From wiscnews.com: “Griesmer names MPTC Student of the Year” – Tom Griesmer, of Rubicon, was recently named the Moraine Park Technical College Student of the Year.
Griesmer, who will receive his electrical power distribution technical diploma this May, was named student of the year following an intensive interview and presentation process.
Each year, one student is chosen to receive the Student of the Year award, according to Lisa Manuell, Moraine Park’s student involvement specialist.
“That student has excelled in and outside the classroom, made the most of his or her college experience, and modeled Moraine Park’s core abilities, or life skills,” she said. These skills include the ability to communicate clearly, act responsibly, work cooperatively and productively, adapt to change, demonstrate integrity, and think critically and creatively.
“I was caught off guard receiving the award,” said Griesmer, who enrolled at Moraine Park at the urging of his employer. “I believe that Moraine Park’s core abilities represent how people should carry themselves in everyday life. I didn’t think I was doing things that were out of the ordinary.”
Griesmer, who was among five other finalists – May Montezon of North Fond du Lac, Tanya Schloemer of Hartford, Austin Barten of Mayville, Becca Jahns of Beaver Dam, and Bonnie Weiss of Kewaskum – best fit award qualifications, according to a selection committee comprised of Moraine Park faculty, staff and a student representative.
It was his story that set him apart, according to Scott Lieburn, dean of students. As an older student with a family and full-time job, Griesmer enrolled in Moraine Park’s Electrical Power Distribution technical diploma program to further his knowledge and skills.
“I was sent to Moraine Park for cross training by the utility division of the City of Hartford,” he said. “I was really excited for the opportunity, but nervous because the program is mostly filled with younger students.”
Griesmer, who brought hands-on skills and knowledge to class, served as a mentor to his younger fellow classmates.He involved himself in the Electrical Power Distribution club on campus – working to gain as much skill and knowledge as possible.
“I had 23 years of working experience with a utility company, while most of my classmates came in from high school,” said Griesmer. “I was able to share my experiences with my classmates. They are a good group of guys who strive to do their best and are encouraging to each other. That helped me a lot, as well.”
Griesmer maintains his greatest challenge involved gearing up for the requirements of a college program.
“I had to get back into the classroom itself and switch my lifestyle from work back to homework,” said Griesmer. “I had to adjust to studying out of books again. The whole experience was wonderful. I got through it, did well with grades and made great friendships along the way.”
“More employers should send their employees back to school for training,” he said. “It’s been a mutual investment and commitment that I hope makes me a more valuable employee.”
May 20, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Kiel equipment maker succeeds with power” – KIEL — Change can be good for an organization. Just ask the management team at Amerequip Corp.
A couple of years ago, executives said that if the maker of custom equipment for the lawn, landscape, agricultural and construction industries remained owned by its workers through an employee stock ownership program, the company either would have gone bankrupt or been sold.
That’s not the case today, said Mike VanderZanden, president and CEO at Amerequip, who said the company now is on a growth path with a goal of reaching $100 million in annual revenues and boosting its employment from 155 to 500 employees by 2020.
“We as a team began looking at the cost of being an ESOP company and determined that it was becoming a drain on the business,” VanderZanden said. “It just limited the amount of money we could invest back into the business.”
In February 2011, VanderZanden and about a dozen company executives purchased the business from the ESOP to keep the business locally owned.
“When it came down to it, we just have a strong commitment to our team members at Amerequip and they’re more like family now,” he said. “Our mission is to become a significant employer of choice, and what’s exciting for us now is we believe by doing the right things for our team members, we believe we will have nothing but strong profitability and financial success.”
The company’s niche is working with some of the world’s largest power equipment manufacturers — John Deere, Caterpillar, New Holland and Case — and doing work for Oshkosh Corp.-owned McNeilus, which produces refuse trucks and cement mixers.
Amerequip is an original equipment manufacturer, which means what it produces is ready to be sold and put to use.
Where the company is focusing its strategy is doing more work for existing customers, VanderZanden said.
“When we talked about where we wanted to take the company, one way was to try and secure between 50 and 100 customers and do a variety of work for them, but we chose instead to work more closely with a few customers that are large global organizations and find ways to push deeper into each one,” he said. “The idea is providing great service to those customers, better than anyone else could do.”
Diversifying its production mix with its larger customers who make assorted equipment with varying uses, also can shield the business from downturns in the economy, VanderZanden said.
Much of what Amerequip does is in house, from painting, fabrication and assembly as well as designing and engineering products for its customers. The company recently invested about $3 million to expand and upgrade existing facilities.
“It’s what makes us unique,” VanderZanden said. “We have a lot of the capabilities of some larger OEMs but because the decision makers are on site, we can be faster on the turnaround.”
People contribute to the company’s success, VanderZanden said. It has partnered with Moraine Park Technical College to provide training to its employees, which allows them to keep their skills current.
“Continual education is a critical part of our success,” VanderZanden said. “Investing in our employees to ensure we remain on the cutting edge and relentlessly improving, is vital to our long-term strategies.”
Keeping up with economic trends and other factors that influence business operations including health care reform and the regulatory climate, is important to shaping the company’s direction.
VanderZanden said the company’s board is composed of executives from other business sectors, who provide insight on issues that could influence operations. The board also supports the model of strengthening ties and seeking opportunities with Amerequip’s major customers.
“We’ve taken the approach that as long as we focus on revenue growth and growing the business, we will be all right,” he said.
On the horizon
Tim Dorn, vice president of sales and engineering at Amerequip, said building stronger ties with its pillar customers is a cornerstone of the company’s growth strategy.
“We are focusing on diversity, not only customer to customer, but within each customer,” he said.
Dorn said Amerequip’s major customers are experiencing modest but sustainable growth.
“As we look out in 2013, I think it’s going to hold tight,” he said. “We’re not expecting a major uptick because things still feel a little sensitive and people seem to want to hold off on things to see where things go, but we are working to diversify our markets to drive our own growth as best as we can.”
VanderZanden said Amerequip’s primary customers are expecting moderate growth during the next 12 to 18 months.
“Right now there is some softness as a result of the poor spring we had,” he said. “But as we look out 18 to 36 months, it’s definitely sustainable. No one is predicting double-digit growth but at least we can expect continued improvement.”
May 14, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Kondex founder heads MPTC commencement lineup” – Jim Wessing, co-founder and president of Kondex Corp. in Lomira, will be the keynote speaker at commencement ceremonies for Fond du Lac’s Moraine Park Technical College.
Graduation will be held at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18, at the Fond du Lac High School Field House. MPTC President Sheila Ruhland president will preside over the ceremony.
“I am both humbled and honored to be the keynote speaker at MPTC’s 2013 Commencement Ceremony,” said Wessing, who noted his wife, Sue, earned three separate degrees from Moraine Park while they were raising their family and growing Kondex. “I have experienced firsthand the feeling of accomplishment by Sue as our children and I applauded her each time she walked across the stage, realizing the completion of another milestone in her life.”
Associate of applied science degrees, technical diplomas and certificates will be presented by Moraine Park District Board Chair Dr. Richard Zimman, Vice Chair Vernon Jung Jr., and board members Donna Goetz and Shirley Kitchen.
Wessing is a trustee of the University of Wisconsin Memorial Union Building Association and Ag Sector Board Director of the Association of Equipment Manufacturers. He is past president of the Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association and the Wisconsin Buy Recycled Business Alliance.
Wessing, who received a bachelor of science degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is also a member of The Executive Committee and a long-time Junior Achievement instructor. His awards include FEMA’s Golden Presidents Club and C.P. Nicholson Memorial Award. Wessing was the 2000 CCLT Distinguished Graduate and in 2009 was named the Lomira Future Business Leaders of America Business Person of the Year.
Kondex was presented with the 2013 C.L. Greiber Award of Merit by the Moraine Park Association of Career and Technical Education in recognition of contributions to the improvement, promotion, development and progress of career and technical education in Wisconsin.
April 29, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Project GRILL unveiling on May 3 in Fond du Lac” – The smell of summer will soon be in the air as area students and business leaders gather for the 2013 Project GRILL unveiling.
The event will be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, May 3, at the Festival Foods parking lot, 1125 E. Johnson St. Admission is free, but the unveiling will include a brat fry to support the Project GRILL program.
Student creativity and hands-on manufacturing lessons combine to produce one-of-a-kind and sometimes unexpected charcoal grills. Project GRILL, a program of the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce, matches high school technical education departments with area manufacturers in a challenge to work together to design, test and build a grill.
This year, eight high school technical education departments have been paired with eight area manufacturers, according to an event press release. Partnerships include Campbellsport High School and Mid-States Aluminum, Fond du Lac High School and Nemesis Metals, Horace Mann High School and JF Ahern Co., Laconia High School and Mercury Marine, Lomira High School and Kondex Corp., Mayville High School and Mayville Engineering Co., Oakfield High School and Manowske Welding, and Winnebago Lutheran Academy and MAG.
Moraine Park Technical College is a supporting partner of Project GRILL, providing technical assistance and facilities.
For more information, visit www.fdlac.com or call the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce at (920) 921-9500.
April 29, 2013
From wiscnews.com: “‘Trained to Serve’ coming to MPTC’” – A new event geared toward nonprofits, small businesses and organizations with boards will be held May 22 and 23 at Moraine Park Technical College in Beaver Dam.
“Trained to Serve: Staying Sane in an Insane World,” has been organized by area executive directors and members on nonprofits interesting in improving skill needed in the service industry and small business.
The focus is on education, sustainability and networking.
Two recognized featured speakers include John Gillespie, founder of Rawhide Boys Ranch, and John McHugh, motivational speaker from Kwik Trip Inc.
The event begins on May 22 at 12:30 p.m. and continues until 6:45 p.m. May 23, speakers it will be from 8:30 a.m. to 2:15 p.m. with a choice of break out sessions.
Highlights include sessions on creative fundraising, networking, marketing, collaborations, conflict management, human resources troubleshooting and leadership.
A full schedule can be emailed or mailed to those interested by contacting Karla Jensen, BDAAA executive director, at 885-3635, or requesting a brochure firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is a registration fee, with reduced rates for groups of six or more from one business or organization. Individuals may register for both days at $50, which includes Wednesday dinner and Thursday lunch.
Groups may register with six or more attending at the lower rate of $25 per person for the entire event. Register by May 1 and save.
Organizations assisting with planning “Trained to Serve” are Big Brothers, Big Sisters, Beaver Dam Area Arts, PAVE, First Lutheran Church, The Watermark and Beaver Dam Community Activities and Services, Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan, Moraine Park Technical College and the YMCA. Any of the organizations can provide more information or a brochure.
April 23, 2013
From wiscnews.com: “Waupun students offered new science options” – WAUPUN — Students at Waupun Area Junior/Senior High School are enrolling in several new, advanced courses for next year.
Two courses build on the engineering curriculum introduced at the junior high this year, and another introduces students to biomedical sciences. One course provides another opportunity for students to earn Moraine Park Technical College credit and two others develop skills that can help students get a job right out of high school.
In the art department, students can earn both high school credit and technical college credit by taking Introduction to Photoshop.
Students who are interested in working in the restaurant, food, and beverage career pathway can sign up for Culinary Arts and Advanced Culinary Arts to learn the basic trade of the culinary arts industry and prepare them for a potential career in this field.
In the business department, students can sign up for a new course called Computer Hardware and IT Essentials.
The high school is offering three Project Lead the Way courses. The courses are a project and problem-based comprehensive curriculum that is developed and updated by subject matter experts – including teachers, university educators, engineering and biomedical professionals, and school administrators. The hands-on learning engages students on multiple levels, exposes them to areas of study that they may not otherwise pursue, and provides them with a foundation and proven path to post-secondary training and career success in science, technology, engineering and math fields.
The science department is offering Principles of Biomedical Sciences, the foundational course in the biomedical sequence. Eighty-five students have signed up for this course.
In the technology education department, Introduction to Engineering Design and Principles of Engineering are being offered for the first time. In the IED class, students will use industry standard 3D modeling software. POE students will encounter major engineering concepts such as mechanisms, energy, statics, materials, and kinematics. The classes build on the skills introduced to all seventh and eighth graders at the junior high this past year.
April 23, 2013
From reliableplant.com: “Welding Boot Camp creates skilled workers” – There’s a boot camp taking place in Fond du Lac, Wis. – one that doesn’t require boot shining, marching and bivouacs, though you do have to wear a helmet and other gear and follow instructions.
This particular group of “recruits” is firing welding torches. Along with Brenner Tank LLC of Fond du Lac, Moraine Park Technical College developed a Welding Boot Camp to train individuals for entry-level work in the welding profession. The first eight-week camp began June 18 and ran through August 15; a second seven-week round will start in September. All participants earn four college credits that articulate into Moraine Park’s welding program.
“Brenner Tank formed the partnership with Moraine Park in an effort to maintain our competitive edge,” said Dawn Marie Polakoski, PHR, Brenner Tank’s human resources manager. “ Moraine Park’s custom training program is providing the skilled welders we need to support our continued growth. As a local manufacturer, we are very pleased with the creation of the Welding Boot Camp.”
While built in conjunction with Brenner Tank, the program was designed with the broader purpose of helping manufacturers address a serious shortage of skilled welders and is open to any manufacturing employer who may have similar workforce development needs. The program works to connect energetic, dedicated individuals with a sincere interest in a welding career with employers by helping those individuals develop the foundational skills needed to be successful. Ten candidates were selected by Brenner Tank for the first boot camp. Their ages varied but their passion for welding is the same.
Sara Buechel, 18, of New Holstein, Wis., applied because she enjoys welding and wanted to get further education in the profession. Joel Grier of Fond du Lac, also 18, also wanted to learn more about welding and be able to get a good job. Daniel O’Connor, 36, of Fond du Lac sees the Welding Boot Camp as an opportunity to better himself and have a shot at a new career move. And, the camp is a chance to expand job opportunities at Brenner for Forrest Brunet, 42, of North Fond du Lac.
Brenner Tank interns are paid to train three days per week at the welding lab on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus under the instruction of adjunct faculty member Jonathan Thill. For the remaining two days of the week, they work at Brenner, where they apply the skills they learn in the classroom. Tuition is employer-paid. The Brenner Tank interns who successfully complete the program are given priority consideration for a permanent position with Brenner.
“We’re very excited to be partnering with Brenner Tank,” said Kathy Schlieve, Moraine Park economic and workforce development sales representative. “They have been instrumental in helping Moraine Park develop this program and are actively working with area high schools to educate students about career opportunities in manufacturing. Welding interns who successfully complete the boot camp are filling open or new positions and are earning a better wage. Moraine Park’s goal is to provide the type of rapid response that companies need to develop and maintain a competitive advantage and grow their business, and the Welding Boot Camp delivers on that goal.”
Polakoski concurs, “This program is a win-win that meets our needs as an employer but also helps the individuals being trained to begin earning a good wage while developing lifelong career skills that they can build on for future career advancement.”
With additional training, the opportunities that exist for these individuals abound.
“Manufacturing has become very high-tech and offers a variety of career opportunities,” said Marcia Arndt, Moraine Park dean of manufacturing technology. “The future workforce has to be technologically savvy to handle the competitive climate of the global market. In addition to technical skills, employers are looking for people who can problem-solve, work in teams and adapt to change quickly. Moraine Park’s manufacturing program helps individuals develop these skills for future success.”
For more information about upcoming welding boot camps in Fond du Lac, call Moraine Park at 920-924-3449 or e-mail email@example.com.
March 29, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Recycle your electronics at Moraine Park” – Moraine Park Technical College’s IT Club will be holding its E-cycle event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20 at Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus.
Items can be dropped off at the campus courtyard, closest to the intersection of Johnson Street and University Drive. Accepted items include: Monitors, laptops, servers, TV’s, printers/fax/scanners, computers, video game consoles, mice/keyboards, cell phones, MP3 players/ipods, phones, DVD players, VCRs, cable boxes, satellite dishes, vacuum cleaners (without bag), coffee makers, bread makers, irons, hair dryers, radios, clocks and much more.
All batteries must be removed from all items including cordless/rechargeable products.
Items not accepted include curling irons, refrigerators, dish washers, stoves and household batteries.
A full list of items can be viewed by emailing Lisa Pollard at firstname.lastname@example.org.
February 28, 2013
From wiscnews.com: “MPTC recognizes staff, partner” – Moraine Park Technical College found many ways to honor career and technical education month, celebrated throughout the nation in February.
One of the ways was through the annual Moraine Park Association of CTE awards banquet, held Feb. 21 at Beaver Dam Country Club.
The banquet recognized individuals and organizations for their dedication to and excellence in career and technical education. The following individuals were honored with awards: Stephanie Lueck of Campbellsport for outstanding support professional; Kathy Vandemark of Kewaskum for outstanding CTE leader; Terri Wilkens of Mayville for outstanding instructor; Amy Patterson of Beaver Dam for new instructor and Bonnie Baerwald of Fond du Lac for community involvement. The Business Awards of Merit went to Kondex Corporation for supporting Moraine Park.
Throughout the year, MPACTE supports student achievement by awarding eight $300 scholarships to full-time Moraine Park students and five $200 scholarships to part-time Moraine Park students. Scholarships are cosponsored by both the Moraine Park Federation of Teachers and the MPACTE organization.
February 22, 2013
From wiscnews.com: “MPTC students join Capital event” – Legislators and other guests were invited to attend a showcase of service learning and entrepreneurship projects involving more than 100 Wisconsin Technical College students, including students from Moraine Park Technical College, on Feb. 19 in the State Capitol Rotunda.
The Celebration of Student Engagement included project displays from Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges. Moraine Park’s display featured the college’s interactive media design program and information on building relationships within communities through student involvement.
Moraine Park interactive media design students Amanda Finstad of Waupun, Bonnie Weiss of Kewaskum and Resa Wronski of Campbellsport joined leadership development student William Milbrot of Mayville to represent Moraine Park at the event.
Finstad, who attended the event last year, was honored to attend the showcase again this year.
“I enjoy sharing my experiences at Moraine Park. Participating in the showcase is a great opportunity to show what I have learned and how I will apply that knowledge to my future career,” said Finstad. “The showcase also allowed me to meet other people and learn about what other technical colleges are doing throughout the state.”
January 24, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “MPTC boot camp graduate honored by Gov. Walker” – When Diane Stepp was laid off last August, she probably didn’t think that six months later she would be recognized by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.
In Walker’s Jan. 16 State of the State address, the Fond du Lac woman was among those honored for completing a vigorous 15-week Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machinist Boot Camp through Moraine Park Technical College. Stepp was one of 12 graduates who completed the first boot camp funded through the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation Inc.
The only female in her CNC class, Stepp was not intimidated by her fellow students after growing up with five brothers.
“All of my classmates were very good people and very smart,” Stepp said. “It seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves and supported each other. We were all there to succeed and that was a good feeling. It was never a competition.”
Each student was required to complete an internship at one of the partnering companies. Stepp was placed at Ameriquip in Kiel for her internship and was asked if she wanted to continue working there in a full-time role as a CNC operator.
Six months ago the Governor awarded a $705,647 Wisconsin Workforce Partnership grant that allowed MPTC to quickly train students in CNC and welding, two job platforms in need of skilled workers.
In October, 12 students who were unemployed or working in a position unrelated to CNC entered the boot camp. On Friday, Jan. 11, they received completion certificates at Moraine Park’s West Bend campus.
Cmpleting the boot camp in addition to Stepp were Jeremy Blonigen of Eldorado; Jason Sippel of St. Cloud, Alex Anderson of Hartford; Paul Dadian of Jackson, Patrick Enright, Bob Lepak, Steven Maitz, and Jay Reisdorf of West Bend; Matthew Metrusias of Slinger, Michael Rath of Hubertus and Frank Vroman of Cedarburg.
The second set of 15-week boot camps begins in February. In all, MPTC expects to offer nine boot camps with the partnering companies and fill 108 new positions over the three-year grant period.
• For more information about the boot camps, visit morainepark.edu/boot camps.
January 15, 2013
From marketwatch.com: “Wisconsin Covenant Foundation helps bridge skills gap for workers and employers” – Today the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc., recognized the first cohort of highly-skilled graduates to complete a 15-week Computer Numeric Control Machinist (CNC) Manufacturing Skills Academy, or boot camp, at Moraine Park Technical College. In July 2012, the Foundation awarded Moraine Park a $705,647 Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant to establish Manufacturing Skills Academies for machine operation.
In six short months, Moraine Park moved from grant award to first graduating class — providing students with the specific training necessary to access job opportunities. Moraine Park collaborated with the following partnering businesses: Amerequip Corporation; Brenner Tank LLC; John Crane Orion; Mid-States Aluminum Corporation; Burgess Norton; Mayville Engineering; Metalcraft of Mayville-West Bend; Reich Tool and Design; Signicast; and Wyman Gordon Mayville Die & Tool. Graduates earned a CNC Operator Certificate, with options to connect to additional diplomas and certificates. The first 15-week boot camp at Moraine Park produced 12 graduates, with half securing jobs prior to graduation.
The Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant was created by the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc., a private, non-profit organization, to close the gap between Wisconsin’s workforce needs and its available workers, uniting businesses and technical colleges to fill jobs. Currently, “middle-skill” occupations, or those positions that require more than a high school diploma but less than a four-year college degree, represent 50 percent of Wisconsin’s workforce needs. Advanced manufacturing occupations are among the fastest growing middle-skill opportunities.
“The Wisconsin Covenant Foundation funds the productive collaboration of partnerships between higher education and private industry. We are committed to helping improve career pathways to provide specialized instruction and real-world training to bridge the skills gap for workers and employers,” said Foundation Board Chair Richard D. George.
Moraine Park was one of five Wisconsin technical colleges to share a three-year, $3.8 million Wisconsin Workforce Partnership Grant from the Foundation. At Moraine Park, funds helped support the significant investment in equipment, supplies, and specialized instruction needed to provide CNC training. The grant also allowed Moraine Park to invest in innovative education, informed by partner businesses that took a hands-on role in the development of program design and curricula. Moraine Park has high expectations for its second boot camp in February with additional opportunities available for students pursuing a CNC Operator Certificate.
“The future is bright for technical colleges, job seekers, and employers in Wisconsin’s advanced manufacturing sector as we work toward meeting the present and future workforce and job creation needs of the state,” added George. “We look forward to evaluating the results of the grants and assessing their impact on our students and employers.”
To learn more about the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation’s commitment to forging public-private partnerships in support of postsecondary education, please contact Amy Kerwin at 608-246-1785.
About the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc. A private, non-profit organization, the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation, Inc., seeks to foster coordinated public and private investments in postsecondary education, increasingly a requirement for family-sustaining occupations. The Foundation was created in 2007 with a $40 million lead gift from Great Lakes Higher Education Corporation and Affiliates. Initiatives include helping disadvantaged Wisconsin Covenant Scholars pay for education beyond high school and strengthening the connection between Wisconsin’s technical colleges and employers.
About Moraine Park Technical College Moraine Park was established in 1912 and is one of 16 technical college districts that make up the Wisconsin Technical College System. Moraine Park has campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac, and West Bend, and regional centers in Hartford and Ripon.
December 18, 2012
From FDLReporter.com: “Moraine Park celebrates the holidays by giving back” — At Moraine Park Technical College, students have been busy finishing up final projects, cramming for end-of-semester exams and registering for spring classes.
Despite their active schedules, many student clubs and organizations are finding time to make spirits a little brighter for families in need this holiday season.
■At the Fond du Lac campus, the Straight and Gay Alliance club helped Broken Bread with more than 900 families who registered to receive food for Thanksgiving. They assisted with registration, handed out turkeys and helped carry food to people’s cars.
■The Student Veteran’s Association is running a Christmas in a Shoebox campaign by packaging and mailing donated items to deployed troops.
■Moraine Park’s Cosmetology, Corrections, Radiography and Clinical Lab Technician clubs are all adopting families through the Salvation Army or collecting nonperishable food items for donation to a local food pantry.
■Staff and units of the college are donating items to support Elijah’s Mantle/Ebony Vision. This local organization supports at-risk minority youth ages 6-18 in the Fond du Lac area that are in need of clothing and shoes this holiday season.
■On all three Moraine Park campuses, the IT club is holding a hat and mitten drive and Phi Theta Kappa honor society is sponsoring a family on each campus by holding a food and gift drive.
Those interested in donating items or learning more about the holiday service projects should visit morainepark.edu/calendar.
December 10, 2012
From insidehighered.com: “From Boardroom to Classroom” – Students at Yale University enrolled in elementary Bengali meet four days a week in a campus classroom, just like they would for any other course, but there is one big difference: their instructor is almost 300 miles away, in Ithaca, N.Y.
Yale, Cornell University, and Columbia University, backed by a two-year, $1.2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, have launched a pilot program to conduct classes in uncommonly taught languages, including Indonesian, Yoruba, and Zulu, across the different campuses using videoconferencing technology. In doing so, they’re reviving not only language programs on the brink of extinction, but also a familiar concept in distance education. At a time when asynchronous instruction reaching hundreds of thousands of students is increasingly common, these universities are returning to a mode of distance learning geared toward small classes in which students all meet at the same time.
“It’s been a while since videoconferencing has been in education,” Dick Feldman, director of Cornell’s Language Resource Center.
The project evolved after a round of federal budget cuts in 2011 essentially gutted foreign language programs across the country, taking 47 percent of the budget for National Resource Centers, hubs of foreign language and cultural study. The language directors at the three universities, who knew each other through other collaborations, realized as the cuts began to hit their campuses that they had an opportunity to join forces and preserve some of the rarely taught languages.
“We each had a fair number of languages and it seemed like we also shared the stress of continuing to support our languages because of the federal government cutbacks to NRCs,” Feldman said. “It seemed like we were a good fit to share languages.”
At the core of the program is the idea that languages – and not just Spanish, French, and Latin – are important, but not financially feasible if only two or three students are interested. By joining forces, the three universities hope to leverage the languages they don’t all have, affording students more options, and to deepen existing programs by, for example, facilitating collaboration between instructors of the same language at different institutions.
“The ability to sustain languages with very low enrollments, though morally and intellectually desirable, was financially going to be brutal in the short term and dubious in the long term,” said Walter Cohen, Senior Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Cornell. “We thought distance learning might be a way of sharing resources.”
Fundamental to the program is the use of videoconferencing – not pre-recorded lectures, the modus operandi for massive open online courses, and not webcam video, which is static and is designed to show just one person. Videoconferencing involves higher-quality cameras, larger lenses, and faster compression for sending the video signal, allowing for two-way interaction. It’s a concept often found in the boardroom and occasionally in the K-12 classroom, but still rarely in higher education.
Videoconferencing makes the experience similar to a face-to-face class. Students go to the same video-outfitted classroom every day and sit around a table, but on one wall, instead of a blackboard, there’s a screen showing the teacher and the students at the other campus. There are also computers at the back of the room equipped with cameras, so students can do pair work with their counterparts at the other university. The universities are also introducing tablets and touch-screens, which will allow the teacher to demonstrate scripts and share them with both classrooms, and they use document cameras so students can submit written work in real time. In some classes, they’ve even come up with ways for students hundreds of miles apart to perform skits together, as they might in a regular language class.
Videoconferencing also works particularly well for small classes, Cohen said. These languages classes are capped at 14 or 15 students across all institutions, so the students and the instructor can interact and the class can be tailored to students’ needs.
“It’s not a good model for lecture courses,” Cohen said. “There, you run into the obvious problems, and you might as well videotape it.”
The technology, which includes large, flexible cameras and other hardware, requires an initial investment from the universities, some of which was subsidized by the Mellon grant. Cohen points out, though, that the cost of adding new technology to one or two classrooms is cheaper than hiring a professor or lecturer. And, he says, if the concept doesn’t prove viable for language instruction, it’s likely those classrooms will be useful for something else.
“It seems to me like [the language pilot] could be a practice run for other things,” Cohen said. “Even in large graduate programs, like English or history, individual sub-areas can be very poorly covered. It wouldn’t be such a bad thing if graduate seminars could be taught in such a way that in relatively small fields, say Turkish history, if you have two people at one school and three at another, you could have a nice seminar.”
One college in Wisconsin has already seen videoconference seminars run successfully, and has recently upped the ante in the realm of two-way distance education.
Moraine Park Technical College’s three campuses are each about 30 miles apart, and in the early ’90s the college began looking for a way to offer classes at all three locations with instructors at one location. It settled on videoconferencing, but at the time the program was limited by technology, and administrators found the virtual classes had a lot of downtime because of user error – the system was too complicated for instructors to use effectively.
In fall 2010, though, the college introduced TelePresence, a technology from Cisco Systems that makes participants feel like they’re all seated at the same table. The idea has gained the most attention in corporate boardrooms.
“The people at the other location appear to be the same size, there’s no delay at all when they speak to you, and when somebody speaks from one side of the room their voice comes from that side of the room,” said Pete Rettler, a campus administrator for Moraine Park who also oversees distance education. The college worked with CDW-G to develop the strategy.
TelePresence and other videoconferencing techniques – the college only has one room on each campus set up for TelePresence, so it still uses more traditional videoconference technology in other classrooms – allow Moraine Park to offer courses that a single campus might not have demand for, similar to the language program at Cornell, Columbia, and Yale. The classes are also more satisfying to Moraine Park’s students than online classes might be, according to Rettler.
“The average age of a student at Moraine Park is 36 or 37, so a lot of those students don’t want to do online learning or even blended learning,” he said. “There are a lot of students who still want that face-to-face experience, and it’s hard to argue that TelePresence isn’t face-to-face.”
The technology does not come cheap. Rettler said it cost about $150,000 to outfit one 14-seat classroom, and the college currently has two 14-seat rooms and one six-seat room set up for TelePresence. That $150,000 does not include costs for necessary infrastructure upgrades, either.
Still, Rettler sees it as a good investment and an efficient way to offer classes. He’s not sure how to quantify the return on investment, but said it does make for a good marketing tool, and he’s convinced it’s a good educational tool.
Moraine Park’s next step is to partner with four-year colleges to allow Moraine Park students who earn their associate degree to take classes toward a four-year degree from a campus near home. Several colleges already have the technology, Rettler said, so it’s a matter of coordinating credit and scheduling, which isn’t always easy.
Scheduling has been one of the main hiccups at Cornell, Columbia, and Yale, too, as each university has different vacations and different start times, so coordinating students on different campuses can be tough. The other challenge, Feldman said, is recruiting students, but he and his counterparts on the other campuses are discussing ways to reach out to those who might be interested.
As for long-term development, Feldman sees the program as a very specialized – and conservative – niche in the education technology landscape, and Cohen emphasizes that the model, if it works, would only work for seminar-style courses. Still, both believe the project has potential.
“If in foreign languages and other areas we find a way to provide better education at the undergraduate or graduate level, or for that matter faculty collaboration across campuses, than that seems like a great thing to me,” Cohen said.
December 3, 2012
From fdlreporter.com: “Little dogs spread big happiness” – Moraine Park Technical College business students gained some hands-on experience by helping a local nonprofit assist others.
When William Krause of Fond du Lac was hospitalized in 2004, it was a couple of furry friends who helped speed up his recovery. Because of his positive experience, he knows that dogs can bring joy to those in need and he decided to share that joy with individuals who might benefit the most.
In 2009, Sassu Enterprises was born. The organization provides pet therapy as a self-supporting service and includes visiting individuals in hospitals, nursing homes, retirement communities, hospice care, treatment facilities and group homes.
Moraine Park instructor Julie Dilling recently connected students in her business practice firm class with Krause and his 10 shih tzu dogs to help raise funds and awareness for Sassu Enterprises.
The service learning opportunity allowed students to apply skills and concepts learned throughout their program, Dilling said. She was Krause’s accounting instructor in 2003, and was contacted by him last year when he found himself in need of accounting assistance for his organization.
That was when she recognized the opportunity to integrate his need with the service learning requirement in her course.
“The projects in this capstone class are challenging, utilize critical thinking and require commitment, but in the end (they) positively impact all of those involved,” Dilling said.
Students created posters and displays around Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus, including a Christmas tree adorned with photos of the shih tzus as ornaments. Raffle tickets were sold during November with a culminating event on Nov. 29. A winning cash raffle ticket was drawn, a basket raffle was held, and guests could meet some of Krause’s canine helpers.
“When the Moraine Park business practice firm students presented their ideas for promoting Sassu Enterprises to me, I was in tears,” Krause said. “They have gone above and beyond what I dreamed of them doing to help raise funds and awareness for the organization.”
Krause covers most of the grooming, medical, food and transportation expenses on his own.
“Sassu Enterprises provides comfort and joy to a great many people in varied circumstances through pet therapy,” said Kathe Gilbert, a Moraine Park business student. “It has been a highly rewarding experience to get to know William and his canine friends.”
During the fundraiser students, staff and members of the Fond du Lac community were able to interact with several of the therapy dogs.
“It was an opportunity to experience firsthand what Krause is so passionate about and learn more about this nonprofit organization that is helping to spread joy throughout the community,” Dilling said.
November 30, 2012
From fox11online.com: “Welding boot camp preps new workers” – FOND DU LAC – If you’re looking for work or a career change Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac might have the job for you.
That is, if you’re willing to go through boot camp.
The college is offering an intense, 10-week training program for already available manufacturing jobs.
Students will learn the basics of welding and other machine work businesses say could lead to one of those jobs.
It starts with welding 101 and then some at Moraine Park Technical College.
“When I first started I thought you just welded two pieces of metal together and that was basically what you did,” said Chad Krebsbach of Green Lake.
But as Krebsbach quickly found out, welding jobs today require much more skill.
“I wanted to get better in stainless steel welding and TIG welding and I accomplished that I think.”
It’s that kind of success story that led Moraine Park Technical College to seek $1.3 million in grant money to create two separate boot camp programs in high demand manufacturing jobs. A 10-week training program in welding or a 15-week program in CNC machining.
“It will get them basic entry level skills to get them into these manufacturers so they can continue to gain wages and have jobs and then hopefully come back and finish their degree,” said JoAnn Hall, dean of workforce and economic development at Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac.
For companies like Brenner Tank in Fond du Lac the program helps them find skilled workers with the specific training they are looking for.
“There is a huge skills gap and we need to get that message out that there are good jobs paying jobs available in the manufacturing community and this is just another way to make that happen,” said Dave Hodorff, vice president of operations for Brenner.
Roughly a dozen local companies are partnering with the school with the expectation of hiring the boot camp grads. Many will need further training, but school officials say the boot camp is a way for them to get their foot in the door for in-demand jobs.
“Almost all of the employers we are working with provide tuition reimbursement, they are committed to the long-term growth of their staff, but they need people in and doing these jobs so they can service their customers,” said Hall.
Sparking interest in a new generation of manufacturing workers.
The first boot camp is already underway and a second will begin in February. The school says it can churn out 90 students a year under the three year grant program.
The school is holding two informational sessions about the boot camps next week.
November 23, 2012
From fdlreporter.com: “MPTC helps victims of salon shooting” – It was a sea of purple entering Moraine Park Technical College’s Techniques Salon and Spa on Tuesday, Nov.13.
Staff and students were sporting the shade to help raise domestic violence awareness for the national Cut It Out event. The color is meant to be a symbol of peace, courage, survival, honor and dedication to ending violence.
On that day, 5 percent of proceeds from Moraine Park’s Techniques Salon and Spa, located on the College’s Fond du Lac campus, went to supporting families of the victims of the Oct. 21 Azana Salon shooting in Brookfield. Moraine Park joined more than 80 salons in the region in this Cut It Out effort.
Throughout November, the barber-cosmetology department is offering trendy purple hair extensions for $5, purple ribbons for $1, and $2 hand massages. All proceeds from these services will benefit families of the Azana Salon shooting victims. To make an appointment at Techniques, call 920-929-2106.
Moraine Park Cosmetology student Emily Wille of Beaver Dam, a purple extension in her hair, spoke about the importance of the Cut It Out event.
“This event, along with activities we have planned for the month of November, is important for helping families of the Azana victims,” Wille said. “We are getting to practice what we learn in class to give back to those in need.”
Sara Sears, barber-cosmetology instructor, was instrumental in organizing the event.
“This was a great way to give back to the community and one way to respond to the tragedy that occurred so close to home,” said Sears. “We hope the little things we’re doing will help make a larger impact to our community members struck by this unfortunate event.”
Moraine Park also hosted domestic violence survivor Teri Jendusa-Nicolai. She shared her miraculous story of survival with a large group of Moraine Park staff, students and community members.
In 2004, Nicolai was beaten by her ex-husband, placed in a garbage can, and left for dead in a storage locker. She survived, and now shares her story in an effort to save others from domestic violence.
Nicolai’s story has been covered nationally and she continues to spread the word on domestic violence to law enforcement agencies, middle schools, high schools, colleges and shelters.
As part of her Moraine Park presentation, Nicolai spoke about signs to watch for and how to get out of an abusive/violent relationship. She also addressed how to help a loved one who might be in a dangerous relationship.
November 16, 2012
From wiscnews.com: “MPTC renovations improve library, cafeteria and more” – The latest addition at Moraine Park Technical College has been completed offering a new library, cafeteria and computer lab on the west side of the building.
The new library is 6,800-square-feet, replacing a 2,700-square-foot facility.
Campus and community partner Karen Coley said the former library will be the last major project on campus. Remodeling there will include adding another Mercury Marine Lab to meet demand.
“We will also be adding one general classroom and IT rooms to the campus,” Coley said.
To create the student life area of the campus, Coley said they gutted the former cafeteria. A classroom was replaced with a student area with two big screen televisions, a gaming system and seating.
Brightly colored chairs were placed around the tables in the new cafeteria and special energy efficient lighting was added to go with the school’s green initiative.
One of the big pluses was adding a kitchen.
“We did not have any kitchen before the remodeling,” Coley said.
Campus Café and Catering won the bid to provide the food service at the school.
“It’s made a real difference in students staying on campus for meals,” Coley said.
A patio was also added off of the cafeteria and will have tables for use during warm weather.
A career center was added that is much larger than the former space and there are double the computers in the room for students to use for career assessments.
See MPTC/Page 2
An open computer lab will be staffed part-time and is adjacent to the new library.
Librarian Susan Bentz said the big difference is the windows. The former space had none and the new library is full of light.
The library has the same number of books although it looks like fewer in the expanded space. More computers were addedas well.
“The books are no longer the focal point,” Bentz said. “It is much more student centered”
A periodical reading center was added as were study rooms.
The project cost $1.2 million and took about six months to complete.
The addition is the second project to follow the United States Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design standards. In 2010, the district completed a 6,800-square-foot addition to house the reception, administration, student services, conference room, security and maintenance areas. Parking stalls were added as well.
October 29, 2012
From biztimes.com: “Enrollment up at CNC boot camps” – Some area technical colleges that host CNC boot camps have seen increased demand from both employers and students, so they have added additional courses.
“This is basically condensed and it is a very intensive six to eight hours a day,” said Francisco Sanchez, CEO of the WOW Workforce Development Board. “There is no general education courses required.”
WOW and WCTC have increased the number of boot camps they offer to meet the demand in the manufacturing industry, Sanchez said.
“We try to minimize the amount of time they spend in the technical college,” he said. “The manufacturers want to get people in, because there is a huge need right now.”
WOW also hosts a CNC boot camp at Moraine Park Technical College in West Bend, which currently has 16 students enrolled.
Often, WOW is able to bring employers in during the boot camp to talk to students about employment opportunities once they finish the courses.
“We started offering it because an employer came to us and needed about 15 CNC operators,” said Mike Shiels, dean of the School of Applied Technologies at WCTC.
In addition to WOW, WCTC works with the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership to match employers with students, he said.
WCTC previously offered three boot camps per year, but has doubled the offering this year. Last year, between 30 and 45 people graduated from the CNC boot camp, while close to 90 have completed the program this year.
“We have also increased the amount of sections that we’re offering in our one-year program as well,” Shiels said.
The one-year program provides training for CNC machinists, while the boot camp teaches basic manufacturing skills like blueprint reading and the basic operation of CNC machines.
The college has hired an additional full-time instructor to help teach some of the courses, he said.
At Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, there is a one-year course and a boot camp to learn CNC skills. The boot camp participants are generally dislocated workers who are upgrading their skills, said Debbie Davidson, vice president in the workforce and economic development division at Gateway.
“We have found that within the last year, companies are looking to hire again and are looking for maybe different skill sets that what people who worked in machining before had,” Davidson said.
Gateway aims to simulate a work environment at the boot camps, which are 15-week courses with 20 students each. The college recently upped its boot camp offering to three times per year.
Both CNC skills and soft skills like attendance are emphasized, Davidson said.
“Employers have said to us, you need to teach them (soft skills),” she said. “We’ve had great success. We’ve had over a 90 percent placement rate on individuals who come out of the program.”
October 10, 2012
From morainepark.edu: “DWD Secretary Reggie Newson visits MPTC” - October is Manufacturing Month, and Moraine Park Technical College kicked off the celebration of awareness with a visit from Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson on October 5. Newson’s visit coincided with Moraine Park’s Manufacturing Day event, where educators, students and companies were welcomed to Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus for tours of manufacturing facilities throughout the day.
Manufacturing Day was celebrated in Wisconsin and other states around the country to address lingering misperceptions about current-day manufacturing operations. During his visit, Newson spoke with Moraine Park students, instructors and leaders on how the collaboration between workforce development and Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges is integral to supporting manufacturing employers.
“Celebrating Manufacturing Day is one way to thank manufacturing employers and workforce partners for their contributions to Wisconsin’s economy and support for working families,” said Secretary Newson. “I look forward to continuing to work closely with Moraine Park and our state’s technical college system to highlight manufacturing as a high-quality career option and develop a pipeline that will enable employers to access the skilled workers they need for Wisconsin to continue to prosper.”
Newson toured Moraine Park’s fabrication, welding and integrated manufacturing facilities, getting an in-depth look at the programs and many career pathways for current and future students. He even learned how to work a plate shear, thanks to Dustin Meyer, a first-year welding student from Chilton.
“Moraine Park was honored to welcome Secretary Newson to campus as we celebrated Manufacturing Day,” said Moraine Park President Sheila Ruhland. “We work closely with area manufacturing employers so our students are workforce ready upon completing their program. The average wage in manufacturing is approximately 20 percent higher than the state’s average weekly wage, and Moraine Park is grateful to Secretary Newson for further promoting the many opportunities a manufacturing career can provide.”
To learn more about Manufacturing Month in the State of Wisconsin, visit wtcsystem.edu or wimanufacturingmonth.org.
From insightdigital.biz: “A century of collaboration” — A hundred years ago, brand new technical colleges in Wisconsin started welcoming fresh-faced, knicker-wearing boys who hoped to obtain training that would lead to a good career.
The students (and the clothes) have changed, but the basic mission of Wisconsin technical colleges has remained the same.
Read more from Insight on Business
October 2, 2012
From insightdigital.biz: “Filling the Gap” — Holly Putterlik of Fond du Lac realizes she is in rare company. Starting her third semester in the welding program at Moraine Park Technical College, Putterlik isn’t worried about being one of 11 females in the school’s welding program, which has nearly 120 students, or that once she graduates and lands a job, it’s likely she’ll be surrounded by men.
Read the full story from Insight on Manufacturing
September 20, 2012
From thenorthwestern.com: “Shortages predicted in skilled workforce” – Wisconsin faces a workforce crisis, with a high volume of exiting workers and not enough skilled workers to take their place.
That double whammy was a focus on Wednesday of a legislative hearing in Oshkosh to discuss job creation and training.
The hearing was held at Fox Valley Technical College’s Riverside Campus in Oshkosh, and co-chaired by State Sens. Jessica King, D-Oshkosh, and Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse.
Testimony tackled Wisconsin’s skills gap and successful workforce development initiatives. King said the next step is to build on the hearing’s success stories and work to ensure the state’s workforce meets employers’ the current and future needs.
Dennis Winters, chief economist for the Department of Workforce Development, said Wisconsin’s workforce started to flatten out around 2000, and by 2035, it could start to shift to a decline. The state’s growing occupations require teamwork, communication, analytical and problem solving skills, Winters said. The top occupations with the most new jobs from 2008-2018 are mostly in health care and technology fields.
New survey data indicates that the workforce will change more dramatically over the next 15 years than employers and educators expected. According to the 2011 Fond du Lac County Retirement and Departure Intentions Study, 51 percent of that county’s workforceplans to retire within the next 15 years.
Josh Bullock, vice president of strategic advancement for Moraine Park Technical College said the county could train every school-age student and still not have enough workers. He said Fond du Lac County could be short 19,000 people to fill available jobs by 2026, which could lead employers toeither leave the area or shut down.
A similar survey of eight major health care providers in the Fox Valley found that 48 percent of health care workers plan to retire in the next 15 years, up 4 percent from 2008.
“We have this double whammy with a mass exodus of aging baby boomers who are aging: not only are they leaving health care, but they require more health care as they age,” Bullock said.
Morna Foy, vice president of policy and government relations for the Wisconsin Technical College System, said the system estimates that employers will require 39,000 more workers with technical college training than what the system can produce with its current resources, Foy said.
Still, Foy said, Wisconsin’s tech schools are training more people with a more diverse population and showing as positive results as they ever have.
Representatives from Fox Valley Technical College cited the success of collaborations with Miller Electric and FABCO in providing students with real-world learning opportunities while providing companies with continued education. FABCO has offered a job to every student graduating from its partnership with FVTC, and job placements from the Miller Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center ranged from 85 percent to 100 percent, depending on the field, last year.
The hearing also included testimony from Jeff Rafn, president of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, and Steven Baue, vice president of human resources for Marinette Marine. NWTC and Marinette Marine have a $1.8 million, two-year agreement under which NWTC will provide Marinette Marine with more than 130,000 hours of training for the company’s welders, shipfitters, pipefitters and electrical workers. This month alone, Marinette Marine will hire 70 permanent employees and 180 contractors, Baue said.
Without NWTC, Marinette Marine would not have been able to grow, Baue said. He said education related to the company’s shipbuilding jobs isn’t just failing at the high school level; it’s failing at the elementary school level.
“My concern is, I have a rapidly aging workforce, and these are highly skilled positions,” Baue said. “I should not have to work this hard to find employees.”
September 5, 2012
From fox6now.com: “Laura gets a preview of the CNC Boot Camp” – Laura Langemo is live from Moraine Park Technical College with details on a hands-on program that will send its students down a new career path.
September 5, 2012
From youtube.com: “Moraine Park Technical College Time Capsule Opening and Dedication Ceremony” – On August 17, 2012, Moraine Park Technical College held a Time Capsule Opening and Dedicatiton Ceremony. The time capsule from the College’s 75th anniversary was opened and the College dedicated a new time capsule in celebration of the 100th anniversary.