From “ABB makes equipment donation to WCTC” — The ABB Group in New Berlin has donated eight new motor drives democases to Waukesha County Technical College’s Automation Technologies/Electronics Laboratory.

The donation from the Zurich-based power and automation technology company “enables us to upgrade our labs and gives students enhanced hands-on training with the latest available drives technology,” said Jesse Stuller, automation instructor at WCTC. “Our goal is to provide the highest quality education to our students. Our partnership with industry provides the avenue to accomplish that goal.”

The donation “values into tens of thousands of dollars,” said Ken Graber, ABB spokesman, but the specific dollar amount is not being disclosed.

The drives democases are from the new ACS880 high performance DTC product line.

“These units provide a simple, yet comprehensive, all-in-one solution that is specialized for training and learning,” said Dennis Miller, ABB senior technical instructor, who arranged the donation. “The democases facilitate a complete application simulation.”

Democases from the company that feature older technology have been in use over the past 15 years, Miller said, and the upgrade keeps the Automation Technologies Program current with latest technology that ABB offers end users.

In a press release ABB said, “Because the drives are extremely easy to use, they are ideal for students to use, program and test, as they become familiar with drive technology for the first time. The drive is connected to a small motor and has an external input/output control panel wired to the analog inputs, digital inputs, digital outputs and analog outputs. Students can simulate, fully, use of controls for any given application, and spin the motor just as it would work in a real application. The democase is extremely user friendly, which certainly aids the learning process. The whole gamut of applications can be simulated, from very basic speed-control applications to more complex torque-control applications.”

The Automation Technology Program at WCTC began in 2006. The Associate Degree program contains industrial technologies such as robotics, PLCs and drives.

The Zurich, Switzerland-based ABB Group of companies operates in around 100 countries and employs about 150,000 people worldwide, roughly 500 of whom are in Wisconsin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Interested job seekers are encouraged to visit or contact their local Job Center, which can be located at

From “State offers four-week driving course, guaranteed trucking job” — Up to 300 Wisconsin residents will be able to earn a commercial driver’s license in a four-week training course and be guaranteed a trucking job through a program announced Friday by Gov. Scott Walker.

Fox Valley Technical College currently offers the course, and Waukesha County Technical College will offer it this summer. Applicants must pass eligibility screening, and priority will be given to veterans, dislocated workers, workers receiving federal Trade Adjustment Assistance and some persons eligible for programs under the federal Workforce Investment Act.

The training is free for members of the priority groups. Others will pay $2,500. People completing the training will be placed with one of three trucking firms — Schneider, of Green Bay; Roehl Transport, Marshfield; or WEL, DePere.


From “Stritch, WCTC form credit transfer partnership” — Fox Point-based Cardinal Stritch University and Waukesha-based Waukesha County Technical College have formed a credit transfer agreement for students studying digital media.

The agreement is meant to encourage WCTC students who earn an associate of applied science degree in graphic design to continue their development in Stritch’s new bachelor of arts in digital media program.

Starting in May, new WCTC graphic design associate’s degree holders can apply up to 69 credits toward the Stritch bachelor’s degree.

“Our students are showing increasing interest in transfer opportunities to four-year universities so they can continue their education and climb their career ladder,” said Denine Rood, WCTC vice president of Learning. “We’re committed to providing them with seamless credit transfer to premier partner institutions like Stritch.”

The agreement has formed a cooperative relationship between the schools, which will help both to better accommodate transfer students.

The B.A. in digital media aims to ready students for careers in media and digital arts, including social media, website design and print design.

“The digital media program prepares students for successful careers in a variety of emerging fields,” said Dan Scholz, dean of Cardinal Stritch’s College of Arts and Sciences. “We are thrilled that this new relationship with Waukesha County Technical College will allow its graduates the ability to further hone and develop their skills in our new bachelor’s program.”

From “Waukesha County Technical College, Lincoln Electric partner to create welding lab” – By Denise Lockwood – Waukesha County Technical College and Lincoln Electric, which makes welding equipment, are partnering to create a welding demonstration and training facility at the college.

The lab features a 4,000-square-foot space that holds 55 Lincoln Electric welding stations, which brings the technical college’s total welding space to about 8,000 square feet with 93 welding stations. The Lincoln Electric Southeastern Wisconsin Training Center is owned by Waukesha County Technical College and sponsored by Lincoln Electric, a Cleveland-based company that’s providing welding, cutting, and fume control equipment and technology for the lab.

The partnership offers graduates the opportunity to learn on state-of-the-art equipment. The school currently has 250 students in its welding program.

“Partnering with Lincoln Electric allows WCTC to continue to grow and expand our welding programs and meet the needs of local industry,” said Mike Shiels, dean of the School of Applied Technologies.

Bob Dempsey, district sales manager for Lincoln Electric, said the training center benefits WCTC by providing updated equipment addressing every arc welding process as well as a comprehensive fume control system, and students become better prepared for employment in a number of industries.

The training center is located at the college’s Pewaukee campus, 800 Main St.

From “County hires help to trim expenses” — RACINE COUNTY — For any organization that’s been around a while, it can be difficult to change its way of doing things, no matter how burdensome or tedious its operations become.

Racine County government is no different. Only in its case, outdated and time-consuming processes can mean wasting public money or government employees’ time.

About two years ago, Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig created a “lean government” initiative to trim waste out of county government. The effort isn’t about reducing the workforce, he said, but delivering services in a better way and possibly saving money along the way.

Now, the county is ramping up its efforts. About 50 staffers and department heads packed a courthouse conference room last week to hear from Pat Dolan, a Waukesha County Technical College instructor who works with governments across the state on making operations more efficient.

A smaller group of about 20 employees will get more extensive training from WCTC to facilitate projects throughout county government. The county is paying WCTC just less than $11,000 out of its training budget.

“What I love about it is it’s not a top-down type system,” Ladwig said. “We have people on the front line, we have supervisors, we have department heads. All of them are involved in this … we have a ton of talent throughout the county and they have a lot of good ideas. It’s important that we cultivate that.”

Principles of WCTC’s “lean” instruction originated in Toyota’s manufacturing operations and have been applied to workplaces of all kinds, Dolan said.

His goal is to train employees to develop a “set of glasses” that will help them identify and get rid of waste. Ideally, it’s a mindset that becomes part of the job and not extra work, Dolan said.

The county has already benefited, Ladwig said. Its biggest success was a project that reduced employees’ purchasing requests by 3,500 and saved the county between $50,000 and $100,000, Ladwig said.

Other projects, like improving the laundry process and supply room at Ridgewood Care Center, are smaller. But even those types of changes free up employees’ time and make them more productive, Ladwig said.

That reflects the incentive employees have to buy into the initiative — it’s designed to make their lives easier. Lean government isn’t solely about cost savings, Ladwig said.

“It’s really just about improving the process and improving the service we provide,” Ladwig said. “It’s empowering (employees) to change the way we do business.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From “Eaton expanding, upgrading its Cooper Power Systems plants in Waukesha” — Every time someone turns on a light or fires up their office computer, there’s a good chance that a Cooper Power Systems electrical transformer or another of the company’s products was part of the process.

Since 2012, Cooper has been part of Eaton Corp., a power management company with $22 billion in sales in 2013.

Eaton, based in Dublin, Ireland, has 102,000 employees and sells products in more than 175 countries. This week, the company said it was expanding and upgrading its Cooper Power Systems plants in Waukesha that make electrical equipment including power transformers and voltage regulators.

The $54 million project will create up to 200 jobs over the next two years, according to Eaton, as the company expands its Badger Drive plant and upgrades its North St. and Lincoln Ave. plants.

“The reason we are investing in the expansion in our facilities is to help meet the growing demand we are seeing, not only from our utility customers, but also from the commercial and industrial customer base,” said Clayton Tychkowsky, president of the Cooper Power Systems division.

Eaton has a wide range of products including truck transmissions, aircraft fuel systems and electrical systems.

Last week, the company said its fourth-quarter revenue rose 28%, boosted by higher demand for electrical products and systems.

Electrical product sales jumped 57% to $1.8 billion in the recent quarter ended Dec. 31.

Demand picked up in multiple areas including data processing centers, commercial construction and the oil and gas industry.

“One thing all those fields have in common is they require products to help transmit power to a usable point in their electrical system,” Tychkowsky said.

Eaton also stands to benefit from an increase in residential construction because the utility companies that provide power to homes use Cooper products.

“We see long-term potential growth for the products we manufacture here, which is why we feel this is a good investment,” Tychkowsky said about the plant expansion and upgrades.

Last April, Eaton announced it was cutting nearly two-thirds of its 260 jobs in Pewaukee.

The reductions included 130 production and 33 salaried positions as the company said it was moving molded rubber manufacturing from Pewaukee to a plant in Querétaro, Mexico, this year.

The job cuts were unrelated to the Waukesha plants, and the Pewaukee employees will get first preference in the Waukesha hiring, according to Eaton.

As part of the hiring, the company has partnered with Waukesha County Technical College to provide job training.

“We are taking a proactive approach as opposed to sitting back and waiting for talent to be available for us,” Tychkowsky said.

The expansion on Badger Drive will include 55,000 square feet of new manufacturing space.

Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. is providing up to $1.36 million in tax credits for the expansion and plant upgrades, which are tied to the new jobs.

“Retention of sound businesses like this is something we all need to pay attention to. There are other opportunities in the nation for a company like Eaton to move out of state,” said Reed Hall, WEDC secretary and chief executive officer.

Wisconsin also benefits from the electrical products, according to Hall.

“Safe, reliable electrical power is critical to growth. It’s like broadband. There are a couple of things businesses absolutely have to have to consider expanding in our state,” Hall said.

From “The business of expanding business” – PEWAUKEE – It was time to talk about how expansion deals for growing businesses and industries in Waukesha County can get done through the availability of local and state resources meant to spur growth in the private-sector economy.

The Waukesha County Economic Development Corporation and Wisconsin Business Development expedited the discussion Wednesday in an event attended by nearly 140 at Waukesha County Technical College’s Richard T. Anderson Education Center.

The group composed of bankers, attorneys, consultants and business leaders heard a pair of corporate executives talk frankly about the pains and triumphs they encountered while recently expanding their shops.

The two talked about how they accessed resources, a sometimes difficult process, to help their firms expand in size and business.

The traditional starting point for the launch and expansion of many businesses here has been through financial institutions or the Development Corporation. Wisconsin Business Development, a nonprofit group, offers economic development solutions, potential investment capital and business strategies.

Sarit Singhal, president/CEO of Superior Support Resources Inc., of Brookfield, talked about navigating through various state, county and local financial offerings to more than double the size of his information technology firm.

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

Job training.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vice President Joe Biden will lead the effort.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

From “Preparing for snow in Waukesha County” – Crews have been racing to salt roads before another blast of snow hits Southeastern Wisconsin.

They’re trying to prevent a high number of accidents like the ones during last Sundays big snow fall.

Police say speed was a factor in a number of the crashes caught on DOT video.

Experts say drivers need to do their part to stay safe on the roads. That means slowing down and giving yourself enough distance between your vehicle and others on the road.

Rich Piagentini is an instructor at Waukesha County Technical College. He teaches students how to drive defensively for the college’s criminal justice program.

He said there are some simple things for drivers to remember if they see trouble on the roads.

“Take your foot off the gas and let the car slow down itself,  if you have to apply your brakes do it slowly” He said.

Piagentini said you should leave about one car length between you and other vehicles for every ten miles per hour of speed.

He recommends even more in slippery conditions.

Video from

From “WCTC helps Superior Crane achieve ISO certification” – Waukesha County Technical College helped Waukesha-based Superior Crane Corp. achieve its ISO-9001;2008 certification, and has featured the process in a video on its homepage.

The Center for Business Performance Solutions analyzed the company’s processes and provided a consultant to assist Superior each week as the company worked toward its goal. Click here to see the video.

As a result of the partnership, Superior’s machine shop became certified in July 2012 and its fabrication and parts department’s Quality Management Systems became certified in July 2013.

With its ISO certification, Superior has expanded its reach to serve the military and nuclear industries. Work processes, training, new personnel and equipment are now documented, while non-conformances are tracked and corrective/preventive actions are taken to prevent their recurrence.

From “Senior year as bridge to a career” – PEWAUKEE – If more high school students were like Bradley Servidas, things would be easier for Trace-A-Matic President Thorsten Wienss.

Gov. Scott Walker, right, talks with dual-enrollment student Ian Weiberg of Eagle during a tour of the Waukesha County Technical College CNC machining lab.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff

Servidas is a senior at Brookfield Central High School and is also in Waukesha County Technical College’s Dual Enrollment Academy as a member of the Tool and Die/CNC cohort. He said the program is a great way to start a career and it has been fun to make new friends and do something that not every high school senior gets to do.

“It’s more hands-on than I thought,” he said. “I love it. This is what I want to do when I grow up.”

For Wienss, the president of a machining company, the problem is that not everyone shares Servidas’ desire to pursue a career in his industry. He told a crowd at WCTC on Tuesday that most parents believe their son or daughter must go to a four-year college or university.

“We’re driving our kids in the wrong direction,” he said, adding that there are already too many lawyers stuck working as bartenders.

He said that when his company tries to recruit people, it is difficult to find potential employees with the necessary educational level. The problem is commonly referred to as the skills gap.

The crowd Wienss was speaking to wasn’t just any gathering. Gov. Scott Walker was on hand, along with Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson, WCTC President Barbara Prindiville, officials from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation, school superintendents, lawmakers and other officials.

They were all there for the official launch of the Dual Enrollment Academy, a yearlong pilot program permitting high school seniors to receive credit from the technical college and their schools at the same time. To be eligible, students must have a minimum of a 2.0 grade point average, be on track to graduate and meet college entrance requirements.

The program has cohorts in tool and die/CNC, welding/fabrication and IT networking, all industries the schools identified as high-demand areas.  Students spend the majority of their day at WCTC during both semesters, and depending on the program could earn an industry certificate by the time they graduate high school.

Two school districts, Elmbrook and Waukesha, were involved in the initial development of the program. The Arrowhead, New Berlin, Pewaukee, Sussex Hamilton and West Allis school districts, along with Light House Academy, have since joined in the collaboration.

From “Program to train high school students for high-demand fields launched” – Village of Pewaukee — High school seniors from seven area school districts are earning their high school diploma while also learning skills for high-demand fields under a program launched at Waukesha County Technical College.

The yearlong pilot of Waukesha County Technical College’s Dual Enrollment Academy started this fall with 40 high school seniors. The program offers manufacturing-related skills training in welding and metal fabrication, tool and die, and information technology.

Each of the three programs has eight to 18 students who spend a majority of their school days at WCTC, while also completing high school requirements.

At the end of the school year, the students will receive industry-recognized “workplace certificates” in addition to a high school diploma, so they can either seek employment immediately or continue honing their skills in college. They will earn 20 to 24 college credits, depending on the program.

A seminar before they graduate also will teach them résumé writing, interviewing, personal branding, portfolio creation and other industry-specific steps to secure a job.

State and technical college officials said Tuesday at an official announcement of the program that they hope to expand the dual enrollment program to other school districts and technical colleges across Wisconsin.

Waukesha County is a logical trailblazer because it has one of the highest concentrations of manufacturing businesses in the state, they said.

The state Department of Workforce Development and the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. each contributed $77,576 toward instructional costs for the pilot. Waukesha County Technical College contributed about $235,000 toward the pilot program.

There currently is no cost to the students beyond their transportation to WCTC, and the technical college doesn’t intend for there to be a cost to students in the future, according to a WCTC spokeswoman.

“This example illustrates the future pathway for workforce development,” Lee Swindall, vice president for business and industry development with the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp., said during a news conference at WCTC.

Swindall said he believes it will be “a highly effective” model that’s mutually beneficial to high school students with a passion for this type of work, and manufacturers seeking qualified workers to either maintain or expand their operations in Wisconsin.

Participating schools

School districts participating in the program include Waukesha, Arrowhead, Elmbrook, New Berlin, Pewaukee, Hamilton and West Allis-West Milwaukee, along with the Light House Academy for home-schooled students.

Brookfield-based Trace-A-Matic has committed to offering 10 jobs to tool and die students when they complete the program, and an additional stipend based on their grade point average.

Trace-A-Matic President Thorsten Wienss said during the news conference Tuesday that selling parents on the idea of technical training instead of a four-year university degree is difficult.

“Today, parents believe my child is college-bound and I’ll be driven nuts if they don’t go to college,” Wienss said. “We’re driving our kids in the wrong direction.”

Students who choose technical fields can contribute to society sooner than their four-year college counterparts, and buy homes by the time they’re 26 or 27, rather than be faced with $60,000 to $70,000 in college loan debt, Wienss said.

Master craftsmen and craftswomen deserve the same respect and recognition as doctors and lawyers, Gov. Scott Walker said. They are key to the nation’s economic recovery, as businesses will only grow if they have the workforce talent to sustain them, he said.

“I am convinced the state that gets out front of this will lead the recovery of the economy,” said Walker, who attended the Tuesday news conference at WCTC. “We’re going to be able to attract more businesses to grow here and to come here.”

Industry involved

Area industry leaders played a key role in developing the criteria for the new workplace certificates. They also are involved with classroom presentations and with providing job-shadowing opportunities, industry tours and internships.

To be chosen for WCTC’s Dual Enrollment Academy, students had to be high school seniors with a cumulative GPA of 2.0 or higher, be on track to graduate from high school and meet college entrance and program requirements.

Students also were tested to make sure they have the fundamental math skills to succeed in the technical fields.

Manufacturing jobs in Wisconsin pay an average $52,000 a year, and have about half the turnover rate of other jobs, Walker said.

The fastest growing segment of technical college enrollment is students with four-year degrees who realize the job market is strongest for those with technical skills, the governor said.


From “Some WCTC grads getting full credit in Concordia bachelor’s programs” – Concordia University Wisconsin in Mequon and Waukesha County Technical College have signed agreements that will allow some WCTC graduates to receive credit in related bachelor’s degree programs at Concordia.

The so-called articulation agreements cover graduates of WCTC’s supervisory management or human resources management associate of applied science degree programs. Grads will receive full transfer of all credits when enrolling in Concordia’s bachelor of arts in business management or bachelor of arts in human resource management degree programs.

Students can complete Concordia courses either online or during evenings at the CUW-Waukesha Center, N14 W23777 Stone Ridge Drive in Waukesha. The coursework could be completed in approximately two years.


From “AT&T donation will support program designed to educate, encourage high school students to consider jobs in the manufacturing field” – AT&T Wisconsin announced today that the Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) Foundation has received a $5,000 AT&T Innovation & Investment Award to support the “Schools2Skills™” program.

The “Schools2Skills™” program takes Waukesha County high school students, parents and educators on tours of three manufacturing facilities and the WCTC Engineering and Manufacturing Center. The goal is to inspire participants to learn about manufacturing careers available in Waukesha County, including career paths, salaries and the education required to succeed in today’s manufacturing environment.

“We know many of our manufacturers are looking for workers to fill highly skilled, technologically advanced jobs,” said Ellen S. Phillips, President of WCTC Foundation. “Part of our mission is to educate our young people that manufacturing has changed and evolved over time. Today’s manufacturing is much more advanced and focused on technology, and this AT&T contribution will help us further our efforts to educate and encourage students to consider exciting careers in manufacturing.”

A partnership with the WCTC Foundation and the Waukesha County Business Alliance, the “Schools2Skills™” program was created to address the manufacturing talent shortage in Waukesha County. The program provides high school students from 12 different school districts in Waukesha County with an introduction to the careers that exist in manufacturing. About 500 students are expected to participate this coming school year.

“The WCTC Foundation and Waukesha County Business Alliance are doing important work to connect our manufacturers with the skilled workers they need to continue to compete in today’s high-tech, global economy,” said State Senator Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee). “This program is a great way to get young people excited about and engaged in the manufacturing profession.”

The AT&T Wisconsin Innovation & Investment Award program provides funding to organizations and programs that improve the community by: advancing education, enhancing the environment, promoting economic development, or delivering other community services. This is the second year of the new program that supports local organizations that enhance and give back to their communities.

“We are very proud to support the efforts of Waukesha County business and education leaders to engage students in the exciting, promising careers available in advanced manufacturing,” said AT&T Wisconsin Director of External Affairs Tricia Conway. “As a company, AT&T is committed to investing in education and helping prepare our young people for future success.”

From “WCTC, Workforce Development Board join together for machining boot camp” – PEWAUKEE – A few minutes after his graduation ceremony at Waukesha County Technical College on Friday, Gary Davis felt so proud that he took a photo of his certificate laid out on the table in front of him. He wasn’t alone in that feeling of accomplishment as 18 other male and female participants expressed gratitude and optimism to the instructors and others who made the program possible.

“I get goosebumps,” Davis said. “I actually accomplished something in life.”

The 19 adults learned how to operate computer numerically controlled (CNC) machinery during a boot camp at WCTC. Funding for the boot camp came from a federally funded Water Accelerator Grant administered by the Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Board. WCTC submitted a proposal to be the training provider for the grant and was awarded it. As a result, CNC and welding boot camps were created in partnership between the WOW Workforce Development Board and WCTC, with input from water industry employers.

While looking for jobs in the newspaper, Davis, 48, of Watertown, said he would see companies always looking for CNC machinist positions. When he learned about the boot camp at WCTC, he thought it would be a great opportunity to get the skills he needed to land one of those jobs.

“It’s a great accomplishment. It makes me feel so good,” Davis said.

Several people in the class, including Davis, had to overcome obstacles like transportation issues, but they also had the staff at WCTC and Workforce Development there to help them succeed.

After completing the coursework, WCTC and Workforce Development staff will continue to work with the students to get their résumés out to employers.

On Friday, WCTC President Barbara Prindiville was excited to see the diversity of the students who had completed the CNC boot camp. And as a person who returned to school as an adult herself, she expressed an appreciation for their effort to better themselves.

“Continue to learn at your job,” she said, addressing the room. “Try to do the best you can do and be recognized in your company as an outstanding performer.”

Francisco Sanchez, president of the WOW Workforce Development, encouraged the boot camp participants to keep in touch with the WCTC and Workforce Development staff who would help them with their job search. He also said Workforce Development has funding available for employers to continue on-the-job training for the boot camp participants.

“I hope I can see you in a company when I go to some of the companies I go to,” Sanchez said.

Qusay Al-Ani of Milwaukee and his father, Abdalhameed, both took the boot camp at WCTC in order to help them find jobs here in the U.S. While living in Iraq, Al-Ani worked as a mechanical engineer and his father worked as an electrical engineer.

Al-Ani said he had good base skills, like math, but didn’t have knowledge of CNC.

“This class is a chance for everyone who comes here,” he said. “I feel like I learned everything about CNC. I am so proud of myself.”



From “Upper Iowa University and WCTC sign articulation agreement” – Waukesha County Technical College and Upper Iowa University, with a primary campus in Fayette, Iowa as well as at 19 domestic learning centers including one in Milwaukee, have signed an articulation agreement that will make it easier for WCTC students to transfer to Upper Iowa University to complete a bachelor’s degree.

“Our goal is to help students access an affordable degree program at Upper Iowa University,” said UIU president William R. Duffy. “We are committed to partnerships like this to help us serve the educational needs of students. We have had a great working relationship with Waukesha County Technical College in the past, and this formal articulation agreement will enhance our ability to reach out to students in this important and growing area of southeastern Wisconsin and help them achieve their educational goals.”

Upper Iowa University has been offering classes at its Milwaukee Center located next to State Fair Park since 1992.  On-site classes are taught in the evenings and are offered in eight-week terms.

“We have been expanding our service area to include the Waukesha County area, and this partnership will greatly benefit the citizens in that area by providing them with additional educational opportunities,” said Marshall Whitlock, UIU Milwaukee Area Director. “We look forward to working with WCTC in this important effort.”

From “Pickle producer hopes to progress from farmers markets to food stores” – Chances are, if you frequent South Milwaukee’s or Greenfield’s farmers market, you’ve had the opportunity to taste some of Dave Shanklin’s pickle creations.

Although his food is a hit at farmers markets, Shanklin, owner of Dave’s Famous Pickles, Peppers and Jams LLC, wants to sell his products in grocery stores.

Because the farmers markets end the last week of October, Shanklin wants to get his products on the shelves of Piggly Wiggly and Sendik’s stores by the first week of November.

Shanklin recently received a $15,000 loan from the West Allis Economic Development Partnership Committee to turn his dream into a reality. Once his business takes off, he wants to open a pickle factory.

“I asked them if they wanted a pickle factory in West Allis, and they said yes,” Shanklin said. “That’s what I’m going to do.”

In addition to having his own pickle factory, Shanklin wants to teach people how to make pickled products.

Lori Zingsheim of South Milwaukee has purchased Shanklin’s raspberry jam at the South Milwaukee Downtown Market.

“The jam was superb and delicious on ice cream,” Zingsheim said.

Shanklin didn’t have raspberry jam available Thursday, but Zingsheim decided to try his strawberry pineapple jam, which she ultimately purchased.

Numerous customers stopped by Shanklin’s booth that day as he lured potential customers in with samples of his dilly beans (pickled green beans), sweet pickles, strawberry pineapple jam and dill pickles. A 32-ounce jar of dilly beans sells for $8 and a 16-ounce jar for $4. His 16-ounce jams and 32-ounce sweet and dill pickles are $5.

Shanklin is able to sell his homemade products under “the pickle bill,” which was signed into law by former Gov. Jim Doyle in February 2010. The bill allows limited sales of acidic home-canned foods without a license. Shanklin’s line of products includes sweet pickles, dill pickles, asparagus, dilly beans, brussels sprouts and olives. Shanklin also makes strawberry, strawberry pineapple, raspberry, raspberry pineapple, blackberry and blackberry pineapple jam.

Shanklin buys all his produce from Milwaukee stores, such as El Rey and Pete’s Fruit Market.

After going through a divorce and getting laid off from a teaching job in the Brown Deer School District, Shanklin, who has a master’s degree in technical education, decided to devote his time to developing his pickle business. He used to give friends his pickled products and wanted to turn it into a career.

Shanklin knows that running a small business single-handedly isn’t easy. He was required to take a canning course through the University of Wisconsin-Madison and took small-business courses at Waukesha County Technical College. He is also involved with the Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corp., which provides business and financial education to those who want to start small businesses.

To get his line of goods into Piggly Wiggly and Sendik’s, his products need to have nutritional labels and bar codes. This can cost anywhere from $3,000 to $5,000. He is also working toward getting processing licenses.

“I’ve spent most of my own money, and the loan is going to help me have money in the bank,” Shanklin said. “Most small businesses fail because they don’t have any working capital to keep it going.”

Shanklin sold his boat for $6,000 and was able to pay the health department to inspect the kitchen that he uses to make his products. Shanklin wants to use the loan to help separate the business’ funds from his personal funds. He plans to allot himself a salary of $500 a week while the rest will go directly to his business.

Shanklin plans to substitute teach to help pay off the loan. He also has a snack wagon where he plans to sell baked jalapeños with cheddar cheese, cream cheese and bacon.

“I’m happier than happy. They think that I can do it, and I know I can,” Shanklin said.

From “WCTC receives $30,000 mentoring grant” – Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) received a $31,349 grant from the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) to fund the college’s new Minority Peer Mentoring Program, which provides support to minority students through personal connections.

The grant allows WCTC to match 28 first-year students with 14 mentors; two students per mentor.

The college’s Multicultural Resource Center has designed the program to help new students adjust to the college environment and guide them during their initial year.

Peer mentors are minority students who have completed at least six credits, are knowledgeable about WCTC and are trained to assist students with college transitions.

“The Minority Peer Mentoring Program provides academic and personal support for participating students during the challenging first year of college. Students are more likely to remain in school until they graduate and are also more successful,” WCTC diversity coordinator Rolando DeLeón said.

Mentors will also provide service to students and the campus, develop organizational and leadership skills, increase self-awareness and practice critical life skills. Mentees improve self esteem and self confidence, gain academic support, garner tips for success and feel a stronger tie to the college.

“While nothing can replace good faculty mentoring, peer mentoring can contribute to the retention and graduation of our students in a number of ways,” DeLeón said.

The one-year grant is for the 2013-14 academic year.

From “Today’s TMJ4 goes inside elite arson investigator training” – WAUKESHA – It happens time and time again right here in southeast Wisconsin.  Intentionally set fires destroying homes and businesses, putting firefighters in danger and neighborhoods at risk.

TODAY’S TMJ4’s cameras were invited for an exclusive look at an elite training program for arson investigators. Instructors carefully, deliberately set multiple fires in an old Hartford farmhouse before students arrived, turning it into a hands-on classroom.

“It’s a two-week, National Fire Academy course, a very prestigious course,” said Brian Dorow, Dean of Criminal Justice at Waukesha County Technical College.  “What we’re setting is seven different crime scenes.  The students come through during the course.  They have to determine the motive, the origin.”

This is all done under the careful supervision of the Hartford Fire and Rescue Department.  Chief Paul Stephens had a message for those who see arson as a way out.

“It puts firefighters’ lives at risk,” Stephens said.  “It puts citizens at risk and fire kills people.”

We first met the students as they watched a demonstration at the technical college campus.  A living room scene had been set up inside a garage. The students watched the instructor spray a trail of lighter fluid along the floor, up to a couch cushion.

The instructor started the fire with a single match.  It took less than two minutes for the fire to rage.

“We can talk about it through PowerPoint and lecture,” the instructor said.  “We can show video of it.  But, we want the students to be able come out and actually see how it evolves.”

Back at the old farmhouse, the students put that classroom arson training to the test. Instructors posed as witnesses, like the fire chief and the homeowner. One of the instructors is Wisconsin State Fire Marshal Michael Rindt.

“Every fire is a challenging scene,” Rindt said.  “We try not to make these scenes as challenging as you’d see in the real world because we want these to be a learning experience for them.”

There are seven different fire mysteries within this house.  Some are set up as accidental fires and others as arson fires.  Students take their notes back to the classroom and try to determine the cause.

Students will take these skills back to their communities, better equipped to catch the criminals who start fires.  The students are firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and police officers.

“I don’t know if we have a shortage of adequately trained fire investigators, but it certainly is a profession where you need to have continued training,” Rindt said.

WCTC said every one of the students passed the course and that the students correctly solved each of the seven mock cases.

The college did not allow TODAY’S TMJ4 to interview the students because of their active roles in law enforcement.

From “WCTC graduates first class of TSA students” – A group of 17 Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officers became the first-ever class in the Milwaukee Metro area to earn certificates of achievement in homeland security issued by the TSA Office of Training and Workforce Engagement.

The employees completed coursework through Waukesha County Technical College and were recognized at a June 25 ceremony at General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee.

“It has been our privilege to provide homeland security-related instruction to the dedicated TSA employees at General Mitchell International Airport,” said Brian Dorow, WCTC associate dean of criminal justice. “They have a significant responsibility each day to ensure the traveling public is safe, and I am confident that our courses will increase their knowledge base.”

The courses were taught by WCTC law-enforcement instructor Mark Stigler at the TSA field office in Milwaukee. Upon successful completion of the program’s three classes, officers also receive a jump start to pursue an associate’s degree from WCTC while improving their career advancement opportunities at TSA.

“The sharing of experience and knowledge among our fellow classmates established a connection that will increase our contribution to achieving the Department of Homeland Security’s goal of ‘one team, one mission, securing our homeland,’ said Transportation Safety Officer (TSO) Paulette Young.

This local group joins the more than 3,800 students nationally who have participated in the TSA associates program. It is designed to give the TSA workforce the opportunity to earn a certificate while also earning college credit. WCTC and General Mitchell International Airport are among the 88 colleges and 98 airports partnering nationwide in the delivery of the program, which is now offered in all 50 states.

From “Opinion: A partnership to fill jobs” – An article June 9 by the Journal Sentinel’s John Schmid provided an overview of the debate among researchers about the existence and extent of a skills gap in Wisconsin (“Program’s new approach to skills gap? Talk to employers”). However, the debate misses the immediate need to focus on a tangible solution. With area manufacturers working together with technical schools, we have an opportunity to begin that process.

We are in a manufacturing-rich region poised for growth. That growth is being squeezed by an increasing demand for advanced skills and an impending demographic shift that will mean too few workers to fill the void left by retirees. Time is of the essence to focus on action. Our ability to train, attract and retain talent to career pathways in manufacturing is simply critical to this region.

The Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce’s Manufacturing Careers Partnership is a collaborative effort in the truest sense of the word. We share a common mission: to give people the skills they need to fill jobs and create a pipeline of talent now and in the future. The only way we can accomplish our mission is to have educational institutions, workforce development agencies and employers at the same table, talking — in detail — about their needs. And that’s exactly what we are doing.

Our first project, Welding 101, is designed to create a baseline of common skill requirements for entry-level welders among a significant number of employers and to improve manufacturers’ ability to attract and retain talent. To date, more than 50 companies have participated in a survey that asks, in great detail, what employers need from their welders on day one. As more employers complete the survey, we can move with confidence toward aligning course competencies across the region’s technical colleges.

We are pleased to be working in alignment with our manufacturers and our technical colleges: Gateway, Milwaukee Area, Moraine Park and Waukesha County, as well as the Wisconsin State Technical College System on this project. Together, we can give an individual employee the skills to succeed in a welding position and give employers a starting point for building a manufacturing career pathway.

Getting clear on what we, as technical colleges can teach, and we as employers, can then train, lays out a progressive and practical path to solving one of our region’s most pressing needs. We recognize that this project is a starting point. Workforce challenges are complex and the issues impacting the entire talent pipeline will not be solved with a single approach. But much like an entry-level position, we need to tackle Welding 101 and gain some experience and tangible success.

How you can help: if you are an employer of welders, please take the Welding 101 survey at

This op-ed was signed by Bryan Albrecht, president, Gateway Technical College; Dave Biddle, manager of technical services, Joy Global (MCP co-chair); Michael Burke, president, Milwaukee Area Technical College; Shelley Jurewicz, vice-president for economic development, MMAC/Milwaukee 7; David Mitchell, president, Monarch (MCP co-chair); Barbara Prindiville, president, Waukesha County Technical College; and Sheila Ruhland, president, Moraine Park Technical College.

From “Local law enforcement undergo tactical emergency medical training” – LA CROSSE – Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs responded to a mass casualty shooting drill at Western Technical College, Sunday.

It was part of a 40-hour tactical emergency medical support course led by Waukesha County Technical College instructors.

Sunday’s drills included a mass casualty shooting and a downed officer.

“In a mass casualty situation there’s a triage situation that has to happen,” said Jim Hillcoat a La Crosse firefighter and paramedic. He’s taking part in the class.

“There was a danger in the scenario we just did that wasn’t mitigated yet – or we weren’t sure it was mitigated. So, that needed to be dealt with and you have people who need help medically that have traumatic injuries,” Hillcoat said.

The course teaches first responders how to utilize military and emergency medicine under the threat of gunfire, for example, the shootings at the Sikh Temple in Oak Creek, Wis., and the Azana Spa in Brookfield, Wis.

Tactical EMS Instructor Chad Stiles responded to the Azana Spa shooting.

“You never think it’s gonna happen in our community but when it does, we need to really be prepared to give the best response,” Stiles said.

That’s why he’s training law enforcement and EMS to work together in dangerous situations.

“Usually they operate side-by-side, but they’re working independently of each other,” Stiles said. “This class kind of brings them together like a marriage, almost, and teaches them each others objectives.”

The Tactical EMS class is funded by the Wisconsin Office of Justice Assistance and Wisconsin Hospital Emergency Preparedness.

Upon completing the course, EMS responders can submit their training record to the state and get a tactical EMS endorsement with their license, Stiles said.

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From “WCTC’s Career Quest designed for middle school students” – Waukesha County Technical College will host Career Quest, an opportunity for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to get a closer look at what skills and qualifications are needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The three-day summer exploration will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 6, 7 and 8, at WCTC’s main campus in Pewaukee.

Middle school students will be introduced to a variety of careers – including those in Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Metal Fabrication/Welding, Cosmetology and many more — and learn about the education and training needed for those jobs. Cost of the event is $100 per student. Sessions run from at 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; lunch and snacks will be provided. Registration ends June 28, and the sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited!

From the options below, students can choose two career sessions to explore: • Future of Nursing (Nursing) • What’s Up, Doc? (Medical Assistant) • Authorized Personnel Only! (Surgical Technology) • To Protect and Serve — CSI style (Criminal Justice) • Emergency! (Firefighting/EMT) • Fuse it Together (Metal Fabrication/Welding) • Precision Parts (CNC Manufacturing) • Explore Robotics (Automation Systems Technology) • Baking Quest (Baking/Pastry) • Culinary Quest (Culinary Management) • The Art of Play (Early Childhood) • Spa Day (Cosmetology)

For details on career sessions, to learn more about Career Quest and to register, visit For questions, contact John Pritchett, Career Quest coordinator, at 262.695.7847 or



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