June 18, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Area groups get $1.8 million in grants” – Mishandling a $5,000 financial aid refund check can land a student in steep debt and eventual poverty.
Since August 2012, the Financial Wellness Center of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay has been helping students develop spending plans to manage those large sums of money each semester.
“Financial aid is the largest piece of money they’ve ever seen,” said program financial coach Michael Brown.
Refund checks are intended to supplement a student’s income during a semester and should be used for housing, transportation, food and other basic needs, Brown said.
However, some students spend all the money within a month on cars, electronics, dining out and clothes, he said.
The program has been awarded a $50,000 grant to improve operations through the Basic Giving Needs Partnership, which announced Monday it will award almost $1.8 million in grants to more than 80 Fox Valley-area groups that are working to address assorted community issues from domestic violence to social development for children.
The partnership is a collaborative effort between the U.S. Venture Open Fund for Basic Needs, the J.J. Keller Foundation Inc., the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation, the Community Foundation for the Fox Valley Region and the Oshkosh Area Community Foundation.
This year’s cumulative grant awards total of $1,772,473 is $344,544 more than last year’s figure of $1,427,929.
Sarah Schmidt, director of the U.S. Venture Open, an annual golf outing fundraiser, said last year’s event raised about $1.86 million to benefit the basic needs fund.
“Poverty is real in Northeastern Wisconsin,” Schmidt said to about 30 local leaders who attended the grant announcement Monday at the Student Center at NWTC, 2740 W. Mason St., Green Bay. “We know that working families with two working parents are having a more and more difficult time meeting their basic needs.”
Since beginning in 1986, the U.S. Venture Open has raised more than $16.2 million, including more than $10 million made for grants.
“These programs are teaching people how to have the independence that they really desire,” Schmidt said. “It’s critical that leaders in this community step up and really think about ways that they can impact this positively because these are problems that we can solve.”
Organizers hope to raise more than $2 million for the 28th annual U.S. Venture Open, which will be held Aug. 14 at several regional golf courses. Former Green Bay Packers receiver Donald Driver will be the event dinner’s featured guest.
The partnership donated almost $400,000 to 11 programs in the Green Bay area involving dozens of nonprofits, groups and public agencies. The new NWTC financial coaching program is in the second year of a three-year grant plan totaling $160,000. The funds will allow Brown to work full-time on campus instead of off-site a few miles away. So far, he said he has provided one-on-one counseling to 120 students, but has spoken to about 380 students overall through classroom appearances. The program is modeled after a pilot program at Fox Valley Technical College in Appleton. That project is now in its third year.
More than $715,000 in grants was awarded to organizations in the Fox Cities area and the partnership will give about $215,000 to the Oshkosh area. About $240,000 in grants was announced for national and regional projects, including a leadership program for 16 nonprofit executive directors.
One participant of that program is Robyn Davis, president of Freedom House Ministries, which operates a Green Bay shelter for homeless families in Brown County.
The program is helping Davis and other leaders study how other organizations have been successful in battling poverty and encouraging participants to find solutions to the unique problems facing their communities.
Freedom House has partnered with Integrated Community Solutions and the Crisis Center of Family Services on the Supporting Our Families Together Project, which was awarded the first installment of a three-year $135,000 grant to continue to provide motel vouchers and case management for homeless families with children.
“Our goal is to make sure no homeless families with children are on the street,” Davis said.
Like the families it serves, Freedom House is not expected to rely on grants forever, and Davis said the organization may develop a business or form a partnership that can generate revenue in the future to fund operations.
“We have an understanding of why it’s important to become self-sufficient, and then we can certainly pass that along to our families,” she said.
June 18, 2013
From wbay.com: “Nearly $1.8 million in grants awarded to fight poverty” – To participate in the annual U.S. Venture Open as a golfer, you only need $475 to qualify.
To receive a grant made possible by the money raised through the golf outing is much harder.
Yet this year, the Basic Needs Giving Partnership is giving away more money than in any previous year.
Nearly $1.8 million in multi-year grants were announced today by the Basic Needs Giving Partnership, which is funded through the money raised by the U.S. Venture Open and the JJ Keller Foundation.
“Whatever people put in, we match that amount. Thereby we can double the impact of the grants in the community,” says Mary Harp-Jirschele, executive director of the JJ Keller Foundation.
It’s a partnership that rewards other partnerships for addressing the root causes of poverty in Northeast Wisconsin.
“We talk a lot about collaboration and that’s what we’re really looking for organizations to do, to collaborate with one another in new and innovative ways,” says Sarah Schmidt, Director of the US Venture Open.
Literacy Green Bay’s joint effort with the YWCA and NWTC fit the bill. Their program is called “Children First Family Literacy”.
“It’s a program where we help adults get their GED so they’re working with instructors to prepare for that and while they are doing that, their preschool children are in an early learning childhood environment getting ready for school,” says Kathy Cornell of Literacy Green Bay.
They are one of 21 new multi-year grant recipients this year.
“This is huge! I think for most non-profits you write a lot of grants and you may get funding for a year but to know that we have funding for 3 years is a big deal,” says Cornell.
Made possible by the U.S. Venture Open golf outing, this year’s event is in August and features Donald Driver as the special guest.
“We’re just excited to partner with somebody who really cares so deeply about the same things we do. His passion is really literacy and basic needs issues,” says Schmidt.
June 18, 2013
From wbay.com: “Training to answer 911 calls” – A pilot program designed to help ease the training and hiring strain on dispatch centers in Northeast Wisconsin is now complete.
They are the newest faces of the future of emergency dispatch. Pending results of a national exam, Monday ten people are becoming certified as emergency dispatchers through a new class at NWTC, teaching them what it’s like on the other end of a 911 call.
“You have no idea what they all have going on their plates as they’re taking that call, plus trying to get the emergency, whether it’s the cops, the ambulances out to you, all the pressure that’s on their shoulders. It really gives you an understanding,” says Tonia Geibel, a student of the dispatcher class and current EMS worker in Door County.
As Action 2 News has reported over the last several months, NWTC partnered with Kewaunee and Brown Counties to create this introduction to dispatching class, partly in response to staffing problems in Brown County’s Communication Center.
The class is designed to reduce the amount of on-the-job training needed and eliminate the number of people who take a dispatching job, then quit suddenly when they realize it’s not for them.
“Any amount of time is very helpful for us, because we do have turnover. That’s part of the industry. We’re trying to reduce it as much as possible, but by having trained people, qualified people coming into the program and being able to reduce that, it takes less time for us to get people on the floor,” says Brown County Public Safety Communications Director Cullen Peltier.
“Out of the class of 10, we have about eight that have expressed an interest to apply as dispatchers,” says NWTC Criminal Justice Instructor John Flannery, who taught the dispatcher class.
While those in the class would still need training in the specific agency they work, depending on success, this class may soon become a requirement to even apply in some agencies.
“That’s in the consideration phase at this point. It’s definitely preferred to have class under their belt before they come to us, because what it does for us is reduce training time,” says Peltier.
This first class was a sort of pilot to see if the program would even work, but already there’s interest for another class, likely to start in September.
“They seemed to really enjoy it and got a real good taste of what dispatching is all about,” says Flannery.
“Now I understand when they get that call, everything they have to go through before I even get that page to go out,” says Geibel.
June 17, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Oral health impact is far-reaching” – Brown County 20/20 participants agreed that the community should have “a culture of health and wellness — in mind, body and spirit — that has minimized reliance on the medical system and exceeds the experience of any other comparable city in the Great Lakes region.”
Studies have shown that there is a relationship between oral health and improved outcomes for diabetes and pregnancy and to improved nutrition. There is a connection between oral health and other diseases as well. There can even be an impact on employability. Thus, oral health has an important role in achieving the 20/20 vision.
However, accessing preventive or restorative dental services can be a challenge for low income or Medicaid recipients. The Wisconsin Department of Health Services reports that just over 20 percent of Brown County Medicaid members received a dental service in 2008, down from 24 percent in 2004.
There are many reasons for this. Medicaid reimburses dentists roughly 30 percent or less for Medicaid recipients’ services. Issues with transportation or child care can lead to a higher-than-average no-show rate for these patients, making it difficult for dental offices to manage schedules and remain efficient.
Dental care for the low income and uninsured is fragmented. Finding services for adults can be especially challenging. There are services for veterans, the developmentally disabled and AIDS patients, but many private providers find it financially untenable to accept Medicaid patients.
To begin to solve this problem, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in 2008 began a small dental clinic, using grant funding from U.S. Oil and the Brown Door Kewaunee Dental Society. Planners quickly learned that the need was far greater than anyone had anticipated. They also learned that logistically, NWTC was a good fit for a clinic operation, as dental hygiene and dental assistant students were able to provide needed services while gaining valuable experience.
Administering the program was better left to a community partner, so NEW Community Clinic and NWTC developed a collaboration whereby NEW clinic became the administrator. It was also clear that without charitable support, it would not be financially feasible to provide services for the same reasons private providers were challenged — reimbursement of less than 30 percent of charges made it impossible to be self-supporting. The college and the clinic also saw that the long-term need was to provide a six-chair dental clinic.
In 2012, a community health needs assessment was conducted by the Brown County and De Pere health departments, Bellin Hospital, St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center and St. Vincent Hospital. Oral health was identified as one of the top three community health issues, and St Mary’s/St Vincent was asked to lead a community action group. This provided a forum for NWTC, NEW Clinic and St. Mary’s/St. Vincent to discuss adult restorative services and to see if together, they could provide a six-chair clinic.
As a result of these discussions, St. Mary’s and St. Vincent provided the dollars to purchase equipment to outfit the clinic in space donated by NWTC. The equipment was installed in February. NEW Community Clinic was named a Federally Qualified Health Center during 2012, enabling it to be reimbursed at cost for seeing Medicaid patients.
Thus, a dental clinic for Medicaid and uninsured patients opened this spring with a dentist on staff. Knowing that the need can far exceed the resources available, the clinic’s focus will be on addressing acute dental pain, and secondarily on treating diabetics and pregnant women because of the connection to improved health status.
Now, as many as 6,000 patients will be able to have dental visits over the course of a year, providing them with a community resource, where before hospital emergency departments were one of their only options.
How to help
Tax-deductible donations to support the operation of the dental clinic can be sent to the NEW Community Clinic at 633 Bodart St., Green Bay.
From wbay.com: “NWTC constructs new learning labs for health care students” – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is expanding its health sciences building to add three new cutting-edge learning labs. They include a wellness lab focusing on exercise physiology, a caregiver lab to train home health workers and a simulation lab for nursing students.
Together, they’ll fill the additional 13,500 foot space that is being constructed.
“We went on a road trip last year looking at simulation labs in our state and also reviewed online other simulation labs in other settings,” explains NWTC’s Health Sciences Dean Kay Tupala.
A picture is posted near the construction site of what the building will look like on the outside, but inside, it will be filled with upgraded equipment to help students develop the critical skills they need for their careers.
Tupala adds ”what we can do in simulation is give students scenarios they may not get exposed to at the hospital.”
Nursing students say even though it’s a simulation lab, the skills they learn are invaluable.
“When you go into a simulation lab you totally lose sight that it’s just a mannequin there,” describes Young. ”The kind of equipment they have, they have real blood pressures, they change. You can see if they have loss of circulation because their finger tips turn blue.”
The $3.5 million dollar project is expected to be completed by January 2014.
June 6, 2013
From agriview.com: “Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship: Multiple possibilities” – The Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship is an opportunity for beginning farmers to “earn while they learn.” It’s the first legally recognized, fully accredited apprenticeship for farming in the U.S. This GrassWorks initiative provides a “guided pathway” to independent farm ownership, or as an alternative, a management post on a grass-based dairy.
Aspiring and/or current beginning graziers (i.e. Apprentices) are linked to veteran “Master” graziers for on-farm training/employment, while Apprentices also go through formal classroom schooling. The aim is to transfer dairy farms, equip new dairy producers to establish operations of their own, or provide the industry with highly skilled dairy-farm managers.
Joe Tomandl III, a Medford dairy grazier featured this week on Agri-View’s front page, is program director for the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship, and administered through the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (similar to development of Master plumbers, electricians or other skilled trades). A Journey Dairy Grazier is the credentialed equivalent of a technical school degree, says Tomandl.
DGA is comprised of 4,000 paid hours of on-farm training over two years (the equivalent of a full-time job). An Apprentice is getting paid by the Mentor Dairy Grazier, Tomandl explains. Most of those hours are on-farm experience under the guidance of an approved Master Dairy Grazier, who is aided in transferring knowledge and grazing prowess by following a job book for competencies provided by DGA. The Master Dairy Grazier pays the Apprentice on a pay scale established by the program.
The remaining 288 hours are paid related instruction, which include courses through the Wisconsin Technical College System and University of Wisconsin as well as participation in pasture walks, farming conferences and peer-to-peer discussion groups.
Tomandl says it’s required that Apprentices attend the UW School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers’s grazing seminar, broadcast remotely throughout the state during the winter months. They also take an on-line soils class offered by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay and three seminar-style classes from Northcentral Technical College at Wausau on topics like dairy health and milk quality. Apprentices are even reimbursed for time spent in class.
Participants become Dairy Grazing Apprentices, Journey Dairy Graziers, and finally Master Dairy Graziers. DGA also provides Apprentices and Masters financial planning services through Cadwallader Consulting, LLC, and is developing models of equity building, farm start-up, and farm transfer.
DGA, which will be two years old in July, has “graduated” Journey Dairy Graziers. Tomandl says three now have their own farms, and one is managing a farm. Nine Apprentices are placed on farms at present (seven in Wisconsin and two in Minnesota).
Tomandl says there’s a sizeable candidate list – everyone from high school grads to mid-lifers looking for a second career. Applicants, who must be 18, fill out a profile on the DGA website (www.dairygrazingapprenticeship.org) which only approved Master Dairy Graziers can access. Potential Master Dairy Graziers (i.e. mentor/employers) also fill out applications on this website, to be approved by an oversight committee. Tomandl says a Master must have five years experience minimum in managed grazing and be “serious about mentoring.” They undergo an interview and farm visit (by Tomandl).
DGA then “back away” and lets the Master Dairy Graziers (of which there are 23 at this time) peruse the candidates to find someone they feel would be suitable to mentor/employ on their farm.
DGA is funded by a federal grant from the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture within USDA. Tomandl notes that Wisconsin’s program may serve as a “national template,” for expansion nationwide.
Tomandl says there’s a need for Master Dairy Graziers. Why become one? In part, to shape the future of Wisconsin’s dairy industry by sharing and transferring knowledge to a next-generation grazier. Master Dairy Graziers also gain a motivated Apprentice who will be an asset to their operation during the learning process. The established farmer also receives assistance in exploring new models of farm investment and expansion, equity building and possible farm transfer. Not only is this a way to pass a grass-based dairy farm to a beginning farmer but it might also be a way for an existing operator to expand, by perhaps investing in a second farm or satellite operation, which a graduated Journey grazier manages and/or eventually buys into.
Tomandl sees DGA eventually going a step farther with investment by agribusiness and others with an interest in seeing stable-to-increasing dairy farm numbers in Wisconsin. Perhaps, he muses, “Joe Farmer” is ready to sell his farm, but doesn’t want to do a land contract with a beginning grazier – specifically, a Journey Dairy Grazier. Still, he’d really like his farm to remain as a viable, independent operation n the future. Tomandl is hopeful that eventually DGA could help secure capital that could help establish that Journey Dairy Grazier on Joe Farmer’s farm, instead of Joe Farmer selling off his herd and the land swallowed up by cash-cropping or converted to some other use.
Tomandl stresses that DGA is looking for industry support and will be rolling out an industry-sponsorship campaign in the near future.
Just because grazing is DGA’s chosen method of establishing new dairy farmers in the business doesn’t mean the model can’t work for that producer who, let’s say, has a 55-cow conventional dairy, Tomandl points out. While that operation might not cash flow for a young farmer to farm it conventionally, it could be transitioned to grazing relatively easily, with a bare-bones parlor, fencing and lanes, so that next generation might take the cow herd up to 150 and cash flow the enterprise. He foresees both outside investors of various sorts and even farmers looking to reinvest in the future of agriculture purchasing even a conventional dairy farm, putting the “best of the best” on it to manage it as a grass-based dairy.
That Journey Dairy Grazier might secure a Farm Service Agency beginning farmer loan, purchase cattle and equipment, and lease that farm for five years or so, and then start buying in. No matter the “pathway,” the ultimate goal is that a farm be transferred to a young farmer, Tomandl stresses.
This producer thinks Wisconsin agriculture needs creative solutions. With the average age of a farmer in the mid-to-late 50s, in the next two decades, he says this country will see a “huge land transition.” Wisconsin agriculture has an opportunity to “sculpt what agriculture looks like” down the road. He thinks that a conventional 55-cow dairy can easily be made-over into 120 to 150-cow grazing operation that’s financially viable for a well-trained beginning farmer to operate and expand.
Tomandl believes grazing as a tool for transitioning farms is “smart business” for the dairy industry, and it makes good environmental sense, too. He encourages industry, farmers near retirement and/or those looking to creatively expand their operation, as well as, of course, people looking at making dairy farming their career to visit DGA’s website or email firstname.lastname@example.org or call Tomandl at 715-560-0389.
From leadertelegram.com: “Green Bay-area graduates earn four-year degrees without leaving home” – MENOMONIE – Six students from east-central Wisconsin have made their mark in education on the other side of the state.
They are the first to graduate from UW-Stout – about 225 miles away in west-central Wisconsin – as part of a degree-completion program coordinated through Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay and UW-Fox Valley in Menasha.
The program, which started in 2008, allows students with two-year degrees to finish, mostly online, their Bachelor of Science in manufacturing engineering at UW-Stout.
The graduates are Ryan Boehm, of New Franken; Tiffany Darnick, of Greenville; Mackenzie Kozelek, of New Franken; William Seidler, of Mountain; Bradley Wachtel, of Manitowoc; and Gretchen Wilson, of Algoma.
They were part of a contingent of 29 students earning manufacturing engineering degrees at commencement May 11 at UW-Stout. A total of 1,382 UW-Stout students received degrees in undergraduate and graduate ceremonies.
Prior to graduation, most of the six students had been to UW-Stout a few times but only briefly.
As program pioneers, the students said there were kinks in the system, but they also said they saved considerable expense by being able to live close to home and work full or part time while pursuing their four-year degree in a field that’s in high demand.
UW-Stout professors weren’t just cyber instructors for NWTC students; they also held monthly classes at NWTC on Fridays and Saturdays.
“Due to the fact that many of the students are working in industry as they complete their degrees, in-class times are scheduled around typical student work schedules,” said UW-Stout Associate Professor Lin Stradins, the program director.
Wilson, who has two young children, said she wouldn’t have been able to work on the degree if she had to uproot her family and move to Menomonie for two years. The stay-at-home option is “what did it for me. I had child care built in with help from my mom,” Wilson said.
Kozelek said one of his goals was to get through college debt-free, and the transfer program made that possible. “There were some aches and pains, but that comes with the program being offered for the first time,” he said.
Kozelek already is working full time as an engineer for Alliance Laundry Systems, of Ripon, the world’s largest maker of commercial laundry systems.
Wachtel, who has an engineering job with Oshkosh Truck in Oshkosh, said the group sometimes had to wait for classes to be offered. But UW-Stout professors provided good online support, he said, noting he had been to UW-Stout just one time prior to commencement weekend.
Seidler has landed an engineering job with Marinette Marine, of Marinette, which specializes in building ships for the U.S. Navy while Boehm had an internship that turned into a full-time position with EMT International, which manufactures paper finishing equipment in Green Bay.
The six students presented a capstone project Friday, May 10, on campus, a day before graduation. Their project, the Photovoltaic Tracker System, was explained via Power Point in Fryklund Hall followed by a demonstration with about a dozen faculty looking on.
The system allows solar panels to rotate and follow the movement of the sun throughout the day, maximizing energy collection. The system has three tracking modes. The top disk assembly can rotate 270 degrees.
“These students didn’t have the advantage of daily contact with (UW-Stout) professors,” said Mike Lorenzen, one of the UW-Stout instructors in the program. “They deserve some extra credit.”
Students said the system is not financially feasible to produce yet because the cost of solar panels is low, making it less expensive to buy multiple panels and position them to capture the most sunlight.
An exception would be if the installation was at a site that restricted the number of panels. Then the system could increase power generation by 40 percent, enough to outweigh the additional cost.
May 21, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Dental clinic expansion could double patient capacity” – GREEN BAY – It may be a little easier for certain people in Brown County to get care from the dentist.
The NEW Dental Clinic on the Green Bay campus of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has been serving low-income and uninsured people for about a year and a half.
An expansion is expected to double the facility’s capacity.
Tammy Marcelle suffers from cerebral palsy and arthritis. She and her service dog Puppy checked in to the dental clinic Monday.
“Before I found this place, I haven’t been to the dentist in 20 years,” said Marcelle of Green Bay.
Marcelle met with her dentist Gretchen Evenson.
“A lot of these people have been trying to find dentists for years. No one sees the medical assistance. We’re happy that we devote our entire clinic to these people,” said Dr. Evenson, NEW Dental Clinic dentist.
NEW Dental Clinic provides dental services often free-of-charge to low income or uninsured people in Brown County.
The clinic was formally dedicated Monday morning. NWTC provided the space as part of a federal grant. St. Vincent Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center provided $330,000 for equipment.
“Getting care and getting that taken care of also pulling the teeth when appropriate so it doesn’t abscess and can cause further health problems is really important,” said Bonnie Kuhr, NEW Dental Clinic CEO.
Bonnie Kuhr says another dentist will be hired Tuesday. Kuhr says 10 people will staff the expanded office and serve an estimated 6,000 people a year.
“You didn’t have to do that,” said Marcelle.
Marcelle and Dr. Evenson have formed a friendship, but an upcoming root canal may put that friendship to the test.
“I think she should just pull it so we don’t have to deal with it. But that’s not her attitude,” said Marcelle.
“Tammy’s a character. She’s had some dental work that was done, and then of course, once the dental work is done, then we want to continue to monitor these patients and make sure that they get the continued care they need,” said Dr. Evenson.
“It’s a relief that people with low incomes have finally a place they can come and get things done. They need it,” said Marcelle.
May 15, 2013
From nbc26.com: “Walker stops in Green Bay for Jobs Tour” – Governor Scott Walker talks manufacturing and jobs Monday at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
He was part of a round-table discussion at NWTC. The Governor says his main goal Is to make it easier to create jobs In our state. “Manufacturing is still our bread and butter,” Walker explained. “It’s about 20 percent of the state’s GDP. It’s a little bit higher here in the northeast, and so today is important.. working with the chamber here and our regional partners to talk about manufacturing.”
The Governor says he plans to take part in similar discussions all throughout Wisconsin.
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Mother of 8, battling melanoma, earns paralegal degree” – Most days Carol Pingel concentrates on chewing the ear of the elephant rather than trying to eat the whole thing.
It’s a catchy reminder to focus on small, manageable goals. And it is something that has helped the mother of eight complete an associate degree at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College while cancer slowly kills her. She graduates with honors Thursday.
Pingel has Stage 4 melanoma. She sometimes feels too ill to get out of bed. She has worked on homework in the bathroom and she has thrown up on her laptop’s keyboard. She used a feeding tube last month. She’s had crying jags.
“But I needed to finish, “ Pingel said. “If you make a goal, it is doable. That’s such an important message I want to pass on to my kids.
“Eventually, they’re going to have to be without me, and if I can leave any lasting memory, it’s that fighting, goal-getting, reaching for your dreams, you can do it. That’s what I would like my legacy for them to be.”
In high school, Pingel — now 44 — dreamed of becoming an attorney, but said “eight kids later, decided a two-year paralegal degree was the next best thing.”
Pingel lives with her husband Jeff in Embarrass. Four of her eight kids — who range in age from 5 to 26 — live at home.
The busy mom completed a mix of online and in-class courses to earn her degree. She also interns with the Brown County District Attorney’s Office, and would like to work in a public defender’s office.
Pagel receives her diploma on Thursday night, but money is tight, and a friend helped Pingel buy her cap and gown. And another covered her fee to enter the Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society.
Not giving up
About a year and a half ago, Pingel learned she has a melanoma that eventually will take her life. Doctors don’t know how long she has, and Pingel said her goal is to live long enough to see her youngest child, now 5, graduate from high school.
“I don’t know if that’s possible,” she said, with tears in her eyes. “But that is my goal.”
Pingel acknowledges her cancer, but she has plans for the future.
“My degree was one of the things I wanted to finish. I’m hoping to find a job, with an employer who is willing to work with my illness.”
Pingel takes 27 pills a day and she said intravenous chemotherapy treatments every other week are painful. Yet it’s the medications and treatments that are keeping her alive, she said.
“One morning I wake up fine,” she said. “The next day I wake up and I can’t move.”
Pingel has battled cancer for about half her life. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer 21 years ago, and went in and out of remission for years. About four years ago doctors found cancer cells on her cervix, ovary and uterus. She had major surgery and thought she would be free of cancer. But a routine biopsey check uncovered the melanoma — inside her body.
Melanoma is the most dangerous form of skin cancer, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Tumors often resemble moles, and some develop from moles. Melanoma kills about 8,790 people in the U.S. each year, according to the nonprofit foundation.
The American Cancer Society estimates that about 120,000 new cases are diagnosed in the U.S. each year. More than 68,000 of those cases were invasive melanomas in 2010, the most recent information available. More than 29,000 cases were diagnosed in women.
“I think the worst part is the side affects,” Pingel said. “The chemo sores on my face and arms, the scarf or bald head, those are the things that make people start to look at you weird.”
Pingel’s oldest son, 26-year-old Joseph Reese serves in the Wisconsin National Guard and is stationed in Afghanistan. Her daughter, Sunshinnia, 22, will graduate with honors from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire three days after Pingel receives her diploma.
Daughter Rhondalay, 20, is a sophomore at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and will be home for the summer.
Her other children include 10-year-old Laurel, described as a hugger by Pingel, and 13-year-old Jeffrey, a protector. Five-year-old Johnathon has autism, and 23-year-old daughter Chandra Reese has two daughters of her own.
Pingel said her children have been a big help, including 15-year-old Teddilyn, who helps manage the household. The family often eats spaghetti or macaroni and cheese as easy meals.
“If it’s a good day, I’m up early getting ready for my internship and school, “ Pingel said. “Later, I help the kids with homework, everything from geometry to kindergarten assignments. At 7 p.m., when the kids go to bed, I take my night medications and hopefully I’m in bed by midnight.”
Completing college became important when she realized her cancer had no cure, Pingel said.
“There were certain things I wanted to do in life,” Pingel said. “I got a bronze medal in ballroom dancing. I got a motorcycle license. Now I will have my degree.”
The Pingel family doesn’t splurge much, but spends time playing board games and watching movies. Carol Pingel has long loved ballroom dancing and met Jeff more than two decades ago on a dance floor. Now she watches as her children ballroom dance.
“I gave it up two years ago when my heart started acting up,” Pingel said. “But dancing has always been a part of me, and now it’s being passed on.”
And she hasn’t checked off all the items on her bucket list. She’s looking to find a paying job, and would love to see the Grand Canyon.
“I don’t care about New York or Disney World, but I’ve always wanted to see the Grand Canyon,” she said. “I’m sure it’s beautiful.”
Sharon Chacon, a behavioral science teacher at NWTC, said she shared a part of Pingel’s story with one of her classes during preparation for an exam.
“I wanted to help them keep from getting too upset over one test in the greater scheme of things,” Chacon said. She told Pingel that after the class discussed her story, “The mood shifted. Students that had stopped trying, began trying again. There was more laughter and helping.”
Pingel takes it all in stride.
“I just want everyone to know, everybody gets dealt a hand in life,” she said. “This is the one I’ve been dealt.
“When life gives you a bald head, grab a scarf and move on.”
May 9, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “NWTC students will use donated semi-tractor from county” – The Door County Highway Department has made a donation to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College that the school says will advance diesel training in Northeastern Wisconsin. The Department presented a Peterbilt Model 378 semi-tractor for use in NWTC’s Diesel Equipment Technician and Diesel Equipment Technology programs. Both programs are offered on NWTC’s Sturgeon Bay campus.
The donated tractor will offer students exposure to all aspects of truck systems repair, including electronic diesel engine technology, power trains, electrical systems, steering, brakes, suspension and air conditioning.
“The key to the success of our Diesel Equipment programs is offering our students a chance to work on modern equipment,” said Joe Draves, NWTC associate dean of trades and engineering technologies. “NWTC recognizes the importance of this donation and appreciates the support of the Door County Highway Department in developing future diesel technicians.”
With the diesel industry on the upswing and the current work force aging, demand for skilled technicians is high. The Department of Labor expects diesel technician positions to grow 15 percent by 2020.
“The Door County Highway Department is pleased to assist the NWTC Diesel program, which is an extremely valuable part of our community,” said John Kolodziej, Door County Highway Commissioner. “We are giving back because many of our employees have gained valuable training and education from the NWTC program.”
NWTC offers both a two-year technical diploma and a two-year associate degree in diesel equipment. Graduates of the programs are equipped to diagnose, service and repair a variety of diesel-powered equipment.
May 1, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “AT&T pays for lab at Ashwaubenon” – AT&T contributed a $5,000 Innovation & Investment Award to make Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s mobile manufacturing lab available to Ashwaubenon High School for a semester.
NWTC’s Computer Integrated Manufacturing Mobile Laboratory is a 44-foot trailer housing 12 CAD/CAM computer stations and two computer numerical control (CNC) machines, a lathe and a mill.
An event marking the grant held Monday included tours of the lab for students and educators.
AT&T Wisconsin Innovation & Investment Awards provide funding to local organizations that enhance and give back to their communities.
May 1, 2013
From fox11online.com: “NWTC cuts continuing education courses” – GREEN BAY – One local tech school says it is eliminating some of its non-credit classes.
And Northeast Wisconsin Technical College says the remaining hobby-based classes could cost you a little more.
Fewer needles may be whirring in continuing education classes offered by Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
The college says it is cutting costs by cutting out some classes, like specialty sewing.
“The classes that have been most effected are those that we call avocational, hobby leisure courses. All of the non-credit occupational courses, we’re still offering,” said Jeffrey Rafn.
In all, 80 to 90 classes won’t be back. The reduction will save the college 160 thousand dollars in instructor fees.
That has some instructors like Jana Anderson-Laes worried.
“I could lose my job, so we really need people to sign up for these classes,” she said.
Continuing education classes that are popular, like jewelry making, will still remain. But there may be consolidated times or locations. And NWTC says it’s still focusing on skills that can be used for a business.
Long-armed quilting, shown in the video, will also still go on.
But prices will go up.
Those 62 years and older had paid roughly $4 for a class.
The rate could increase to $60.
“I have similar classes at the quilt shop I own,” said you’re still getting your money’s worth.”
The majority of the continuing education classes are attended by older adults.
But many in the plus 50 crowd say they are turning to the tech school for something besides quilting or wood working.
“That’s something for a hobby, great. But guys like me, people my age. We’re not ready to lay down. We want to continue working,” said Robert Cram, a supply chain management student at NWTC.
NWTC says it will offer more computer-oriented classes like Microsoft Office as non-credit courses.
All changes to other classes could begin in the fall.
If you’re concerned about a class being cut, you have a chance to voice your opinion.
NWTC will hold a listening session about its budget Wednesday May 8th at 4 pm.
April 29, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “NWTC budget proposal expands high-demand programs” – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is expanding popular programs next school year, but administrators say that won’t impact its spending plan.
School officials are shifting resources to programs that are most in demand in a budget that isn’t expected to mean higher costs for taxpayers, according to NWTC President Jeff Rafn.
The college’s general fund budget is expected to dip slightly to $77.18 million from $77.52 million last school year.
A public hearing is set for May 8 and the school’s board will give final approval in fall. The proposed budget calls for a tax levy increase of about $300,000 to $59.199 million, up from $58.899 million. The increase is due to higher land value based on new construction, and won’t affect the tax rate, Rafn said. That means homeowners shouldn’t see much change in the amount of property taxes they owe for NWTC — about $160 for the owner of a home valued at $100,000 last year.
The community college plans to launch a new Sustainable Food and Agriculture Systems program, electro-mechanical mobile lab and start mechanical and electrical engineering technology programs that would lead to baccalaureate degrees at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and UW-Oshkosh. The school also plans to expand its physical therapist assistant program to Marinette and its Environmental Engineering Technology program.
Construction and renovation plans include creation of a student success center, an expansion of its Marine Training Center, an update of the Center for Business and Industry Training area and creation of the Shawano Health Education Center. The student success center will focus on connecting students to services that can help them succeed and reflects the continued growth of support services, school officials said.
Other changes include a move to a new academic calendar that would add a three-week January term and a 12-week summer semester. NWTC would continue to grow its work with area school districts by expanding or starting a number of partnerships with districts in Northern Wisconsin, including plans for programs with schools in Gillett, Lena, Coleman and Suring, as well as work with the Green Bay School District on a school-based manufacturing operation.
The idea is to make modifications to support programs that provide strong job potential, Rafn said.
“Up until last few years, I think we have had a big employer demand, not student demand in certain programming, “ said Amy Kox, associate dean for engineering and sustainability. “Now that’s changed. We’re working to help students see, ‘What’s next?’
“I think that’s helping. We’re helping them to see that coming to technical school is a great first step in lifelong process of learning.”
The agriculture sustainability program is built around suggestions from local organic farmers, including the Oneida Tribe of Indians and New Leaf Market, Kox said.
“We asked them what their needs were,” she said. “That helped build our program. Younger people are interested in sustainability, so we see a lot of possibilities.”
NWTC is expanding its manufacturing areas to meet employer demands, Kox said.
“We keep adding sections,” she said. “We’re trying to get as many students through as possible. The need is there.”
Despite the changes, the college’s budget proposal reflects a tax freeze, Rafn said.
Under state law, the school will be able to raise taxes slightly to reflect construction growth in Brown County, or an estimated $300,000 to its tax levy, which is not expected to impact the overall tax rate.
“Our focus really is student success,” Rafn said. “We want more students to get degrees. We have 45 percent graduation rate, our goal is to achieve 60 percent.”
The college has worked to keep students enrolled, he said. It has hired counselors to help students with mental health issues, hired a counselor to work with military veterans and made orientation mandatory, Rafn noted. It also has created an alert system to monitor if students seem to be struggling in the first three weeks of school.
“Maybe we can find ways to help them , instead of letting them get deeper and deeper,” he said.
The district is trimming costs by leaving some positions empty, Rafn said. It also is cutting out overtime payments to some instructors for teaching extra classes, as well tightening compensation to reflect performance.
NWTC expects to enroll the equivalent of 7,200 full-time students in 2013-14.
April 25, 2013
From fourthestatenewspaper.com: “UWGB attracts more transfer students” – The number of students to transfer to UW-Green Bay is increasing, likely due to the capability for credits to transfer from many area colleges to UWGB.
A provision in Gov. Scott Walker’s budget would require a strong partnership between technical colleges and the UW system to make it easier for students to transfer. UWGB has been making sure the transfer process is successful for some time.
In fact, transfer students are a major contributor to enrollment numbers at UWGB. The university has historically seen significant enrollment of transfer students.
“It always surprises people when I tell them that more of the students that cross our stage at graduation come to us as transfer students than came to us as new freshmen,” said Michael Stearney, dean of enrollment services at UWGB, in an interview with Fox 11 News.
Student Services and the Registrar’s office provide prospective transfer students with a quick review of student’s transcripts to give them an approximation of what credits will transfer and how they will transfer. The review is non-binding, pending a full transfer credit review upon application.
“For many transfer students, transferability of credit is a primary consideration. UWGB actively participates in the Transfer Information System and is working to become a full participant in the U-select consortium,” Stearney said. “These two systems allow students to quickly and easily see how their coursework at one institution transfers to another institution.”
The Transfer Information System, which is available via UWGB’s transfer student website, uwgb.edu/admissions/apply/transfer, allows prospective students to see how their credits will transfer from a UW college or Wisconsin technical college.
U-select is an online database that allows students to see how their credits would transfer to universities in Wisconsin and 16 other states.
Josh Martell, junior communication major, transferred to UWGB from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College. Martell said the transfer student orientation was very helpful in assisting him in the transfer process.
“I transferred here for the communication program as well as it being in Green Bay, which is where I am from and currently live,” Martell said. “I am glad that I did.”
Stearney said transfer-student orientation programs are offered several times each year to welcome new transfer students.
“We are working on connections programs with selected UW Colleges to meet with new freshmen at the two-year schools to help plan their associate degree coursework with eventual transfer of credits,” Stearney said.
Jennifer Prusow, junior communication major, transferred to UWGB from UW-Sheboygan after completing two years there. She said it was important for her to choose a school that offered her major and her sister’s major. Prusow said other contributing factors in her decision to transfer to UWGB were the cost of tuition and the proximity of the campus to her home in Sheboygan, allowing her to go home on the weekends.
“My transfer experience was fairly easy,” Prusow said. “All my credits transferred, and I was able to register for classes. They were accommodating with any concerns that I had with my credits.”
Assisting potential transfer students with any questions they have is a service UWGB advisers offer on campus, but also remotely.
“UWGB advisers and recruiters have a regular presence at our primary transfer-sending institutions,” Stearney said. “We visit the local UW Colleges on a regularly scheduled basis, and we also hold regular office hours at NWTC one day a month to talk to prospective transfer students.”
Senior human development major, Renee Kehl, also transferred to UWGB from NWTC. Not knowing what she would major in right out of high school, Kehl said going to NWTC for two years first allowed her to focus on her general education requirements while saving money.
“My transfer experience went well overall,” Kehl said. “I only lost one class in transferring.”
Stearney said historically business, social work, nursing and education are some of the most commonly chosen majors by a large number of transfer students
April 24, 2013
From wbay.com: “Chemo Ducks teach young cancer patients about treatment” – Green Bay - Students from Northeast Wisconsin Technical College make a special delivery to St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay.
They’re called chemo ducks.
The stuffed animal is more than just a toy, though. These ducks may look like ordinary stuffed animals, but they’re dressed in hospital scrubs and have a tube connected to them.
They help children newly diagnosed with cancer understand their treatment.
“They have such a rough start to life anyway and then to have this put on them and they’re scared and frightened,” said Jennifer Ross, a supply chain management student.
It was part of the supply chain management students’ service learning project.
They sold the ducks for a month on campus for $25, then donated more than one hundred ducks to the hospital.
“We were really overjoyed because we don’t always have the funds to do it. So, when other people help out, it means we can continue to give it to other kids,” explained Colleen Ducke, the child life coordinator at St. Vincent Hospital.
The ducks are designed to make children feel more comfortable.
St. Vincent Hospital also hands out booklets which walk them through the steps of their treatment, like chemotherapy, and show them how the ports (which the ducks also have) will be put in their bodies to get that treatment.
“All the materials that the nurses will use on them, we have in their kit. So, they can do it beforehand and can practice it, so they’re actually very empowered,” added Ducke.
The students say they wanted to donate these ducks, because they all know someone who has fought cancer.
“When I was growing up, my best friend’s sister actually had leukemia and back then, they didn’t have anything like this,” explained Ross.
Young patients can even use the ducks to show siblings and friends how chemo works, so it’s less scary for everyone.
To learn more about the Chemo Ducks, you can call the Child Life Department at St. Vincent Hospital. The phone number is (920) 433-8915.
April 19, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Students compete in Tech Challenge” – GREEN BAY – More than 600 students from 26 area high schools showed off their talent Thursday at the annual Tech Challenge at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
Categories included architectural design, woodworking and welding. Students made the entries at school, and brought them to NWTC to be judged.
Organizers say the competition fits well with the programs offered at the technical college.
“It’s another way for us to promote trades, promote awareness, and to promote those careers where we’ve got demand,” said Todd Kiel, NWTC apprenticeship manager.
Prizes included scholarships to NWTC for winning team members.
April 10, 2013
From nwtc.edu: “NWTC student named 2013 New Century Scholar” – Sacha Turner, a Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Accounting student, has been named one of nation’s 2013 New Century Scholars for her outstanding grades, leadership and campus activities.
Turner is one of 50 community college students from the United States, Canada, and the Federated States of Micronesia receiving a total of $100,000 in scholarships. The New Century Scholars Program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation, Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, Phi Theta Kappa, and the American Association of Community Colleges.
Turner will receive a $2,000 scholarship and a plaque, which will be presented at American Association of College Presidents (AACC) Convention in San Francisco in April. She graduates from NWTC this May with an associate degree in Accounting and a certificate in Software. She also received a certificate in Business Operations in December of 2011. Next year, she plans to continue her education, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Leadership and Organizational Studies from the University of Wisconsin System.
“I wouldn’t have had this opportunity had I not had the support of my advisors, instructors and fellow classmates, “ said Turner. “Everyone here has contributed to help me earn this. It’s an amazing opportunity to represent NWTC as a New Century Scholar.”
As a mother to three young and active daughters, Turner finds the time to balance a demanding academic schedule, 4.0 grade point average and leadership positions in several college organizations. She serves as vice president of leadership for Phi Theta Kappa, as well as the vice president for NWTC’s Student Senate.
Her decision to come to NWTC came after years of doing accounting for small businesses. She realized getting her degree – and continuing her professional development through campus activities -could lead to a better life for her family and fellow classmates.
“I had always wanted to go back to school to be able to able to provide for my family, “ said Turner. “By being involved in these organizations, I’m held accountable. We strive to make differences for the entire student body. Getting to know all of the different people on campus is rewarding.”
“It’s all been so very worth it.”
Only one student from each state is chosen as a New Century Scholar. This is the second year in a row the Wisconsin recipient came from NWTC. Port Lor, of Green Bay, was chosen for the honor last year.
From fox11online.com: “Local learning institutions ahead of curve with transfer agreements” – GREEN BAY – A provision in Governor Scott Walker’s budget calls for a solidified partnership between tech schools and the UW system to help transfer students. So FOX 11 looked into what partnerships are already in place, and how they might be improved.
Many local colleges say they’ve already had partnerships to help students who may have changed their minds, or are looking for something new in their education.
“Originally I was thinking film and then I switched to finance and neither of those I liked. I thought I would, but I didn’t really like them. And I started taking chemistry here and it really just clicked,” said NWTC Student Jared Christianson.
Christianson says now that he’s found his passion for chemistry, he’s ready to take his education to the next level.
“I’m going to transfer to (UW)GB,” said Christianson.
Christianson’s not alone.
“Our stats have definitely gone up. Over the past four years they’ve gone up 37 percent leaving here and going on to another partnering institution that we have an agreement with. The majority go to our UW system schools but others go to the private institutions as well,” said Anne Kamps, the director of learning solutions at NWTC.
Governor Walker’s proposal would make it mandatory for 30 credits of general education studies courses to transfer between all tech schools and UW system schools in Wisconsin.
Kamps says her school is ahead of the curve.
“In 2006 NWTC went out and did this far before the college board or the state recommended that, and we built our general studies transfer certificate that transfers 32 credits to UW Oshkosh and UWGB,” said Kamps.
Kamps says the majority of transfer students from NWTC go to those two UW schools.
In 2012, 320 students transferred to UW Green Bay.
106 transferred to Oshkosh.
“It always surprises people when I tell them that more of the students that cross our stage at graduation come to us as transfer students than came to us as new freshmen,” said Michael Stearney, Dean of Enrollment Services at UW Green Bay.
He says transfers to his school have increased significantly in the past decade.
28 percent come in as sophomores. 38 percent come in as juniors.
“Most come from technical schools in the area, NWTC or Fox Valley Tech, or one of the two-year UW campuses,” said Stearney.
Stearney says his school has a partnership in place locally, and also partners through an online database called U-Select.
It lets students comparison shop universities in Wisconsin and 16 others states to see which credits transfer.
Stearney says he supports the budget’s statewide plan to streamline transferring in Wisconsin.
“This formalizes it a bit but it’s certainly something that we’ve always been aware of. It’s clearly being developed in response to this need that students have to know ahead of time if this is going to work,” said Stearney.
The second part of the provision brings private colleges in Wisconsin into the fold.
St. Norbert College says about 100 students transfer to the school each year.
Most come from other four year colleges around the state and region.
“I think that the state of Wisconsin is already quite collaborative when it comes to transferring credits from one institution to another. But any time we can sit down and simplify the process or be able to partner even more to help students, that’s a good thing,” said Bridget O’Connor, the VP of Enrollment and Communications at St. Norbert College. “We want to make sure that Wisconsin students receive degrees from Wisconsin institutions.”
The specifics of an agreement between the UW System and the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges and Universities hasn’t been ironed out yet.
The proposal also includes expanding partnerships with tribal colleges. We reached out to the College of the Menominee Nation. They did not return our calls. However, the institutions we interviewed say they look forward to working with all colleges in the area.
If approved, the new transfer credit agreement between the UW System and tech schools would start in the fall of 2014.
The budget bill still must be approved by the assembly and senate before being signed by the governor.
March 21, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Governor wants new maritime industry facility” – MARINETTE – Governor Scott Walker says the Maritime Center of Excellence could set the tone for future maritime industry growth throughout the area.
“You have shipbuilders or ship building-related industries all around the Bay,” said Walker at an event in De Pere Tuesday. “And so, that’s a large-scale, regional interest in making sure we have enough highly skilled workers in that area. So for all those reasons, it’s critically important.”
Governor Walker wants to build the facility in Marinette and has set aside millions of dollars in his proposed budget for it.
The proposed two story, 24,000 square foot building would house industry suppliers and act as a training facility and business incubator.
As part of his budget proposal, the governor recommends giving the Marinette County Association for Business and Industry – or MCABI – $5 million in grants.
The association has another $6.6 million in local, state, federal and private matching funds.
“This is going to be one more step towards supplying and supporting the maritime industry in Northeast Wisconsin,” said Ann Hartnell, Executive Director of the MCABI.
Hartnell says the facility would be a partnership between the region’s shipbuilding industries and educational institutions like Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
But why build a new facility?
The North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center opened in Marinette last year.
The joint venture of the seven shipbuilders, including Marinette Marine Corporation and NWTC provides employee and student training.
“One thing the [proposed] maritime cluster gives is a feasibility of success in that type of a thing that sometimes was lacking in the past, and funding for it that was lacking in the past,” explained Hartnell.
“I think (the Maritime Center of Excellence) just builds off it,” said Walker.
The governor says the proposed center will help the region compete against other shipbuilders across the country like Austal USA, Marinette Marine’s main competitor for naval contracts.
“We want to make sure we don’t lose our ability – not just to keep those jobs – but as more jobs become apparent, we want to make sure we’re competitive with any other place, any other location that would make a bid,” said Walker.
The governor says he’s optimistic the recommendation will be in the final budget. Hartnell says the facility could be up and running by 2014.
FOX 11 reached out to Marinette Marine. Company leaders were unavailable for comment.
From wbay.com: “NWTC looks to train students to identify human trafficking” – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is exploring ways to help train students in fields like law enforcement how to be on the look out for the signs of human trafficking.
Becky McDonald is the co-founder of Women at Risk International, an organization that raises awareness about human trafficking.
“It is not a foreign problem, it is not an intercity problem, it is not an ethnicity problem, it’s a human condition problem,” explained McDonald.
Staff on Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s campus have been selling jewelry made by survivors through Women at Risk International and raised $6,000 which goes directly back to those survivors.
Those involved say they had no idea human trafficking hit so close to home.
“It’s been amazing. People who’ve seen the sale and have come up and told us stories of people they know. It’s just been amazing and alarming at the same time,” said NWTC regional manager, Sarah Nelson.
The founder of Women at Risk International is meeting with NWTC staff and professors to find out how students going into things like human services and law enforcement can be better trained to look for the signs of human trafficking.
“How, as a lawyer or law enforcement, do you look at the person as a victim and not a criminal? How do you interview instead of interrogate?” asked McDonald.
Right now students don’t get that kind of specific training.
“When they see something that doesn’t make sense, they haven’t been empowered by the law to address it, they haven’t been empowered with resources and they don’t even know what they’re seeing,” explained McDonald.
NWTC hopes to organize a training program that could be used statewide.
March 6, 2013
From wbay.com: “Demand drives need for new dispatcher training course” – Brown County -Action 2 News has learned plans are underway for a new partnership with the Brown County Communications Center, local law enforcement, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
They’re teaming up to create what they’re calling the area’s first dispatcher certification program.
It’s partly in response to a problem we first told you about back in October, after several dispatchers at the Brown County 911 Center walked off the job, fed up with scheduling issues, overtime, and stress.
At the time, the center was down six full-time dispatchers — about 10 percent of its staff.
The county brought in representatives from the police, fire, and sheriff’s departments to look at the problems and recommend solutions. Employees told them one of the biggest concerns is training.
Now the dispatch center and school are working to start a new training program.
Before Brown County dispatchers ever answer your 911 call or talk to police or fire crews on their own, they undergo three months of intense on-the-job training.
It’s stressful work, and some people are simply not cut out for it. Dispatchers have a national turnover rate of 18 percent a year.
“In our case, that would be anywhere from 10 to 12 people a year that we potentially could lose. And training 10 to 12 people a year for 13 weeks out of the year is an extensive amount of training,” says Brown County Communications Center Interim Director Cullen Peltier.
At the suggestion of law enforcement, NWTC realized a need for what it says would be the area’s first dispatcher certification program, and just a few weeks ago agreed to create it.
“Basically what we’re doing is just giving them very, very basic fundamental skills with regards to dispatching,” says John Flannery, NWTC Criminal Justice Instructor.
Flannery just became certified to teach this new course, a sort of basic training, so dispatchers don’t start a new job feeling blindfolded.
“When I was in law enforcement full time, I didn’t really understand until I went through the training myself the kind of stress that dispatchers have to put up with,” says Flannery.
They’re still working out all the details of the class, but the school hopes to start it as soon as early summer, with 25 to 30 students enrolled right away.
“Shortening up anything for us would be great because it’s time, it’s training effort, it’s dollars that we spend on the trainees while they’re doing the training program, so anything is a benefit to us,” says Peltier.
While the certification won’t be required, Peltier thinks it will make a big difference.
“It’s going to be a good program for the people that are coming through it,” he says.
Peltier says since September, the county has been slowly filling vacancies and has hired 14 new employees. He hopes to be at full staffing of 62 dispatchers in April.
March 6, 2013
From foxonline.com: “Government checks off Navy warships” – MARINETTE – The federal government has signed off on building more Navy ships at Marinette Marine.
The Department of Defense awarded nearly $700 million to defense company Lockheed Martin Monday evening for two more Littoral Combat Ships, LCS 13 and LCS 15.
Those two ships will be number five and six of a 10-ship multi-billion dollar contract originally awarded in 2010. The Navy will announce the names of the ships at a future date.
And the announcement of the funding is a bit of a relief for some, like first year mayor Denise Ruleau. She says the DOD’s announcement only helps the rest of the city.
“There’s plenty of jobs,” said Ruleau of the availability of jobs in the city. “Lots of our large employers are hiring and expanding. We have a good problem.”
LCS 13 and 15 will be tacked on to the three ships already being built: the Milwaukee (LCS 5), Detroit (LCS 7), and Little Rock (LCS 9); another, the Sioux City (LCS 11), the company is buying parts to start construction.
Though the new ships won’t create any new jobs, Marinette Marine says the work will be welcome.
“We look forward to the backlog this is going to create for the shipyard,” said Marinette Marine President and CEO Chuck Goddard. “This will keep us busy through 2016 and sustain employment at about 1,400 people that we currently have.”
Goddard says there was some uncertainty of the funding, as Washington dealt with budget cuts and the $85 billion sequestration. Goddard says the funding is a vote of confidence.
“Now it’s up to us to perform,” said Goddard. “The Navy can always decide to stop work and terminate. That’s a choice that they have. But as long as you continue to perform, we’ll have these ships for the three years it takes us to get them through to delivery.”
The funding will also keep the company’s training center partnership with Northeast Wisconsin Technical College busy.
Over the past year and a half, NWTC has been working with current Marinette employees and contractors, as well as providing resources – like industry-specific software and technology – for students looking to get into ship building.
“And when you look at all the ship builders within the region and how we’re positioned with the training center, we’re providing support to that entire industry,” said Dean Stewart, Dean of NWTC’s Corporate Training and Economic Development.
Goddard expects it will take about one year to get the needed materials for the two newest ships.
March 4, 2013
From ehextra.com: “NWTC to expand manufacturing education” — MARINETTE – The collaborative program between Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Marinette Marine to train shipyard workers is going well.
So well, NWTC President H. Jeffrey Rafn, told the Marinette County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, that NWTC hopes to acquire the entire building on Main Street that houses the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center.
“This is booming area up here in Marinette and with everything going on at Marinette Marine, we’ve made the investment in building a marine shipbuilding and manufacturing training center,” he said. “We are the primary trainer of the workers at Marinette and we continue to work with them as they go out to bid for additional ships to increase the amount of work they have.
“Right now, we own part of the building and we are prepared to buy the rest of it when it becomes available. I expect the manufacturing education we provide in Marinette County to expand.”
Since the 15,595-square-foot center opened in January of 2012, NWTC has provided 7,392 classroom hours of training and 59,196 total person hours of training, according to a report provided to the county board.
The center includes two smart classrooms, welding, marine electrical and pipefitting and shipfitting labs, a small classroom and a lounge, faculty offices and conference room.
Supervisor Ted Suave asked Rafn if there is a duplication of training at the center and NWTC-Marinette.
“It is an expansion of services,” replied Rafn. “We just did not have enough space at the campus. The program on the Marinette campus pretty much just focused on machining and welding.
“We really need to train people to be shipfitters, in electrical work in shipbuilding, welding and pipefitting. These are the areas for the most part that we did not really have at the Marinette campus and certainly not tot he size we needed them.”
Rafn said NWTC has a $1.8 million contract with Marinette Marine to train its workers and has created two degrees in shipbuilding – marine ship construction and marine ship engineering.
“We also do all the initial screening of employees they hire and we do the initial safety training for them as well,” he said. “It’s been a great partnership that I expect to continue for the long term.”
Rafn said NWTC plans to move more manufacturing-related training to the center.
“A lot of what goes on in building ships also goes on in manufacturing,” he explained. “So I expect that we’ll see a lot more electromechanic work in there.”
Another highlight of Rafn’s address to the county board was how NWTC workers have been affected by Act 10, which became law in 2011 and took away the collective bargaining rights of non-protective public employees.
“I am extremely proud of the way NWTC handled this,” Rafn said. “We’ve made some significant changes and we are still in the process of making additional changes.
“We’re actually moving from a compensation structure that focused on years of service and what degrees you hold to one that’s focused entirely on performance. We’ve dona market analysis of every single position we have and have simplified the compensation structure.”
Rafn said he sympathizes with employees, who have had to make sacrifices, including paying more for their health insurance.
“It’s a huge cultural change for people who have had pay increases determined on the basis of years of service and education,” he said. “It can create and does create a lot of anxiety.
“We have eliminated seniority as a criteria to gain promotion or a different job. Our employees have stood by us the whole way. They have still remained focused on the No. 1 thing – the success of our students.”
“We can be proud of our faculty,” said Laurie Davidson, who represents Marinette County on the NWTC District Board and who accompanied Rafn to Tuesdays’ meeting. “Despite the union thing they have stuck with us.
“They are accepting change gracefully. They are working with us and their attitudes have been great.”
Davidson thanked the county board for appointing her to be an NWTC trustee, the first time in 1991.
She said she is proud to be affiliated with NWTC, which Rafn earlier said has more than 7,300 full-time students and serves about 45,000 people every year.
He said for the last two years NWTC has been rated in the top two percent of community colleges in the nation in terms of student success and predicted “one of these days we’re going to be No. 1.”
“Education really does change people’s lives, it changes their economics, it changes their self-esteem and their job satisfaction,” Davidson said. “I could go on and on. It’s really been a privilege to watch all of this work with education professionals.”
February 27, 2013
From wispolitics.com: “Mobile lab lets Lakeshore Technical College bring skills training to students across Northeastern Wisconsin” – CLEVELAND – During a visit this morning to commemorate Lakeshore Technical College’s (LTC) new mobile manufacturing training lab, Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch commended the projects’ partners for efforts to connect Wisconsinites from across the region with skills training for jobs that are in demand.
“There are opportunities now to develop skills that we know manufacturers are seeking,” Lt. Governor Kleefisch said. “Communities across Northeastern Wisconsin will reap the economic benefits thanks to approaches like this new mobile training lab to address the skills gap and prepare individuals for good-paying jobs in today’s labor market.”
Lt. Governor Kleefisch joined Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Reggie Newson, Department of Corrections (DOC) Executive Assistant Dennis Schuh, leaders from LTC and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), and private-sector partners to celebrate the completion of the new mobile manufacturing training lab.
The lab, modeled after a similar lab that NWTC and the Bay Area Workforce Development Board jointly launched in 2011, will travel to local high schools in the LTC district to provide on-site training in advanced manufacturing. The training will provide students instruction in industrial maintenance, programmable logic controls, and other components. Students will be able to complete a 5-credit technical college course that can be applied to LTC’s electro-mechanical technology program.
In addition to schools, the lab will also travel to DOC adult institutions in the region to help inmates learn marketable skills that will help them successfully pursue good-paying jobs upon their transition from prison back into the community. The vast majority of prison inmates will complete their prison sentences and one day return to the community. Successful employment is a key factor to help reduce recidivism.
The lab was developed as a partnership between DWD, DOC, Lakeshore and Northeast Wisconsin Technical Colleges, and several partners in the private sector, including Rockwell Automation, Curt G. Joa, Inc., and Plenco.
DOC Secretary Ed Wall said: “We are pleased to partner with Lakeshore Technical College on their mobile lab unit. The lab will give inmates the chance to learn skills that will help them get a job in the community. This partnership provides opportunities for offenders to change their behavior and make Wisconsin a safer place.”
DWD Secretary Newson said the training lab is reflective of the innovative approaches that DWD is taking under Governor Scott Walker’s leadership to address the skills gap and prepare Wisconsin residents for the modern workforce.
The “Wisconsin Fast Forward” bill (AB 14 / SB 23), which Governor Walker wants fast-tracked through the Legislature, would fund the development of a cutting-edge labor market information system, $15 million in worker training grants to be administered by DWD, and 4 positions in an Office of Skills Development to be created at DWD. The legislation is part of a larger $100 million investment in Wisconsin’s workforce that Governor Walker has proposed over the coming biennium.
“Governor Walker has committed significant resources to develop our state’s workforce and provide flexible resources to private-sector job creators,” said DWD Secretary Newson. “DWD and Wisconsin’s technical colleges are close partners in connecting Wisconsin job seekers to training opportunities and, ultimately, good-paying jobs in the private sector. This mobile lab is one more innovation that will empower job seekers to transition into good-paying jobs that promote independence and will help them pursue their dreams.”