From “Job hopefuls line up for Collaborative Consulting’s hiring event at NTC” — Mark Zyhowski began his drive from Rhinelander to Wausau at 7 a.m. Tuesday, eager to get in line to apply for a new job.

Zyhowski is a 53-year-old former plumber who is nearing completion of two computer programming degrees. He thought he would be the perfect fit for Collaborative Consulting, a Massachusetts-based software firm that plans to open a facility next year in Wausau and hire 200 people in three years.

Collaborative launched its recruitment and hiring blitz Tuesday at Northcentral Technical College, searching for computer programmers such as Zyhowski. The job fair continues today, and the company would like to hire 25 people from the fair, a company official said.

“They’re just taking names and information right now to see what everybody has got,” Zyhowski said after a brief meeting with a company recruiter.

On Tuesday, the fair attracted about 130 people with a wide range of professional experience. Collaborative Consulting plans to hire 50 people in the first year of operation, according to state documents. The company picked Wausau as the home for its new site, partly because of an incentive package that includes $2.25 million in state tax credits, a $450,000 city loan and $270,000 in local job-training grants.

Tuesday morning, a line of about 20 people, many dressed in suits and with their resumes in hand, waited for the recruitment blitz to begin at 9:30 a.m.

From “Milwaukee summit considers food production as next industry cluster” — Move over, water industry and wind technology enthusiasts: The latest idea for creating clusters of jobs in Wisconsin is to cultivate the food industry.

From raising crops and fish inside abandoned warehouses to retrofitting blighted buildings into coffee shops or Hispanic food stores, attendees of a community development summit on Tuesday in Milwaukee heard compelling arguments that food production could be the key to growing jobs and prosperity in the state, especially in urban areas.

Armed with a laundry list of ways that Wisconsin reportedly leads the nation in both farming and food and beverage production, the seven-county Milwaukee 7 economic development initiative is actively seeking a site for a “food industry campus” designed to attract manufacturers of food products or equipment as well as food growers, said Shelley Jurewicz, vice president of economic development for the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce.

“We’re looking to secure up to 150 acres of land, and we would go out and aggressively attract either food manufacturers or food equipment manufacturers to create kind of a consolidation of employers and we’re working with (Milwaukee Area Technical College) on developing three different food manufacturing diplomas,” said Jurewicz.

While Jurewicz would not disclose locations under consideration, she said, “we want there to be proximity somewhere to MATC food school so that we tie these industry folks into a talent pipeline coming through the technical college system.”

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From “Western recognized for energy stewardship” — La Crosse, Wisconsin (WXOW) – For saving enough energy in 15 months to effectively plant more than 30,538 trees, Western Technical College was recently presented with The Award for Energy Stewardship from Energy Education. The award recognizes the college’s efforts to implement an organizational behavior-based energy conservation and management program. The program is administered through Energy Education, a national energy conservation company.

“Western Technical College President Lee Rasch, the board members, and administration are demonstrating wise fiscal and environmental stewardship by implementing this unique organizational behavior-based energy conservation program,” said Dr. William S. Spears, Chairman and Founder of Energy Education. “Using human resources to reduce energy use saves natural and financial resources for the organization and the community.”

The program delivers an environmental benefit from reduced carbon footprint. Energy not used prevents the emission of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxides. According to EPA/EGrid figures, in the first 15 months of the program, Western Technical College saved 11,219 MMBTU, the equivalent of 1,213 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions being prevented, 214 cars removed from the road, or 30,538 pine trees grown for 10 years.

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From “Boot camp planned for new entrepreneurs” — A four-day boot camp intended to help prospective entrepreneurs overcome roadblocks such as how to start, finance and market new businesses will be held this week in Wausau.

The camp, a collaborative effort by Wausau’s Community Development Department, Entrepreneurial and Education Center and Northcentral Technical College, will bring together marketing, law and accounting experts for people looking to turn ideas into companies.

“People may have a good product or a good business idea, but they just don’t now if they can pull a business together,” said Romey Wagner, manager of the Entrepreneurial and Education Center, formerly known as the Wausau Business Development Center. “But with the local instructors, they’ll get a good overview.”

Heather Wessling, assistant community development director for the city of Wausau, said the boot camp, which officials plan to run twice a year, is just a piece of a larger effort to nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in Wausau.

During the camp, which will include numerous speakers, participants will develop business plans they can pitch to investors or banks as they seek financing.

From “Respiratory therapy among promising careers in booming health care field” — Crystal Krueger is more “E.R.” than “Marcus Welby.”

A respiratory therapist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, Krueger enjoys the fast pace of a hospital, compared to the slower home health-care setting, which she tried for a while.

It’s a career choice that provides about any speed and any care-focus a person could want, said Kathy Schlitz, respiratory therapist program director at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

“We work with heart and lung disease from newborn to the end of life,” she said. “Plus, we run ventilators, so we do life-support.”

Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay graduates 16 to 20 respiratory therapy students a year and most of them find jobs, Schlitz said.

“We have a waiting list. I think most schools in the state do have a wait list,” she said. “That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Students are able to get general education credits out of the way.”

The demand for respiratory therapist jobs, as well as all health care industry jobs, is expected to grow as baby boomers age.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in April that the health care industry continued to grow despite job losses in other sectors of the economy. It will create 3.2 million jobs between 2008 and 2018, according to the bureau’s 2010-11 Career Guide to Industries.

From “New ImproMed office on Ohio Street to create jobs” —  Veterinary software developer ImproMed has started construction of a new, 10,000-squre-foot office on its Ohio Street campus as it prepares to create more than 20 new jobs in the next 24 months.

The new, two-story building gives ImproMed, a Butler Schein Animal Health subsidiary, space to consolidate its Oshkosh operations and to prepare for anticipated job growth as the company continues to add to its market share, ImproMed President Ron Detjen said.

“We saw a good opportunity in our community to grow thanks to city management and improvements in the state’s business climate,” Detjen said. “There’s a great local education system, a great work ethic and the city (of Oshkosh) was a good partner as we developed our plans.”

The two-story building will complement surrounding office buildings, including ImproMed’s existing headquarters at 304 Ohio St. Detjen said the design of the site would also accommodate another 4,000-square-foot expansion if needed to accommodate additional staff beyond the new jobs Detjen expects will be created in the next two years. Construction is expected to finish in March or April and at that time employees working in leased office space in the 600 block of North Main Street and a building in the 200 block of Ohio Street will move into the new building.

From “Return to the U aims to bring adults back to class” — A handful of adult students have returned to the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to complete their degrees, thanks to a new program aimed at bringing them back.

The university partnered with Fox Valley Technical College to encourage former University of Wisconsin System students to finish their degrees through the Return to the U initiative. Over the summer, school officials sent letters to former students who had UW-Green Bay credits asking them to consider a return. Another round of letters was mailed to people with some UW credits who live near UW-Green Bay. About 13,500 invitations were sent.

Return to the U received about 100 inquiries, and 13 students signed up for the fall semester, said Steve VandenAvond, associate provost of outreach and adult access at UW-Green Bay.

Almost three-quarters are women, with an average age of 37. Most live in Brown County and have some credits from UW-Green Bay.

“We’re pleased with the response so far,” VandenAvond said. “We expect things to get rolling as we move forward.”


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