From biztimes.com: “MATC to get $2.6 million from state for worker training” — Milwaukee Area Technical College will get $2.6 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grant funds from the state to train up to 546 workers for in-demand fields, Gov. Scott Walker announced today.

The funds are part of a $28 million grant package, announced earlier this week, for the state’s technical colleges to train up to 4,908 workers for jobs that employers need to fill.

“The Wisconsin Fast Forward program makes targeted investments in worker training, which will strengthen the workforce and ensure we have workers to fill the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Walker said.

MATC will receive: $687,960 to train 125 students in early childhood education, $652,113 to train 66 students in truck driving, $546,945 to train 307 students in health care to be certified nursing assistants, and $703,500 to train 48 students in CNC manufacturing.

“This grant will provide MATC the opportunity to prepare area residents for employment in high-demand fields in southeastern Wisconsin,” said MATC President Dr. Vicki J. Martin. “These programs are among our most popular and the funds will allow us to educate, train, and prepare more students for careers that are essential to Wisconsin’s economic vitality.”

From expressmilwaukee.com: “Milwaukee supporting new food business concepts” – Greater Milwaukee is a sturdy hub for emerging food artists and continues to gain acclaim for the impressive amount of locally owned and operated businesses and restaurants within the foodie scene. Our city has many unique gourmet restaurants and businesses, mobile food trucks and distinctive product lines that continue to enter the market, but starting a business is not an easy feat. Giving local entrepreneurs a springboard to help begin realizing or further expand their food dreams is Milwaukee’s annual Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge.

Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), which has a great culinary program and entrepreneurial center; Reliable Water Services, a local provider of commercial water heaters, boilers and softeners for restaurants; and FaB Wisconsin, a food and beverage industry cluster helping to encourage other entrepreneurs to grow their business, are now in their third year of sponsoring the challenge, which seeks to find Wisconsin’s next great food entrepreneurs. Different from a recipe contest, this competition seeks to support inspired culinary concepts, so participants are not only judged on taste, but also creativity, possibility, marketability, packaging and other important factors that help lead to business success.

This year, participants entered in one of two categories: the Start Up category for those who are ready to take the next step and get their product on the market, and the Early Stage category for those who have already gone to market in small ways, but have been in the business three years or less and are looking to take their product to the next level.

This year, dozens of entrepreneurs entered the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge. Three have been chosen as finalists in each category to compete for the two grand prizes of $2,000 seed money from Reliable Water Services, a comprehensive entrepreneur consultation package from MATC, a private meeting with FaB Wisconsin’s food industry executives and a funding and growth consultation with financial specialists at MW Growth Partners. Finalists are Mary Pellettieri’s (Milwaukee) Top Note Tonics sodas, Jennifer Goldbeck’s (Cedarburg) Packaged European Buttercream icings, and Nicole Meredith’s (Milwaukee) Wilhemena’s Pies pecan pies in the Start Up category; and Jackie Valent Lucca’s (Brookfield) Love Dust spices, Austin Ashley, Hallie Ashley and Zac Mathes’ (Viroqua) Wisco Pop! sodas, and Robyn Wright’s (Dousman) PoSaNa Organics gluten-free baking mixes in the Early Stage category.

Christel Henke, the Challenge’s project coordinator, says, “Milwaukee has such a great food culture and is so supportive of new food ideas, judging by the great number of restaurants and products that come into the market. It’s really fun to be able to help move forward some of these new concepts in a market that’s really receptive for it. And from a new business standpoint, from the aspect of supporting the local economy, we’re really helping move forward some of these new entrepreneurs.”

The final judging will take place at a Food Network-style event on Thursday, July 17, at noon at MATC’s new student-operated 6th Street Café (1015 N. Sixth St.). The event will feature eight renowned food expert judges who will listen to each finalist’s three-minute presentation about their concept, taste-test the product and then decide the grand prize winner of each category. A few judges include Kurt Fogle, executive pastry chef of SURG Restaurant Group, Lynn Sbonik, co-owner of Beans & Barley, Jen Ede, publisher of Edible Milwaukee magazine and Rakesh (Ryan) Rehan, owner of Café India. And the best part about the event? The final judging is open to the public and samples of each participant’s product will be available to try.

For more information about this year’s finalists, judges or event details, visit Reliable Water Services’ website at www.hotwater247.com. Perspective food entrepreneurs are encouraged to check back often for future information about the challenge.

From jsonline.com: “Milwaukee Housing Authority OKs new technology training center” –The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee announced on Wednesday the creation of a $1.2 million technology training center, the first program to be developed outside the walls of its many public housing projects.

Antonio Perez, executive director of the housing authority, said the new center would be at the Adult Learning Center and would be operated in partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and others.

“We want to use housing as a platform to continue to be relevant to those inside and outside the walls of our housing units,” Perez said at the housing authority’s annual meeting, held under a tent in the parking lot of the Adult Learning Center, 1916 N. 4th St.

The new tech facility, called the Milwaukee iCenter, will be built in space on the second floor of the Adult Learning Center, which leases the building from St. Francis Church across the street. It is scheduled to open in 2015.

The center is financed with a $1.2 million grant that the housing authority received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

MATC will provide instruction, case management and tech support services at the center. Job readiness and youth educational activities will be provided by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Milwaukee Public Schools, the housing authority and others.

The center will blend classroom instruction with online advanced courses so that those who use the center can develop and improve their technology skills, prepare for jobs and use the training to potentially continue on to MATC for additional credentials and certifications in the tech industry.

Once completed, the center will be open to adult learners who attend the center, residents of housing authority projects, including nearby Hillside and Lapham Park, and others.

Perez said the housing authority looked for a place to house the tech center and decided instead to team up with the Adult Learning Center, which already teaches adult educational classes and has a staff and corps of an estimated 100 volunteers.

With decreasing federal money, the housing authority needs to leverage the government funds it receives and work with others in the community to provide services, he said.

The Adult Learning Center has been working with adults for 34 years and has helped more than 350 get their GED, said Herb Hayden, director.

“This new iCenter will bridge the technology divide and make adult learners more marketable,” he said of the new partnership with the housing authority.

The Adult Learning Center gets 90% of its money from foundations and private sources, with MATC providing teachers and support, he said.

Cynthia Dalton, 43, told those gathered for the meeting that she first went to the center in 2008 to work on her GED and managed to get it in 2013. But in the process, she got help with a hearing disability and housing, she told those gathered for the meeting.

While she was attending classes at the center, a volunteer noticed her speech and hearing difficulty and suggested she be tested, Hayden said in an interview.

“Since I was about 6 years old I’ve had speech and hearing problems, but I didn’t think they were so bad,” Dalton said.

Audiology tests showed she had about a 70% hearing loss, Hayden said.

“A hearing loss can impact and slow down learning,” he said.

Dalton said, “I was frustrated.”

After the tests and the diagnosis, a center volunteer paid for a hearing aid for Dalton, Hayden said.

“It’s made a huge difference,” she said. “I could hear and understand.”

Dalton said she also encountered homelessness and the center helped her to find shelter and later a place to live.

Today she’s studying at MATC and wants to be a nurse. She’s also learning sign language because she said she hopes to help those with hearing disabilities.

From gmtoday.com: “A Delicious experience: Cedarburg baker to take part in entrepreneur challenge” — CEDARBURG – Baking has been a part of Jennifer Goldbeck’s professional life for more than seven years. This month, she is entering a new chapter in her foray into the kitchen as she takes part in a local entrepreneurial competition.

Goldbeck, who owns Delicately Delicious in Cedarburg, is one of six finalists in a competition known as the Hottest Kitchen Entrepreneur Challenge. The event will be held at noon July 17, at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s downtown campus.

The entrepreneur challenge, modeled after some of the competitions that have been prevalent on such cable channels as the Food Network, is split into two categories – one for start-up innovations and another for people who are in the early stages of their products.

Goldbeck is one of three finalists in the start-up category. She is going to be showcasing a European vanilla buttercream frosting mix that she recently began selling at her Cedarburg store.

The grand-prize winner within the two category competitions will receive $2,000 in seed money toward his or her business, in addition to a service through MATC that is being described as a comprehensive entrepreneurial consultation package.

While Goldbeck is quick to admit she has her eyes on the prize, she said she is eagerly looking forward to meeting the judges and gathering any insight the various professionals might have. Eight food service veterans across the Milwaukee area will be judging the assorted entries.

“I’m excited to meet all of the people because everyone has such different experiences,” she said. “The time and expertise they will offer is very valuable.”

Goldbeck’s buttercream frosting mix has been a work in progress for about six months. In addition to refining the recipe, she fine-tuned the packing and the directions. Customer response, she said, has been positive.

“People are so much more food savvy today than they ever have been before,” she said. “There’s so much information out there, and people want something that’s quality and gourmet. There’s a craving for it.”

The upcoming challenge is one in a series of growth spurts for Delicately Delicious, which Goldbeck acquired in 2007 from a previous owner. For many years, the business sold only made-to-order cakes.

But Goldbeck decided to evolve the business three years ago, relocating from a commercial kitchen on Center Street to a retail storefront operation along Cedarburg’s bustling Washington Avenue corridor.

“It was good to perfect things,” Goldbeck said, in retrospect. All along, she said she aspired to morph Delicately Delicious into a retail bakery, but she believed the business could have failed if she made such a drastic change before making a series of tweaks.

In its retail iteration, Delicately Delicious features a variety of items that are sure to satisfy just about any person’s sweet tooth. She sells frosted single-layer cakes by the slice, but also showcases a range of cupcakes, cookies and other baked goods.

Early in 2013, Goldbeck expanded Delicately Delicious’ presence into the Bayshore Town Center. She operated a so-called pop-up kiosk shop for Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day. The response was so strong that she decided a year ago to have a presence at the mall full-time.

Goldbeck said she has a number of other projects on the horizon. In fact, one of them – selling a mix of her popular kitchen sink cookies – has just come to fruition. In late June, she began selling the product at the Piggly Wiggly store in Cedarburg.

Retail is a sector Goldbeck has been eyeing, both in a brick-and-mortar and online sense. She aspires to have her products featured through such companies as Williams-Sonoma, since they reach the same target consumer.

For Goldbeck, baking and growing Delicately Delicious has been a labor of love. When asked why she chose to concoct sweet creations, she offered a ready response.

“I enjoy meeting people in the community,” she said. “What’s been great about this is I help people with their celebrations. I get to see the progression in people’s lives for things like weddings, babies and graduations.”

From jsonline.com: “New president wants community to see MATC’s evolution” — Vicki Martin had a front-row seat as Milwaukee Area Technical College evolved from preparing young people for the trades to taking on the additional role of helping working adults reinvent themselves in a tumultuous economy.

But she’s not sure the community fully realizes the scope of that change.

The Milwaukee native and longtime administrator, whose first day as president was Wednesday, said one of her main goals is to change that.

“We hear a lot about how we’re the best-kept secret,” said Martin, who was MATC’s provost — chief academic officer — before being promoted to president eight days ago. “This institution is so important for so many people, and just about everyone in the community has been touched by an MATC graduate.”

MATC has 200 academic programs, nearly 400 transfer options leading to bachelor’s degrees, and a Pre-College Education division that helps adults complete high school, prepare for college or enter the workforce. The college has a full-time equivalent enrollment of about 13,000 students at its four campuses. It serves a total of 43,000 students including community education, workforce training, and customized business training and workshops.

Managing enrollment will be key.

Community colleges saw a 5.9% dip in enrollment of students over the age of 24, more than double their overall decline, between spring 2012 and 2013, according to enrollment data from the National Student Clearinghouse. MATC has seen its own declines; enrollment booms — like the 10% increase MATC saw at the peak of the recession — typically taper off as the economy rebounds.

But managing the way the community perceives the school also will be critical.

From jsonline.com: “Program brings classes to Granville Business Improvement District workers” –Manufacturers and other companies in the Granville Business Improvement District on Milwaukee’s northwest side were discussing their workforce needs last fall when the conversation moved beyond the jobs they wanted to fill.

They started talking about the workers they already had, and the skills they needed to become better employees and have a chance to advance in their companies.

One need was identified very quickly: computer skills.

“That was huge. People lack computer skills,” said Mary Hoehne, executive director of the business district. “Then another one was customer service. And another was entry-level supervision for first-time supervisors. And then basic manufacturing things, like manufacturing math, manufacturing blueprint reading — the kind of things you don’t learn if you’re a history major and you land a job with a manufacturer.”

Rather than just encourage employees to develop skills on their own or send them off to technical school, the business improvement district decided to bring the training to the workers.

The business improvement district and Milwaukee Area Technical College worked together to obtain a $15,000 Workforce Advancement Training grant. That allowed MATC and the district to set up a program in which MATC instructors would come out to the area to offer training in 2- to 21/2-hour sessions near the end of the workday.

The Incumbent Workforce Training Program classes, which are free to participants and companies, began at the end of April. Among the courses in the initial program:

■ Computer skills, which includes training in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access.

■ Technical skills, including separate courses in blueprint reading, machine trades math, technical communications and metallurgy.

■ Customer services skills, intended to help employees better communicate and serve customers.

■ Supervision skills, a course designed for the employee who is almost ready to be promoted to a supervisory or management position or who recently received a promotion.

Two of the courses are being held in a conference room at Busch Precision Inc. at 8200 Faulkner Road, while other locations are the Milwaukee Job Corps offices at 6665 N. 60th St. and the business improvement district offices at 7817 W. Brown Deer Road.

Mike Mallwitz, president of Busch Precision, said he believes “education is lifelong” and important to maintaining a strong local workforce.

“A lot of money goes into education to help people get jobs. But how do you keep them in those jobs? Well, you give them a little education — not years of it, but doses of skills they’re lacking so they can keep ascending,” Mallwitz said.

As better-trained employees are promoted, it opens up entry-level jobs.

“This is a great way to keep the workforce going,” Mallwitz said.

Doug Smith, the manager of a Walgreens store in the Granville area, said some of his employees are enrolled in the customer service and supervisor classes.

“When I saw these classes, I thought this was just perfect for my employees,” Smith said. “It gives them the step up, especially if they are trying to move into that supervisor role. It lets them know ahead of time exactly what they need.”

Susan Paprcka, the director of marketing for Busch Precision, was among those attending the class on blueprint reading.

“To me, this is so valuable in terms of growing manufacturing and the ‘skills gap’ everybody talks about,” she said. “People like myself, who haven’t been in this industry, this makes me want to stay in the industry when they offer professional development and learning kinds of opportunities.”

The classes are held in the late afternoon on a workday once a week, typically 3 or 3:30 p.m. About 80 Granville-area workers are enrolled in the program’s inaugural sessions. Participants come from manufacturers, insurers, retailers and other companies that are members of the Granville Business Improvement District.

“We are hoping this does open doors for people to get promoted,” Hoehne said. “That’s the hope of the grant — that people will get promoted and it will open doors.”

From jsonline.com: “MATC student conquers brain injuries, limitations to graduate” — By Karen Herzog – There must be a reason why she survived two major head injuries decades apart, says Roane Simkin, who will walk across a stage Wednesday with her service dog, Ice, to accept two associate degrees from Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Simkin, 53, is adapting to what her body and brain can no longer do.

At age 22, she had to learn again how to stand, walk and do many other basic things most take for granted after a horse she was riding reared up, fell on top of her, and rolled over her. After a rehab and healing period of about nine years, Simkin rebounded as much as possible.

But then she suffered another head injury at age 46 when a motorist plowed into the back of her Saab while she was stopped at a red light.

“The weird thing isn’t that this happened to me,” she says. “It’s that I keep walking away. Obviously, I’m here for something.”

Simkin will be among more than 1,400 MATC graduates who will receive degrees during a commencement ceremony at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the U.S. Cellular Arena. Walking across the stage will mean more to her than the average graduate.

Doctors told her after her first brain injury that if she hadn’t been a well-trained dancer before her accident, she likely never would have walked again.

“Your brain reboots when you have a brain injury — how you process information and interact with the world,” she explained of the recovery process.

Simkin already has a bachelor’s degree in psychology and English, and a master’s degree in human factors engineering — “literally the study of work,” she said. She enjoyed a lucrative consulting career as a human factors/ergonomics engineer — also known as business analyst — before her 2007 car accident, she said.

Through her studies the past three years at MATC, she has figured out how to still do the work she enjoys — helping people better interact with software and other technology — but in a different way.

She can no longer travel as a contractor because of mobility challenges and an inability to function well under fluorescent lights because they interfere with her ability to receive, process, recall and share information. So she has developed new skills such as web design that she can use without having to travel from workplace to workplace and deal with the lights.

Simkin double-majored at MATC in individualized technical studies and visual communications, also known as interactive media. The individualized technical studies program is customized to meet specific educational needs not served by other degree programs, combining skills and knowledge from different disciplines.

Wisconsin’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation helped her get back on her feet by paying for her education, she said.

“It behooves people who have disabilities,” Simkin said. “Do the mourning you have to do, get over it and start to do something. Use what you have. Start with what you want to do and figure out whether there is another way to do it.”

She doesn’t have the luxury of looking for a dream job when she graduates.

“I have to ask, ‘Will you accommodate my disability so I’m not in so much pain,'” she said, referring to headaches and confusion she experiences when she works in a room with fluorescent light. At school, Simkin wears a hat in classrooms with that type of lighting. Natural light from windows poses no issues.

Simkin is excited about the prospects of continuing to do the type of work she loves.

“I like putting information together that empowers people,” she said, adding that she may explore teaching at a community college at some point.

She joined MATC’s student government to regain social skills she lost after her 2007 accident. She’s the outgoing district governor for the state student government, an association of all 16 technical colleges in Wisconsin. She also works as a tutoring associate and develops websites for MATC.

Simkin lost part of her temporal lobe, including muscle memory for balance and orienting, so her service dog, Ice, helps her with both. The rugged Anatolian shepherd dog also helps her walk on ice and snow, and carries things for her in a bag.

She has trouble adding long strings of numbers, which never was a problem before the 2007 accident. While working as an executive assistant prior to the accident, she could keep track of $30 million in a business, she said.

“To have had it and lost it is devastating,” she said.

Her body and different parts of her brain were affected by the second head injury. But ironically, she regained some abilities after the car accident, like “imagining forward” to do technical writing, which she struggled with after the first accident, she said. She also regained muscle memory to cook, which she couldn’t do after the horseback-riding accident, she said.

“One theory of memory is we retain everything; we just can’t access it under certain circumstances. I lost abilities, some of which I was able to reroute. It was like going through a maze. After two major brain injuries, I just remember what I can.”

From fox6now.com: “Partnership offers scholarships to kids with incarcerated parents”  – An educational partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College and Creative Corrections Education Foundation helps children avoid the pitfalls of their parents. It’s a nationwide effort trying to better the lives of youth right here in Milwaukee.

While their parents are locked up behind bars, Percy Pitzer aims to free the minds of the children.

“It’s a chance for them to do something for themselves and stay out of the prison system,” said Pitzer.

The retired warden wants the next generation to succeed, so he developed the non-profit organization, Creative Corrections Education Foundation.

“A foundation designed to give scholarships to children of incarcerated parents or who are on parole,” said Pitzer.

The group partnered with Milwaukee Area Technical College to help these kids beat the odds. Pitzer says the statistics are not in their favor.

“50% of the kids in Juvenile Detention have a parent incarcerated. So many of them are following in their parents footsteps, I think one of the reasons with this is they don’t see a vision,” said Pitzer.

Christine McGee, the executive director of the MATC Foundation is hoping the combined effort can help break the cycle. CCEF is offering the students $1,000 dollar scholarships.

“It’s very important these students have an option or an alternative to what they may be facing,” said McGee.

“Seeking 15 students who are graduating next week who plan to continue their education at UWM in the fall and who also have a parent who is incarcerated,” said McGee.

In addition to that, a pilot program is also in the works.

“Developing a program that will help the children of parents who are incarcerated particularly those who have dropped out of high school and are interested in coming back to MATC to get an adult high school diploma or GED,” said Pitzer.

McGee says the goal of the foundation is to get these kids in school, whether it’s college or vocational training, and get them a trade.

Pitzar says so far the partnerships have provided scholarships to students in 26 states. This program relies heavily on community support and the scholarships are available mainly because of donations.

From wisn.com: “Employers claim they can’t find workers who are job-ready” – Manufacturing jobs that pay well, but there’s no one to fill them. Employers call it the skills gap.

WISN 12 News Kent Wainscott investigates the millions of dollars taxpayers are pouring into technical colleges to close the gap.

“The skills gap, does it still exist in Milwaukee?” WISN 12 News reporter Kent Wainscott asked.

“In a word, yes,” said Chris Layden of Manpower Group.

Layden said that’s what Milwaukee-based Manpower Group, a world leader in employment issues, is seeing across the Milwaukee area.

More than one-third of employers, he said, claim they can’t find enough workers who are job-ready.

“Do they really have the right skills to perform the jobs that employers are needing? And what we are consistently hearing from clients in the Milwaukee area is, no,” Layden said.

“For the last four to five years, we’ve kind of beat that horse to death about the skills gap, and now everybody said, ‘OK, how do we fix it?'” said Dorothy Walker, interim dean of MATC’s School of Technical and Applies Sciences.

Milwaukee Area Technical College is Wisconsin’s largest tech school.

Much of the more than $140 million taxpayer dollars it gets each year is spent trying to address the skills gap.

“What (we) needed to do as a tech college, as MATC, was to sit with the employers and say, ‘What skill sets to you need?’ Now that took some changing around of curriculum and some traditional stuff we were doing,” Walker said.

“And that wasn’t happening before?” Wainscott asked.

“That wasn’t happening before to that extent,” Walker said.

One way MATC has tried to address the skills gap is to expand and renovate and build new facilities, but that means an investment of taxpayer dollars.

“It costs money to build a place like this,” Wainscott said.

“It does,” Walker said.

“Is it money well spent?” Wainscott asked.

“I think the money is well spent, not only the money from the college, but again, we partner with industry,” Walker said.

The result? Enrollment is up. More courses are offered. In fact, MATC will offer 71 welding or machining courses next school year.

Still, WISN 12 News found nearly 1,000 open welder or machinist job postings on Milwaukeejobs.com.

What’s the explanation?

WISN 12 News asked the head of UW-Milwaukee’s Center for Economic Development and got a surprising answer.

“Everybody says it exists, but nobody can really find it in the data,” Marc Levine said.

Levine said if there was a shortage of skilled workers, demand for them would increase and so would wages.

“When we look at the basic economic indicators, there just doesn’t seem to be a lot of evidence about a skills gap,” Levine said.

Instead, he believes employers may find it hard to fill jobs because they’re paying low wages or expecting too much pre-job training.

Or a lack of transportation may keep workers from connecting with the jobs that aren’t nearby.

“There’s a disconnect between MATC creating these programs, MATC basically creating our supply of skilled workers, and the fact that manufacturers in Milwaukee are not hiring more workers than they have in the past,” Levine said.

Whatever the reason, Manpower’s Layden, said things have to improve.

“Is this skills gap going to close over the next few years?” Wainscott asked.

“I think it needs to. I think for Milwaukee it needs to. For our employers it needs to. It’s keeping people up at night,” Layden said.

Manufacturing is changing to a more computerized, IT-based workforce. So schools like MATC are adjusting to that. But critics said schools and manufacturers have to do a better job of spreading that message.

STEM programs are on the rise, and those are laying a foundation for the type of skills required for the next generation of manufacturing jobs.

View video from wisn.com

From jsonline.com: “Building a ‘ladder of opportunity’ ” – By Tom Barrett – Too many Milwaukee workers are either unemployed or underemployed, and too many local businesses assert they cannot find the skilled workers they need. City government is committed to doing what it can to connect workers with jobs. The federal government is stepping up, too.

The Obama administration with its American Job Training Investments: Skills and Jobs to Build a Stronger Middle Class announcement earlier this month is making a priority of job training, apprenticeships and partnerships between community colleges and businesses.

Several years ago, I attended a community meeting and listened to frustrated residents say they could not find jobs. On the same day across town, at an event at an employer, I listened as company executives said they had a shortage of qualified workers. This experience led to the development of Milwaukee’s proactive, employer-driven training initiative, the Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership. Since the launch of the initiative, more than 100 area employers have hired or advanced the skills of more than 800 individuals in the manufacturing industry.

President Barack Obama has highlighted the Milwaukee area’s innovative workforce partnerships in his visits here, and he has engaged in discussions about replenishing the workforce as baby boomers retire. We have a real need to expose more young people to skilled labor trades. The federal investments outlined in the American Job Training Investments announcement will be responsive to these issues and support the current efforts.

In Milwaukee, we are ahead of the curve. Milwaukee’s workforce system, coordinated by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, fosters strong relationships among industry, businesses, the technical college system and training organizations to train workers for current job openings. Milwaukee area manufacturers work closely with the technical college system and workforce partners such as the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership to develop employer-driven customized training. As a result, technical college graduates, from schools such as the Milwaukee Area Technical College, are being hired by local manufacturers, many of them with industry certifications, such as Manufacturing Skills Standards Council certification.

Our regional economy is growing and needs skilled workers, from entry-level workers to higher-level workers with specific skills. The commitment outlined in the announcement supports workers who face challenges in upgrading and certifying their skills, as well as middle- and lower-income city residents who have been particularly hard hit by the economy. The investment the White House is making in technical college education and apprenticeships will deliver newly skilled workers and build the pipeline needed for the growing economy, enhancing the efforts of Milwaukee’s forward-thinking business community.

And the timing couldn’t be better.

The City of Milwaukee has developed plans for an advanced manufacturing center at Century City, at the site of the old A.O. Smith industrial site. The center will be operated by a coalition including our technical college, workforce investment board and businesses to train and connect workers with real jobs in modern manufacturing. The Century City location puts this innovative center close to new and existing manufacturers in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor. It will be close to potential workers who are unemployed or underemployed.

Another added benefit is the investment to be made in modern equipment to train advanced manufacturing workers also will be available to companies for prototyping and testing operational improvements. Manufacturing provides a large number of well-paying jobs, with wages 31% higher than the regional average for all workers. Manufacturing is the very heart of our region’s “ladder of opportunity.”

Our goals are aligned. The City of Milwaukee and the business community are working collaboratively with workforce partners to close the mismatch between jobs and workers and to connect the public and private sectors to research and innovation.

 

From jsonline.com: “Seeking savings when filling up, fleets turn to propane, natural gas” — The newest police vehicle in the city of Port Washington is powered by propane instead of gasoline.

The fuel known most for lighting gas grills and heating rural Wisconsin homes has emerged as an alternative that provides savings for owners of small fleets – like the seven patrol cars in the Port Washington police department.

Port Washington Police Capt. Mike Keller said he started exploring alternative fuels as a way to find a way to chip into the more than $60,000 a year the agency spends on fuel.

“For a small department that’s a lot,” so I’ve been doing research since 2012 looking for ways to reduce our operating costs and fueling costs,” Keller said during the Green Vehicles Workshop held Tuesday at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

The department considered vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas before deciding on propane instead. The first vehicle: A Ford sport utility vehicle that can run on gas or propane.

“The squad here went live in very late December a few months in, but based on usage so far saving $500 a month on fuel on one car vs. what we paid for gas,” Keller said.

The propane shortage that hit much of the country during the deep freeze this winter didn’t affect the department because it had already paid for the propane.

Until this year, the price of propane has been stable whereas gasoline prices have been much more volatile, said Jason Ebert, fleet and facilities manager with Go Riteway, which operates propane-powered buses and airport shuttles as well as propane-fueled school buses.

“Typically it’s gasoline that will fluctuate rapidly. Propane in its history has been a very stable fuel so that’s one thing that is very appealing,” said Ebert. “However we did have this issue this winter, due to our wonderful Wisconsin winter.”

Go Riteway had a “ceiling price” on propane that kept its prices from being too exorbitant when prices spiked temporarily this winter, he said.

The type of alternative fuel fleet operators are seeking depends on the kind of vehicles and the size of the fleet involved, said Ted Barnes of the Gas Technology Institute near Chicago.

Propane is best suited to small fleets given the lower up-front and capital costs associated with going with propane, compared with CNG.

Compressed natural gas, Barnes said, is best suited to larger trucks that burn a lot of fuel. Case in point: refuse trucks like those in the city of Milwaukee, which has 21 natural gas-fueled refuse trucks that double as snow plows, with another 22 on order, said Jeffrey Tews, fleet operations manager for the city’s Department of Public Works.

The city is saving about $6,500 per year per truck because of the price advantage natural gas enjoys over diesel.

With an upfront extra cost of $39,000 for buying the natural gas-powered vehicle, “that amounts to a six-year payback if we buy them outright, which is what we’re planning to do,” Tews said.

From inwisconsin.com: “State launches expanded, accelerated training program for trucking jobs” — Pewaukee – Governor Scott Walker made a stop at the Waukesha County Technical College today to announce the launch of a new program, designed to channel Wisconsin residents, including veterans, through accelerated training courses and into guaranteed placements at companies in the growing trucking industry.  Up to 300 Wisconsinites who pass eligibility screening will earn a commercial driver’s license (CDL) and advance to a placement at one of three Wisconsin trucking firms.

“Wisconsin’s transportation industry is experiencing a significant skills gap that will continue through at least 2020, and we need to act aggressively to address this issue,” Governor Walker said.  “Innovative approaches, like this accelerated training program, are the kinds of investments we need.  The incentive of a guaranteed placement at the conclusion of the program makes this initiative a win-win for employers and Wisconsin’s working families.”

The new CDL training program represents collaboration between the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC), Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs (WDVA), Department of Transportation (DOT), Wisconsin Technical College System, transportation industry leaders, and three major Wisconsin employers: Schneider National of Green Bay, Roehl Transport of Marshfield, and WEL of De Pere.

The Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC) currently offers the course, and Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) will begin offering it this summer.  The Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) and Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC) offer related instruction at their sites.

“As Wisconsin’s lead state agency for talent development, DWD supports innovative workforce solutions that prepare individuals for careers in growing industry sectors,” said DWD Secretary Reggie Newson.  “We were pleased to convene the workgroup that ultimately led to this new initiative.  Wisconsin workers benefit with skills training and guaranteed placements and participating employers benefit with a direct pipeline to fill their openings.  Both efforts benefit Wisconsin’s economy.”

“One of WEDC’s areas of emphasis is to work with our partners throughout Wisconsin to help expand workforce training systems, especially for the state’s key industries,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, the state’s lead economic development organization.  “There is no question that Wisconsin trucking companies need more qualified drivers to ensure their continued success, and the continued success of our economy.  We believe this program will play a key role in helping to fill that need.”

Up to 300 eligible job seekers will complete a four-week training course that results in a Commercial Driver’s License and a guaranteed placement at one of the three participating companies.  Once placed, the successful graduates will complete the standard introductory stage at the company and become a permanent hire.  Experienced semi-truck drivers can earn more than $23 per hour, or approximately 15 percent above the average wage in Wisconsin.

In the program, potential participants register on JobCenterofWisconsin.com and complete a series of assessments to determine their eligibility.  Those deemed eligible will complete the four-week training course offered through FVTC or WCTC, and then be matched with a guaranteed placement at one of the three trucking employers.

Given a capacity of 300 placements, DWD is prioritizing veterans, dislocated workers, workers who receive federal Trade Adjustment Assistance, and certain individuals who are eligible for programs under the federal Workforce Investment Act.  The training and placements will be at no cost to the participant.  Other interested job seekers who are deemed eligible for the program will be asked to cover the $2,500 cost of the training.

The transportation companies’ hiring needs are in line with projections showing the need for semi-truck drivers will grow by 21 percent between 2010 and 2020, to more than 55,000 semi-truck drivers.

Governor Walker recently signed legislation as part of his Blueprint for Prosperity initiative to increase funds in the nationally-recognized Wisconsin Fast Forward by $35.4 million to focus on three key areas, including:

  • Grants to Wisconsin technical colleges to reduce wait lists in high-demand fields;
  • Collaborative projects among businesses, school districts, technical colleges, and educational partners to equip high school pupils with industry-recognized certifications in high-demand fields; and
  • Programs that enhance the employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.

Additionally, the current round of Wisconsin Fast Forward grant program announcements includes $1 million in available funds for employer-driven worker training programs for transportations, logistics, and distribution occupations.  These funds can be used to train new workers for job openings or train existing workers that results in a wage increase.

Interested job seekers are encouraged to visit https://jobcenterofwisconsin.com/Trucking/ or contact their local Job Center, which can be located at http://www.wisconsinjobcenter.org/directory/.

From jsonline.com: “MATC’s culinary programs expand, benefitting students and public” – By Nancy J. Stohs – The culinary programs at Milwaukee Area Technical College have undergone major changes in the last couple of years, and the hungry public is as much a beneficiary as the students.

When the student-run Cuisine restaurant relocated in fall of 2012 to the first floor of the school’s main downtown campus, that opened up space on the sixth floor to add a second culinary skills lab and an international foods lab, both of which opened this past fall.

That made two things possible: the addition of four course requirements to the culinary arts curriculum — regional American cuisine, European/Mediterranean cuisine, Asian cuisine, and South and Central American cuisine — and to eliminate the program’s waiting list.

“In the past, we could take 35 new students a semester, or about 70 a year,” said Richard Busalacchi, associate dean of hospitality and food manufacturing programs at MATC. “Last fall we took in about 75 students and this spring 86 students.

“Anybody who applied to the culinary arts program got in.”

The baking and pastry arts program, similarly, nearly doubled its enrollment after a new baking and chocolate lab opened last fall on the first floor. Typically, 50 students would be admitted each year; this year, it was 80.

And that’s where the hungry public comes in. The new baking lab feeds a new student-run venue, the 6th Street Cafe, located across the hall from Cuisine. Opened last fall serving coffee and breakfast, it added lunch this semester.

That was based on a recommendation from the program’s advisory committee.

In order to stay competitive, “the bakeries we knew once upon a time that just did doughnuts and cookies and cakes have evolved,” Busalacchi explained. So while the students do learn how to bake, “they also end up with a solid skill set for the café operation.”

Soups ($2 cup, $3 bowl), salads ($4.95 to $6.95), sandwiches ($6 or $6.94), plus various coffee drinks, pastries, cold beverages and seven flavors of ice cream and sorbet are on the cafe’s menu, which changes slightly every few weeks.

Everything in the cafe is made from scratch, including the breads for sandwiches and the sorbets and ice creams, and — as in Cuisine — ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible.

Last week I sampled a zesty Oaxacan black bean soup, a flavorful spinach salad with walnuts, pears, chevre, grapes and balsamic vinaigrette and an applewood smoked ham and aged cheddar sandwich. Oh, and a couple of couldn’t-resist desserts sold in the adjoining 6th Street Bakery.

Like Cuisine, the cafe is open most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters. Café hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (lunch service starts at 11:30). The café will close for the semester around the first week of May; Cuisine the second or third week.

Cuisine takes reservations (free through Open Table), while the cafe, which seats up to about 70 in two dining rooms and which also offers carryout, is walk-up service.

So far, promotion of the cafe has been internal word of mouth only.

Operating the 6th Street Cafe is the capstone class for the two-year baking and pastry arts program, just as operating Cuisine restaurant is the final course for culinary arts students. Graduation and job-hunting are next.

In addition to these two programs, MATC also added a two-year culinary management program about a year ago.

And where will all of these graduates find jobs?

Busalacchi isn’t worried. Statistics show that more than 800 new food service jobs — cooks, chefs, bakers and managers — are added annually within a 50-mile radius of downtown Milwaukee.

According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant and foodservice industry is the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer, employing more than 13 million people, or 10% of the U.S. workforce.

What’s next?

The school is hoping to have Cuisine restaurant open for business some evenings in the spring of 2015 and that summer, Busalacchi said.

As for major changes, “we’re done for a while.”

From jsonline.com: “Electric trike entrepreneurs set off on an Odyssey” — A high school project that began with scrap steel and parts from a machine used to groom ski hills has morphed into an electric trike and a business.

The latest iteration of the three-wheel vehicle from Odyssey Trikes of Slinger has a top speed of 50 mph and a range of about 50 miles before it has to be recharged.

Odyssey Trikes is a fledgling business started by Dustin Herte, a Milwaukee School of Engineering graduate, and Ryan Bass, a Milwaukee Area Technical College student.

Herte and Bass were in high school when they built their first electric trike in 2009. It has since gone through many design changes to become a prototype that’s nearly ready for the marketplace.

Odyssey Trikes has launched a Kickstarter fundraising campaign meant to raise $25,000 by the end of the month. With Kickstarter, businesses seek money from the public to get projects underway.

Herte said the trike has the power and speed of an electric motorcycle, with the added benefit of a third wheel for more stability.

The trike has pedals so that legally it’s classified as a bicycle. In stock form, it has a top speed of about 20 mph, but the motor can be tweaked for faster speeds.

The trike will sell for about $6,000. Still in the development stage, Odyssey has landed only one sale through Kickstarter but is gearing up for additional business, including sales to police departments that could use the trikes for patrol work.

Herte says he and Bass will use their website to sell trikes.

“I am not worried as long as we get the foundation of the business established,” Herte said of taking the prototype trike to a product in the electric bike marketplace.

“I realize there’s a lot more that needs to be done that will cost a lot of money … but we are trying for no debt. We haven’t needed outside money yet,” he added.

“If we have all the parts lined up, we can generally assemble one trike per day. We know where to get the parts we can’t make, but we want more options — and we want to be able to produce even more of these parts ourselves,” Odyssey says on its website.

Power-assisted bicycles have been around for more than a century, but recent lithium battery-powered motors have increased running times and speeds. The electric bikes allow people who are not necessarily in good physical condition to commute to work, school or run errands in town. They’re cheap to operate and easy to ride.

Some of the three-wheel versions are capable of carrying hundreds of pounds of cargo in addition to the driver. In Europe, United Parcel Service is testing electric trikes for package deliveries. In Milwaukee, at least one restaurant is using them for food deliveries.

Some electric trikes, where the rider sits only inches from the ground, are capable of going from zero to 30 mph in a few seconds.

“They can be somewhat dangerous, since automobile drivers don’t quite know how to react,” said Craig Peterson, an electric bike enthusiast and the founder of Buffalo Water Beer Co. “They don’t know how to anticipate how fast these things go.”

Under Wisconsin law, electric bikes are limited to a top speed of 20 mph when operated with motor-only power. They are allowed to go faster when the rider pedals and the motor assists. They’re allowed on bike paths and city streets.

“As long as you are riding respectfully, like everything else in life, there shouldn’t be an issue,” said Henry Blum, an electric bike salesman at Len’s Electric Bikes, in Madison.

Trek Bicycles, based in Waterloo, has made electric bikes, including models with different operating modes that vary the motor assistance. As the rider pedals, the motor will adjust to achieve the most efficient electric assistance. The bike also has a manual throttle to get maximum motor speed.

One of Trek’s bikes uses regenerative braking to capture some of the energy lost during braking and put it back into the battery. On a long downhill ride, the pedal power will charge the battery even more, extending the bike’s range.

Electric trike manufacturer Outrider USA recently introduced a full-suspension trike aimed at people with physical disabilities, including limited muscular function. The trike can be configured many different ways, depending on the rider’s needs, and is built for all-terrain use.

“Nothing compares with being outside and getting some good miles behind you,” said Jesse Lee, a partner in Outrider, based in Fletcher, N.C.

From jsonline.com: “Home improvement show serves as teaching tool” –For the 8th consecutive year, the Interior Design Contest between students from local colleges is a prominent feature of the Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show.

Sponsored by Nehmey Construction, the contest pits students from Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, Mount Mary University and Waukesha County Technical College in a competition to design and construct a 12-foot-by-12-foot room display with a 2014 theme of “Bring the Outside In.”

The participating schools, who will each receive $1,000 for the school’s interior design program from the Milwaukee/NARI Foundation, created and built the following designs:

  • Gateway Technical College: A dining room uses elements inspired by the outdoors with warm, neutral tones and earthy prints that creates a classic and informal space. A unique room selection is a dining table created from a reclaimed section of fence that was painted and distressed. The walls have salvaged window shutters, exterior lanterns and a mirrored window, while birdcages function as artistic light fixtures.
  • Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC): A child’s playroom has an urban concept of the outdoors, utilizing bold colors and kid-friendly furniture selections.
  • Mount Mary University: A rustic and feminine-style home den includes natural wood textures combined with light and airy colors. This design also focuses on the use of sustainable and reclaimed products.
  • Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC): A pergola includes rockers, a table and chairs, a screen door and siding.

Gateway, participating for the 4th consecutive year and the 2013 contest winner, has six students that are part of its team. “Students in last fall’s Residential Design Studio course competed against each other to determine the space design,” said Rita Serpe, interior design instructor at Gateway. “Once design was selected, the Commercial Design Studio students work together to install and complete the display.”

MATC returned to the competition after a one-year absence, as six student members of the American Society of Interior Design were actively involved in the design process, with several other students assisting in the procurement of materials and products plus construction. “The work, from concept development through build out and show staffing, is accomplished on a volunteer basis,” said Mary Walgren, MATC interior design instructor. “Students are able to use classroom facilities, equipment, and resources to plan and meet on the design. In addition, any open lab time can be used toward their work on the project.”

At Mount Mary, the 14 students that are part of the competition are from two classes. “The freshmen class focused on project design and development, while the sophomore/junior class worked on project management skills and mentored the freshmen in the design development process,” said Leona Knobloch-Nelson, associate professor and Interior Design Student Chapter faculty advisor. “The students learn collaboration and team participation.”

WCTC has been part of the contest since its inception. This year, eight students that are members of the school’s Interior Design Club have worked on the plan. “Typically we meet over the holiday break to come up with the final plan and start working on construction,” said Brooks Eberlein, WCTC interior design instructor and club advisor. “The week prior to the show is a hustle to get everything ready for a smooth installation, and the week of the show are long hours of prepping the space and getting everything in its proper place.”

The instructors see a variety of benefits for the students, including the opportunity to network with other students, connecting with the business community for resources, and project and time management skills.

“This type of hands-on projects gives students a practical experience that simply cannot be found in a textbook or a classroom,” Walgren said. “They get real-world exposure to deadlines and are able to grow their network of professionals and vendors as they work through the product procurement process. Time management, collaborative design and team projects are standard practice for our industry and this experience exposes students to those concepts.”

“The students have fun because they get the gratification of seeing the completion of their design,” Knobloch-Nelson said.

Serpe explained that students benefit from multitasking schoolwork along with a real-world project. “Plus, they need to be creative working with a small budget,” she said.

“For many, this is a first-time hands-on experience that involves carpentry and construction,” Eberlein said. “These experiences enrich learning and also give students inside knowledge that they may share with clients at a later time. Not only do students get hands-on experience, they take great pride in their efforts. Students have also been able to network with NARI exhibitors. In some cases, this networking has led to internships and jobs. The overall experience is win-win.”

Show attendees have had the opportunity to vote on their favorite room design. The winning school will be announced after votes are tabulated at the conclusion of the show, and the school will receive a plaque.

Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show hours are 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 16. Admission is $8 at the door. Tickets for those 60 and older are $5. Children 16 and younger and all military personnel with a military photo ID card are admitted free.

From jsonline.com: “President Barack Obama to highlight job training in Waukesha visit” — President Barack Obama drops into the Republican stronghold of Waukesha County on Thursday morning and is expected to discuss a subject that unites Republicans and Democrats.

Job training.

Obama is due to visit GE’s Waukesha gas engines plant, a facility that employs around 700 people and manufactures natural gas engines.

He is scheduled to tour the plant, meet with executives and line workers, and give a speech, before making his way to an afternoon appearance at a high school in Nashville, Tenn.

A senior Obama administration official said that during his Waukesha appearance, the president is expected to discuss taking executive action to enhance reform of job training programs. The official laid out the general themes of Obama’s visit during a teleconference with reporters.

The Wisconsin stop is part of Obama’s two-day tour after his State of the Union address.

According to the official, the president is striving to amplify key themes from the speech, including expanding economic opportunity for Americans.

“That is the focus of the president’s domestic policy agenda,” the official said. “It is the focus of his efforts to try to find common ground with members of Congress. We certainly are hopeful that there would be some bipartisan common ground that could be found on some basic steps we could take that would expand economic opportunity for every American, in areas like job creation, job training and education.”

The official said the president will “also talk about his willingness to act on his own.

“When Congress refuses to act, the president won’t wait for them,” the official said.

The White House announced that after his speech in Waukesha, Obama will sign a Presidential Memorandum to initiate “an across-the-board review of how to best reform federal training programs.”

Vice President Joe Biden will lead the effort.

A competition will also be launched for the final $500 million of a community college training fund. Every state will be awarded at least one grant. The competition is designed to bolster partnerships with community colleges, employers and industry to “create training programs for in-demand jobs.”

The  senior administration official said the GE plant in Waukesha employs highly skilled workers who are trained to perform specific tasks.

“What the president would like to see is a re-orientation of our job training programs,” the official said. “The president wants to make our job training programs across the country more job-driven.”

The official explained that such reorientation means greater coordination between federal agencies that oversee job training grant programs and local community colleges, communities and employers.

The official said “there are many businesses across the country that, despite what continue to be elevated unemployment rates, still do have openings for workers. The difference is they are looking for workers with a very specific skill set.”

In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has also emphasized the need to get workers the right training to match job openings in fields such as manufacturing and computer technology.

Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who will greet the president at Mitchell International Airport and be with him at the GE plant, said he expected the focus of the visit will be the economy and jobs.

“It’s something I’ve been talking about for some time,” Barrett said. “It’s what I call ‘ships passing in the night.’ Workers can’t find jobs. Employers can’t find workers. We’ve got to find a way to bring them together.”

The mayor said he hoped to share with Obama the work going on in the Milwaukee area to accomplish that.

He specifically mentioned the work of the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership/BIG STEP, which develops resources and services for companies to expand employment and advancement opportunities by upgrading the skills of current employees and training residents to get family-supporting jobs.

Barrett also cited the work of the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, which is a government-business partnership that administers employment and training programs; Milwaukee Area Technical College; and Waukesha County Technical College.

Last week, Barrett and mayors from other cities around the country met with Vice President Joe Biden and discussed the manufacturing partnership between workers and employers.

“I’m guessing this is something in their wheelhouse,” Barrett said of Obama’s visit to Waukesha.

From jsonline.com: “MATC revamps south side Milwaukee building for worker” — Milwaukee Area Technical College’s failed enterprise center and business incubator on the south side has been converted into an education center that will provide academic and training programs in the largely Latino community.

For many years the MATC enterprise centers — one on the north side and one on the south side — provided low-cost rent designed to help launch new businesses and create jobs.

But a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation in 2008 and 2009 showed many problems with the tax-supported business incubators. Tenants were behind in rent, expenses for the incubators exceeded revenue and there was little or no tracking to determine if the incubators created jobs.

The Milwaukee Enterprise Center North at 2821 N. 4th St. started in 1985 and was sold by MATC in 2011.

But MATC retained the Milwaukee Enterprise Center South, 816 W. National Ave., which opened in 1994.

For a time, the dislocated worker program run by the HIRE Center, in partnership with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, was housed in the building to train workers who had lost their jobs.

But the investment board and the HIRE Center consolidated their operations at the investment board offices at N. 27th St. and W. North Ave. in October, said Dorothy Walker, interim dean of MATC’s School of Technical and Applied Sciences.

At the same time, MATC’s F building on N. 4th St., which housed some training programs, was sold to the BMO Harris Bradley Center next door, she said.

Some of the businesses in the incubator didn’t seem to grow well and the economic downturn contributed to the failure of the enterprise center, Walker said.

“As we looked at using space more efficiently and looking at new programs and new areas to best serve the community, we decided to re-purpose the MEC south with a focus on building more educational and training programs there,” she said.

“What we’re doing there now focuses on our core mission and meets the needs of the community.”

So the 127,000-square-foot south side building has undergone $2.3 million in renovations to accommodate the many training programs once located in the F building.

The MATC Office of Workforce and Economic Development, which works with businesses and industry to provide corporations with customized programs, has been moved to the south side.

The college is focusing on locating construction and trade-related training programs there because there are a lot of small contractors on the south side, Walker said.

Now called the MATC Education Center at Walker’s Square, it’s also close to Bradley Tech High School, which has a technical focus on construction. The college will look for ways to connect with the high school, she said.

Bay View High School also has some focus on construction and links there will be sought, she said.

The plumbing program has been moved from the F building to the south campus. The one-year program leads to a technical diploma, and it’s the only plumbing program offered at a technical college in the state, instructor and master plumber Mike Geiger said.

The training program also leads to apprenticeships in three unions — plumbers, steamfitter and sprinkler fitters, he said. Last week students were busy moving washers, dryers and water heaters into the new spaces to begin the plumbing lessons required.

The brick and masonry program also has been moved. The one-semester technical diploma program serves as a pre-apprentice program, said Dragomir Marinkovich, the associate dean for engineering and construction.

Next year the school plans to move its appliance technician program from the downtown campus to the south side, he said.

He said the trade programs are critical because it’s estimated that in the spring construction jobs will start picking up again and “these guys will be ready.”

Continuing education classes also are offered in upholstery and sewing.

Alfredo Luna, associate dean of the office of workforce and economic development, said he’s working with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the Walker’s Point Association and other nonprofits and businesses in the area to determine the needs of the community and how the center can help.

Walker said that in addition to construction, there will be a focus around energy, solar and water services.

The south center is not far from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Fresh Water Sciences that’s being constructed on the south side and MATC will look for training areas related to water, she said.

Ald. José Pérez, who represents the area, said he’s excited about the new education center and the possibilities for developing training and jobs for so many who live within walking distance.

“With time, I think there will be so many services, such as registering for classes, filling out financial aid forms, taking classes and specialized training in the trades,” he said.

He’s especially interested in sustainability and water programs. He said that seems to be a natural progression for the area with the new fresh water sciences school, the water council and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District, all located on the south side.

From jsonline.com: “MATC leaders, Sen. Baldwin discuss expanded focus on ‘green-collar’ jobs” –Milwaukee Area Technical College has expanded its training for people working in green-collar fields, including those who will maintain and repair growing fleet of vehicles fueled by compressed natural gas.

And the Wisconsin Auto and Truck Dealers Association is expanding training of vehicle technicians to include training to fix hybrid electric vehicles.

In Wauwatosa, Telkonet Inc. has hired five workers who were in the MATC sustainable facilities operations program at the Center for Energy Conservation and Advanced Manufacturing in Oak Creek.

These are some examples highlighted during a roundtable with U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) Wednesday morning at MATC’s downtown campus.

Baldwin is visiting technical colleges around the state Wednesday and Thursday to discuss green-collar jobs and a bill that she introduced last week that would expand training for careers in clean-energy and sustainable business fields.

The Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation, or GREEN Act, would create a $100 million competitive grant program through the U.S. Department of Energy to help facilitate training programs, as well as energy-saving or sustainability-focused facility upgrades, at technical colleges around the country.

“This is really going to help build some of the partnerships that have already been started in this case, but create, I hope, a bunch that don’t yet exist,” Baldwin said.

The green collar sector employed more than 3.4 million people nationwide in 2011, according to federal Labor Department statistics released last year.

AT ECAM in Oak Creek, taking courses in the sustainable facilities operations program led Steve Dudek of Brookfield to get hired as a project manager at Telkonet, a developer of energy-saving technologies for hotel and college dorm rooms, even before he completed his associate’s degree, he said.

The program gave him in-the-field training when he got the chance to conduct an energy audit at his children’s school in Brookfield, he said.

Telkonet employees who have gone though the program are already versed in the importance of saving energy in a building and systems that can enable that, and then can “land virtually running,” said Gerrit Reinders, executive vice president of Telkonet, which has 105 employees and is growing.

The training on CNG trucks at MATC in Oak Creek has expanded since it was first launched in 2012.

The program has done five rounds of training, starting with city of Milwaukee employees for the refuse trucks that will run on CNG, said MATC instructor Craig Kuehl.

“It’s been very well received,” he said. Most recently the college conducted training with technical college instructors from around the state, to help broaden the base of people experienced with maintaining CNG vehicles, he said.

Ted Wilinski of MATC said Baldwin’s bill could still be helpful to MATC, even though it has moved more quickly than some other technical schools in training for careers in renewable energy, energy efficiency and alternative fuels.

The college would like to pursue energy-saving changes that would enable the south campus to become certified through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program of the U.S. Green Building Council, and it’s possible this could be a source of funding to assist with that initiative, he said.

From milwaukeenns.org: “Local testing centers prepare to administer new GED test” — Though uncertainty remains as to how the doubled price of the new GED test will affect local students, local testing centers are all nearly set to begin administering the computer-based exam.

Testing centers ceased offering the old version of the exam in mid-December, and those who weren’t able to complete all five tests needed for GED certification will have to start over. The change affected thousands of local students, though a hard push by adult education centers across the city resulted in hundreds earning their GEDs before the deadline. All testing centers in the city will be administering tests by Feb. 1 or earlier.

“All systems are go at MATC,” said Carol Spain, manager of Student Accommodation Services at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC), which houses the largest local testing center at its downtown campus, 700 W. State St.

Spain said the school, which offers GED testing at all four locations, is prepared for new students to register for the set of tests, though no one has yet. The tests now cost $135, while the previous exams cost $65.

Though the beginning of the year is a slow period for testing, Gloria Pitchford-Nicholas, dean of the School of Pre-College Education at MATC, said any significant increase in cost is a cause for concern.

Jennifer Brown (left), celebrated earning her high school equivalency diploma with children Giannie and Lonnie at a Journey House Family Learning Center graduation event. (Photo by Edgar Mendez).

MATC does not offer programs to help students cover the cost, Pitchford-Nicholas said, “but perhaps some of our partner agencies will in the near future.”

Spain said that in the past various community organizations provided vouchers to help cover some or the entire cost of the tests.

Jake Gorges, education coordinator at the Social Development Corporation (SDC), 4041 N. Richards St., said no students have signed up to take the test there. In the past, SDC has provided some subsidies for students to help cover the cost of testing materials, but as of now, most of the organization’s GED funding has gone toward setting up for the new test, according to Gorges.

“Some portion of the population is certainly going to be impacted by the price,” said Gorges, adding that there are initiatives in the works that could help.

For example, he mentioned that students will soon be able to have tests “gifted to them.” In other words, donors will have the opportunity to pay online for individual tests or the entire set for a student.

The new GED test will include four exams instead of five, and test-takers will need to do more high-order thinking to pass, said Westmore Holmes, instructional chair for the High School Education/GED program at MATC, in an earlier interview with NNS. The test will continue to assess whether students have achieved the equivalent of a high school education, but will comply with state and national standards as well, Holmes said.

Pitchford-Nicolas added that the new test will better assess whether students are able to meet employer needs in a computer-based society and also better prepare them for further educational endeavors.

Many educational leaders have described the test as more difficult, but Michele Bria, CEO of Journey House, said she’s not worried about students adjusting to the new test. Journey House offers GED prep courses in Spanish and English,

“Critical thinking is still critical thinking,” Bria said.

As to how the new price will impact students at Journey House, Bria said that perhaps working with students on financial planning and other cost-saving measures is in order.

“There is a fee even to take the practice tests so it will be difficult to ration those vouchers so people can practice,” Bria said.

Below is a listing of Milwaukee GED testing centers and dates in which tests will be offered.

  • MATC (All campuses)- Currently offering the exam
  • SDC, 4041 N. Richards St.- Currently offering the exam
  • UMOS, 2701 S. Chase Ave.- Jan. 22nd
  • YWCA, 1915 N. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive- Feb. 1st

From onmilwaukee.com: “Pastry Chef Jacquy Pfeiffer: Through the eyes of an apprentice” — World renowned pastry chef Jacquey Pfeiffer, co-founder of Chicago’s French Pastry School and author of the new book “The Art of French Pastry,” has won countless accolades for his tireless pursuit of perfection in pastry.

He has also been recognized for his exceptional mentorship, which he has extended to dozens of pastry students from Wisconsin. Some, like Chef Kurt Fogle of SURG Restaurant Group, who Pfeiffer mentions by name as a star pupil, have gone on to make their own marks on the world of pastry.

On January 12, Fogle and a team of some of the city’s finest culinary talent – including Chefs Justin Carlisle of Ardent, Matt Haase of Rocket Baby Bakery, Andrew Miller of Hom Woodfired Grill and Jarvis Williams of Carnevor — will host a dinner honoring Pfeiffer. The five course dinner will serve as a celebration of his life, his work, and his new book.

The menu is being kept under wraps, but Fogle says each chef will be pulling out the stops in an effort to pay homage to Pfeiffer.

“We all work together, and we’re all a little competitive,” Fogle remarks, “So, you know everyone is bringing their A-game. There’s something–without trying to sound like too much of a weirdo — about watching five guys really going for it. To be a person in the room experiencing those dishes.”

Fogle has a particular investment in the dinner, since Pfeiffer was a key influencer in setting the direction of his career.

During his tenure with Pfeiffer, Fogle was one of very few Americans who had the privilege of taking part in the prestigious Meilleurs Ouvriers de France competition (Best Craftsmen in France), a competition captured in the documentary, “Kings of Pastry.”

NPR’s Ella Taylor remarked, “Kings of Pastry is about the craft, the teaching and learning, the collaborative work, the tedium, the heartbreak and emotional backbone it takes to make something lovely, even if that something is destined to disappear down a gullet in seconds — and even if the maker ends up a noble failure.”

“The whole damn experience was indelible,” Fogle says. “Working with Pfeiffer was two years of just having my mind blown day after day. And it was exhausting. Nothing will ever be harder than that. Nothing. I’m going to continue to challenge and push myself, but that’s the highest level.”

Working together created a professional and personal bond between the two chefs. Fogle says Pfieffer continued to be his mentor even after he left Chicago. In fact, it was Pfieffer who encouraged Fogle to move back to his home state of Wisconsin after completion of the competition.

“Since I was 15 working at O&H Danish Bakery in Racine, I had a passion for this part of the culinary world, and Pfeiffer encouraged me to come back and see where I could enhance pastry here,” he says.

He credits Pfeiffer with launching his career, as well as setting the direction for his art.

“To sum it up,” Fogle tells me, “He’s one of the best pastry chefs on the planet, and in turn I’m one of the luckiest apprentices to walk the planet.”

He went on to talk about some of the things he took away from his experience.

“I don’t want to say I didn’t learn to cook from him,” Fogle explains. “But what I really learned is how to think, how to be organized. He didn’t teach me how to bake, he taught me how to think.”

And for Fogle, part of that experience was learning that he could do anything to which he set his mind.

“One of the first things you learn from him is that anything is possible, because if it’s impossible we’re just going to create a technique or a tool or a trick to make it happen,” he tells me. “It wasn’t how to hold a spatula and fold mousse. It was the commitment and philosophical aspect I gained – learning to be tenacious and resourceful so that when I get out into the real world… when I don’t have a proofer or a sheeter– and I have an oven with hotspots hotter than Mercury — that I could still put out a great croissant.”

Fogle, who has known Pfeiffer since 2006, says he’s more than just a great teacher and pastry chef.

“He’s really really good at foozeball and ping-pong,” Fogle goes on. “Like he makes me feel bad about even playing against him.”

But, Fogle says his gentle disposition is what really makes Pfeiffer exceptional.

“In all the time I’ve known him, he’s never raised his voice,” he explains. “He’s the sort of guy who just makes you want to do things better – whether it’s pastry or what it is… he just never loses any steam. He’s ok going back and back and back and making things better and better. That’s really what rubbed off the most.”

Fogle, who teaches part-time at MATC in their culinary department, says he learned a great deal about teaching from Pfeiffer.

“I think the most important thing that I learned from him is that you have to be patient, and you have to let people struggle through it… a good example is that he was trying to teach me how to pipe something. I was struggling with holding the bag and not moving it. A couple of years later I realized I was doing it properly. But, I don’t know when it happened. He instilled in the idea that you just need to do it and do it again.”

So, when he teaches, Fogle says he always keeps that in mind.

“The fact is, I can’t talk you into being a good pastry chef, and I can’t make you into a great chef. But, I can be there for you and work with you and help you get there.”

Sounds like the sort of teacher we’d all love to have had.

From jsonline.com: “Recipe for Milwaukees feast mixes volunteers, fellowship” — After 24 years, they really do have the Christmas Family Feast down to a science.

On Wednesday, thousands of people streamed through the Wisconsin Center to savor a free festive meal, bringing joy and cheer to the quiet downtown on Christmas Day.

There was turkey and ham, green beans and sweet potatoes, pie and ice cream.

Choirs belted out Christmas standards.

And a musician named Kevin Kennedy donned a red and white suit, put on a white beard and took his place on a seat that looked a little like a throne.

Santa Claus was in the building.

“It’s an awesome feeling,” Kennedy said. “You’ve got kids and adults and you can make them all happy.”

The Salvation Army of Milwaukee County was once again the host, with lots of local sponsors pitching in with support. There were other smaller, events around town, like at the Guest House of Milwaukee, where 86 men who stay at the shelter had a holiday party.

Volunteers are the key ingredient for the Family Feast, with more than 1,200 doing everything from seating visitors to clearing tables to handing out gifts. The volunteers included Gov. Scott Walker; his wife, Tonette; and sons Matt and Alex. The Walker family has volunteered at the event for 11 straight years.

“The last few years it has gotten bigger, which probably reflects on the economy,” Walker said, taking a brief timeout from putting pats of butter on rolls. “Talking to people here, you see not only folks in need in terms of food, you see a lot of folks in need in terms of family and fellowship. So this becomes an extended family.”

That extended family could be seen at dinner tables, complete strangers sharing meals and conversations.

Lisbeth Maturin; her husband, Miguel Moure; and their four young children were seated with Norma Anwar and her two middle-age sons.

“We wanted to do something special for the kids,” Maturin said.

Anwar said she enjoyed the food but especially enjoyed the spirit of the event.

“It brings Christmas back,” Anwar said.

Anwar’s older son, Marlon, said the event provided “a beautiful experience. This is the chance to say hello to a lot of people.”

A 3-year-old named Donovan Webb celebrated his Christmas Day birthday with his mom, Latonya, and other family and friends.

“This was a good year,” Latonya Webb said.

East siders Marilyn Kruger and Kim Morgan bumped into one another at the event. Kruger enjoyed Christmas morning, visiting her grandchildren and attending a religious service. The feast, she said, capped “a wonderful holiday season.”

Morgan said many people may be struggling through the year, but the feast serves as a way “to make the community come together.”

Back in the kitchen, the staff was busy making up parcels of food that were to be taken to shelters around the city.

Between the people who attended the feast and the food parcels, about 10,000 meals were made under the supervision of chefs Gus Kelly, a veteran of the feast, and Bob Ilk, who was volunteering at the event for the first time.

The pair taught together for years at Milwaukee Area Technical College and worked easily under great pressure in the kitchen on Christmas Day.

“Bob can take over next year and I’ll be his helper,” Kelly said.

Don Rosette, the former longtime general manager of WMCS-AM (1290), was back for another year. It was Rosette and the station who helped get the first feast off the ground in only 55 days and helped it grow through the years.

“The Salvation Army has taken the reins and it’s going well,” Rosette said. “It’s a tradition now.”

 

From wisconsinrapidstribune.com: “Tech schools prepared for changes in GED tests” — WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Mid-State Technical Colleges in central Wisconsin doubled the number of offerings of tests for General Equivalency Diplomas in preparation for changes taking effect Jan. 2.

Those seeking to obtain their GEDs were encouraged to try to complete the process before the changes took hold. Tests often were offered on a weekly basis at the three technical colleges, and Portage and Adams County jails. The main test site is at the Wisconsin Rapids campus; test examiners travel to other sites.

“We started the push, really, about September last year, so we’ve been at this for over a year to try and get people to finish up,” said Jo-Ellen Fairbanks-Schutz, MSTC associate dean of general education for the colleges. “We had an increase of over a couple hundred tests, previous to our big push.”

Last year, more than 1,000 tests were taken between all the test locations; since July, 402 tests were taken, Fairbanks-Schutz said.

“There were some areas of the state that saw a very marked increase in demand for GED testing,” Fairbanks-Schutz said. “While we saw an increase, it wasn’t as dramatic as some areas of the state. Madison and Milwaukee were just bursting at the seams; we were able to handle the demand with extra seats available.”

There are a few changes, but there are two major ones — the test will only be available on computer, and the 2002 test series will be replaced with the 2014 series, Fairbanks-Schutz said.

“Historically, it’s always been a pen and paper test,” she said.

The 2002 test series had five components: reading, writing, math, science and social studies. The new series will not include the writing component; that will be dispersed into the other four areas. The new structure is based on the Common Core standards and college and career readiness standards, Fairbanks-Schutz said.

“The downside of the changes was if a candidate started testing in the 2002 series, and did not complete or pass the test, those tests cannot be rolled over,” Fairbanks-Schutz said.

The testing is somewhat time-consuming, and advisers often recommend candidates break up the testing cycle, Fairbanks-Schutzs said. Each component takes at least an hour to complete.

The college has a plan for candidates who are not computer literate. The institution has invested in NEO 2 from Renaissance Learning, which comes with a keyboarding program.

“We’ll start the students just learning the basic keyboarding skills while studying the content to get ready for the test,” Fairbanks-Schutz said. “We have another software program that we bought that looks just like the (new) GED and it specifically goes over the computer skills (candidates) are going to need to be able to take the test.

“We’re trying to get it from multiple angles, depending on the skill of the students, to give them multiple options.”

The college’s Academic Success Center also offers preparation resources for students.

The cost for testing also has changed. The 2002 series was $120 for all five tests; the new test will cost $33.75 for each component or $135 total. Retesting is available at $30 a test.

Candidates also have to wait 30 days before retaking the test, so anyone taking a test in December and not succeeding will have to take the test under the new system. The last test dates in Wisconsin were Dec. 5 for the writing test and Dec. 13 for all other tests. The official tests are not available online, according to the MSTC website.

Wisconsin test centers offering computer-based testing include Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Gateway Technical College, according the the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website.

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.

 

 

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.”

From oakreek.patch.com: “MATC, business groups push manufacturing to students” —  About 170 students will get an up-close look at manufacturing careers at an event Friday. – High school students from around the South Shore will be at Milwaukee Area Technical College’s Oak Creek campus Friday to get an up-close look at manufacturing careers.

About 170 students are taking part in the “Heavy Metal Tour,” hosted by MATC, the South Suburban Chamber of Commerce and local manufacturers to raise awareness about careers and opportunities in manufacturing.

Students will talk with manufacturers, work with manufacturing equipment and tour several companies as part of the free, public event, set for 8 a.m. to noon at MATC’s Energy Conservation and Advanced Manufacturing Center, 6665 S. Howell Ave.

Participating companies include Allis-Roller, Iverson & Company, Krones, Nucor Cold Finish, Poblocki Sign Company, PPG Industries and Super Steel.

Students from Oak Creek, Cudahy, South Milwaukee and Tenor high schools are scheduled to attend the event.

 

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