From “MSTC to offer Social Media Marketing class” — Social media has quickly elevated to a prominent place in the daily consciousness of many. Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) will offer a cutting edge Social Media Marketing class this January to help small business owners and people in marketing and technology roles incorporate social media into their marketing strategy. In fact, almost every employee in today’s business world is likely to engage in some form of social media and would consequently benefit from this dynamic tool for growing your business. This class is also a must for any student interested in owning their own business.

Classes will be offered on the Adams, Marshfield and Stevens Point campuses from 4:00 – 5:15 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays via a computer conferencing format. Wisconsin Rapids has two classes available: 8:00 – 8:50 a.m. and 9:00 – 9:50 a.m., each on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.

Using social media tools such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, and more, Social Media Marketing presents the topic from a theoretical and strategic marketing perspective, far beyond the typical social characteristics associated with social media. Participants will explore different methodologies, integrate social media as part of a marketing campaign, explore the concept of viral marketing, review ethical and legal concerns, observe how organizations and individuals have successfully applied marketing to the social media platform, and examine its impact on return on investment.

For more information, contact an MSTC Career Coach at 1- 888.575.MSTC or stop by an MSTC campus office.

From “WITC points workers toward their goals” — In a tough economy, finding a good job probably ranks higher than gathering free advice, but if the latter leads to the former it’s all good.

And that’s why the free career seminar from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 6, at Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College-Ashland (WITC) might be a good way to spend a couple of hours for anyone interested in selecting the right field, as well as the appropriate educational options.

Dan Miller, WITC’s career specialist, will facilitate the seminar, which is designed to be fun as well as informative. The seminar will focus on the broad spectrum of the workforce, including recent high school graduates considering choices for a first career, those thinking of changing careers, and those who want to get ahead in their present working environment.

“In health careers, there are so many openings right now with the growth due to the Baby Boomers,” Miller said of one prime career opportunity. “But you still want to match them up, you just don’t want to force them into something they don’t like.”

The free career seminars have been an ongoing feature at WITC for three years, Miller said, held on the first Tuesday of each month in Room 208 at WITC-Ashland, 2100 Beaser Ave.

To help match people with the proper career, Miller said he opens the seminars with personality and career assessments.

“We try to find something that matches up with what they like to do and what their talents and strengths are,” said Miller, who has been with WITC for 18 months. “I even talk about things they were interested in when they were a child and they kind of forgot about.”

A priority, Miller said, is finding careers for people that will allow them to remain in the Chequamegon Bay area.

“Without a doubt,” Miller said. “But it depends on the person. A lot of people do not want to move, or have a family or are working right now and they either want to enhance what they have or are changing careers with the loss of a job.”

Miller said medical careers, thanks to Memorial Medical Center, nursing homes and other health care facilities, provide many jobs for those wishing to remain in the area.

“Health sciences right now is booming,” Miller said. “The Baby Boomers, we call them ‘Golden Boomers,’ their health care needs are huge. And there is a shortage of nurses right now. It’s just amazing. The growth there is hard to comprehend. There is a gap we’re tying to fill.”

Miller said there are also careers linked to the health-care industry, such as information technology, coding and business management and administration.

He said there is also a pressing need for tool and die makers and welders.

“There is definitely a gap that needs to be filled in the manufacturing industry,” Miller said. “The industry is screaming for skilled laborers right now. So we’re trying to bridge that gap from the high schools to the tech colleges because there is such a high demand for it.”

For those already employed and looking to enhance their current positions and pay, Miller said WITC has classes and technical degrees to help reach those goals.

“When we add programs to our college we don’t just do it based on what we think.” Miller said. “We do a lot of research with area employers. They’re on our panel. So we kind of see what’s out there and what the demand is.”

Miller said the seminars have room for 12 people, but have been averaging about five for each session.

“It depends on the weather, to be honest with you,” Miller said. “Sometimes it’s intimidating for middle-aged people walking into any college. What’s nice about getting them in the door here is to feel how comfortable it is.”

Miller said after a career seminar he often will meet one-on-one with the attendees to determine the pros and cons of pursuing a chosen field of endeavor.

“When people leave a seminar they have a different outlook,” Miller said. “And it’s real positive. There’s nothing better than actually finding something that matches up with them and actually seeing them enroll to one of those programs. So it’s pretty neat to see.”

From “Western Technical College celebrates official opening of new BRF campus” — Officials from Western Technical College and the area celebrated the official inception of the college’s new downtown Black River Falls campus last week.

The group held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Oct. 16 at the Fillmore Street site to mark the end of the three-year project of what one speaker deemed a “state-of-the-art” building.

“It’s just an amazing, amazing thing,” said Western Technical College President Lee Rasch. “We’re here to stay for the next 100 years.”

WTC officials began exploring the possibility of revamping its former site on Red Iron Road or relocating to the former site of the IGA building in the city’s downtown more than three years ago. The college’s addition of a nursing program and the expansion of other coursework prompted the need for more building space.

Students began classes at the new 18,000-square-foot site in January, but crews just this fall officially ended work on the building, which includes solar panels and other energy efficient amenities.

The $3 million project also is expected to draw increased enrollment for the BRF location because of its move from an out-of-town rural area. About 300 students have enrolled per semester since the new campus opened, which is up anywhere from 50 to 100 students from the Red Iron Road location.

“What a great thing for Black River Falls,” said Larry Lunda, who assisted the college while it prepared to make its move downtown.

From “Special delivery for FVTC Public Safety Training Center” — GREENVILLE – It’s a big addition to the new Fox Valley Technical College Public Safety Training Center.

A 727 was donated by FedEx at a ceremony at Outagamie County Regional Airport in Greenville Tuesday.

The plane will be used by emergency responders for fire, tactical and medical training scenarios.

The Boeing 727 saw its best days hauling cargo for FedEx. Now it will be used for an even more important task on the ground.

“From opening emergency exits, to pulling crew members out to shutting down systems, this is a very unique opportunity,” said Bill Ewing, fire chief for Pro-Tec Fire Services, which serves Austin Straubel and Outagamie County airports.

FedEx donated the plane that will now become a training ground for emergency personnel as part of the new public safety training center partnership between the airport and Fox Valley Technical College.

“It’s very difficult to simulate this setting and make it work, so we are extremely grateful to be able to provide this kind of resource in this kind of environment,” said Fox Valley Technical College president Susan May.

The plane will be outfitted with seats and permanently grounded. It will be used for tactical and fire training as well as emergency medical scenarios, making it a training destination for the region and the country.

“Existing public safety personnel from the state, the region and even nationally depending on how specialized the training may be,” said May.

The aircraft is still worth about $1.5 million, but first responders who will use it say the training it will provide will be invaluable.

“This is an opportunity for us to train hands on doing the things that we would do in real world scenario,” said Ewing.

Making sure responders are as prepared as they can be in the event of a real local emergency.

“Any training is good training, but the level that this aircraft is going to provide us is going to take us to the next level,” said Ewing.

Fox Valley Tech and the airport having been working for about 15 years on acquiring an aircraft like this one for training purposes.

From “Project Milwaukee: Workers follow different paths to build skills for new jobs” —  Businesses in the Milwaukee area say there are not enough skilled workers to fill available jobs.

We heard about that frustration Tuesday when WUWM’s LaToya Dennis spoke with local managers. Today, in our Project Milwaukee: Help Wanted series, we learn how people seeking jobs are striving to acquire the skills needed.

Often the journey is punctuated by emotion.

Fresh paint covers brick walls along a hallway of the old Square D factory. Roger Hinkle says its workers made electrical transformers.

“I went in and worked with workers in that factory education center and so they could work on their basic educational skills but within a few years that closed and this building became transformed to a newer use,” Hinkle says during a tour of the center.

Today’s newer use is called the HIRE Center, and Hinkle serves as one of its training specialists. The agency is tucked inside the Milwaukee Enterprise Center-South at 8th and National. It uses federal funds to retrain workers who’ve been displaced due to factors beyond their control.

“People coming into this program come from every walk of life, every background, the common thing they have is they’ve lost their jobs,” Hinkle says.

The center provides a range of services. It teaches some how to run complex machinery. For others, it offers a basic education. Hinkle says often mixed in, is the need to overcome the pain and fear of losing a job.

I hear those emotions in the voices of Connie Skonecki and Robin Klein. Skonecki’s job evaporated when the t-shirt factory where she worked outsourced production.

“It’s devastating, especially when you’re there for 16, 18 years, you lose it all,” she says. I ask if she has a family. “My kids are grown but I got grandchildren,” Skonecki says and adds job loss has had an impact on her extended family. “I can’t get ‘em anything,” she says.

Robin Klein nods knowingly at the story. She tumbled into the ranks of the unemployed when the day care center where she worked closed abruptly.

“There’s not enough jobs out here for people nowadays because they don’t have the skills,” Klein says.

Klein says she quickly realized she needs her GED, so that’s what she’s tackling.

According to the HIRE Center, of the 2,800 people it serves every year, 80 percent find employment.

A few miles south, white sparks dance on the concrete floor as students practice skills they hope will pay off with a family supporting job. This is the welding lab at the Oak Creek campus of MATC and the students’ backgrounds vary from landscaper to chef.

Tom Wicinski drove a forklift until his employer left the state and he lost his $18 an hour job.

“I don’t know if I’ll get into welding. I may. I may not, depending on how my skills will develop. For some people that think welding is easy, they should go out try it,” Wicinski says.

Fellow trainee Shannon Bartley has also found parts of the trade, daunting.

“It’s a challenge to remember how to do dimensions and figuring it out in your head first before you can actually put it on paper,” Bartley says.

A family welder encouraged her to enroll.

Nearby, is Clinton McCarey, a veteran who served with the Army National Guard in Iraq.

“It was miserable. I’m happy to say I made it through, a couple of my soldiers did not, and here I am, picking up a new trade,” McCarey says. I ask if he was working prior to enrolling at MATC, following his service. He says, “Yes sir, I was a roofer. I had to wait a year just to get into this program. I was on the waiting list. I’m doing it and I like it,” McCarey says.

McCarey will attend classes five days a week for one year. Course material includes not only welding practice, but also math and economics. MATC reports that every graduate last year, landed a job with a manufacturer.

Technical school is not the only route to learning industrial skills.

Equipment is humming at Pereles Brothers on Milwaukee’s northwest side. The company makes plastic parts such as handles for power saws.

President Ted Muccio says he could not find skilled applicants, so he created his own training program.

“We have what we call entry level positions, someone comes in and runs a molding press. They’re given instructions on sheets about what they need to watch for, and then there are some other levels above that,” Muccio says.

Muccio partners with the nearby Silver Spring Neighborhood Center. It identifies potential entry-level workers and gets them up to speed on work readiness skills such as showing up on time.

Derrick Roby joined Pereles Bros. a couple years ago.

“I never knew what a machine operator was, and now, I’m pretty good at what I do. I’m trying to advance in this company,” Roby says.

Roby mentioned it was difficult to find a job on account on his background.

“I’m a three time felon, and one thing I like about Pereles, they opened the doors for me and offered a helping hand, which is something that no one would do. Everyone was shutting the door in my face,” Roby says.

On Thursday, WUWM’s Erin Toner will look further into what’s working and what’s missing, in local efforts to close the skills gap.

From “NWTC grand money to help train skilled workers” — Green Bay -Northeast Wisconsin Technical College is one of 16 technical colleges in the state to get part of $15 million in grant money from the U.S. Department of Labor.

The school is looking to expand and add more students with the money.

“We’re looking at adding another full time machine shop here, basically doubling our capacity for our first year program. Also, we’re looking to update some of the older equipment,” said Matt Schmelzer, a machine tool instructor at NWTC.

NWTC hopes to increase the number of students in skilled trade programs.

“Last year alone we had well over 400 job postings in the northeast Wisconsin area. We’re only graduating 60 students a year,” explained Schmelzer.

Part of the grant money also allows for partnerships with local employers like at Lindquist Machine.

Students from NWTC are able to go there and further their skills.

“When they’re here working, that’s where they get that next step of the education process going to the real life work and real life situations that come up,” explained Mark Kaiser, CEO of Lindquist Machine.

Workers are also able to re-train and learn different skills.

“Technology is constantly changing and so we are able to keep our associates at the highest level we can from a technology stand point working with NWTC,” said Kaiser.

Kaiser also reiterates the need to get more younger people interested in trades like manufacturing which the grant money will help with.

He says it’s the only way business like his can expand.

From “Wisconsin Technical College System looking for a new leader” — As UW-Madison takes its time choosing a new chancellor, Wisconsin’s technical college system is in a relative sprint to get a new chief after former president Dan Clancy unexpectedly announced his retirement in July.

“We’ve got a very compressed schedule,” said Mark Tyler, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System board and head of the seven-member search committee. “Our intent is to fill the role as quickly as we can but make sure we do it with the right candidate.”

Applications for the vacant position — Clancy’s last day was in September — were due Friday. Tyler wouldn’t say how many applications came in but said he expects the committee to be able to choose from a “sufficient pool” including candidates within Wisconsin and outside the state because of the system’s national reputation.

Bettsey Barhorst, president of Madison Area Technical College, said it’s important that the committee consider a wide range of candidates who can look at the sprawling technical college system with fresh eyes and new ideas.

“It’s a good thing they’re doing a national search so they can get people paying attention to the national and the global scene,” she said. “Wisconsin tends to be insular in some things.”

The initial screening of candidates is being overseen by Marion Smith, director of labor research at the law firm of Michael Best & Friedrich. The search committee hopes to have six to 10 candidates in for interviews in mid-November and to forward a short list of finalists to the statewide system board for mid-December interviews.

The board, made up of representatives from each of the state’s 16 technical college districts, has final say in the hire, Tyler said. Stan Davis, a private practice lawyer in Sun Prairie, represents the Madison district. Davis also is part of the seven-member search committee.

Major growth, major challenges

The new president will take over at a time of dramatic growth for technical colleges but significant funding challenges.

Under Clancy, who was system president from 2004 until his retirement this year, enrollment at the colleges grew 40 percent statewide, fueled in part by the economic recession that put an unusually large number of adults out of work and in need of retraining for new jobs. Locally, MATC is in the middle of a major building boom thanks to passage in 2010 of a $134 million public referendum.

However, funding for the system was cut 30 percent, or $71.6 million, in Gov. Scott Walker’s 2011-13 budget. The system is hoping for a return of some of the lost funding in the next budget, for 2013 to 2015.

In its budget proposal sent to the Department of Administration in September, system vice president Morna Foy said employers projected a need for 39,000 more new workers over the next two years in skilled manufacturing and other fields than the colleges can provide. Part of the problem, she said, stems from a 12,000-student waiting list at the state’s technical colleges.

Tyler said it would be ideal to have a new president in place by January, when a new legislative session begins and lawmakers hash out the next biennial budget. However, he said the board was more interested in getting the right candidate even if it requires waiting into the spring or summer.

Barhorst agreed, saying it can be difficult finding a new president during the academic year when most in education are locked into contracts. Getting it right is more important, she said.

“The leader of the system needs to be out there telling our story, understanding the political arena in which we operate today and understanding the needs of employers,” she said. “We’re the answer to the skills gap in the state.”

From “NTC offers bachelor degree opportunities for online nursing program” — Northcentral Technical College (NTC) in Wausau and Grand Canyon University (GCU) in Phoenix, Arizona are proud to announce a new articulation agreement for the nursing programs. This agreement allows NTC graduates who have passed the NCLEX to transfer into the RN to BSN program at GCU.

“More and more employers are looking for BSN-prepared nurses who can hit the ground running,” said Anne McNamara, GCU Dean of the College of Nursing. “We are excited that this partnership with NTC will allow us to streamline the transfer process for students who are ready for that next step.”

GCU’s RN to BSN program is available completely online with students taking one class at a time. “This articulation agreement will allow current and former NTC students to acquire their degree without leaving the area,” says Lorraine Zoromski, NTC Dean of Health Sciences.

From “NTC receives donation to Emergency Village training project” — Northcentral Technical College is getting a donation to install state-of-the-art law enforcement training equipment at the Merrill campus. A check presentation ceremony starts at 7:30 a.m. Tuesday morning at Church Mutual Insurance.

NTC’s Emergency Village project will use the funding to provide moving target training equipment, including tactical targets and robots. Police Science and Emergency Medical Service students will face real-time, computer- simulated situations that all public safety workers must know how to handle in a safe and controlled environment.

Campus President Lori Weyers expects several thousand public safety personnel a year to gain practical, hands-on experience at the Merrill center. The Emergency Village project is expected to be fully operational for training by next spring.

From “Enrollment up at CNC boot camps” — Some area technical colleges that host CNC boot camps have seen increased demand from both employers and students, so they have added additional courses.

CNC boot camps are accelerated courses that help students earn CNC operator skills sooner than the traditional coursework.Waukesha County Technical College and the Waukesha-Ozaukee-Washington Workforce Development Board have teamed up to offer some of the boot camps at the college. In order to enroll in a boot camp at WCTC, students’ math and reading levels need to be at a 9.2 grade level.

“This is basically condensed and it is a very intensive six to eight hours a day,” said Francisco Sanchez, CEO of the WOW Workforce Development Board. “There is no general education courses required.”

WOW and WCTC have increased the number of boot camps they offer to meet the demand in the manufacturing industry, Sanchez said.

“We try to minimize the amount of time they spend in the technical college,” he said. “The manufacturers want to get people in, because there is a huge need right now.”

WOW also hosts a CNC boot camp at Moraine Park Technical College in West Bend, which currently has 16 students enrolled.

Often, WOW is able to bring employers in during the boot camp to talk to students about employment opportunities once they finish the courses.

“We started offering it because an employer came to us and needed about 15 CNC operators,” said Mike Shiels, dean of the School of Applied Technologies at WCTC.

In addition to WOW, WCTC works with the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership to match employers with students, he said.

WCTC previously offered three boot camps per year, but has doubled the offering this year. Last year, between 30 and 45 people graduated from the CNC boot camp, while close to 90 have completed the program this year.

“We have also increased the amount of sections that we’re offering in our one-year program as well,” Shiels said.

The one-year program provides training for CNC machinists, while the boot camp teaches basic manufacturing skills like blueprint reading and the basic operation of CNC machines.

The college has hired an additional full-time instructor to help teach some of the courses, he said.

At Gateway Technical College in Kenosha, there is a one-year course and a boot camp to learn CNC skills. The boot camp participants are generally dislocated workers who are upgrading their skills, said Debbie Davidson, vice president in the workforce and economic development division at Gateway.

“We have found that within the last year, companies are looking to hire again and are looking for maybe different skill sets that what people who worked in machining before had,” Davidson said.

Gateway aims to simulate a work environment at the boot camps, which are 15-week courses with 20 students each. The college recently upped its boot camp offering to three times per year.
Both CNC skills and soft skills like attendance are emphasized, Davidson said.

“Employers have said to us, you need to teach them (soft skills),” she said. “We’ve had great success. We’ve had over a 90 percent placement rate on individuals who come out of the program.”

From “FVTC breaks ground on training center” — GREENVILLE – The beginning of a step forward Wednesday in the training of emergency responders.  Those involved in building a $34 million public safety training center for Fox Valley Technical College hope it will eventually improve the protection of area communities.

“This is gonna make us move forward with a public safety training center that is second to none,” said Fire Protection Department Chair Jeremy Hansen.

The facility is going up in Greenville on Outagamie County Airport land.  It’s part of a more than $60 million referendum the community approved last spring.

Hansen told FOX 11 some highlights the 80-acre site will include are a mock village, a water-rescue pond and driving courses.  He said it will provide training for police, firefighters and EMT’s all at once.

“If we respond to it in the real world, we should be training together as well,” said Hansen.

The school trains both new recruits and those already working in public safety.  The Grand Chute Police Department is one of the local agencies that works with Fox Valley Tech.

“This will put officers into an environment that is exactly as they will face on the street,” Chief Greg Peterson told FOX 11.

The airport’s director told us construction will not interrupt airport traffic.  In fact, he said, he hopes the center brings more tourism to the area.

“It gives us a state-of-the-art facility to draw visitors to the area to spend a few days in the hotels, to show, to go to restaurants,” said Martin Lenss

Those involved say the center will also make the area safer.

“My officers will perform better, we will perform better as an organization, but the level of services we provide will dramatically increase,” said Peterson.

But Hansen told us the citizens have earned a good return on the investment.

“If it wasn’t for the community’s support, we wouldn’t have this facility,” said Hansen.

Contractors expect to have the project complete in about two years.

From “Fox Valley Tech Welding Donation” — Fox Valley Technical College received a donation Monday that will help welding students further their careers. Walker-Forge and Precision Thermal Processing donated a large piece of heat treating and testing equipment to the college’s welding program.

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From “NTC gets $10K for emergency village in Merrill” — The Merrill Area Community Foundation has given $9,900 to Northcentral Technical College to help with development of the school’s Public Safety Center in Merrill.

The donation will be used to buy a moving target training system at the Public Safety Center’s Emergency Village. The system includes robotic tactical targets for use in a safe outside environment, which will allow students and protective service workers to experience real-time, computer-simulated emergency situations.

“We are grateful for the support and generosity of the Merrill Area Community Foundation to bring state-of-the-art training equipment to the Emergency Village,” NTC President Lori Weyers said in a press release. “Once this project is complete, we expect several thousand public safety personnel a year to gain practical, hands-on experience right here in Merrill.”

NTC expects the Emergency Village to be fully operational for training by spring of 2013.

From “Western to receive grant money for plumbing program” — Western Technical College is receiving $11,800 for its plumbing training program.

The money comes from a Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development grant.

The program provides funds to apprenticeship training for “green” occupations and building alternative energy trade skills.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson announced more than $150,000 in grants to fund programs for five technical colleges and three labor organizations.

“The funding is the latest example of our continuing efforts to align workforce training opportunities and bring about good jobs for Wisconsin residents,” said Secretary Newson. “Under Governor Scott Walker, DWD is developing a number of mechanisms that will enable private-sector employers to access the training resources that they need to hire skilled and trained workers.”

The grants were awarded as a part of a $6 million Sector Alliance for the Green Economy grant DWD previously received from the U.S. Department of Labor to support training programs in “green” energy occupations. With the funding, the technical colleges and on-the-job training providers can offer courses that supplement traditional apprenticeship instruction, providing more opportunities for training in cutting-edge technologies.

From “WTCDBA honors MSTC graduate with 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award” — Scott Glinski, president of Skyward, Inc. and Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) graduate, was honored Friday with the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award. The award recognizes one person each year for their demonstrated value of a technical college education through career advancement, community service, continued personal and educational growth, and support of the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).

Glinski earned a Computer Electronics Associate Degree in 1986 and an Instrumentation Associate Degree in 1987, both from MSTC. He is now a 25-year veteran of Skyward, a premier provider of K-12 administrative software. Born and raised in Stevens Point (WI), Glinski is engaged in numerous local activities, leaving an indelible positive mark on the area. He is an active member of the Portage County Business Council’s Board of Directors and also serves on the Stevens Point Area YMCA Board of Directors.

Glinski regularly praises the quality of a technical college education, substantiated by the company’s steady employment of MSTC and other WTCS graduates. Skyward’s corporate office in Stevens Point employs more than 50 WTCS alumni, 60% of them from MSTC. To date, 26 MSTC students have received Skyward, Inc. and Skyward Employees scholarships, established in 2002 and awarded to central Wisconsin information technology students demonstrating financial need and high academic standing. The company also helps keep the MSTC Information Technology-Programmer/Analyst program current by providing a representative for the program’s Advisory Committee.

“Widely known for his successful business acumen, Scott Glinski represents the ideal of a committed, industrious, and caring individual to whom Mid-State Technical College looks to as a distinguished alumni,” said MSTC President Dr. Sue Budjac in nominating Glinski for the award.  “Scott’s endorsement of a Wisconsin technical college education is second to none.”

With Glinski as president, Skyward has experienced annual double-digit growth, has grown to more than 350 employees, and is now serving more than 1,500 school districts in 17 states and eight countries.  The company serves over 80% of Wisconsin’s K-12 school districts and its 98% business retention rate is a standard seldom matched among software product companies.

Earlier this year, the Wisconsin Technical College System Board presented Skyward with the Futuremakers Partner Award for significant contributions to technical college programming and workforce development. The company has also been recognized as the 2008 Wisconsin Family Business of the Year, a Top 100 product by District Administration magazine in 2010, “head of the class” in the field of school district software by Corporate Report Magazine, and one of the top 50 products for 2012 through a eSchoolNews Readers Choice award. Skyward was touted by industry journals in 2006 as “One of the Most Influential Technology Leaders” and honored by Corporate Report Wisconsin as a Small Business Success Story for the State of Wisconsin based on its combination of growth and stability.

Under Glinski’ s leadership, Skyward also received the National Committee for Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Patriot Award in 2009 for its leadership practices and personnel policies that support employee participation in the Guard and Reserve. The Portage County Business Council Decree of Excellence was awarded to Skyward in 2010 for the company’s contribution to the area’s economic vitality and community service.

“Scott is an exceptional and deserving winner of this Distinguished Alumni Award,” said Budjac. “Mid-State Technical College is proud to be the higher education institution of choice for Scott and others throughout Central Wisconsin.”

From “Vincent High School launches urban ag program” — Shamika Suggs said she never used to like science.

But now, the 16-year-old Milwaukee student aspires to become a veterinarian.

“In regular science, we’re reading out of a book, writing notes,” Suggs said. “Now, we’re doing science ourselves – actual experiments.”

Suggs is a member of the inaugural class of a new urban agricultural sciences program at Harold S. Vincent High School – the largest school program of its kind in Wisconsin, and the only one in Milwaukee.

Agriculture programs are making a comeback in Wisconsin schools as educators tap into such expanding career fields as renewable energy. In the past three years, eight school districts have added agricultural science programs with a licensed teacher and their own Future Farmers of America charters, according to Jeff Hicken, agriculture and natural resources education consultant for the Department of Public Instruction.

Vincent’s program features aspects of the growing urban farming movement, including outdoor beehives, greenhouses and an aquaponics room.

“If there’s one thing I want people to take away, it’s that it’s not cows and sows and plows,” said Kyle Slick, Vincent’s new agricultural sciences teacher. The program has 216 students in its first year and will offer courses in introduction to urban agriculture, biotechnology, biofuels, veterinary science, landscape design and urban gardening.

“What I want my students to do is to have postsecondary aspirations,” Slick said. “By the time they’re seniors, I want them to have ideas of specific ideas of what careers they want and how to get to those careers.”

Vincent, set on a 90-acre plot of land on Milwaukee’s northwest side, was built in the 1970s with a focus on agriculture. Slick, a first-year teacher, is the first agricultural instructor Milwaukee Public Schools has hired in more than three decades to help get Vincent back to its roots with a modern focus.

Slick said he hopes to expand the program by adding one discipline each year to its lineup of mini-enterprises – plants, food science, animal production.

“We want this to be the focus of the school – the agricultural high school of Milwaukee,” Slick said.

Outside support

Community support is nurturing the Vincent program. Urban farming pioneers Growing Power and Sweet Water Organics are partners in the program, and city funding helped get it off the ground. Mayor Tom Barrett and representatives of FaB Milwaukee, a regional network for the food and beverage industry, spoke at the program’s open house last week.

Barrett connected the program at Vincent to a city initiative to convert foreclosed lots into garden plots for urban farming.

“If we can find a way as a community to scale this up and make it financially feasible, we’ve hit a grand slam,” Barrett said.

Other partners, including Milwaukee Area Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, University of Wisconsin-Madison and University of Wisconsin-River Falls, aim to streamline the transition from high school to college for agricultural sciences students at Vincent by offering more programs directly linked to the disciplines students are learning.

“Our goal is to button this up so we have a food chain from Vincent to MATC to UWM,” MATC President Michael Burke said. “We want to create pathways to local universities, like UWM’s school of public health.”

Hicken, of the DPI, said the growth of ag programs around the state is market driven. In addition to new programs in Wisconsin schools, Hicken said, 40 existing programs have expanded.

“A lot of what has been driving this lately is the job markets out there,” Hicken said.

About 354,000 jobs in Wisconsin – 10% of the workforce – come from its $59 billion-dollar agriculture industry, according to a study by the University of Wisconsin Extension.

Paul Larsen, chair of the Wisconsin Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council, has taught agricultural education at Freedom High School for the past 26 years. His classroom helped serve as a model for the recent developments at Vincent – a step in the right direction, according to Larsen.

“We try to get students aware and excited about these careers in agriculture, because we’re going to need them very soon,” he said.

From “MATHESON Collaborates with Miller Electric Mfg” — MATHESON and Miller Electric Mfg. Co. began a series of webinars designed by merging best practices of high performing customer service people with curriculum developed by Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC),Appleton, Wisconsin.

The training program is part of MATHESON’s and Miller’s commitment to continuously improve customer service and to respond to the increasing support needs of the competitive welding distributor market place. The unique webinar-based training technology will enhance critical customer focus skills in the areas of adapting to change, creating a positive communication culture, and working collaboratively in teams.

Dennis Gerrits, Miller Regional Sales Manager states, “Using webinar technology, we’ll be providing MATHESON personnel with customer service training to augment their current programs and in support of their core value of intensive customer focus. We will train together for an hour at a time, virtually, in 50 locations, and then resume our normal work activities. This would be impossible without webinar technology.”

According to Mark Blakely, Zone Vice President, MATHESON, “MATHESON believes that ongoing training of our employees is an important aspect of our commitment to continuous improvement, and is one of the things that sets us apart in a busy marketplace. Our collaboration with Miller and FVTC will complement our own internal training, and help to further the skills, capabilities, and expertise of our Customer Service team, especially related to Miller products and technology.”

Miller Training Systems is dedicated to training its distribution network to be the best in the industry. Miller views training as a tool that increases profitability by making the distributor the “go to” organization to solve the welder’s everyday needs. Through a close working relationship with FVTC, Miller Training Systems has expanded the capacity and scope of their services. Paul Cleveland, Manager Distributor Training for Miller, said that FVTC is able to develop or adapt curriculum to fit the needs of Miller and MATHESON. “We use FVTC to help us leverage the technology we need, such as helping to put Miller content on-line. For customer service, we’re using FVTC’s Critical Core Communications Skills content, adapting it to MATHESON’s requirements, and delivering it as a webinar.”

From “Sustainability part of the curriculum at Nicolet” — Sustainability is a common theme at Nicolet Area Technical College. Tuesday’s “dumpster diving” event to promote recycling awareness is just one small example of the type of initiatives the college is taking on.

A few other examples include the culinary arts students maintaining a compost as part of their cooking practices and the college’s participation in the Lake Julia stewardship project, a nearly decade-long study of the lake that included approximately $50,000 in Department of Natural Resources grant funding. What was discovered was a fairly healthy lake, but the project produced an aquatic plant management plan that can be used to continue to monitor and maintain the health of the lake.

The college has also pursued LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certifications for recent building renovation projects. The certification assesses how “green” a building is, looking at areas such as energy efficiency, water conservation and the use of sustainable materials. The Birchwood Center addition and remodeling received a LEED Gold certification.

The Northwoods Center addition and remodeling completed in 2011 received a LEED Silver certification. Nicolet College officials are now pursuing an official LEED certification for the University Transfer Center renovation completed this past summer.

One of the most recent sustainability initiatives at Nicolet is the college’s Green Scholar program, which is making its debut this fall. Leanne Vigue Miranda had some literature available on the new program during Tuesday’s “dumpster diving” event. Miranda coordinates the college’s sustainability professional learning community. There are several different professional learning communities (PLC), all comprised of Nicolet staffers, that direct their focus on different areas.

“Our PLC is always trying to come up with ways to raise awareness,” Miranda said of the area of sustainability.

The Green Scholar program is something that has been in the works for about a year and a half, she said.

According to Miranda, the program’s purpose is twofold. To recognize the efforts of those people who already make sustainable practices part of their everyday lives and to hopefully encourage others to become more conscious of the carbon footprint they’re leaving behind and consider some lifestyle changes.

“Our PLC really wanted to find ways to get the Nicolet community excited about sustainability as well as recognize people for their efforts,” Miranda said.

The Green Scholar program is modeled after a similar program at Gateway Technical College in Racine. It is open to anyone willing to learn about sustainability and incorporate such aspects into their personal lives, Miranda said. To become a Green Scholar, a person must complete the EarthScore Booklet (found in the Nicolet College bookstore), complete a service learning project relevant to sustainability and complete 50 points worth of “green” action items, which include Nicolet coursework as well as other various personal activities. Miranda said the courses don’t necessarily have to be for credit. Non-credit classes, such as courses in the college’s Outdoor Adventure Series, also qualify toward the requirements of the Green Scholar recognition.

For more information about the program, contact Miranda at (715) 365-4586 or

From “Nicolet’s University Transfer Program sets new enrollment record” — Enrollment in Nicolet College’s University Transfer Liberal Arts program hit a new record high in 2011-12, with 448 Northwoods students enrolled. The program provides students with the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. They then transfer their Nicolet credits to four-year colleges and universities.

“Students increasingly are seeing the great value and great education they can get in Nicolet’s University Transfer Program,” said Rose Prunty, Dean of the University Transfer Program, during a report she gave to the Nicolet College Board of Trustees during the board’s October meeting. “They recognize that it is a very good way to begin working on a bachelor’s degree.”

Since 2009, enrollment in the University Transfer Program is up 22 percent, she added.

Along with being the largest academic program on campus, accounting for about one out of every three program students at Nicolet, it is also one of the oldest, as it was founded with the opening of college in 1968.

“Over the years thousands of Northwoods students have used the Transfer program as a stepping stone to higher levels of academic achievement,” Prunty said. “It’s encouraging to note that many have also returned to this area to apply their skills in a wide variety of fields, from education, to health, to natural resources and many others.”

Today, Nicolet has in place more than 70 credit transfer agreements with numerous four-year colleges and universities. These include many private college and all institutions in the University of Wisconsin System, including UW-Madison, the system’s flagship campus.

The sweeping partnership that includes a guaranteed admission agreement with UW-Madison creates a smooth pathway for Northwoods students to study at a world-class university famous for its high admissions standards, she added.

Furthermore, under the Connections Program, students are enrolled at both Nicolet and UW-Madison and enjoy all of the benefits each institution has to offer. This includes receiving a UW-Madison ID that grants access to UW-Madison libraries, recreational facilities, ability to purchase tickets to UW-Madison athletic events at student rates, and access to cultural and social events on the UW-Madison campus.

When students graduate from Nicolet’s University Transfer Liberal Arts Program in good academic standing, they transition to UW-Madison where they are granted full junior status.

In the past five months alone Nicolet has received 230 requests from students to have their transcripts sent to a variety of post-secondary institutions, a necessary step in the transfer process.

“This is a solid indication that many students are continuing their path to a bachelor’s degree,” Prunty said.

According to the data collected, the most popular destination campuses for Nicolet Transfer students are UW-Stevens Point, UW-Green Bay, and UW-Madison.

Prunty also pointed out that the trend Nicolet’s University Transfer Program is experiencing is being mirrored across the country. Nearly half, or 45 percent, of all students who finished a four-year degree in 2010-11 had previously attended a two-year college, said Prunty, citing information from the National Student Clearinghouse.

From “Feeding Job Market: MATC readies new food processing programs” — Milwaukee Area Technical College is planning three programs geared toward food and beverage manufacturers that school and business leaders believe will help alleviate the sector’s shortage of skilled workers.

The programs — a two-year food science technology associate degree to be offered at the Oak Creek campus, a one-year food manufacturing and processing technician diploma in Oak Creek and a one-year industrial maintenance diploma to be offered at the Milwaukee campus — focus on food manufacturing and processing, said Rich Busalacchi, associate dean of the MATC School of Business and School of Media and Creative Arts.

From “Open house showcases FVTC expansion” — An expansion to Fox Valley Technical College’s S.J. Spanbauer Center will help the college meet the demands of growing industries — particularly in construction and aviation.

The recently completed 8,000-square-foot expansion of the building at 3601 Oregon St.,houses additional class space, two new Redbird flight simulators for the aeronautics pilot training program, a computer lab for the construction management technology program, a larger commons area with a study space for students and additional lab space for the aircraft electronics and airframe and power plant mechanics programs.

The aeronautics pilot training and construction management technology programs had outgrown their facilities at the same time that they face a growing need from the industries and a growing interest from students, instructors and administrators said. The center, built in 1991, was last expanded in 1999.

“There’s been quite a demand,” said Deb Heath, dean of the transportation and construction technologies division. “The programs have been very healthy — with enrollment and training people in the careers, as well as graduate placement, in all the programs.”

Expanding the facility not only serves current students, but will allow the programs to grow, Heath said. Both Heath and Rich Cass, department chairman and instructor of the construction management technology program, said commercial construction is back on the rise.

The construction management technology program, which launched in 2009, is the only associate degree program in the field in Wisconsin. Cass said the program attracts high school graduates with no experience and professionals seeking continued education alike. Upon completion, students are ready to start a job or to continue their education at a four-year institution, Cass said.

“We’re seeing a very good attraction to the industry,” Cass said. “We work with the commercial and industrial sector; we’re not tied into residential, which is seeing the largest dip. All of our students that have graduated are employed, and of the employed graduates, we have near 100 percent placement in the construction industry.”

The program has been full every year since it started, Cass said. The expanded area allows the program to use space more effectively, he said, adding that the layout of the program’s new classroom gives students desk area to work, computer stations and an area for laying out blueprints and plans in a way they would encounter in the workplace. The building itself is a teaching tool, with cutaways and exploratory areas covered by plexiglass so students can learn about its construction.

In the aeronautics pilot training program, insufficient classroom space and inadequate facilities for flight simulators were struggles for the last few years, said Jared Huss, department chair and instructor of the aviation department. The expanded area has rooms designed specifically for the department’s existing flight simulators, as well as for its two new simulators, which have cutting-edge technology that mimic both multi-engine and single-engine airplanes, with wraparound screens and three axes of movement. The new simulators also have a flat-screen monitor outside them that replays the flight for further review by students and instructors. Huss said they give students an “extra layer of training.”

“The expansion alleviated growing pains that we had,” Huss said.

In addition to the physical expansion, the aviation department has expanded its options with several new scholarships and a partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh which allows FVTC graduates to earn a bachelor’s degree with an aviation management emphasis.

The aeronautic pilot training program is full this year, and Huss expects the same for next year. The level of interest corresponds with a growing need in the industry, he said.

“It’s looking like the general public is finally seeing what’s coming in aviation,” Huss said. “The job market for pilots is just phenomenal, and there’s a similar shortage on the technical side. We’re booming.”

Job placement for graduates of the aeronautics pilot training program is close to 100 percent, Huss said, adding that even when the economy was down, job placement was in the 90 percent range for the program.

The expansion also features more space for general education classes, and a new area for physics classes that gives more room for hands-on, practical lessons, Heath said. The new commons area is also in a quieter spot, with expanded computer access and study space.

The entire facility will be open to the public during an open house on Monday, from 3-6 p.m. While the open house will focus on the expanded area, the center also houses the college’s aircraft electronics, airframe and power plant mechanic, electromechanical technology, residential building construction and wood manufacturing technology programs.

From “Tech Council adds seven to its board of directors” — Seven leaders from Wisconsin’s tech and engineering industries, private equity and political sectors have been elected to the Wisconsin Technology Council Board of Directors.

The Tech Council is an independent, non-profit organization that serves as the science and technology advisor to the Governor and Legislature. It is a catalyst for the creation of tech-based based business in Wisconsin. Elected at recent board meetings were:

· James Antczak, biomedical technology licensing manager, Medical College of Wisconsin
· Lisa Johnson, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
· Brian Lindstrom, controller, Epic Systems
· Jeanne McCabe, president and CEO, JZB Solutions
· Jim Pavlik, partner, Baird Venture Partners
· John Wiley, former chancellor, UW-Madison
· James Zylstra, vice president of finance, Wisconsin Technical College System

The seven join a statewide council that includes more than 45 representatives from tech companies, venture capital firms, all levels of education, research institutions, government and law with the mission of growing Wisconsin’s technology-based economy.

“The addition of these seven board members helps strengthen our already diverse and respected board,” Tech Council Chairman Mark Bugher said of the new board members. “Their knowledge and expertise will contribute greatly to the organization’s mission of best positioning Wisconsin in the Knowledge Economy.”

Formally organized in 2001, the Tech Council has focused its efforts in three key areas: policy guidance, economic development and networking. Its major publications include “Vision 2020: A Model Wisconsin Economy” and “Wisconsin Portfolio” as well as periodic white papers. Its programs include the Wisconsin Innovation Network, the Wisconsin Angel Network, the Wisconsin Security Research Consortium, the Wisconsin Entrepreneurs’ Conference, the Wisconsin Early Stage Symposium, the Wisconsin Governor’s Business Plan Contest and the Wisconsin YES!

Following is additional information about the seven new board members:

James Antczak, Ph.D.
Prior to joining the Office of Technology Development at the Medical College of Wisconsin in 2012, Antczak spent more than 25 years working in public and private-sector biomedical research and development. He earned a PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from Duke University as well as a postdoctoral fellowship in virus research at Duke University.

Lisa Johnson, vice president of entrepreneurship and innovation, Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation
Prior to joining the WEDC in 2011, Johnson was chief business officer for Semba Biosciences; vice president of corporate development with EMD Biosciences Inc.; and vice president of corporate development for Novagen. Johnson earned a finance degree at the UW-Madison.

Brian Lindstrom, controller, Epic Systems
Lindstrom is the financial leader for Epic Systems, a $1-billion developer of inpatient and ambulatory enterprise healthcare management software. Prior to joining Epic Systems, Lindstrom was director of finance for ThermoFisher Scientific, Schneider National and Intel Corporation.

Jeanne McCabe, president and CEO of JZB Solutions
McCabe is an expert in research administration and working with small companies to develop necessary infrastructure. Prior to forming JZB Solutions, McCabe was with the Morgridge Institute for Research, BloodCenter of Wisconsin and the University of Iowa.

Jim Pavlik, partner, Baird Venture Partners
Pavlik is a partner with Baird Venture Partners and focuses on early and expansion stage venture capital investments in the business services and software sectors. Prior to joining Baird Venture Partners in 2003, Pavlik was with Madison Dearborn Partners and Solomon Smith Barney. Pavlik has a MBA from Northwestern University.

John Wiley, former chancellor, UW-Madison
Wiley received a bachelor’s degree in Physics from Indiana University and a masters and doctoral degrees in Physics from the UW-Madison. Prior to becoming chancellor of UW-Madison, Wiley served as a professor and administrator for more than 30 years.

James Zylstra, vice president of finance, Wisconsin Technical College System
Zylstra has responsibility for the Tech College System’s internal operations, including accounting, budgeting, procurement, payroll, human resources, facility and information technology. Prior to joining the Tech College System, Zylstra spent nine years with the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau. He holds a Bachelors of Business Administration in Accounting from UW-Milwaukee and a law degree from UW-Madison.

From “Grant aims to fill manufacturing jobs”  — GRAND CHUTE – Fox Valley Technical College recently received nearly three million dollars to train nearly 400 workers.

To state workforce officials, Travis Rewalt is the perfect example of someone helping fill the manufacturing skills gap.

“I felt like I was learning the basics I needed and I kind of wanted to learn more to keep me on top of the game so that I could be marketable in the future,” said Rewalt of Menasha.

State officials say if more people like Rewalt stepped forward, empty jobs in manufacturing could start being filled.

“The skills gap issue is on the training side and people not having the skills to fill the role because there is a perception that manufacturing is dumb, dirty and dangerous and it’s not,” said Georgia Maxwell, the executive assistant for Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development.

The state’s Department of Workforce Development is teaming with Fox Valley Technical College to address the issue. $2.9 million will help train people interested in jobs in welding, machine tool operations, printing and electronics/automation.

“These are the primary areas that we have more demand for jobs and for skilled labor than we have supplies at the moment,” said Steve Straub the dean of Fox Valley Technical College’s Manufacturing and Agriculture Technologies Division.

State and school officials say above any other field, manufacturing currently has the most opportunity. They say the problem is there aren’t enough people like Rewalt who want to learn the necessary skills.

“I guess it comes down to motivation of the individuals. The people that seem to want to do it, don’t have the tools available to them, particularly on the financial end,” said Rewalt.

Manufacturing leaders hope the new grant money will help provide that motivation.

The grant money is funded through the federal Trade Adjustment Act.

From “Clintonville company, employee honored” — CLINTONVILLE – October is Disability Employment Awareness Month.

The state is honoring a company in Clintonville, for rehiring a former employee who is now wheelchair bound.

Operating the press brake at Walker Forge is a job Jake Dudzik loved to do.

“It was definitely a fun job out there that’s for sure,” said Dudzik.

It was until 2007. That’s when Dudzik was partially paralyzed in a diving accident. But being wheelchair bound doesn’t mean he’s out of work.

“It was Jake’s initiative to go to school and be successful at school that allows him to work here. We didn’t take his classes or get his degree for him, he did all of that himself,” said company president Richard Recktenwald.

Three years and a drafting degree later, Dudzik returned to Walker Forge full-time in March.

“I was never one who wanted to go back to school before this that’s for sure, but I had a good group of classmates and teachers and it wasn’t as hard as I thought it was going to be,” said Dudzik.

Dudzik now works in front of a computer analyzing projects and preparing cost estimates. While Jake no longer works on the factory floor he says he enjoys his new position and most of all, he says he appreciates being treated like everyone else.

“Just another guy in the shop pretty much is all it is and that’s the way I want it,” he said.

Dudzik’s father Brian also works at the company. He says the state recognition is well deserved.

“It was a long road to go down and today is a proud day for all of us; I mean he had a lot of hard work today.”

Recktenwald says Jake is still a valuable member of the company.

“All we did was give a job to a person with the right skills at a time we had an opening,” said Recktenwald.

And that was all Jake was looking for.

The state gave both the company and Dudzik plaques Tuesday. Walker Forge employs more than 400 people in Clintonville, including several others with various disabilities.


From “Western: Referendum good for college, economy” — Voters will decide more than the fate of a few building projects when they weigh in on Western Technical College’s $79.8 million referendum.

Remodels and upgrades are part of a plan to improve classes and offerings so they better fit the needs of students and regional employers, Western President Lee Rasch said.

Local taxpayers would pay more — about $39 extra each year on homes worth $100,000.

But a “yes” vote on Election Day also will yield a return on that investment, Western officials said.

With campus improvements funded through the referendum, Western hopes to assuage a skills gap between an undereducated workforce and employers looking for highly skilled workers.

“There are opportunities for people in good-paying positions,” Rasch said. “But they’re opportunities for people who have the skills.”

The college plans to add 1,000 students by 2020 and increase their chances of finding work through improvements paid for by the referendum. By adding students, the technical college expects to see an increase in the number of graduates who stay and work in Western’s 11-county district.

These future alumni would eventually add $97 million to the regional economy by 2034, according to a recent economic report by NorthStar Consulting Group. Construction alone would have an estimated economic impact of $112 million by 2016.

New buildings, more efficiency, new offerings — all are important parts of the college’s 10-year plan.

“It’s like a three-legged stool,” Rasch said.

If voters agree, Western would be able to borrow the money, adding to existing debt of about $58 million.

Western was forced to cut staff and programming last year, when the college lost about $2 million in state aid.

The college’s last referendum was more than 15 years ago, with 64 percent of voters agreeing to pay for a $3 million chunk of the city’s Health Science Center.

Unlike school districts, technical colleges can’t use referendum dollars for operating costs, so they come up only for building projects.

If voters block the measure, Western officials will still do what they can to serve the community, but it could mean missing out on a potential economic boon for the region, Rasch said.

“What’s the social cost and the economic cost if we don’t do anything?” Rasch said. “If we don’t take a step forward, we could run the risk of sliding back.”

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