March 6, 2014
From ccdaily.com: “Making success part of college culture” – Editor’s note: This article continues a series profiling nominees of the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) 2014 Awards of Excellence. Featured this week are the four finalists in the category of student success. Winners in each of the six categories will be announced at the AACC Annual Convention next month.
At Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), student success is more than a concept – it’s a part of the culture. The college’s Dream…Learn It. Live It initiative ensures that student success is woven into every facet of the student experience.
Every employee at NWTC is responsible for finding ways to help students master their courses, remain in college and complete some kind of credential.
“For people who are willing to work and earn that credential, helping them succeed is both a smart policy and the right choice,” said NWTC President H. Jeffrey Rafn.
Program advisors work with students from application through graduation. Four-week courses allow students to concentrate on one subject at a time while maintaining full-time status. Supplemental learning with academic coaches and tutors is available for the most difficult courses. Struggling students are identified earlier and directed to the appropriate student services.
To help students struggling financially, college employees created a food pantry, a second-hand clothing store and an employee giving campaign on campus.
What the data show
The college also improved the quality of its data, allowing for more informed decision-making.
This transformation at NWTC wasn’t always easy or comfortable — systems and assumptions had to be changed — but college leaders, faculty and staff have found ways to turn challenges into triumphs.
“The business intelligence available to us has been significantly redesigned so that we can see what helps students succeed and where they may fall through the cracks,” said Matthew Petersen, associate dean for general studies at the college.
February 17, 2014
From postcrescent.com: “Algoma Wolf Tech takes real life into the classroom” – ALGOMA — Manufacturing has a home in Algoma. Precision Machine, Olson Fabrication, Algoma Hardwoods and WS Packaging Group are among companies that make things in the Kewaunee County community.
So, too, is Algoma Wolf Tech, a relatively new manufacturing company housed in the tech ed classrooms of Algoma High School.
“I pretty strongly believe that kids have to make something of substance to understand the process that goes into things,” said Nick Cochart, principal of the school since 2011 and godfather of Wolf Tech.
Eleva-Strum School District’s Cardinal Manufacturing south of Eau Claire, which started in 2007, established the model for in-school manufacturing. Wolf Tech followed suit, and Bay Link Manufacturing, a creation of the Green Bay School District, will launch in the fall.
Other schools are considering similar programs, said Mark Weber, dean of Trades & Engineering Technologies at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, which is assisting many schools in establishing manufacturing-related programs.
Wolf Tech is not a seat-of-the-pants, we’ve got a saw and a few welders affair. Its equipment includes two CNC milling machines, a CNC wood router, state-of-the-art table saws and, later this month, a CNC lathe.
“We are not making widgets. We are making stuff in industry that people are using every day,” Cochart said.
Algoma School District invested more than $250,000 in Wolf Tech and tech ed, but it’s not alone in supporting the program. The CNC metal lathe is courtesy of NWTC. Algoma, which is a certified Haas Automation Inc. technical training center, will provide its facilities for public classes in CNC training and in return get the $70,000 lathe free of charge.
“Those machines have opened the door to so many things,” Cochart said.
Working with their hands
Sophomore Austin Stoller, 15, is hoping the lathe will open the door to a career as a gunsmith. He’s also fond of welding.
“I like working with my hands and making stuff. I don’t like sitting in a classroom all day,” Stoller said. “It’s just not my thing.”
Stoller is the kind of student that the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance and, increasingly, educators are trying to accommodate by providing options to a four-year college degree.
“There are so many opportunities for kids now,” Cochart said. “If they just follow their passion, there’s not just good jobs, there’s great jobs.”
Tech ed instructors Matt Abel and Russ Nockerts can teach students how to operate the machines, but that’s not really the point.
“I try to teach kids useful employability skills,” Abel said. “It’s not running a machine. It’s how is this going to affect the consumer? How’s this going to affect people down the chain?”
That’s an approach seconded and abetted by Jamie Spitzer, owner of Precision Machine, to say nothing of most manufacturing employers. It’s the so-called soft skills — problem solving, communications, teamwork, high-quality work — that employers are looking for.
“We are actually asking you to contribute. We are asking you to use your mind more and your back less,” Spitzer said. “It’s crazy how you can hire someone for their hard skills, but most likely fire them for their soft skills.”
Algoma High School and Precision Machine were each honored last fall during N.E.W. Manufacturing Alliance’s Excellence in Manufacturing/K-12 Partnership Awards. The school and the company work closely. The goal is to produce employable manufacturing workers, of course, but it’s also about students’ aspirations.
“I was one of those kids at one time,” Spitzer said. “Not everyone wants to go to a four-year school and it’s a great thing when kids can do things with their hands.”
Work has to be perfect
Precision Machine serves clients in the aerospace and timber industries, among others, and has contracted Wolf Tech for parts. They are basic pieces, but require a professional level of quality. If the product doesn’t measure up, someone from Precision Machine makes the trek around the block to the high school to explain why.
“It’s got to be perfect,” Nockerts said.
The students have to deal directly with customers, which Cochart said provides a learning moment, again, focused on those soft skills.
Abel and Nockerts are nontraditional teachers in that they have business backgrounds. Able has a degree in construction management from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville.
“They have to have skills sets that can cut across multiple disciplines,” Cochart said. “I think they have some of the most engaging classroom activities.”
About 70 of Algoma’s 250 students are in tech ed classes. Of those, 15 are in Wolf Tech, which requires after-school participation.
“My core group are sophomores right now. From that group, it’s grown,” Able said. “They talk to their friends; ‘Hey, this is cool stuff.’ I have kids who just want to be down here. They don’t even have a class.”
Students ‘actually learning’
Cochart said what they are doing requires a different approach to teaching. Abel said it may seem like chaos at times, though it’s not.
“Each student is on a different path,” Abel said. “Everybody is working at their own speed, trying something out and actually learning.”
Other teachers are getting involved as well, Abel said.
“Our core teachers are realizing how it relates and, for example, bringing the math into here,” he said. “In machining, we use a lot of trigonometry and some students can’t even pass algebra. They don’t even know they are doing it.”
Wolf Tech is one or two customers away from being self-sustaining, Cochart said.
Among its customers is Algoma Long-Term Care nursing home, for which it is providing new cabinets. Junior Kevin Sperber, 17, designed them and CTI Hospitality of Algoma manufactured the pieces.
“This is actually going to be used by people every day,” Sperber said, explaining what sets the project apart from traditional “shop.”
Sperber is interested in design or engineering as a career. He expects to attend NWTC, but is undecided about whether to get a four-year degree.
“I was a little interested my freshman year. I had no idea what I was going to go into, then I got interested in all of this,” he said.
There are immediate benefits, including college credits while still in high school.
“For the past two years, Precision Machine pretty much offered jobs to anyone on the machining side,” Able said.
The goal is for Wolf Tech to be a completely student-run business, from front office to factory floor. Getting students to run the machines has been the easy part, so far, but manufacturing includes jobs well beyond the factory floor. Abel said Wolf Tech needs accountants, salespeople and more.
“When we started this, I said we are four years out from hitting full stride,” Cochart said. “Some of our most talented kids are freshmen and sophomores. I’d love to see a kid start his own business within a business. I think it’s right there.”
January 23, 2014
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Baldwin: Clean energy bill would aid schools, employers” – Passage of a Senate bill aimed at bolstering education and training for students who want to work in clean-energy jobs would benefit schools and factories in Northeastern Wisconsin, the bill’s sponsor said Wednesday in Green Bay.
U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., said her proposal would help create good-paying jobs in a growing industry, while supporting technical colleges that offer coursework that prepares students for “green energy” careers. The Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation Act, or GREEN, was introduced last week and calls for about $100 million in spending.
“The idea is to make some very prudent, very targeted investments in an area that’s growing … faster than the economy overall,” she said.
The senator met with educators and some students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s Great Lakes Energy Education Center as part of a statewide tour to tout her bill, introduced last week. NWTC offers programs that prepare students for energy jobs, and is increasing the percentage of its energy supply that comes from green sources.
Scott Liddicott, who teaches energy-management classes at Green Bay Southwest High School, said it’s exciting to hear support for energy education at the federal level.
“It’s so easy to get students and teachers interested in this,” he said. “It’s a compelling and dynamic field. The energy business is really important stuff.”
Baldwin’s bill would allocate grant money for programs that prepare students for jobs, or to attend post-secondary schools. Her office said clean-energy jobs pay about 13 percent better than the average job in the U.S., and the field is growing nearly twice the rate of the national economy.
A hospital in western Wisconsin, she told educators, “completely redid its energy systems” to emphasize green power, and as a result was able to save patients money and avoid staff cuts.
A number of Wisconsin technical college leaders, including NWTC President H. Jeffrey Rafn and Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna K. Foy, have expressed support for the bill. NWTC partners with area school districts, including ones in De Pere and Sturgeon Bay, to deliver energy education, said Amy Kox, the college’s associate dean for energy and sustainability.
A bill similar to Baldwin’s was introduced in the House of Representatives in June and remains in committee, according to govtrack.us, which tracks federal legislation. The bill, by California Democrat Jerry McNerney, also would spend $100 million to develop career and technical education programs, and facilities in the renewable energy field.
Baldwin Wednesday also visited Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, and Milwaukee Area Technical College. She is slated to visit Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids today.
January 13, 2014
From fox11online.com: “A tour of NWTC’s new expansion” — GREEN BAY — More and more people are looking to preventative and in-home care as the American population continues to age.
A new expansion at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is helping nursing students be better prepared for the changes.
The 13,000 sq. ft. expansion includes three new learning labs — a wellness lab, a caregiver learning center and a simulation lab.
Nursing student Chris Krzewina said the simulation lab is one of the best ways for NWTC students to get experience in patient care.
“It’s a really safe environment,” said Krzewina. “I mean, we don’t have to worry about anyone full-out crashing on us.”
In the lab, students can practice their skills on life-like mannequins that are controlled by instructors. The mannequins have a pulse, and can breathe and even talk to them.
“Now we’re just going to be taking your blood pressure on your arm, OK?” Krzewina asked the mannequin. “Ok, the instructor replied as the voice of the mannequin.
The technology allows instructors to help prepare students for any type of real-life scenario.
“We can use the rare conditions in simulation, something that the students would not typically experience and give them that experience as well,” said Jeff Matzke, a nursing instructor at NWTC.
Students studying in the new wellness lab will learn theory and practice patient coaching techniques that focus on preventative care, something educators say is becoming more popular in the U.S.
“When we talk about cost of health care, which is on a lot of people’s minds these days, prevention is really the best cost,” said Scott Anderson, associate dean of Health Sciences at NWTC. “So how do we keep people out of the health care system? We do that through behavior change and lifestyle change.”
As the population continues to age, student will have to be prepared for another growing trend, in-home care.
“We have our whole kitchen here, or our whole apartment set up here, so that our students will incur some barriers because then we can teach them here in the classroom how to work with those barriers,” said Cindy Theys, associate dean of Health Sciences. “So by the time they get out to someone’s home, they’re going to have tips and tricks to know how to better care for those people in their home.”
No matter kind of patient care students choose to focus on, educators and students said the new learning labs helps give them the hands-on experience they’ll need to succeed.
The total cost for the new expansion was $3.5 million. Gifts from donors covered about $1.1 million.
January 7, 2014
From fox11online.com: “NWTC unveils Health Sciences Center expansion” – GREEN BAY – The future of training health care givers is looking a little brighter at an area college.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College unveiled its 13,000 square foot expansion Monday to its Health Sciences Center.
The expansion includes three new learning labs, a wellness lab, a simulation center, and caregiver learning center.
NWTC’s health services dean says the addition means more learning for students.
“Now with this expansion we’re capable of providing more opportunities for our students,” said Kay Tupala.
“We have an incredible workforce, trained, motivated, interested in improving the care that we’re giving, working together very well with one another,” said George Kerwin, president and CEO of Bellin Health.
The expansion cost about $3.5 million. It was made possible through business partners and community support.
December 26, 2013
From fox11online.com: “NWTC set to offer student housing” – GREEN BAY – Expanding the college experience is what Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is looking to do by offering students on-campus housing.
A privately-owned and operated dorm is in the works to be built and ready for students in the fall of 2015.
After more than a century of educating students, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is taking the first steps to house students on campus as well.
Plans are set to break ground next year on the college’s first dormitory.
“The scope and the depth and the breadth of the college has changed so much in 100 years, it seems to be the next evolution of what the technical college can offer the community,” said Karen Smits, NWTC vice president of college advancement.
Smits says the college entered into a deal with DeLeers Construction which will build and own the student housing building. DeLeers purchased this private land on the east side of campus and will pay to build and manage the four-story, 216-bed facility. It won’t cost NWTC or taxpayers anything.
“It’s not like the dorm when I went to college. These are apartments where students will share common rooms and each have their own bedroom,” said Smits.
The concept of housing at smaller community colleges is growing in demand according to Smits. Last year UW-Fox Valley expanded to offer student housing for the first time near its Menasha campus through a private company.
“This is a public venture, but we are here to help and support that, but it is definitely the developers that are in complete control of all the housing issues,” said Carla Rabe, UW-Fox Valley assistant dean in January 2012.
An NWTC survey last year found students wanted the option of student housing to help round out their college experience.
More than 40,000 student take classes at NWTC, 7,600 are full time students. So a dorm accommodating 200 is expected to fill up. Could there be more dorms in the future? College officials say don’t rule it out.
December 23, 2013
From nwtc.edu: “NWTC named Top Military Friendly College” – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has been named a Top Military-Friendly College by Military Advanced Education (MAE). MAE’s 2014 Guide to Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities provides potential students with information about institutions that go out of their way to give back to our men and women in uniform. NWTC is one of only two Wisconsin Technical College System schools to receive the distinction this year.
Colleges and universities were considered for the top military-friendly designation based on a comprehensive survey of their military culture, available financial assistance, flexibility, online support and support on-campus.
“Our staff used strict criteria to evaluate the submissions of the respondents, and we had a record number of schools participating this year,” said Kelly Fodel, MAE editor.
The selection reflects a long history of NWTC’s work with service-members that dates back to training radio operators and truck drivers in World War I, and continues to this day.
“We strive to create a supportive environment at NWTC with the needs of our veteran and active-duty student population in mind,” said NWTC President Dr. H. Jeffrey Rafn.
“With a full-time veterans advisor and trained support staff, an active student veterans club and our many other on-campus resources, NWTC has shown a commitment to helping those who protect us achieve their career goals.”
December 23, 2013
From host.madison.com: “Northeast Wisconsin Technical College plays key role for Marinette Marine” – MARINETTE – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is playing a key role in preparing workers for the Marinette Marine shipyard.
The school operates the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Training Center, where workers are taught a variety of skills including welding and electrical work, as well as leadership, communications and conflict resolution skills. In the last two years, more than 1,800 students have gone through the training center.
The facility is within walking distance of the shipyard and includes computer labs, classrooms and shops, one filled with welding booths, another with electrical components like those used on the littoral combat ship (LCS). There are also programs for pipe fitters and metal fabricators.
“We were written right into the LCS contract because they needed to show that they had the ability to train thousands of people,” said Brian Lancour, coordinator of the training center. “We’ve become experts on the shipyard.”
Aaron Short, 26, a native of Escanaba, Mich., had been working as a welder at Miller Tractor Supply in Green Bay and in June applied to work at the shipyard. He started in October and began welding training at NWTC. He makes $16.50 an hour compared to the $11.50 he was making at Miller. But he’s also in a more physically demanding job, performing welding tasks while on his knees, crouched down or in some cases using mirrors to weld in tight spots.
“It’s nothing like I’ve ever done before,” said Short, who will soon be married. “It’s definitely testing my skills and getting me better at a lot of things.”
Wade Smoot, 41, of Madison, is a Lancaster High School graduate who most recently was an iron worker for a Stoughton company that did work on Camp Randall and at Epic Systems in Verona. He was attracted to the shipyard by the pay, benefits and community.
“I just wanted something different and this is really neat to build ships,” said Smoot, who was learning how to weld aluminum.
December 18, 2013
From fox6now.com: “Packers Foundation awards $500K to civic and charitable groups” – The Green Bay Packers Foundation on Tuesday, December 17th awarded $500,000 to 188 civic and charitable groups throughout the state of Wisconsin in its annual distribution of grants.
Charlie Lieb, chairman of the Foundation committee, made the announcement.
Overall, including a recent $250,000 major gift to the UW-Green Bay Scholarship Fund, $750,000 was awarded this year.
Both the total donation amount and the number of recipient organizations are records for the Foundation.
The groups were guests at a luncheon in the Lambeau Field Atrium, an event that welcomed all the recipients and honored the outstanding efforts and services performed by each of the organizations.
The Foundation now has distributed more than $3.7 million for charitable purposes since it was established in 1986 by Judge Robert J. Parins, then president of the Packers Corporation, “as a vehicle to assure continued contributions to charity.”
Of the Foundation’s contributions Tuesday, 53 grants – aggregating $142,050 – were awarded to Brown County organizations. Additional grants, totaling $357,950, were made to 135 other groups around the state.
Additionally, under the Packers Scholarship Program established in 2002, $15,000 was awarded – $7,500 to Scholarships Inc., for distribution to students in four-year colleges, and $7,500 to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) for distribution to students in two-year associate degree or apprenticeship trades programs.
A portion of the scholarship funds come from National Football League Properties which, at the Packers’ request, returns to the Foundation royalty fees paid for using the Packers logo on Wisconsin automobile license plates.
Because the royalties do not fully cover the scholarships, the Green Bay Packers fund the remainder of the amount, a figure which totals $89,000 since 2006.
In the past year, the Packers Foundation also has distributed an additional $57,375 on behalf of National Football League Foundation – $20,000 in “Community Quarterback” awards to civic leaders for contributions to the community, $12,375 in the NFL’s “Coach of the Week” program, which honors successful Wisconsin high school coaches on a weekly basis throughout the season, $20,000 through the “Hometown Huddle/Youth Fitness Zone” program and $5,000 for the NFL National Partnership Grant focusing on efforts related to the military.
In addition, a $250,000 Matching Youth Football Field Grant was received and was awarded to the Ashwaubenon School District for the redevelopment of the Ashwaubenon High School football stadium and practice fields.
“We’re honored to congratulate and thank this year’s recipients for their excellent work in our communities,” Packers President/CEO Mark Murphy said at the event. “Their efforts inspire us and truly provide a positive impact.”
The Green Bay Packers Foundation Trustees include, in addition to Lieb, Tom Arndt, Rick Chernick, Valerie Daniels-Carter, Ricardo Diaz, Terry Fulwiler, Jerry Ganoni, Mark McMullen, Tom Olson and Hon. John Zakowski. Bobbi Jo Eisenreich is the secretary of the Foundation.
The grants and other programs highlighted Tuesday are two components of the Packers’ efforts in the community. The Packers’ community outreach department responded to more than 10,000 requests from organizations and individuals in 2013 with donated autographed items for fund-raising efforts that raised more than $3 million.
These efforts, combined with direct cash donations by the Packers to various charity endeavors, resulted in a comprehensive Packers charity impact in excess of $6 million in the past year.
December 16, 2013
From wisconsinrapidstribune.com: “Tech schools prepared for changes in GED tests” – WISCONSIN RAPIDS — Mid-State Technical Colleges in central Wisconsin doubled the number of offerings of tests for General Equivalency Diplomas in preparation for changes taking effect Jan. 2.
Those seeking to obtain their GEDs were encouraged to try to complete the process before the changes took hold. Tests often were offered on a weekly basis at the three technical colleges, and Portage and Adams County jails. The main test site is at the Wisconsin Rapids campus; test examiners travel to other sites.
“We started the push, really, about September last year, so we’ve been at this for over a year to try and get people to finish up,” said Jo-Ellen Fairbanks-Schutz, MSTC associate dean of general education for the colleges. “We had an increase of over a couple hundred tests, previous to our big push.”
Last year, more than 1,000 tests were taken between all the test locations; since July, 402 tests were taken, Fairbanks-Schutz said.
“There were some areas of the state that saw a very marked increase in demand for GED testing,” Fairbanks-Schutz said. “While we saw an increase, it wasn’t as dramatic as some areas of the state. Madison and Milwaukee were just bursting at the seams; we were able to handle the demand with extra seats available.”
There are a few changes, but there are two major ones — the test will only be available on computer, and the 2002 test series will be replaced with the 2014 series, Fairbanks-Schutz said.
“Historically, it’s always been a pen and paper test,” she said.
The 2002 test series had five components: reading, writing, math, science and social studies. The new series will not include the writing component; that will be dispersed into the other four areas. The new structure is based on the Common Core standards and college and career readiness standards, Fairbanks-Schutz said.
“The downside of the changes was if a candidate started testing in the 2002 series, and did not complete or pass the test, those tests cannot be rolled over,” Fairbanks-Schutz said.
The testing is somewhat time-consuming, and advisers often recommend candidates break up the testing cycle, Fairbanks-Schutzs said. Each component takes at least an hour to complete.
The college has a plan for candidates who are not computer literate. The institution has invested in NEO 2 from Renaissance Learning, which comes with a keyboarding program.
“We’ll start the students just learning the basic keyboarding skills while studying the content to get ready for the test,” Fairbanks-Schutz said. “We have another software program that we bought that looks just like the (new) GED and it specifically goes over the computer skills (candidates) are going to need to be able to take the test.
“We’re trying to get it from multiple angles, depending on the skill of the students, to give them multiple options.”
The college’s Academic Success Center also offers preparation resources for students.
The cost for testing also has changed. The 2002 series was $120 for all five tests; the new test will cost $33.75 for each component or $135 total. Retesting is available at $30 a test.
Candidates also have to wait 30 days before retaking the test, so anyone taking a test in December and not succeeding will have to take the test under the new system. The last test dates in Wisconsin were Dec. 5 for the writing test and Dec. 13 for all other tests. The official tests are not available online, according to the MSTC website.
Wisconsin test centers offering computer-based testing include Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College and Gateway Technical College, according the the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction website.
December 13, 2013
From huffingtonpost.com: “Community Colleges and the Manufacturing Sector” – For decades the manufacturing sector provided jobs with good wages. Today, however, the Manufacturing Institute states that 82% of manufacturers report a moderate or serious skills gap in skilled production, and 74% of manufacturers report that the skills gap has hurt their company’s ability to expand operations.
But what is most alarming is that an estimated 2.7 million U.S. manufacturing employees, nearly a fourth of the total, are 55 or over. According to a 2010 article in The Financial Times, 40% of Boeing workers, and nearly half of Rockwell Collins’ workers will be eligible for retirement by 2016. We cannot afford to have these jobs shipped overseas because we don’t have the skilled workers to fill them.
The Manufacturing Institute was one of the first organizations to address the lack of skilled workers. The Institute launched the NAM-Endorsed Skills Certification System to address the skills gap challenge and to promote a renaissance of manufacturing education across the country. What this system does is provide a set of the industry-recognized credentials that workers need to be successful in entry-level positions in any manufacturing environment.
Community colleges were among the first to embrace these new standards by creating certification programs that train students for jobs as varied as the manufacturing of orthopedic devices to repairing wind turbines. Local manufacturers began reaching out to community colleges asking them to train their future workforce. Often these students were displaced workers or had lost their jobs through outsourcing. This cohort, many over the age of 50, presented a new challenge – how to train students who hadn’t been a classroom for more than 20 years.
Partnerships between community colleges and manufacturing companies have been remarkably successful largely because they have been in the forefront of providing customized training that leads directly to a well-paying job.
For example, Siemens developed the Design Technology Program associate degree at Iowa Western Community College, providing students with the skills to “effectively translate ideas from inventors, engineers, planner and designers into visual graphic form.”
Connecticut Community College’s College of Technology developed the Regional Center for Next Generation Manufacturing, which places educators with advanced manufacturing companies for 4 week externships. These instructors received hands-on training that they then brought back to the classroom.
When St. Louis lost 10,000 jobs in the auto industry, St. Louis Community College offered training in new technologies that enabled many of the displaced workers to get jobs at Boeing assembling jets.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College worked with the North Coast Marine Manufacturing Alliance to train skilled workers capable of producing the best ships in the world. One of the member companies was awarded a contract to build 10 Littoral Combat ships for the U.S. Navy. This contract created 1,000 news jobs, jobs that might not have come to Wisconsin if there weren’t trained workers waiting to fill them.
As the former CEO of Delco Remy International, a manufacturing company, I know first hand how vital it is to have a highly-skilled workforce. Indiana is a leader in manufacturing, and Ivy Tech, its community college system, works closely with corporations like Cummings to ensure we are providing our students with the training they need to fill jobs in the manufacturing sector. These jobs pay an average of $45,000 a year and offer opportunity for advancement.
In January, we will launch a unique academic-industry-blended 75 hour co-op Advanced Manufacturing degree program. Our students will gain valuable on-the-job experience with some of Indiana’s top manufacturing and logistics companies, working as interns two days a week. Upon graduation, they will have received training in the most current and relevant industry technology as well as having real world experience. Our goal is to have them work for the companies where they interned.
Through the generosity of Alcoa Foundation, we also recently launched “Get Skills to Work,” a program that provides free manufacturing training for veterans. Graduates will receive interviews with area manufacturers through the Tri-State Manufacturers’ Alliance. The Get Skills to Work coalition includes more than 500 manufacturers and focuses on training for veterans, translating the skills they learned in the military into manufacturing careers.
Flexibility, vision and commitment are all-important factors in working with the nation’s manufacturers. Community colleges are in the vanguard of insuring that well-paying manufacturing jobs are not shipped overseas but stay in the community.
December 11, 2013
From wbay.com: “NWTC students send care packages to service members” – A group of students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College spent Tuesday creating care packages for deployed service members.
It’s part of a project designed to bring a smile to those service members’ faces.
George Wehausen, president of the veterans club at NWTC knows what it’s like to get a care package while being deployed.
“I was overseas in the late 90s. I always enjoyed getting care packages. Cookies, stuff we can’t get our hands on,” explained Wehausen.
That’s why he jumped at the chance to help supply chain management students with their service learning project “Patriot Smiles.
They collected items and are now turning into care packages for service members.
“We had three boxes here at the college and we had businesses and companies. We also had companies donate money,” said student Nathan Whiting.
The students collected a variety of items. Everything from footballs to snacks, based on the units’ wish lists in order to bring them a little piece of home.
“I think it’s good because they’re fighting for our country and they deserve something that makes them feel like they’re at home and not over there without their families,” added Whiting.
The care packages are just one part of the project.
Students from local elementary schools also wrote letters that will go in the packages.
Money was also raised to help children of deployed service members.
“That have a hard time dealing with there parents being gone. So, if they have lost a brother, sister, mom or dad to the war, we send these kids to camp,” said Wehausen.
The packages will go in the mail Tuesday.
December 9, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “NWTC offers mentors to minority students to help boost grad rates” – Maria Almanza is studying to be a medical assistant at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.
As a busy first-year college student, the 21-year-old mother of two said she appreciates the help of mentor Alana Dallas, who talks to her about her studies and navigating the community college campus.
They are part of a new Peer Mentor program designed to help minority students succeed in school. The new program, launched in October with help from a state grant, aims to increase success by offering a variety of academic, social and personal support.
“Not only does this program provide important support to keep students successful and in school, but it gives our student mentors a chance to give back,” said Gema Garcia, program coordinator. “These students have been there and they know what’s it’s like. They’re here to provide guidance to their fellow students to help them overcome any hurdles they might face.”
NWTC’s program has 10 mentors who are helping 20 students this semester. Mentors are students who have been in school for at least a semester. Mentors were chosen for their commitment and willingness to support students as they transition to college, Garcia said. They must meet grade-point average requirements and are fully trained.
Minority students lag a bit behind other students in terms of grades and graduation rates, noted Vickie Lock, dean of student success at NWTC.
In 2012-13 about 64,000 white students were enrolled at NWTC, and 82.46 percent of them received passing grades of A, B or C. The school had 8,200 minority students that year, and 74 percent of them had passing grades.
“That’s a 5.81 percent gap that we really want to close,” Lock said.
Minority students may fall behind because they did not take adequate courses in high school and often are the first in their families to attend college, so may lack home support, she said. They may be low-income, which means they have to work one or several jobs, she said.
“All of these are factors that lead to a harder time achieving,” Lock said.
Mentors can help by providing support families may not be able to provide, she said.
Blaire Xiong, a student in the administrative professional program and a peer mentor, said the mentor relationship is an opportunity to lead by example.
“We may have come from similar backgrounds as many of the mentees, “ Xiong said. “But because we’ve already been here and know what’s available, I think we can really help them succeed.”
The peer mentor program is part of a larger NWTC initiative focusing on helping more students graduate, Lock said.
Almanza’s mentor recently guided her through preparing a resume and cover letter for a class, she said. She plans to graduate in December 2014.
“The mentorship program … makes sure you have more self confidence. Once you are feeling confident, you start doing things better, in my opinion,” Almanza said.
Some minority students may struggle if English is not their first language, she said.
“Also, high school is easier,” said Almanza, who graduated from Green Bay’s East High School. “College can be pressure. If you have someone else to cheer for you and is there for you, it makes you more likely to be successful.”
Those in the program participate as along as they feel they need help. Lock hopes students who are being mentored eventually will become mentors.
“We are looking at, do they stay enrolled? Do they complete?” she said. “We’re also looking for some intangibles, such as, ‘Do students really feel connected to college? Are they reaching out to other students?’ I think those would be important pieces for us to see.”
December 9, 2013
From postcrescent.com: “Workers needed, but manufacturing healthy in region” - There is a lot of good manufacturing news in Northeastern Wisconsin, but long-term challenges remain.
Manufacturing companies report they are healthy, modernizing and expecting growth in sales in 2014. They also continue to struggle to find qualified workers, a problem that will remain critical as baby boomers retire and employers add new machines that require better-trained operators.
Those are the findings of the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance’s 2014 Manufacturing Vitality Index, released Friday during the annual NEW North Summit in Ashwaubenon.
Fifty-one percent of the surveyed companies reported increased sales in 2013 and 66 percent are expecting more increases next year. Fifty percent are planning plant modernization, as was the case last year, and three out of four expect to hire. But there’s the rub. Sixty percent report having difficulty finding qualified workers.
“The skills shortage hasn’t changed a dramatic amount year to year,” said Scott Kettler, general manager of Fox Cities manufacturing sites for Plexus Corp. and incoming president of the Manufacturing Alliance. “We see people are hiring and we have that growth. What the index says to me is we are not out-pacing our growth.”
The five most difficult-to-fill positions include machinist/CNC machinist, machine operator, truck driver, team assembler and engineering technician. Welders remain in the top 10, though progress has been made in this region in supplying them.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay is turning out 140 welding graduates a year, up from a handful five years ago. It also will train 100 CNC graduates this year and hopes to increase that to 130 next year, said Mark Weber, dean of training and engineering technologies at NWTC.
The Manufacturing Alliance was formed to get educators, students and parents thinking differently about manufacturing.
“I think that the tide has turned,” Weber said. “I’ve seen that in a relatively short time in the discussions I’ve had with K-12s. Before, you couldn’t get them to talk about manufacturing. Now they are calling us to talk about manufacturing.”
Manufacturing accounts for 23 percent of Northeastern Wisconsin’s jobs, and Wisconsin ranks second in the nation in with 19 percent of jobs in manufacturing.
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago’s “Industrial Cities Initiative” called Green Bay a “resurgent city.” It said the region had four areas that predict economic strength: leadership, regionalism, workforce development and economic development finance.
But the alliance report says long-term demographics are not favorable. Some companies are losing 10 percent or more of their workforce annually to retirement and more people turn 65 each year than turn 18.
A key to mitigating the problem is to get more people interested in manufacturing, Kettler said.
“We have to solve our own problem. We have to continue to work with the education system,” he said. “I want to continue to focus on working with our manufacturers to continue to get involved. Our focus needs to be on that 8-12 (grade) range and we need to turn parents’ minds around that manufacturing is a viable career.”
Many efforts are underway. Some companies are working directly with local high schools, such as Ariens Co. in Brillion and Precision Machine in Algoma. Others are sending workers into classrooms to talk about manufacturing, and NWTC, in collaboration with the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, is sending a classroom — it’s mobile CNC lab — to the students.
“It’s no one thing that’s helping. It’s all of those things; working with high schools, working with manufacturers themselves,” Weber said.
Kettler said companies are taking workers with lesser skills and trying to grow them internally.
“It’s slower and more expensive and it’s not hiring for the future as much,” he said.
The good news, though, shouldn’t be overlooked, he said. Ninety-two percent of companies said they expect to be healthier next year. Half are planning modernization projects in 2014, compared to 46 percent last year and 36 percent in 2012.
“We are seeing companies invest,” he said.
The survey was based on the telephone responses of 111 companies with $3 million or more in annual revenue and 25 or more employees. It had a 28 percent response rate and 95 percent level of confidence. It was conducted by the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh Business Success Center.
November 27, 2013
From whby.com: “Job Center helps company add jobs quickly” — Some state officials are celebrating a jobs success story in Appleton.
Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch stopped by Clean Power today.
Company president Jeffery Packee says a partnership with the Job Center of Wisconsin, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College helped his company hire new workers, quickly. He says they had to fill about 50 positions in just over two weeks, after they got a contract from Marinette Marine. Packee says the workers needed a variety of skills.
Packee says all of the jobs are full-time, and they’re now adding 34 more workers. He says Clean Power is using the job center again, to fill those positions.
November 18, 2013
From wbay.com: “NWTC mentoring program aims to boost minority graduation rates” – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College launches a new peer mentor program.
It’s aimed to improve the graduation rate for minority students.
It can be difficult for any first year student to navigate the first year of college, but some have a tougher time than others.
“We always hear the achievement gap, minority students are more affected,” said Gema Garcia, the program coordinator.
NWTC is trying to close that gap through a new, peer mentoring program.
A $15,000 grant allowed the tech college to hire ten mentors to work with minority students.
“Helping them advocate for themselves and eliminating some of the barriers they went through will truly impact their continuation of college,” explained Garcia.
“We touch base on how they’re doing in school, if they’re struggling in class. If they are, I would refer them to the resources that are available here,” added La Vue, a mentor.
The mentors meet with their mentee a few times a week based on their schedules.
So far, students say the program is helpful.
“To have someone who is similar in age that can relate to them, someone that can help them out. Someone that is more like a friend, but you have a professional level there instead of always having teachers come down on a student,” explained Esun Hudson, a mentee.
“I’m the oldest in my family, so I don’t really have anyone to advise me or anyone to go to and having someone my age that is willing to help me through the process is pretty encouraging,” added Laura Billagomez, another mentee.
Twenty-four students have applied to be paired with a mentor.
Several spots are still available.
Fox Valley Technical College has a similar program called “Brother to Brother”which is an initiative to increase graduation rates among male African American students.
November 15, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Colleges look for ways to raise funds, not taxes, tuition” – College leaders say that today’s economy forces them to think creatively about raising money.
Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s President Jeff Rafnis is looking for new ways to raise money that do not involve taxes or tuition. The school’s long-range plan, “The Future 2018 Statement of Strategic Directions,” cites a goal to generate $1 million a year.
Other local college administrators say they, too, look for ways to bring dollars that won’t impact students or taxpayers. Rafn said it’s in their best interests.
“The rationality is, as we continue to move forward, the pressure to keep taxes down and not to raise tuition will continue, so we need to look at ways to diversify,” he said. “We need to look for funding wherever we can. The question is, ‘Could we create a revenue stream we haven’t before? Let’s see if we can generate $1 million.’”
That’s about 1 percent of NWTC’s $108 million budget, for 2013-14.
The funding would be separate from money raised through the school’s charitable foundation, Rafn said. It could include things such as marketing curriculum school staff has developed or other intellectual property, he said.
For example, NWTC has created a system to collect information about student progress to help faculty and staff recognize red flags early, and such a system could be sold to other schools, Rafn suggested.
In another example, every Taser device instructor course or re-certification course goes through NWTC — so a police department may have its own trainer, but that trainer is trained through the community college. NWTC could look at selling training products, he said. The school is in the process of securing a patent on such a product staff created in the electromechanical field, which could someday be sold, Rafn said.
School staff also creates curriculum that could be bartered or sold, he said. Administrators need to explore policy and legal implications before moving forward, Rafn said.
“It’s really just a way of starting to look outside of the box,” Rafn said. “The main reason we’re doing all of this is to enhance education. We’re not putting money in anybody’s pocket, it is all to help students.”
The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has made similar efforts on a smaller scale, according to Dan McCollum, assistant vice chancellor for academic administration.
Nursing instructors have worked with several nursing groups and associations to create a computer application to replace paper manuals, he said. UW-Green Bay would receive a royalty for its participation.
It also has several programs that are self-supported, including its Environmental Management and Business Institute, which sells services to keep the department going, McCollum said.
St. Norbert College’s revenue enhancement task force meets every other month to discuss ways to raise money, said Amy Sorenson, chief of staff for President Thomas Kunkel.
The four-year private college in De Pere is in the process of trademarking its summer Girls Leadership and Development Camp, and Soreneson said the intention is to offer it to other organizations, especially educational groups.
Most external revenue, which excludes tuition or donations, comes from hosting conferences or special events such as wedding receptions, or renting out facilities, she said.
“I think with the rising cost of tuition, campuses need to look at these possibilities,” Sorenson said. “It’s very much on our radar.”
November 11, 2013
From shwanoleader.com: “NWTC’s 4×4 a vehicle for learning” – Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has developed an innovative way to help recent high school graduates transition to college life, and it is doing it one class at a time.
The Shawano campus is providing students ages 18-23 a different way to take courses. Instead of the traditional juggling of several classes that meet two or three times a week over a four-month period, students can now take courses through the “4X4” system, where they go to one class for four days a week over a four-week period, spending three hours each day learning one general studies subject.
For Dylan Kroening and Hunter Galleske, two of 35 participants in this year’s 4X4 program, the fast pace of the program is a big plus.
Kroening, a graduate of Bonduel High School, said he’s able to better grasp the knowledge in the 4X4 setting than he could dealing with several different subjects simultaneously during the semester.
“I feel like, when you go through a 15-week course, you’re going to get to a point where you’re just sick of it. They don’t want to sit there, week in and week out, and do all this homework,” Kroening said. “It’s nice to do it over those four weeks and be done with it.”
Galleske, a Shawano Community High School graduate, said the faster, more intense pace helps students retain more of the subject matter and develop a closer academic relationship with instructors.
“You kind of bond with the teachers more,” Galleske said. “I feel like that they get a better understanding of us. We know what to prepare for.”
The 4X4 program was piloted locally and at other campuses last year, according to Jeannie Jafolla, manager for the Shawano campus. Besides Shawano, NWTC is utilizing 4X4 in Luxemburg, Niagara, Oconto Falls and Marinette.
“About two years, we heard feedback from the high school counselors that high school grads wanted to be with students their own age,” Jafolla said. “At the time, we had a large population of dislocated workers, so to be with their parents in the classroom, it caused uncomfortableness.”
The pilot program, which had eight participants locally, looked at how focusing on one subject for a shorter period of time impacted learning, according to Jodi Tetting, the local campus 4X4 coordinator.
There have been marked results. The median grade-point average of students participating in 4X4 was 3.2, compared with 2.8 for the typical student in general studies, according to Tetting.
“Probably the biggest transition for them is they’re making the decisions themselves,” Tetting said. “When they hit college, they’re adults. Their parents really aren’t privy to their information; they have to answer questions themselves.”
While the grades are important, Jafolla said the program also focuses on soft skills — showing up to class, being on time and getting along with other people. She noted that local businesses have commented they struggle acquiring younger workers with those abilities.
“Some of these students didn’t even like each other in high school, and now they’re best friends because they have to be together for nine months in college,” Jafolla said, adding that the group in the pilot program still gets together from time to time.
Jen Johnson, a SCHS graduate, took part in last year’s pilot and found the format to be simpler than what she dealt with in high school.
“I took one class (at a time), and it was a done deal,” Johnson said. “It didn’t even feel really hard at all. You go in, you have fun and you learn something. I had trouble in high school, so I liked working on one class.”
The program seems to work better on smaller campuses, Jafolla said. NWTC piloted 4X4 on its main campus in Green Bay first and found it did not work as well there, prompting officials to look at tailoring it for regional learning centers.
“The idea was they would go to school for a year here and then transfer to a four-year university,” Jafolla said. “After a year, about half of them transferred, which is fine. They can either transfer or continue on with their two-year degree here.”
The 4X4 classes generally take place in the morning, which gives students the afternoon and evening to go to a job and/or engage in social activities, Jafolla said. She noted that the students who participate in 4X4 save about $10,000 in tuition, lodging and book fees by getting some of their general studies courses out of the way at NWTC the first year as opposed to enrolling at a four-year school.
Fancy Vele, who graduated from Gresham Community School in May, loves the program and hopes that more students will take advantage of it after high school.
“All the staff and the teachers are really helpful. They know all of our names, and it makes me feel really good that they take the time to say hello to you,” Vele said. “It’s a small facility here, which is really helpful. You’re not wandering around looking for your class and asking a bunch of people.”
Elizabeth Bartz, a psychology instructor for NWTC, said the 4X4 format allows teachers to spend more time on a subject than if the class met once or twice a week.
“We’re seeing each other for four days out of the week, so if something is going on, we can gauge them a little better,” Bartz said. “For four weeks, you’re getting pretty close.”
November 5, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Grants will help fill in-demand jobs” – OSHKOSH – Some local colleges are working together to addressed the supposed manufacturing skills gap.
Thanks to a grant, three new engineering technology degrees will help train students to fill in-demand jobs.
Educating engineers of the future is the goal behind three new engineering technology programs.
“This was brought to the universities to fill a need to have bachelor prepared engineering technologists,” said John Koker, UW-Oshkosh.
In a program that could start as early as the spring of 2014, students would enroll in one of three new technology degree programs in electrical, environmental and mechanical engineering. Students could do the first two years of the four-year program at any of the four Northeast Wisconsin technical colleges, seven UW System schools or the College of the Menominee Nation. The students would then have to enroll at UW-Oshkosh or UW-Green Bay for the final two years of the program.
“This is something we really want to provide for our students and we want to provide it in a convenient way, a really high quality program,” said Koker.
The collaboration between schools in Northeast Wisconsin began more than three years ago. The programs will bring students and employers together to work side by side in training the next generation of engineers. A $2 million grant from the UW System will help hire the faculty and provide the equipment and facilities.
“This individual can solve problems, help transform industries and create new opportunities to innovate. So it’s a very much hands-on, high-demand, high-quality degree here,” said Linda Bartelt, executive director at Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance.
“Then they take that broad based skill that they have learned at the university and they go to a company and they can be trained and learn the specific needs of that individual company,” said Koker.
To fill high tech jobs in in-demand fields.
The programs have been approved by the University of Wisconsin System and are expected to receive accreditation status in the next few weeks.
November 4, 2013
From fox11online.com: “NWTC architecture challenge gives back” – GREEN BAY – Students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College are making a difference in an unusual way. Call it food by design.
They took on a challenge, to be architects with the food items to be donated later to a campus food pantry.
The five teams, made up of architectural club members, had 24 hours to build their structures. They only saw their building materials right before the competition started.
Professional architects judged the masterpieces and the top three were awarded with a plaque that will hang in the school.
After the awards were given, the nonperishable food items were packed up and donated to Shared Harvest Food Cupboard.
“The biggest thing is that it’s a big contribution giving back to our community, giving back to people that are less fortunate than we are,” said Steve Gussert, president of the NWTC Architectural Club.
The pantry is for students that don’t have enough money to buy food.
November 4, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Thriving manufacturing sector shows it stuff at Expo” – The breadth and depth of Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector was on display at the Manufacturing First Expo & Conference.
Clintonville’s Specialized Products Ltd., Middleton’s Meridian Laboratory, Green Bay’s The Lake Companies and many others demonstrated why Wisconsin is the nation’s second-largest manufacturing state. More than 16 percent of the state’s economy is tied to manufacturing, and to hear business representatives tell it Thursday at the KI Convention Center in downtown Green Bay, business is good.
Gina Webster of Specialized Products said a statement that Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector grew 35 percent during the last four years seems right.
“That sounds pretty consistent with what we experienced,” she said. “This year has been down a little, but last year we had a fantastic year.”
The positive attitude among Wisconsin manufacturers also reflects a national trend. U.S. factory activity expanded in October at the fastest pace in 2½ years. Overseas demand and healthy U.S. auto sales appear to be supporting factory output. The housing recovery is also lifting the furniture and wood products industry despite a recent slowing in home sales.
The Institute for Supply Management’s manufacturing index for October rose to 56.4 from 56.2 in September. A reading above 50 indicates growth.
U.S. factory activity has now risen at an increasingly fast pace for five straight months, according to the ISM’s index. In October, a measure of new orders rose slightly. And a gauge of production fell but remained at a high level. Factories added jobs, though more slowly than in September.
Factories also expanded in Europe this month, though at a slightly slower pace, according to surveys in that region. Manufacturing indexes have all picked up in China, Japan, and South Korea.
The overseas strength is boosting demand for U.S. factories. A measure of export orders jumped to its highest level in nearly a year and a half in October, the ISM report said.
Meridian Laboratory in Middleton is representative of many small Wisconsin businesses that do precision work for global distribution. A quarter of its rotary-electrical products go to Korea and 20 percent to Japan. It has a growing presence in China, and the rest goes to customers throughout the United States. The company has 11 employees. Most of them have been with the company for 20 years or more.
The company’s willingness to do small precision orders fills a niche, said Sven Krause, new business development manager.
“We are small, specialized and specific,” he said.
Specialized of Clintonville specializes in wire-harness assembly, electromechanical assemblies, soldering, mold production and prototyping, among other things. The company has 130 employees.
“Probably our biggest problem is we’ve grown so fast in 20 years,” Webster said.
For The Lake Companies, the challenge is finding workers with Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software and manufacturing experience. The software services vendor has 35 employees.
“We have always been challenged at that,” said Karen Sikorski, senior account manager.
One solution has been to hire former employees of customers — they don’t go after current workers — or find people with ERP experience in other industries.
Sikorski said a number of their customers are expanding, adding either work areas or employees.
Creating new manufacturing workers was one theme of Thursday’s event. Northeast Wisconsin Technical College of Green Bay and Lakeshore Technical College of Cleveland were on-site with mobile training labs, and groups of high school students toured the exhibit hall, which had more than 130 vendors.
The mobile labs allow the college to expose high school students to up-to-date equipment.
“As you drive down to the high school level, the biggest challenge you have is facilities,” said Peter Thillman, dean of workforce and economic development at Lakeshore. “That’s the big thing, to get the equipment in their hands.”
Kevin Grabian, instructor for NWTC, said jobs are available to those who want and prepare for them.
“You can come out of TC with an electromechanical degree and have your pick,” he said. “You can’t be just an electrical guy or just a mechanical guy. They want both.”
The expo was sponsored by First Business Bank-Northeast, Insight magazine and NEW Manufacturing Alliance.
October 30, 2013
From wbay.com: “Students, construction industry partner to build for the future” – Green Bay - A Green Bay non-profit group tasked with renovating and rehabbing run-down homes and neighborhoods is setting to work on a new mission, partnering with a crew you’d least expect.
At first glance, it looks like just another construction project — a garage being built behind a century-old home.
Look closer, and you’ll see the crew is far younger than most, consisting solely of juniors and seniors at Green Bay West and Southwest High Schools.
“We’ve learned how to put up the walls, rafters and headers and kind of just how it starts out,” says Southwest High School senior Xavier Massey.
It’s the result of a new partnership among the Green Bay Public School District, the Brown County Homebuilders Association, NeighborWorks Green Bay and NWTC to not only rehab a blighted property but help students focus on their futures.
“What we’re trying to achieve is give the students a clear path to the construction industry,” says Tim Denissen, NeighborWorks Green Bay project manager.
“Brown County Homebuilders was a big part of that, because there was a need for skilled laborers in the construction trades, and they really wanted to start a program like this at Green Bay Southwest and West,” says Kyle Wagner, residential construction program teacher at Green Bay West High School.
Under supervision from an experienced instructor and local contractors, the nine students are doing nearly all the work, building a new garage and renovating the foreclosure in the 300 block of Oakland Avenue back into the gem it was when built in the late 1800s.
“This home was in serious, serious trouble, but when we’re done with this, it’ll be another housing option for people in the neighborhood,” says Denissen.
And the students like knowing they’re work is making a difference.
“This is my first time actually noticing this house, but it’ll be cool when it’s all done. We can drive past and know the people that actually live here,” says West High School junior Katie Clark.
“It’ll be nice to know that I actually helped and made my community better,” adds Massey.
The students will finish the project in January.
NeighborWorks will then take over and rent out the two-family home.
October 29, 2013
From host.madison.com: “Green Bay tech students get high — we’re talking five stories — for class photo” – Class picture day for most requires combs, nonclashing outfits and an aptitude for synchronized smiling. Then there’s the electrical power distribution class at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.
Their picture day required hard hats, reflective vests, harnesses and spiked climbing boots. Leave your acrophobia at home.
Last Tuesday the group of 21 students plus instructor Dan Scheider and an aide shimmied up two telephone poles, installed some extra scaffolding, stood on horizontal bars that connect the poles and waited for the camera to click.
For them, hanging out more than five stories above ground is ho-hum.
“The guys are just fearless,” said Casey Fryda, school spokeswoman. “They were having a ball.”
Not so for the photographer. Taking the photo required Fryda rising to their level in a cherry picker. She had never been in a cherry picker. She was leery despite assurances it was a particularly safe cherry picker.
“I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t cut it in this program,” she said.
But Fryda rose to the challenge and snapped a photo quickly embraced by Facebook. It calls to mind the “Lunch Atop a Skyscraper” photo of eight decades ago, in which workers sat eating lunch on a construction beam high above New York City looking nonchalant despite the altitude.
Fryda said the idea for the photo came to draw attention to the nine-month diploma program, the only one of its kind for utility-line workers in the state and one of a handful nationally.
It started in 1987 and provides nearly guaranteed employment after graduation as long as students are all right heading anywhere in the country — some get jobs close, some far — and don’t mind working in all weather at high altitude.
“You really can’t be afraid of heights and succeed in this industry,” Fryda said. “You either can do it or you can’t. You can’t fudge.”
Different students in the program had photos snapped in August of them tossing a football around while harnessed to telephone poles high above ground. The students reportedly completed a high percentage of passes from the heights, attracting the attention of utility companies and the Minnesota Vikings.
October 25, 2013
From wbay.com: “NWTC proposes to build first on campus student housing” – Green Bay -Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is looking to expand. The school and developer explain what could be a first for the Green Bay campus.
“There will be a workout facility. There will be a study area. There will be an area where (they) can even all commune and watch Packer games,” said Jim DeLeers of DeLeers Construction in De Pere.
DeLeers is developing NWTC’s first on campus housing. He showed us preliminary drawings of the four-story, privately funded and managed facility.
“There will be 100 units, approximately 200 beds in the facility, the design itself, the colors, and the brick and mortar’s design is designed specifically not to look like traditional apartment style housing,” says DeLeers.
It’s proposed to be located on the southeast corner of the campus.
College leaders say it’s what students asked for in a recent survey, particularly international students.
Only 16 of the 6,000 students on the Green Bay campus are studying from outside the country.
“A student comes here from another country, has no place to live that’s nearby, has no means of transportation, it’s a little bit discouraging to think about coming to Green Bay and not being able to be close to one’s campus,” says Vice-President for College Advancement Karen Smits.
Rahmi Arikan, 24, is a third year student from Turkey. He says he wished on campus housing was available when he arrived. He adds dorms are the first step to recruit more international students, as it would be one less thing to worry about while adjusting to a new school and culture.
“The housing is going to be a big impact to choose NWTC because of when they come over here, they have to walk through everything by themselves without any help,” says Arikan.
The school says it plans to open the student housing the fall of 2014.
NWTC is inviting residential and business neighbors to an informational meeting from 6-7 p.m. in room SC128 on Tuesday, October 29.