, she knows that being able to teach something she is still so passionate about has a value you can’t put a dollar sign on.
For anyone already in the HR program or any business student interested in joining the Human Resources Student Organization, contact Jacqueline Cook at email@example.com.
April 25, 2013
From fabmilwaukee.com: “MATC adds food science and manufacturing programs” – Milwaukee Area Technical College will introduce 12 new associate degree and technical diploma programs in 2013-2014 to address growing demand in a number of industries.
The new programs in the School of Business are eBusiness fundamentals technical diploma, financial services technical diploma, food manufacturing and processing technical diploma and food science technology associate degree.
In the School of Health Sciences there is a new health information technician associate degree.
The School of Media and Creative Arts has a new audio production associate degree, creative advertising strategist associate degree, eProduction associate degree, mobile application developer technical diploma, and a mobile designer associate degree.
In the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences there is a new early childhood education technical diploma.
“The new programs exemplify MATC’s response to the needs of area businesses,” said MATC president Michael Burke, in a press release. “Students will have an opportunity to prepare for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries.”
April 16, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “MATC adds associate degree and technical diploma programs” – Milwaukee Area Technical College will introduce 12 new associate degree and technical diploma programs in 2013-2014 to address growing demand in a number of industries.
The new programs in the School of Business are eBusiness fundamentals technical diploma, financial services technical diploma, food manufacturing and processing technical diploma and food science technology associate degree.
In the School of Health Sciences there is a new health information technician associate degree. The School of Media and Creative Arts has a new audio production associate degree, creative advertising strategist associate degree, eProduction associate degree, mobile application developer technical diploma, and a mobile designer associate degree. In the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences there is a new early childhood education technical diploma.
“The new programs exemplify MATC’s response to the needs of area businesses,” said MATC president Michael Burke, in a press release. “Students will have an opportunity to prepare for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries.”
April 16, 2013
From onmilwaukee.com: “The Weekly Nibble: Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge Returns” – Even if you’re paying close attention, it’s sometimes difficult to keep up with the latest in food news here in Milwaukee. So here’s a taste of what’s new and notable – with news about a contest for food entrepreneurs, news from Pizza Man, an anniversary celebration for Pizzeria Piccola, a cheese dinner and a charcuterie competition.
Got a great food idea? You might be the next Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur
Thanks to the support provided by the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur competition, 2012 winner Bree Schumacher effectively launched her line of healthful family-friendly products, Busy Bree’s kale-based dinner starters, to grocery stores across the Midwest.
This year, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Reliable Water Services are joining forces again to launch the second Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge, a regional contest to find the next great food entrepreneur.
In addition to the adult category, this year Wisconsin teens ages 14-18 are invited to enter for a chance to kick-start their culinary dream career.
Adult entries are eligible to win $2,500 in seed money, a business consultation package from MATC and FaB Milwaukee and set of professional cookware from Boelter. Teen winners will receive a $1,000 MATC scholarship, $500 in seed money from Reliable Water Services and a set of professional cookware.
Both adult and teen aspiring chefs and home cooks throughout Wisconsin can enter at hotwater247.com by submitting a short application and a photo of their recipe or product concept. Entry deadline is May 17.
April 10, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Few employers show up to recruit MATC students” – Employers who have said there’s a shortage of welders in Wisconsin – and that it’s serious enough to threaten their business prospects – didn’t turn out in large numbers Tuesday for a Milwaukee Area Technical College job fair that could have introduced them to 50 job candidates.
Eight companies attended the event at the college’s campus in Oak Creek, which was intended to help recent and upcoming welding program graduates find employment.
For years, companies have lamented a lack of welders, especially for work that requires a high level of skill and knowledge. In some cases, they’ve said, the shortage has created production bottlenecks at their manufacturing plants.
MATC has ramped up its welding programs to help address the need, and college officials said they expected more businesses to be at the job fair.
“I think there is some fair criticism” for employers who complain about a shortage but didn’t show up for the fair, said David Dull, president and CEO of Allis-Roller LLC, a metal fabricator in Franklin that was at the event.
“It’s easy to complain,” said Dull, who is also a MATC board member.
Some companies have started welding classes in their factories, and some have said MATC’s programs haven’t met their needs for highly specialized and demanding jobs.
“I would say it’s challenging to find skilled help,” Dull said, adding that some companies might be turned off by a job fair that doesn’t have experienced candidates for them.
Area business leaders have said the welder shortage is going to get worse as thousands of older workers retire and there aren’t enough young people willing to take their place.
“Welding is more than just grabbing a stick and going to work. There’s a lot of science and knowledge involved,” said Mike Kuehnl, manager of student employment services at MATC.
“I was hoping for more employers” at the job fair, Kuehnl said. “I can’t speak to the reasons why more didn’t show up. Maybe they don’t need people right now, and it’s quite possible we might be catching up a little bit with the demand.”
Welding has been a sensitive subject at the technical college.
A labor union, for instance, has asked the college to stop training nonunion employees who could step in as replacement workers at Caterpillar Inc.’s South Milwaukee plant in the event of a strike.
Labor officials also have questioned whether there is a welder shortage.
“If there is one, we shouldn’t have to be pulling teeth to get companies at a job fair,” said Michael Rosen, faculty union president at MATC and economics instructor at the college.
“I think some employers want to keep flooding the market with job candidates so they can keep wages down,” Rosen said. “In a market where companies are looking for welders, the only way to attract them is to pay a higher wage.”
Some research, though, suggests these shortages are real and can be expected to worsen.
Wisconsin will have fewer than half the metal manufacturing professionals it needs by 2021, according to a recent report from ManpowerGroup. Demand for these skilled tradesmen will grow by nearly 50%, but the supply will decrease about 12% as the industry gets slapped by a wave of retirements, the report said.
The U.S. Department of Labor projects that two-thirds of the fastest-growing occupations from 2012 to 2018 will be in apprentice-based fields. More apprenticeships could help fill some of the skills gap. But many young adults, especially, don’t realize they could earn a good living in a manufacturing career, Dull said.
“More than half of the jobs in the state don’t require a four-year degree, but nearly 100% of the students are being told to go to college. To me, that’s the biggest disconnect,” Dull said.
But Marc Levine, a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee professor of history, economic development and urban studies, says the skills gap is a myth.
“All of the data suggests that companies that have been crying the loudest about a shortage of skilled workers have exaggerated the claims,” said Levine, who last month published a research update titled “The Myth of the Skills Gap in Wisconsin.”
There are about 2,000 unemployed welders in Wisconsin and about 500 job openings here a year for them, according to Levine.
In Wisconsin and surrounding states, there are about 17,000 unemployed welders, he said.
Levine says the only welder shortage he’s aware of is in places like North Dakota and Wyoming, where a boom in the oil and gas industry has resulted in a widespread lack of skilled help.
“The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If there really were a shortage of welders here, you would expect employers to be lining up for them at the MATC job fair,” Levine said.
April 9, 2013
From biztimes.com: “Tours highlight economic value of creative cluster” – With institutions such as Discovery World and the Betty Brinn Children’s Museum and arts groups such as Milwaukee Film, Milwaukee’s creative industries cluster has been a rising force in the growth of the region’s economy, according to the cultural leaders of Creative Alliance Milwaukee (CAM).
“A recent trend has been that cities, regions and states have been recognizing that there’s something called the creative cluster – the creative industries cluster – and it’s different in various cities, what comprises it, but what is the same in every area is it is a true economic driver,” said Maggie Jacobus, president and executive director of CAM.
To highlight Milwaukee’s creative industries and their broader economic impact, the nonprofit membership organization has developed what it likes to call “Creative Milwaukee Experience” tours.
The tours, geared toward area industry professionals and corporate executives, were initially designed four years ago as a talent recruitment and retention tool for the city. They aim to demonstrate Milwaukee’s vibrant creative community to both new members of the region’s workforce and business leaders considering planting the headquarters of their company in or near Milwaukee.
“The perceived creative culture of Milwaukee has a tremendous impact on the region’s capacity to attract a high-quality workforce,” said Gail Towers-MacAskill, sector manager at the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) and a CAM board member. “The best and brightest need to have documented evidence for why Milwaukee is the priority place to ‘set the flag’ of their career aspirations. Locally-based companies need to rely on that message to attract the creative (and) design innovation staff that they seek.”
Within greater Milwaukee, the creative industries cluster represents the fourth largest sector, behind manufacturing, finance and insurance, and construction. It also employs 4.2 percent of the regional workforce through more than 4,000 enterprises, according to CAM.
The nonprofit breaks the creative sector down into five distinct categories. Design accounts for 46 percent of the sector, media and film makes up 29 percent, the performing arts claims 12 percent, visual arts and crafts accounts for 11 percent, and the remaining two percent consists of culture and heritage.
A recent Creative Milwaukee Experience tour illustrated the power behind these numbers. With participants representing organizations like the WEDC and companies like Rockwell Automation Inc. and Xorbix Technologies Inc., the tour made stops at sites deeply invested in the city’s creative economy.
At the Betty Brinn Children’s museum, tour attendees learned how creativity is harvested at a very early age – a concept that CAM refers to as “from cradle to career” – and the importance of creative education to cultivate creative thinking and problem solving.
“You don’t just pop out of the other end of the pipeline suddenly creative,” Jacobus said. “Creative thinking and creating problem solving is something that is learned, that needs to be taught and that can be taught.”
At Milwaukee Area Technical College, attendees got a chance to see how students learn computer-generated animation in the School of Media and Creative Arts.
At Milwaukee Film, participants caught a glimpse of Milwaukee’s growing film community and the opportunities the organization is providing filmmakers to hone their art and film lovers to further appreciate it.
And at Discovery World, tour members took away the need for innovation within all disciplines – from brain science to engineering to water technology – by blending technical skills with an openness to artistry.
The variety of stops on the tour and the variety of demographics each caters to reinforces CAM’s conviction that creativity touches all sectors and is an essential element of success in today’s increasingly competitive marketplace.
“There’s nary a business that doesn’t use some sort of creative talent,” Jacobus said.
While a national standard regarding the parameters of the creative industries is still being laid out, Milwaukee sets its creative industries apart from those of other cities in the role they played in the city’s founding.
“Our creative economy is who we are,” Jacobus said. “It’s from whence we come.”
While outside cities’ creative industries clusters have largely emerged within the last few decades, Milwaukee’s cluster stems back to the city’s roots as brewers, cheese makers, old world craftsmen, architects and manufacturers built up the region and its economy.
“That basis of creative economy has been here for over 100 years, and so I think that’s one of the things that is unique about Milwaukee…We’re just calling it a creative economy now, but it’s always existed,” Jacobus said.
As CAM continues to lead tours of Milwaukee’s creative scene, Jacobus hopes to inspire participants to add their voice to the mix of those advocating the cultural vibrancy and economic vitality of Milwaukee’s creative industries cluster.
“It’s amazing the creative resources and opportunities that are in this region,” Jacobus said “We’re so blessed.”
March 21, 2013
From matctimes.com: “It’s strange being older than your teachers!” – Baby boomers are coming here to further their education or start a career. Not having grown up in the high tech age, vital skills are being sought to keep them at par with the current workforce. Educational dreams are being fulfilled as a wave of boomers head back to college – at MATC. The timing couldn’t be better.
There are 76 million boomers; post World War II babies born between 1946 and 1964. Many unsure of what Social Security or Medicare holds for them, laid off, widowed, divorced, displaced; they are improving their future with an education, and technical colleges are a great way for them to quickly gain skills or a new career.
Decades ago, people 50 and over wouldn’t even dream of going to college or working at a job after they hit 65. Not so today- they are an untapped market with tremendous potential, “The number of students ages 50 to 64 increased 17 percent nationwide between fall 2007 and fall 2009,” according to the latest data available from the National Center for Education Statistics and, “An increasing number of people ages 50 and up are headed to community college — 388,000 were enrolled nationwide in fall 2009,” the most recent data available from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).
The Wisconsin Technical College System report #VE215310 affirms that those 50 and over are responding to the call of further education. The following are four area technical colleges with their corresponding percentage of boomer admissions: MATC – 9.2%, Gateway – 10.2%, Moraine Park – 18.6%, and Waukesha – 20%. A productive 15 to 20 more years in the workforce after graduation is not unrealistic, and many who have stayed home to raise their families want to get out to begin their postponed careers.
Walter Lanier of the Counseling and Advising Center, who heads up the Diversity Council which meets twice a month said, “While age has not really been discussed (at the meetings), age diversity is well represented.” Diversity is not only ethnicity, religion, or race, it is also age. Older students bring a wealth of life experience and motivation to help younger students to succeed. They enrich any campus.
Due to a major accident and divorce, “Jay,” a 53-year- old full-time student in the Human Services program at the Downtown Milwaukee campus needed to change his field. He considered MATC because of its “reputation, cost, convenience, and diversity.” A Pell grant is paying all of his expenses and he even got a refund. Jay said, “I would feel uncomfortable without the diversity….I feel at home here.”
Douglas Koput, 49, is in the Electronic Technology program at the Downtown Milwaukee campus. He was laid off from his job and needed additional skills. Convenience of the college made his decision to attend here, and also received help from a Pell grant. He was nervous at first and started with just two classes, and after getting an A in both, he had the confidence to continue. His advice to prospective boomers, “Start out slow to be sure.”
Having her job move out of the country and becoming a dislocated worker, “Mary,” 53, receives full tuition through a program with unemployment. She is in the Medical Administrative Specialist program at the West Allis campus and attends full time. She finds the professors “great” and does not feel intimidated by the younger students. Her advice, “Don’t be afraid, you are never too old to learn something.”
Underpaid and underappreciated in his current job, A.D. Owens, 49, wanted something better. He is attending full time in the Teacher Education program downtown. “MATC had the program I wanted,” said Owens. He was “tired of just having a job,” he wanted “a career.” A Pell grant helps pay his tuition, and he is very proud to be on the Dean’s List. After the initial insecurities, he was confident in his abilities and wants other boomers to know that, “This is the time to go. Make the decision and come to MATC.”
There is probably a boomer in one or more of your classes – encourage them, learn from them, give a smile to let them know that this is their college too.
March 21, 2013
From wsaw.com: “8 Wis. Technical Colleges awarded funds for laser equipment” – Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson says eight Wisconsin Technical College System schools will be awarded nearly $105,000 to to purchase precision laser alignment tools to help train apprentices in manufacturing and address the skills gap.
“The funding is another example of our continuing efforts to equip workers with the latest skills, empowering them for employment in family supporting jobs,” Secretary Newson said. “With the grants, our workforce partners in the technical colleges can purchase high tech, laser equipment to train apprentices for good jobs in the skilled trades.”
Grants of $13,100 each are being awarded to Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids, North Central Technical College in Wausau, Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, Waukesha Technical College, and Milwaukee Area Technical College.
The U.S. Department of Labor funds will go to purchase precision laser alignment tools for rotating machinery. Precision laser alignment is a common testing procedure in maintaining manufacturing equipment and ensuring production efficiency. The colleges will use the equipment to train apprentices in training for occupations as machine repairer, maintenance mechanic, millwright and pipefitter.
March 20, 2013
From mptv.org: “MPTV students win Wisconsin Broadcasters Association “Student Awards for Excellence” – At the annual Wisconsin Broadcasters Association (WBA) Student awards event in March, several Milwaukee Area Technical College Television and Video Production students won a WBA Student Award for Excellence.
*Paul Cotter, James Gale and Will Picard won first place in the Long Form Production Non-News (TV) category for Bob Reitman: Radio On.
*Jeff Morris and Joe Pfaff won second place in the Long Form Production Non-News (TV) category for Stormwatch-Creative Package.
“We are thrilled that our students were honored with both the first and second place awards in the Long Form Production Non-News category this year,” said Kevin Pulz, the program coordinator of MATC’s Television and Video Production program. “The Reitman program created by Paul, Will and James was not only an excellent student program, but its production quality is equal to many professional productions on the air today.”
For over 50 years, students enrolled in the Television and Video Production associate degree program at Milwaukee Area Technical College have trained alongside the broadcast professionals at Milwaukee Public Television. This allows for hands-on work experience at a large, professional, state-of-the-art broadcast facility while under the guidance of television professionals who function both as producers and directors as well as instructors.
March 13, 2013
From fox6now.com: “Manpower survey says manufacturing expected to see boost in hiring” – A Manpower survey released Tuesday, March 12th named Wisconsin one of the best states to find a career with growth — particularly in the Milwaukee area.
The jobs report was encouraging for Lawrence Heyn, who was excited to hear manufacturing is one of the few industries expected to see a boost in hiring. It is one of several trades named in the Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey.
Jorge Perez is the Senior Vice President of Manpower. The organization asks companies about their hiring intentions. The latest survey found companies intend to hire.
“It`s going to be in construction, transportation and logistics, so those are some of the industries are going up. Second quarter of 2013 has a positive trend across the U.S. 11% of the companies net number based on the survey they say they will increase their workforce in the next three months,” Perez said.
Perez says the numbers are much better than the first quarter and second quarter of last year, which hopefully means a steady upswing since the recession.
“Against the nation number the hiring intentions are 18% for the state of Wisconsin and same for the city of Milwaukee which are pretty positive,” Perez said.
The challenge may be finding the right talent for the openings. Kathleen Hohl says that’s where Milwaukee Area Technical College comes in.
“One of the most important things we do is work with representatives of manufacturing and construction companies in the area to learn what careers are going to have openings so we can appropriately educate and train our students so they are job ready when they graduate from MATC,” Hohl said.
The students learn manufacturing skills, combined with the latest skills in technology.
The poll of 18,000 employers was done before sequestration took effect. Perez believes the upward trend will continue, but of course, he’s not sure how sequestration will have an impact.
That will be reflected in the third quarter report, which comes out in June.
March 8, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “MATC hosting sustainability summit” – Business and education leaders and sustainability experts from the Milwaukee area and around the world are gathering in downtown Milwaukee to trade ideas on systems and practices that sustain the economy and planet for future generations.
Milwaukee Area Technical College is hosting the 10th annual “Sustainability Summit and Exposition” at the Delta Center. The theme of this year’s summit is “Sustainability – An Economic & Ecological Imperative.”
It used to be called the Green Energy Summit but the name changed to reflect the broadened scope of the conference, a collaboration of people from business, education and government.
The summit runs March 6-8 at the Delta Center, 400 W. Wisconsin Ave. The public is invited and registration is $250 for the full conference or $150 for one day. Students get in free of charge.
March 5, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Sustainability Summit broadens its focus” – The challenge of climate change and reducing greenhouse gas emissions will be front and center at the Sustainability Summit that begins Wednesday.
The summit, which has broadened its focus from green energy and jobs, will host climate scientists James Hansen of NASA and Michael Mann of Penn State University.
“We broadened our title from green energy summit to sustainability summit because sustainable business practices are catching on all over,” said George Stone, a geologist and instructor at Milwaukee Area Technical College who is chairman of the summit. “More and more corporations in more and more industries are realizing that the triple bottom line makes sense.”
Tom Eggert, who coordinates the Wisconsin Green Masters Program, a business certification initiative, said interest is strong. He already has 42 people signed up for a Friday workshop to help businesses join the initiative, Eggert said.
The summit, whose target audience are business people and students, will be held at the Delta Center, downtown Milwaukee’s convention center.
Hansen’s appearance at the summit comes 25 years after he gained national attention as one of the first climate scientists to warn about climate change at congressional hearings in Washington, D.C.
But Hansen has moved toward activism in his calls for action. He was among those arrested at the White House last month during a protest over the Keystone XL pipeline.
The lineup for this year’s Sustainability Summit includes speakers who have been greeted with standing ovations at past summits – Milwaukee urban food guru and Growing Power founder Will Allen and actor-and-greener-lifestyle speaker Ed Begley Jr.
This year’s conference will also have an international perspective, with speakers from Germany, Israel and China, as well as local presentations from the likes of S.C. Johnson & Son, Johnson Controls Inc. and A.O. Smith Corp.
This year’s summit comes as climate change policy is again at the forefront of initiatives being pushed by the Obama administration. President Barack Obama on Monday nominated Gina McCarthy, a regulator who led the Environmental Protection Agency’s crackdown on pollution from coal-fired power plants, to lead the EPA for the next four years.
The administration is pushing carbon regulation through cabinet agencies. It faces opposition in Congress to policies such as a carbon tax or cap-and-trade system, as Republicans remain concerned about the effects of carbon rules on the economy and jobs.
The issue has come into more focus as Americans have witnessed the intensity – and cost – of extreme weather events like Superstorm Sandy.
“This is an issue that’s now on the front burner,” Stone said . “There have just been a whole string of extreme weather and climate events in real time. It’s driving up costs for everybody; insurance premiums are going up. Some food costs are going up, depending on where you live. It’s going to start costing everybody more and more.”
February 18, 2013
From acfchefs.org: “Milwaukee Area Technical College receives programmatic accreditations from the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation” — Two culinary programs at Milwaukee Area Technical College, Milwaukee, received programmatic accreditation by the American Culinary Federation Education Foundation (ACFEF) Accrediting Commission in July.
ACFEF programmatic accreditation was granted to Milwaukee Area Technical College for its AAS degree in baking and pastry, and its AAS degree in culinary arts, initially accredited in 1987, was renewed. The accreditations will expire June 30, 2014, and June 30, 2016, respectively.
“The Accrediting Commission evaluates faculty, curriculum, facilities, student services and administrative capability to ensure that the programs promote successful student outcomes,” said Rob Hudson, CEC, CCE, AAC, ACFEF Accrediting Commission chair. “We are proud to recognize Milwaukee Area Technical College’s programs as ACFEF accredited.”
ACFEF programmatic accreditation assures that a program is meeting at least a minimum amount of standards and competencies set for faculty, curriculum and student services. Accreditation ensures that the program follows established standards, has accountability and credibility standards, and maintains a high level of professionalism and up-to-date practices.
Accreditation by the ACFEF Accrediting Commission of a program at an institution is voluntary. To receive accreditation, a program must first submit a self-study. Then, a three-member team performs an on-site evaluation to validate the information submitted in the self-study, which is compiled into a team report. Next, the Accrediting Commission reviews the report, along with the institution’s self-study, and decides if accreditation will be granted and for how long. An initial grant is for three or five years, while a renewal grant is for three, five or seven years. There are currently 392 postsecondary accredited programs and 144 secondary certified programs in 351 institutions accredited by the ACFEF Accrediting Commission worldwide. The ACFEF Accrediting Commission, recognized by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation since 1998, will celebrate its 25th anniversary in 2012.
February 12, 2013
From matctimes.com: “Sustainability Summit free for MATC students” — By George Stone, Co-Chair MATC District Sustainability Committee – The anticipation and excitement are rising. The 10th Annual Sustainability Summit and Exposition is fast approaching. MATC is proud to host this outstanding conference on Wednesday and Thursday, March 6 and 7 at the Delta Center (formerly the Frontier Airlines Center) in downtown Milwaukee. The theme for 2013 is Sustainability: An Economic and Ecologic Imperative.
The Sustainability Summit is great in a lot of ways. First, it’s the biggest and best sustainability conference in Wisconsin. Because of its first-rate reputation, it attracts world-class speakers, and people come from all over the Midwest to learn about the latest trends and opportunities in industry and education. But more than any other reason, the Summit is great because it’s for students. Thanks to the generosity of Summit sponsors (including MATC’s Office of Student Life), all students may register for the Summit free of charge. It’s the best deal of the year.
More than 2,000 students attended in each of the last three years, 1,000 from MATC alone. For most, it is their first, major professional conference and it’s a real eye-opener. “It was great. I had no idea how much was going on!” is a typical comment. In addition to MATC, students come from UWM, Marquette, MSOE, MPS, Concordia, Carroll, and Alverno; and many more from other technical colleges and UW campuses.
Internationally acclaimed speakers will inspire and enlighten. Among them will be Will Allen, Ed Begley Jr., Lynn Broaddus, James Hansen, Zelma Maine-Jackson, C.S. Kiang, Michael Mann and Mordechai Shechter.
Our program is the envy of the state; UW- Madison will be sending busloads of students and faculty to hear our speakers. Breakout sessions on vital topics plus an astounding array of industry and education exhibits will compel, entertain and inform.
This outstanding conference has become an MATC tradition. I urge all instructors to attend and to provide class time or extra-credit assignments so that their students will be able to share in this outstanding educational experience. All MATC employees may also attend the Summit free of charge by completing a Prior Approval for Travel form and submitting it to their supervisor for approval.
If you plan to live and work on planet Earth in the 21st century, there’s much of great value for you at the 2013 Sustainability Summit and Exposition.
For more information, please consult the Summit website at http://www.sustainabilitysummit.us.
Thanks for your attention, and for your help in making MATC’s Summit the premier annual sustainability conference in Wisconsin. If you have questions, please phone George Stone at 414-297-7430 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 12, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “WTCS announces new program for nurses” – Registered nurses with a two-year degree from a Wisconsin technical college can now fully apply those credits toward a bachelor degree, according to a release.
The agreement originated with Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) and Cardinal Stritch University, but the replicable approach was immediately made available to nursing graduates of all 16 Wisconsin technical colleges.
The one-day-per week program, part of the university’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Completion program, is designed for registered nurses looking for enhanced career opportunities, promotions and management positions.
Cardinal Stritch, with its main campus in the Milwaukee area and campuses throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota, designed the program specifically for working registered nurses. It is accredited through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
February 12, 2013
From matctimes.com: “Death and taxes, MATC helps with one of these” – MATC is offering free tax services through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program (VITA) at the Downtown Milwaukee and Oak Creek campuses.MATC accounting students have been trained by the Internal Revenue Service and are ready to help you get the most accurate and speedy return possible.
Nursing student Christine Domenech said, “It’s convenient, and I don’t have a problem with MATC doing my taxes, I trust them. It makes me feel a lot better to get it done here so I won’t have to stand in long lines at H & R Block or try to do it online; they already know how.”
Accounting instructor Jim Bennedum is in charge of gathering volunteers, overseeing training, and submitting paperwork. Bennedum has been running this program for 30 years at the Oak Creek Campus. He stressed that this is not a part of the curriculum; this is strictly a volunteer service. The people who are helping want to help out.
Bobbie Sherrod, coordinator of the Downtown Milwaukee Campus and MATC retiree, has worked in the Student Services department for 39 years. Volunteers come from the Department of Revenue (DOR), the Milwaukee County comptroller’s office, Northwestern Mutual, Marquette University (students and employees), as well as current and present MATC accounting students; Sherrod also contributes.
After the volunteers complete an Income Tax class, an IRS test, an ethics test, and a final exam with an 80% or higher, Bennedum helps the volunteers familiarize themselves with the task at hand.
Be it a senior citizen, a vet, a single mom or dad, or just someone who isn’t sure how taxes work, this service is available to anyone and is not limited to MATC students as long as their household income does not exceed $51,000 a year.
Sherrod says, “Many of the taxpayers are not aware of the Earned Income Tax Credit and child care tax credit they are eligible to receive because they receive a low income. In addition to filing federal and state returns, we file homestead returns for low-income, those on Social Security, etc.”
Bennedum expressed, “This is a great form of satisfaction, helping the people who need it the most.”
Sherrod stated, “I am very proud to be a help in this MATC community service project.”
February 5, 2013
From biztimes.com: “Apprentices begin new manufacturing program” – Students at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Oak Creek begin the first apprenticeships today in the new Industrial Manufacturing Technician program.
There are seven students enrolled in the course from a range of area manufacturing companies. They will receive intensive instruction in the apprenticeship, which was added to help train workers for jobs with area manufacturers who need industrial manufacturing technicians.
It was developed by the DWD’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and MATC, and is partially funded by a federal Sectors Alliance for the Green Economy grant.
February 5, 2013
From matc.edu: “Smartphone Tips and Best Utilization to be held at MATC’s Mequon Campus” – A presentation on “Smartphone Tips and Best Utilization” will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6, at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Mequon Campus, 5555 W. Highland Road. The free talk will be held in Room A129 in the cafeteria.
Desie Perez and Gail Varhula, Connect Cell-US Cellular authorized agents from Grafton, Wis.,
will discuss why smartphones are useful; making the best use of your smartphone; and using business, organizational and social media applications on smartphones.
The talk is part of the “Mequon Campus Patio Series,” designed to feature local experts speaking on a variety of topics to further the formation and intellectual enrichment of the community.
Attendees are welcome to bring their own lunches. For more information or reservations, please contact Sandra Webster at (262) 238-2205.
January 30, 2013
From wauwautosanow.com: “2013 Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show to feature special attractions” – An enhanced Outdoor Living Area with a Mediterranean theme, the Schlossmann’s Dodge City Chrysler Jeep Vehicle Display, and an Interior Design Contest between local colleges are some of the attractions at the 51st annual Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Thurs., Feb. 7, through Sun., Feb. 10.
The Show’s Outdoor Living Area will feature a Mediterranean theme, with landscaping, hardscaping, and water features. The following Milwaukee/NARI members are participating in the Outdoor Living Area construction:
• Aquatica, a division of Dean Pipito Waterfeatures, LLC: Creating an elegant and enjoyable water feature that can stand alone in any landscape, the Mediterranean themed feature will bring movement and sound, along with the vision of falling water over classical urns and statuary.
• Nite Time Decor by Bold Illuminations: Outdoor LED lighting to enhance the overall display space.
• Breezy Hill Nursery, Inc.: Whether it’s the presence of a quaint trickle of water, the naturally warm colors of the paved sitting area, the rustic appeal of the overhead pergola, or the idea of a relaxed game of Bocce Ball, this display contains all the elements of a desired Mediterranean getaway.
• Exteriors Unlimited Landscape Contractors, Inc.: The space will feature a natural stone fire pit, honed limestone grilling station with integrated bar seating, and a rustic cedar pergola. The distinct areas will be tied together with the use of Brussels tumbled pavers that resemble the classic time-worn, hand-hewn cobblestones from the streets of early American settlements. The same look is carried upward into the seat walls and pillars. Using a wooden pergola that extends the landscape vertically and is silhouetted by an overhead canopy of trees creates feelings of intimacy, warmth, and protection.
• Ground Affects Landscaping, Inc.: Welcomed by a bubbling urn, Show attendees will enter the outdoor room through the main entrance under a cedar Arbor with cast stone columns. The paver patio displays two styles of brick that coincide to create a beautiful and functional space. The space includes shade trees and plantings, a Holly bush, Hyacinths in full bloom, along with daffodils and tulips. Landscape lighting and a natural stone raised fire element complete the living space.
• Innovative Exteriors Landscape: The space will use a combination stone products with Fond du Lac flagstone steppers and a man-made aspect with walkway pavers and flooring in the fireplace area. The walkways will be covered with a pergola that uses both natural wood and wrought iron to create views to the center area’s focal point. A sitting area along the walkway will feature flagstone steppers surrounded by tall evergreens and perennials.
Attendees will have an opportunity to serve as judges of an Interior Design Contest sponsored by Nehmey Construction, which will pit students from Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, and Waukesha County Technical College each designing and creating a 12′ x 12′ garage with a “man-cave” theme. The participating schools will each receive $1,000 for the school’s interior design program.
Providing attendees with a central location to learn about the various components of the country’s largest home improvement council, the Milwaukee/NARI Information Center will have members from different areas of the association, including Membership, Education/Certification, and the Milwaukee/NARI Foundation, the association’s charitable arm. At least one of the association’s Certified Professionals will be in the Information Center at all times to answer consumer inquiries relating to home improvement and remodeling.
The Grand Appliance and TV Coffee and Media Lounge will provide an area for Show attendees to relax as they walk the aisles, as well as enjoy a complimentary cup of Alterra Coffee on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., and on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Ultimate Confections will be at the Show during its entire run selling an assortment fine chocolates and other treats in time for Valentine’s Day.
The latest 2013 cars and trucks will be shown inside the expo center in the Schlossmann’s Dodge City Chrysler Jeep Vehicle Display, including the all new Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Durango, and a Chrysler 200.
On Feb. 8, the first 200 attendees will receive a Valentine carnation courtesy of Locker’s Floral.
The Kids Creative Zone sponsored by Advantage Carpentry and Remodeling, will be open Feb. 9 and Feb 10, featuring arts, crafts, face painting by Milwaukee Face Painter (1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 9 and 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Feb. 10), interactive activities, and an opportunity to take a photo with Gerry the Carpenter Ant, Milwaukee/NARI’s mascot, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day.
During the Show, educational demonstrations and seminars by home improvement experts and media celebrities will be held, including presentations on the Renewal by Andersen Seminar Stage by Bonnie Schneider, CNN/HLN Meteorologist and DIY Network weather expert, presented by Allrite Home & Remodeling, discussing “Extreme Weather,” Melinda Myers, The Plant Doctor, Gus Gnorski, Lis Friemoth, “The Garden Hoe”, and Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, presented by J&B Construction, Inc. The Mukwonago Remodeling Cooking Demonstration Stage will feature area chefs and national cooking celebrities, including Mad Dog & Merrill, the Grilling Buddies, and Patricia Katopes, Food Network “Cupcake Wars” Winner. In addition, the Show will also feature live music featuring Scott E. Berendt and the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra, sponsored by Dimension Design, Build, Remodel, Inc.
Hours Thurs., Feb. 7, Fri., Feb. 8, and Sat., Feb. 9, are 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun., Feb. 10. Admission is $5 in advance, $8 at the door. Tickets for seniors 60 and older are $5.00, with a special price of $4.00 at the door on Thurs., Feb. 7, for Senior Day sponsored by Callen Construction, Inc. Children 12 and younger and all military personnel with a military ID card will be admitted free.
January 28, 2013
From jsonline.com: “More fleets turning to compressed natural gas” – Oak Creek – Robert Holland waves a wand around a Cummins engine in the mechanic training center at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
He’s not training to become a magician. He’s using a combustible gas leak detector to find out whether the natural gas engine is leaking.
The alarm sounds, warning of a leak.
Instructor Craig Kuehl is teaching Holland and about 20 other students about the inner workings of natural gas engines as part of a “green” jobs training initiative at the technical college.
Holland, a Milwaukee resident, said he took the class because he sees job opportunities arising as fleets of trucks fueled by compressed natural gas expand.
“This is kind of cool, that it’s cleaner and it’s better for the environment,” Holland said as he and the rest of the class watched a demonstration of how a City of Milwaukee-CNG fueled refuse truck operates. “It’s helping us with the foreign oil situation and all the pollution going up.”
The course, funded through a green jobs training grant, is just one of the efforts taking place around the state to bolster the supply of natural gas-fueled vehicles.
The abundant supply of natural gas, in addition to being sourced domestically instead of overseas, burns cleaner than diesel and gasoline, so it’s better for the environment, said Carl Tillman, a mechanic for the city Department of Public Works who is taking the MATC course.
The savings add up because expanded domestic supplies have brought down the price of natural gas in recent years – so much so that one of Wisconsin’s nuclear power plants is being shut down because it can’t compete with the lower-priced fuel.
“This is the new technology, and it’s here to stay,” Tillman said.
Even though the price of compressed natural gas is one-third to one-half that of diesel, some companies have been reluctant to convert their fleets to run on natural gas, in part because the state has lacked a network of fueling stations.
That’s changing. The City of Milwaukee bought its first compressed natural gas trucks four years ago and recently opened two CNG fueling stations, primarily to serve its growing fleet.
Kwik Trip adding stations
A subsidiary of Integrys Energy Services Inc. is opening stations in northern Wisconsin, and Kwik Trip Inc. is expanding its lineup of CNG stations in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.
Kwik Trip has nine locations open and plans to add about 20 this year, including new locations in Lake Mills, Mauston, Grand Chute, Baldwin, Verona and Janesville, said Joel Hirschboeck, alternative fuels superintendent at the La Crosse-based company.
Hirschboeck was in Pewaukee last week to mark the opening of Kwik Trip’s second store in metro Milwaukee. The other is in Sturtevant.
“This is part of the core business of what Kwik Trip is doing now,” he said. “Our focus is to continue adding CNG locations, putting dots on the map, adding them to the major corridors throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.”
Kwik Trip is transporting petroleum to its gas stations in tank trailers whose cabs are powered with CNG. The company pays an extra $38,000 or so for the cab compared with a conventional diesel cab. But the drivers are seeing savings every time they fill up, said Eric Kruse of Kwik Trip.
Pointing to a petroleum truck cab, Kruse said, “A truck like this would hold 100 gallons. It’s almost $200 in savings every time you fuel that up. It doesn’t take very long to make that money back.”
Mike Moeller, president of Remy Battery in Milwaukee, said he’s added two CNG trucks and is seeing savings.
There’s a lot of price stability that’s helpful in budgeting, especially compared with gasoline, he said.
“Fuel in our operating expenses is one of our highest pieces. Once we started testing it, we picked up one bi-fuel van from Honda Motorwerks, and from there we realized very quickly that the payback on it was going to be extremely quick.”
Now Moeller plans to replace his fleet with all CNG vehicles.
“With the number of miles we put on, the payback is about a year and a half on that up-charge.” Moeller said. “It was cutting our fuel expenses to a third to a half.”
Other companies are adding CNG trucks to their fleets as well, including Fastenal and Menards, Kruse said.
Vehicle sales increase
The increased interest in compressed natural gas means more business for companies that supply equipment for the filling stations, as well as for dealerships.
“We sold as many natural gas vehicles last year as we did the previous two years combined,” said Chris Schneider, who runs La Crosse-based Honda Motorwerks.
For Milwaukee, the Department of Public Works expects to buy another 20 natural gas refuse trucks this year, said Jeff Tews of the fleet operations division.
“Right now out of our fleet of 125 refuse trucks, 21 of those are natural gas,” Tews said. “Through attrition we’re probably going to change over the entire fleet to CNG.”
A state-organized grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped fund the initial purchase of CNG refuse trucks for the city in 2009. Grants tied to improving the region’s air quality could help the city finance more CNG trucks this year.
The training at MATC is important for the city fleet mechanics to attend, Tews said.
“It’s coming at a time when our warranty is about to expire for some of these units, so our own people are now going to be better positioned to keep these trucks on the road and keep them repaired.”