October 28, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Opinion: Milwaukee making progress on developing its manufacturing workforce” — By Tom Barrett, mayor of Milwaukee - Around the country, October is Manufacturing Month. It is a celebration of modern manufacturing, and it provides an opportunity for us to encourage people to look at careers in manufacturing.
Milwaukee’s regional economy relies on manufacturing more so than just about anywhere else in the United States. For everyone in our region manufacturing presents both opportunities and challenges. How will we create a skilled manufacturing workforce, and, at the same time, how do we spur economic development?
The 2013 Talent Shortage Survey, released by Milwaukee-based ManpowerGroup, cites skilled trades as the No. 1 hardest job to fill in the United States, and there is plenty of other evidence, both empirical and anecdotal, that we need well-prepared workers to keep our manufacturing economy humming.
A little over a year and a half ago, along with Milwaukee’s workforce partners, we created the Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership. This initiative works directly with manufacturing employers to determine the skills needed for current open positions. From there, a collaboration is developed to create an employer-driven training program providing workers with specific skills tailored to a company’s needs. Employers commit to hire from the group who successfully complete the training. To date, there have been 12 employer-driven training programs completed for area manufacturers.
Local manufacturer Solaris Inc. makes medical compression garments, and that company has hired 13 individuals through this initiative. Solaris employee Nhy Pease is an example of how the Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership directly connected an individual with a job. Pease tried for some time to find the right fit with a manufacturing company.
Then, through the HIRE Center/Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board (MAWIB), Pease began a four-month on-the-job training program at Solaris. Even though she already had some of the necessary skills, Solaris needed her to have job-specific training. A year and a half into her new career, she is successfully working for Solaris and was recently promoted. The wages she earns are sufficient to support a family.
The Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership has upgraded the skills of nearly 500 workers, advancing their manufacturing careers through the Milwaukee Area Technical College Worker Advancement Training Grant. This is the same strategy championed by U.S. employers to grow the workforce, ManpowerGroup found in a national survey.
At the outset of the Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership, the project partners, City of Milwaukee, MAWIB, Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership (WRTP/BIG STEP) and MATC, set what we thought were ambitious goals of training 150 individuals and connecting 500 more people with employment or career pathways in manufacturing. We already have exceeded that: 178 area employers have either hired newly trained employees, benefited from employees with upgraded skills or have been connected with skilled unemployed individuals, totaling more than 800 workers impacted. There is a need for training funds to continue this momentum. We are off to a great start, but there is more work to be done.
With an aging workforce, employers and the workforce system need to work together to provide a pipeline of qualified workers. This is a critical task. Within a decade, industries that now account for 50% of Wisconsin’s gross domestic product will be looking for 60,000 more skilled workers than are projected to be available. We need to invest now in our workforce to protect our economy.
We are fortunate to have MAWIB, Milwaukee’s coordinating workforce entity, maximizing funds by developing and administering initiatives such as the Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership and more than twenty other programs to create a skilled workforce. The key to the success of these efforts is a close working relationship with employers.
A prepared workforce is essential for growing companies. At the same time, we have far too many people in our city who are underemployed or unemployed. Making the right connections between employers and employees can set individuals, companies and our entire economy on a course for success.
I am optimistic about Milwaukee’s economic future, and manufacturing will be a big part of that. So let’s celebrate manufacturing this month and in Octobers for decades to come.
October 17, 2013
From ozaukeepress.com: “Grafton High students hit the street” – Career day talks can only go so far in inspiring teenagers to the varied job prospects in the work world.
The Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Grafton Education Foundation were looking to fill that void on Wednesday, Oct. 16, when nearly 500 Grafton High School students hit the street for a first-ever Career Exploration Day.
During the day, buses transported students to job sites throughout the community to learn about career opportunities in manufacturing, health care, education and marketing.
The goal was to expose students to workplace settings and to provide prospective employees with information as they think about career possibilities.
More than a dozen local employers took part in the career day, with students boarding shuttling buses to visit two job sites during the day.
Participating businesses included Kapco Inc., John Crane Engineered Bearings, Waukesha Metal Products, RAM Tool, Blanking Systems/Oetlinger, Exacto Spring Corp., Axcesor, Gilman USA, Frank Mayer & Associates and Gauthier Biomedical.
Stops were also made at Concordia University Wisconsin and Milwaukee Area Technical College North Campus, both in Mequon.
The program was made possible through a $3,000 AT&T Wisconsin Innovation & Investment Award.
Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pam King said the seeds for the program were sown, during a 2012 brainstorming session on ways to address the manufacturing skills shortage in Grafton.
From that session, the Grafton Manufacturing Alliance was formed. The group has hosted two manufacturing career fairs at the high school.
King said the AT&T grant allowed the group to bring students — freshmen, sophomores and juniors — to local job sites. Representatives from the Foundation helped write the grant proposal.
She said everyone involved agreed the on-site visits would open the eyes of manystudents.
“We believe that it will be much more impactful for our students to see and experience actual job sites rather than just hearing about them,” King said.
“With manufacturing in particular, it is important for our students to see what it looks like and all of the technology that is involved.”
Ken McCormick, principal of Grafton High School, said the tours are sure to make an impression.
“This event is a neat opportunity for our students to travel out into the community to explore potential careers and not only see firsthand the available jobs, but also begin to plan for their future academic and work careers,” McCormick said.
Foundation President Bob Hoffman said the program was a welcome opportunity to collaborate with the business community and to support the group’s slogan, “Quality Schools, Together.”
“Thanks to AT&T, this award will help us live our mission of connecting the community and businesses to our Grafton schools,” Hoffman said.
“I am hopeful this is just the first of many grants from local businesses that the Foundation can use to fund other Grafton School District programs.”
The AT&T Wisconsin Innovation & Investment Award program provides funding to organizations and programs that improve the community by advancing education, enhancing the environment, promoting economic development, or delivering other community services. This is the second year of the program.
“We are very proud to support the efforts of Grafton’s Chamber, business and education leaders to introduce students to the many exciting careers available in the Grafton community,” said Julie Tonkovitz, director of external affairs for AT&T Wisconsin.
“As a company, AT&T is committed to investing in education and helping prepare our young people for future success.”
October 4, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “New MATC scholarship targets construction trades apprentices” – Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. is investing $200,000 over 10 years in scholarships for Milwaukee Area Technical College apprenticeships in the construction trades, according to a Thursday press release.
The “Jim Elliott Apprentice Scholarship for the Construction Trades” will award an initial group of 20 MATC apprenticeship students with up to $1,000 to help cover expenses for equipment, clothes and tools.
The scholarship honors Jim Elliott for his service to the construction trades in Milwaukee and to the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. & Affiliates board of directors.
“Wisconsin has a long and proud history of valuing apprenticeships,” said Richard George, Great Lakes Higher Education’s president and CEO. “By helping hard-working students complete an apprenticeship, this scholarship will help them build good careers for themselves and their families, and stronger communities for us all.”
Applications will be provided to eligible MATC students and are due Dec. 2.
“Construction apprenticeships are a valuable opportunity for those seeking to improve their skills and have a great career,” said WTCS president Morna Foy. “We appreciate the ongoing partnership with Great Lakes that makes this sort of opportunity possible for our students.”
September 12, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “MATC launching water technician certificate through Water Council, MAWIB partnership” – By Jeff Engel – Milwaukee Area Technical College will offer a water technician certificate to serve increased demand for water industry professionals, according to a Wednesday press release.
The program was developed in partnership with Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and The Water Council, which is officially opening its Global Water Center in Walker’s Point Thursday.
The certificate requires 17 to 19 credits and courses also count toward MATC’s environmental health and water quality technology associate degree and other related associate degrees and technical diplomas.
“Having a strong educational foundation for future professionals is essential for the continued growth of this industry,” said MATC president Michael Burke. “MATC is committed to providing the education and training area residents need to secure employment in water careers.”
The Water Council aims to establish the Milwaukee region as the world hub for freshwater research, economic development and education.
The program was developed through a $1 million grant to MAWIB from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.
“Together, we worked with more than 50 water-related industry employers for input as to the fundamental skills needed to enter into water industry jobs,” said MAWIB president and CEO Donald Sykes. “We are pleased that this industry-recognized credential, in one of the most promising employment sectors, will serve as a foundation to water industry careers.”
August 27, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Building inspector making Milwaukee ‘a better place to live’” — By Tom Dakin - By the time she was 8 years old, Stacey Tyler’s dad was taking her along to help out on handyman jobs he did in his spare time. Over 30 years later, Tyler is a city building inspector at Milwaukee’s Department of Neighborhood Services. Tyler, who jokingly calls herself a “professional household technician,” has worked at the department for 13 years and focuses mainly on inspecting residential rental properties.
On its most basic level, Tyler’s job involves making Milwaukee “a better place to live,” she said.
“I try to make sure that the constituents I deal with are living in places that have very minimal violations, and that there are no health and safety violations that would affect them, or their children,” Tyler said.
Tyler typically spends about half of her work day doing building inspections, with the other half of her day tied to writing reports to correct building code violations and other matters. She is currently assigned to an area on Milwaukee’s north side.
How did you get the job? Tyler was working at a medical company, where her duties included scheduling services for patients and ordering supplies. She saw a job description for building inspectors, and thought the work sounded interesting. Tyler was hired as a Department of Neighborhood Services intern, and after completing the two-year program was hired as an inspector.
What kind of education did you need? A high school diploma was required to become a department intern. The internship included taking courses at Milwaukee Area Technical College in such areas as technical math and architectural drawings.
Tyler also had practical experience in home repairs and maintenance. Her father, Robert, who died last year, taught her at a young age such tasks as preparing walls for painting and applying the floor seal when installing a new toilet.
As an alternative to the internship program, the department’s minimum requirements are an associate’s degree in the field of architecture, real estate, fire safety, environmental health, law enforcement or building trades, and two years of work experience in one of those specialties above the level of laborer.
What do you like about the job? ”I enjoy going out and meeting the constituents. There are a lot of interesting personalities in the city of Milwaukee. And I have great co-workers. … I really like the fact that I can set up my own schedule. I like going out on my aldermanic walks because I can be heard by the people who have questions that need to be answered. It gives you a chance to be one-on-one with the constituents.”
What are some of the challenges? For Tyler, who’s a mom, perhaps the most difficult situation is when a family is displaced because she inspects a rental unit that has such serious health and safety problems that it’s not livable. That happens every couple of months or so, and the department works with Community Advocates, a nonprofit group that helps poor people on housing issues, to relocate the displaced families.
“You want to try to give the best help you can give them,” she said.
Is there a particular horror story the stands out from your 13 years in the Department of Neighborhood Services? About five years ago, Tyler inspected a property where the gas meters were pulling away from the foundation wall, raising the risk of a natural gas leak and explosion. The department immediately shut down the property, which encompassed over 20 rental units in four buildings.
“The situation was so horrible. All of those people had to be removed from the buildings,” Tyler said. “We had a little meeting on the front lawn and told them we have to vacate the buildings immediately. It’s difficult, especially when that happens so close to the time when they just paid rent. Their concern becomes where are they going to live, and how are they going to pay the rent for that month.”
August 8, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “Shorewood chef wins MATC kitchen entrepreneur challenge” – Marcus Thie from Shorewood has been named winner of the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge for his concept Sauceformations, a line of organic sauces.
The finalists were judged at a tasting event which took place last week at Cuisine, the student-run restaurant at Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Thie won top honors for his line of gluten-free and Paleo-diet friendly organic sauces for home chefs including Tomato Choka, a recipe from Trinidad.
Thie wants to to launch StreetBeet, a food truck where he can promote locally grown food and showcase organic recipes featuring his sauce line.
The grand prize was $2,500 in seed money from Reliable Water Services of Milwaukee to help start Thie’s business, a comprehensive entrepreneurial consultation package from MATC and over $500 worth of professional cookware and professional knives from Boelter Superstore and a two-hour private meeting with food industry executives serving on FaB Milwaukee’s Advisory Council.
Other finalists included Pete Cooney of Pete’s Pops – Handcrafted Ice Pops and Andrew Bechaud of Bechaud Elixing Company, both based in Milwaukee.
The Challenge was sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College and Reliable Water Services.
July 31, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Sisters focus on quality butchery, wines” – You don’t think of a butcher shop as a place to sit down for a glass of wine and a sandwich, but then, there aren’t too many places like Bavette La Boucherie.
This shop, which seems on track to become a foodie destination, opened in May in Milwaukee’s Third Ward.
It’s primarily a neighborhood butcher shop, where you can buy locally and sustainably produced beef, pork and lamb, as well as a selection of sausages.
But it’s also a café with several tables and eight counter seats that look over the area where the meat is cut.
On the wall to the right as you walk in, there’s a small collection of gourmet food items — honey from Spain, for example — and about a dozen astutely chosen wines for sale.
No matter what brings you to this shop at 330 E. Menomonee St., you’ll find you’re in expert hands.
The owner is chef Karen Bell, who has a culinary degree from Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Over the years she’s cooked up a resumé that reaches from Vong and Charlie Trotter’s in Chicago to Madrid, where she operated her own restaurant. Most recently she was at Café at the Plaza in Milwaukee.
She also has the good fortune of having a wine expert in the family.
So when the time came to select the libations for her new venture, she turned to her sister Jessica Bell, a wine consultant and founder of My Wine School.
“Jessica has a much more sophisticated palate for wine than I do,” said Karen, who at 36 is a year-and-a-half older than her sister.
“And Karen has a much more sophisticated palate for food than I do,” said the younger sister. “Bavette is Karen’s — I simply helped with the wines. We sat down and tasted them all together. I want her vision to shine through.”
The sisters grew up in Whitefish Bay, as part of a food-loving family with four girls. Today, Jessica and Karen live next door to each other on Milwaukee’s east side.
Karen says the inspiration for Bavette came from two Chicago locales — Publican Quality Meats, which combines butcher shop, market and café, and the Butcher & Larder, a whole-animal butcher shop.
She volunteered at both places to begin learning the business of butchering.
Bavette, with its “main focus on the butcher shop,” is a departure from what she had been doing as a chef.
“But I thought — why can’t I do this? I already know a lot of the cuts of meat,” she said.
How did she come up with the name Bavette, which means flank steak in French?
As Karen tells it: “I did not specifically seek out a French word, but when I was trying to think of names and thought of this one, I did like the fact that it is French, easy to pronounce and has a butchering or meat meaning. I was also drawn to it because it is feminine sounding and being a woman butcher, I liked that.”
She says she’s always been “enamored” of French butcher shops, although she’s not trying to emulate one.
As she has become more interested in the politics of food, the idea of a butcher shop that sells meat from responsibly raised animals appealed to her.
And because Bavette is also a café, she can continue her cooking.
Asked if female butchers are a rarity, she said, “I think so — it’s traditionally a male occupation maybe because it’s physical work.”
She sees butchering as “a dying craft, with very few people getting in the whole animals directly from the farm.”
But that’s what they do at Bavette. The carcasses come in weekly, and then are cut up, often by Bill Kreitmeir, a veteran butcher whom Karen hired — and from whom she is learning.
On a recent Friday he was cutting up a Red Wattle hog that had just arrived. It’s a breed included in Slow Food USA’s Ark of Taste, which catalogs distinctive foods in order to preserve biodiversity and culinary heritage.
The shop’s meat is all from grass-fed animals and sourced locally, mostly from farms in the Madison area.
“We love knowing where our food comes from,” Karen said.
And, yes, you might want to beef about the relatively high cost of the meat here.
Spareribs, for instance, will run you about $6 a pound; at a regular butcher shop, they would cost less than $5 a pound.
But Karen believes the uptick in cost is worth it because the meat “tastes better and is responsibly raised.”
“People are willing to spend a little more money for quality.”
She points to the popularity of Whole Foods as an indication that this is true.
When asked to select wines for her sister’s store, Jessica knew she had to be “very choosy” because they wanted to start with only about a dozen wines in the retail area, priced between $15 and $30.
In addition, there are five wines sold by the glass on the café’s beverage list — all $8 a glass — along with a dozen bottled beers.
“I teach classes on how to judge quality in wines,” she said. “So my goal here is to find the best quality at the best price point.”
The choices reflect the food-friendly wines she and her sister prefer.
Jessica describes the wines, which are from around the world, as having good acidity and an elegance that goes beyond simple fruit taste.
“I guess you can say these wines are more austere, made more in the Old World style,” she explained. “And there are plenty of New World producers making this style of wine, too.”
So, for example, she’s apt to recommend the more restrained wines from Oregon or Washington over California’s big-bodied, high-alcohol wines.
Bell sticks to simplicity with food pairings
For Milwaukee-based wine guru Jessica Bell, pairing wine and food is part of the fun. “It’s a puzzle I love to solve.”
Her basic strategy is to consider three things: sweetness, acid and body.
That’s sweetness, acid and body in both the wine and the food. And the idea is to match them up.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, and it’s not an exact science.
In her sister Karen Bell’s recipe for Red Pepper Miso and Sesame Glazed Spare Ribs, for instance, there’s “some sweetness in the glaze,” so that is echoed in the touch of sweetness in the New Zealand Riesling that Jessica chose.
The orange juice and zest in the recipe is a tip-off to look for a wine with good acidity — and that’s a characteristic that top-quality Riesling is known for, according to Jessica.
Pork is one of those meats that can go with either red or white wine. And in this instance, a white with some heft — more body than, say, a Pinot Grigio — matches well with the ribs.
Jessica emphasizes that the method of preparation in a recipe and the secondary ingredients are often more important than the main ingredient.
Looking at the “facts” of the food you’re considering “helps to reduce the chance of a disaster,” she said. “I could think of some really bad match-ups with those ribs. A big, heavy Barolo would be horrible — it’s too tannic for those ribs.”
Of course, there are some always-happy marriages when it comes to wine and meat.
Jessica loves simply prepared lamb with Rioja, a Spanish red made from Tempranillo grape. And with steak, Cabernet is a great pairing. For game, she’ll reach for a richly flavored Syrah-based wine.
“Why mess with something that works?” she said.
From wispolitics.com: “Milwaukee Mayor Barrett visits Culinary Arts Program showcase” – This summer marks the 12th year of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board’s (MAWIB) Culinary Arts Program at Wisconsin State Fair Park, introducing young people to food service careers by providing training, certification and connections to area employers. For six weeks, 37 young people employed through Mayor Barrett’s Earn & Learn Summer Youth Employment program are training with Milwaukee Area Technical College’s (MATC) Chef Paul Carrier. They will prepare 22,000 meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) for the 4-H youth housed at the Tommy G. Thompson Youth Center beginning on Wednesday, July 31. The 4-H youth are at the Wisconsin State Fair to showcase their livestock and other skills for the duration of the Fair. The program gives young people the opportunity to have a real life work experience, earn the industry-recognized ServSafe certificate and prepare for a career in the food service industry.
Over 35 young people on the Culinary Arts Career Path will talk about this unique training opportunity. Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett will speak to the importance of helping young people explore career paths, including through the Culinary Arts Program. Wylbur Holloway, MAWIB Youth Services Manager will provide an overview of this highly successful longstanding program. MATC Chef Paul Carrier will provide details about training youth in Culinary Arts.
July 22, 2013
From bizjournals.com: “MATC to offer truck driving diploma” – Milwaukee Area Technical College will offer a truck driving technical diploma starting this fall that could help fill demand for truck drivers in the state.
Graduates of the 10 week program will be prepared for entry-level positions as local or over-the-road truck drivers. Students will develop their driving skills through classroom, lab, range and roadway experiences.
Courses also will emphasize cargo management, records maintenance, vehicle inspection and U.S. laws and regulations pertaining to commercial vehicle operation. Once students finish the program they will be prepared to take the Class A or Class B Commercial Driver’s License exam.
Scott Jansen, director of the office of skills development at the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, identified heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers as among the top five occupations in greatest demand in the state. He made the comment at a recent Business Journal roundtable on jobs held at The Pfister in Milwaukee.
July 18, 2013
From bizjournal.com: “MATC changes up barber, cosmetologist studies” – By Wendy Strong - Milwaukee Area Technical College will offer barber technical diploma and apprenticeship programs beginning in the fall semester of 2013.
In the past, students in the diploma and apprenticeship programs were required to take combined barber/cosmetologist studies.
The split allows students interested in studying barbering only to enroll in a technical diploma program that requires 1,000 hours of training instead of the 1,800 hours required in the cosmetology technical diploma program.
The program puts additional focus on men’s haircuts and shaving, while eliminating nail care studies.
Barber and cosmetology apprenticeships also have been separated. Barber apprentices work four days a week in a local barber shop/salon as paid employees gaining experience, and attend class one day a week at MATC’s downtown Milwaukee campus.
The two-year apprenticeship program prepares students for the Wisconsin State Board Exam; individuals who successfully complete the exam earn a licensed barber credential.
From jsonline.com: “MATC to expand entrepreneurship center with grant from Helen Bader Foundation” – The Milwaukee Area Technical College Foundation has received a $50,000 grant from the Helen Bader Foundation to expand the college’s entrepreneurship center.
The entrepreneurship center opened in April 2012 when MATC launched an entrepreneurship technical diploma. More than 100 students, many of whom are already self-employed, have received mentoring and support from the center, said Armen Hadjinian, the MATC faculty member who is adviser to the center.
The grant will allow the school to expand the center and support scholarships for students who complete a service learning project.
July 17, 2013
From jsonline.com: “MATC finalists serve up heated competition” – Do you have to pick just one?
That was my thought when I looked over the contenders for grand prize in this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge, sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College.
Three guys are finalists in the second annual competition, which is also sponsored by Reliable Water Services and FaB Milwaukee. And each product sounds like something I’d like to try.
There’s Andrew Bechaud of Milwaukee, whose Bechaud Elixing Co. is a line of handcrafted, small-batch beverages made with Wisconsin agricultural products. Consider flavors like Chocolate Chai Veloute, Spring Blossom Cherry Soda and Citrus Saffron Horchata. He’s targeting upscale grocers.
There’s Pete Cooney and his Pete’s Pops, a line of frozen treats made with fresh fruits and natural sugars in flavors that include watermelon mint, strawberry basil and pineapple jalapeño. His goal is to start with push carts and eventually get into area stores.
And finally there’s Michael Thie of Shorewood, with Sauceformations, a line of gluten-free and Paleo diet-friendly organic sauces. His StreetBeet food truck would serve up organic recipes featuring his sauces. One such sauce: tomato choka, a Trinidad specialty.
The judges will have a tough choice to make on July 31, when the finalists make their pitches in person in the student-run restaurant, Cuisine, at MATC’s downtown campus. The judging panel includes (among others) Jan Kelly, chef-owner of Meritage restaurant, Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley market and cafe, and Eric Olesen, owner and president of O&H Danish Bakery of Racine.
The winner gets $2,500 in seed money, an entrepreneurial consultation package from MATC, $500 in professional cookware from Boelter Superstore and a two-hour private meeting with food industry executives.
July 16, 2013
From onmilwaukee.com: “CSI: Milwaukee at Discovery World” – Want to learn more about how crimes are solved? You can, by visiting Discovery World next week.
“CSI: Milwaukee,” a cooperative effort of the Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office, the Wisconsin State Crime Lab, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, MATC’s Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement program and the World Martial Arts Academy, will let participants explore their true detective skills.
The event will feature a mock crime scene and you’ll be able to “investigate” the scene and find clues before going through a witness identification challenge. In the forensics lab, you’ll learn how to lift, record and read finger prints and explore DNA investigation techniques.
No word on whether or not all of that will be done to a snappy music sequence with a bunch of jump cuts, but feel free to drop your own snarky yet timely one-liners.
CSI: Milwaukee runs Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. Regular Discovery World admission fees apply.
July 16, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Students watch, wait as Congress debates student loans” – To save about $700 per semester on tuition, Adam Strozier dual enrolls at Milwaukee Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
Still, by the time he’s finished, the junior political science student will have racked up $23,000 in debt from federally subsidized student loans.
As Congress continues to struggle to reach a compromise on a stalemate that allowed the interest rate on the government-backed loans to double to 6.8%, students such as Strozier are left wondering how much more burdensome their debt loads are likely to become.
Last week, a Democratic proposal that sought to retroactively lower the interest rate on need-based loans to the previous mark of 3.4% failed in the Senate. On Thursday, it was reported that a bipartisan agreement was reached in the Senate similar to a bill passed earlier in the House, but that agreement later stumbled on a$22 billion price tag over the next 10 years.
Now, it’s back to the drawing board for lawmakers and the frustration continues to grow for local students.
“Our elected officials need to learn to work together and put aside party differences and come up with a solution that will meet the needs of millions of America’s students that have loans and are unable to afford them,” said Strozier, former president of Wisconsin Student Government, which represents technical college students across the state.
With millions of college students affected by rising rates on federally subsidized loans, local college officials and advocates are calling for a long-term solution that addresses the ever-growing debt burden facing students.
This past year alone, more than 30,000 students received federally subsidized loans to study in the Milwaukee area.
At Carroll University in Waukesha, 75% of its enrollment — or 2,113 students — received federally subsidized loans in the 2012-’13 academic year, said Dawn Scott, the director of financial aid for Carroll.
Next year, students receiving those loans will pay a 6.8% interest rate unless lawmakers can work to retroactively extend the previous 3.4% rate or agree on a market rate system tied to 10-year Treasury bonds that typically carry a low interest rate.
The doubled rate could cut deep for local students like Strozier and the more than 7 million others across the country expected to take subsidized loans to attend school this year. On average, those students could face paying back an additional $2,600, according to Congress’ Joint Economic Committee.
Strozier, a Milwaukee native, has spent the past year fighting to keep college as affordable as possible for financially struggling students who are looking to achieve education beyond high school.
Last month, he appeared with Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Wis.) during a news conference at MATC addressing the rate increase.
By the time the 25-year old Strozier is done with school, he will have received the maximum amount of subsidized student loans — $23,000. Only loans taken out after July 1 this year are subject to the rate increase, however, so he will not have to pay back the entire amount at 6.8%.
Unlike unsubsidized debt, subsidized loans do not accrue interest until after the recipient is no longer enrolled in school. Roughly two-thirds of student loans are unsubsidized loans, which already have an interest rate of 6.8%.
MATC financial aid director Camille Nicolai said nearly 11,000 MATC students received subsidized loans this past year and that each will be impacted by the rate bump differently based on their personal financial situation.
Still, Nicolai said she believed the 6.8% rate is too high for any student, regardless of whether they receive subsidized or unsubsidized loans. She said she supports any plan that will yield the lowest interest rates for her students.
Nicolai also said she advises every student to take out as few loans for as little money as possible to attend college.
“We have a motto here that is: ‘When you’re a student, live like a student, so you don’t have to live like a student when you graduate,’” she said.
At UWM, roughly 17,000 students receive subsidized student loans annually, according to financial aid department director Jane Hojan-Clark.
She also expressed concern about the increase.
“Given that only students who show financial need are eligible for the Subsidized Direct Loan, there is a sound basis to keep the cost … as low as possible so increased indebtedness does not further burden needy students,” she said.
Marquette University spokesman Andy Brodzeller said the school is monitoring the debate in Congress.
“We believe a deal that incorporates a (rate) cap would be in the best interest of students and families,” Brodzeller said. “A cap would allow families to better estimate the cost of a college education and allow families to make the best decision for their individual circumstance.”
More and more, evidence is showing that student loan debt, which recently surpassed the $1 trillion mark, is having an adverse affect on the economy as a whole, according to Scot Ross of the progressive group One Wisconsin Institute, which conducts research and surveys relating to student loan debt.
Ross said that dealing with the need-based rate increase would be a start, but that “greater steps need to be taken to deal with this crisis.”
Ross said one key step should be the inclusion of more consumer protections for all student borrowers, such as the ability to refinance loans.
Strozier said he has seen a united front among students asking for relief from extra costs added to already growing tuition price tags.
“The federal student loan program should be a program to better our country by giving students the means to be educated and become productive and contributing members of society,” Strozier said. “Not a program to generate revenue.”
June 28, 2013
From jsonline.com: “BMO Harris Bradley Center buys MATC parcel” – The BMO Harris Bradley Center is expanding its footprint.
Arena officials and the Milwaukee Development Corp. announced Thursday a partnership that will enable the BMO Harris Bradley Center to purchase property owned by the Milwaukee Area Technical College at the southwest corner of N. 4th St. and W. Juneau Ave.
Under terms of the agreement, the arena will purchase the half-acre property with funds from a low-interest loan from the MDC.
The purchase price is approximately $1 million.
Steve Costello, president and CEO of the Bradley Center Sports and Entertainment Corp., said in a statement that the arena plans to work with city officials to continue the existing 30-car parking operation on the northern end of the site and begin planning to demolish the MATC building on the southern end of the purchased property.
“This is a good business move for the current BMO Harris Bradley Center and our operations,” Costello said in a statement. “The terms of the MDC loan are such that we can pay for it with revenues generated from the parking that already exists on the site.”
Costello said the purchase agreement gives the BMO Harris Bradley Center complete ownership of the property between N. 4th and N. 5th Sts., and W. State and W. Juneau Ave.
Costello said that, no matter what happens with talk of a new arena in Milwaukee, having additional property is critical.
“We are pleased to work with the MDC on this important effort,” Costello said. “This move helps us extend the life of our building and maintain the BMO Harris Bradley Center as the crown jewel of the downtown Milwaukee entertainment arena.”
June 26, 2013
From wisbusiness.com: “Original food biz concepts feature natural, Wisconsin ingredients” – Finalists of this year’s Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge have something in common – they all incorporate Wisconsin-made ingredients. This challenge to find Wisconsin’s next great food entrepreneur is sponsored by Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), Reliable Water Services a local provider of commercial water heaters, boilers and water softeners and FaB Milwaukee, an industry network for the food and beverage cluster of SE Wisconsin.
Aspiring chefs and home cooks entered by submitting a short application and photo of their concept. Finalists were selected based on the originality and viability of their concept and appearance based on an initial photo. Three finalists include:
• Andrew Bechaud– Milwaukee, Wis. – Bechaud Elixing Co., a line of handcrafted small batch beverages made with Wisconsin agricultural ingredients. Tempting flavors include Chocolate Chai Veloute and Spring Blossom Cherry Soda. His dream is to start a small production facility and sell to local upscale grocers such as Sendik’s or Whole Foods.
• Pete Cooney –Milwaukee, Wis. – Pete’s Pops – Handcrafted Ice Pops, a frozen treat made with fresh fruits and natural sugars in flavors like Strawberry Basil and Pineapple Jalapeno. Cooney wants to produce through a commercial kitchen, start selling via a push cart at local events and ultimately distribute through area grocers.
• Marcus Thie –Shorewood, Wis. –Sauceformations, a line of gluten-free and Paleo-diet friendly organic sauces for home chefs including Tomato Choka, a recipe from Trinidad packed with flavor and nutrients. He wants to launch StreetBeet, a food truck where he can promote locally grown food and showcase organic recipes featuring his sauce line.
Finalists will compete for the grand prize in a Food Network-style judging event at MATC’s student-run restaurant Cuisine located at 1015 N. 6th St on the MATC campus on Wednesday, July 31th at 3 p.m.
The grand prize winner will receive $2,500 in seed money from Reliable Water Services; a comprehensive entrepreneurial consultation package from MATC; $500 of professional cookware from Boelter Superstore and a two-hour private meeting with food industry executives serving on FaB Milwaukee’s Advisory Council. Judges for the contest include:
• Jan Kelly, owner and chef, Meritage restaurant, Milwaukee
• Angela West, co-founder/publisher, Alcoholmanac Magazine, Milwaukee
• Betsy Gilmore, general manager, Bel Air Cantina/Wauwatosa
• Jack Kaestner, chef instructor for Milwaukee Area Technical College
• Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley Deli, Market & Full Service Café
• Eric Olesen, owner and president, O&H Danish Bakery of Racine
• Peter Gottsacker, president of Wixon, a manufacturer of seasonings, flavors, and technologies for the food, beverage, and meat industry.
“We were impressed with the level of creativity and passion of the many entries we received,” said contest judge Eric Olesen, owner and president of O &H Danish Bakery and council co-chair for FaB Milwaukee. “Our three finalists stood out as having concepts that would not only be delicious but also marketable in our community.”
June 21, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Opinion: A partnership to fill jobs” – An article June 9 by the Journal Sentinel’s John Schmid provided an overview of the debate among researchers about the existence and extent of a skills gap in Wisconsin (“Program’s new approach to skills gap? Talk to employers”). However, the debate misses the immediate need to focus on a tangible solution. With area manufacturers working together with technical schools, we have an opportunity to begin that process.
We are in a manufacturing-rich region poised for growth. That growth is being squeezed by an increasing demand for advanced skills and an impending demographic shift that will mean too few workers to fill the void left by retirees. Time is of the essence to focus on action. Our ability to train, attract and retain talent to career pathways in manufacturing is simply critical to this region.
The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Manufacturing Careers Partnership is a collaborative effort in the truest sense of the word. We share a common mission: to give people the skills they need to fill jobs and create a pipeline of talent now and in the future. The only way we can accomplish our mission is to have educational institutions, workforce development agencies and employers at the same table, talking — in detail — about their needs. And that’s exactly what we are doing.
Our first project, Welding 101, is designed to create a baseline of common skill requirements for entry-level welders among a significant number of employers and to improve manufacturers’ ability to attract and retain talent. To date, more than 50 companies have participated in a survey that asks, in great detail, what employers need from their welders on day one. As more employers complete the survey, we can move with confidence toward aligning course competencies across the region’s technical colleges.
We are pleased to be working in alignment with our manufacturers and our technical colleges: Gateway, Milwaukee Area, Moraine Park and Waukesha County, as well as the Wisconsin State Technical College System on this project. Together, we can give an individual employee the skills to succeed in a welding position and give employers a starting point for building a manufacturing career pathway.
Getting clear on what we, as technical colleges can teach, and we as employers, can then train, lays out a progressive and practical path to solving one of our region’s most pressing needs. We recognize that this project is a starting point. Workforce challenges are complex and the issues impacting the entire talent pipeline will not be solved with a single approach. But much like an entry-level position, we need to tackle Welding 101 and gain some experience and tangible success.
How you can help: if you are an employer of welders, please take the Welding 101 survey at www.mmac.org.
This op-ed was signed by Bryan Albrecht, president, Gateway Technical College; Dave Biddle, manager of technical services, Joy Global (MCP co-chair); Michael Burke, president, Milwaukee Area Technical College; Shelley Jurewicz, vice-president for economic development, MMAC/Milwaukee 7; David Mitchell, president, Monarch (MCP co-chair); Barbara Prindiville, president, Waukesha County Technical College; and Sheila Ruhland, president, Moraine Park Technical College.
June 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.”