From “Welding boot camp preps new workers” — FOND DU LAC – If you’re looking for work or a career change Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac might have the job for you.

That is, if you’re willing to go through boot camp.

The college is offering an intense, 10-week training program for already available manufacturing jobs.

Students will learn the basics of welding and other machine work businesses say could lead to one of those jobs.

It starts with welding 101 and then some at Moraine Park Technical College.

“When I first started I thought you just welded two pieces of metal together and that was basically what you did,” said Chad Krebsbach of Green Lake.

But as Krebsbach quickly found out, welding jobs today require much more skill.

“I wanted to get better in stainless steel welding and TIG welding and I accomplished that I think.”

It’s that kind of success story that led Moraine Park Technical College to seek $1.3 million in grant money to create two separate boot camp programs in high demand manufacturing jobs. A 10-week training program in welding or a 15-week program in CNC machining.

“It will get them basic entry level skills to get them into these manufacturers so they can continue to gain wages and have jobs and then hopefully come back and finish their degree,” said JoAnn Hall, dean of workforce and economic development at Moraine Park Technical College in Fond du Lac.

For companies like Brenner Tank in Fond du Lac the program helps them find skilled workers with the specific training they are looking for.

“There is a huge skills gap and we need to get that message out that there are good jobs paying jobs available in the manufacturing community and this is just another way to make that happen,” said Dave Hodorff, vice president of operations for Brenner.

Roughly a dozen local companies are partnering with the school with the expectation of hiring the boot camp grads. Many will need further training, but school officials say the boot camp is a way for them to get their foot in the door for in-demand jobs.

“Almost all of the employers we are working with provide tuition reimbursement, they are committed to the long-term growth of their staff, but they need people in and doing these jobs so they can service their customers,” said Hall.

Sparking interest in a new generation of manufacturing workers.

The first boot camp is already underway and a second will begin in February. The school says it can churn out 90 students a year under the three year grant program.

The school is holding two informational sessions about the boot camps next week.

From “MATC proposes to train department heads” — Columbia County Supervisor Sue Martin had a blunt question: “How do you teach an old dog new tricks?”

Mike Baldwin replied that the Madison Area Technical College’s Center for Community and Corporate Learning can, indeed, help Columbia County’s department heads maximize their skills in leadership and management.

Baldwin, assessment facilitator for the training program, fielded numerous questions — some as blunt as Martin’s — at a meeting Wednesday for the county’s department heads and the supervisors who are chairs of the County Board committees that oversee various departments.

County Board Chairman Andy Ross said the county’s 2013 budget includes about $20,000 for leadership training.

Such a need was identified for managers in the county’s highway and transportation department, in a 118-page report from Baker Tilly, a Madison-based consulting firm that has spent the last several months analyzing the department’s operation.

But all of the county’s departments, and even experienced managers, should benefit from leadership training, Ross said.

“We put a lot of money into buildings and things like that,” he said. “But one of the optimal aspects we have is you folks. We should be doing some investing in you.”

Baldwin and Barbara Martin, outreach training liaison for the MATC program, spoke to the County Board’s executive committee earlier this month, and laid out a proposal that would entail:

• Meetings between county department heads and representatives of the MATC program, starting at the beginning of next year, to assess each department head’s strengths and weaknesses in management.

• A report in February to the executive committee, regarding the results of the assessments and a proposed list of training topics.

• Training in leadership and management, to start the first week of March.

The proposal must get approval from the executive committee next month before the assessments can begin.

Ross had been the outreach training liaison for the MATC program until his June 2011 retirement. He noted Wednesday that he would receive no financial benefit from the county paying MATC for the leadership training.

Ross said he recommended using the MATC program because of its success.

Baldwin said private-sector entities are the main users of the program, though the state of Wisconsin has used it. Columbia County would be the first county government body to utilize the program’s management training, he said.

Barbara Martin said the proposal for management training indicates the value that the County Board places on county department heads.

“Columbia County is taking you seriously,” she said, “and wants to invest in you.”

Susan Martin, chairwoman of the County Board’s human resources committee, said her 30 years of experience in human resources in the private sector has shown her that management training programs work best when they include an assessment of the organization’s overall effectiveness.

“This is a very tight timeline,” she said, “and I don’t recall any attention being paid to the overall organization.”

Also, she said, it may not be the department heads who most need leadership training, but rather the lower-level managers in some of the county’s larger departments.

Supervisor Fred Teitgen, chairman of the County Board’s planning and zoning committee, asked whether the assessment conducted before the training could offer insight into the workload of various departments; determine whether departments have the right size staff for their workload; and identify opportunities for different departments to share staff.

Baldwin said the assessment would factor in the county’s limited financial resources, and the effect of those limitations on staffing.

Ross said the executive committee, of which he is chairman — whose members include Robert Westby, Vern Gove, Richard Boockmeier and Mary Cupery — would exercise ongoing oversight of the leadership training process.

From “Tooling U-SME recognizes six award-winning schools for their excellence” — In its ongoing commitment to support the manufacturing community, Tooling U-SME recognizes – for the second year – outstanding educational facilities that are developing a learning culture that works to overcome the manufacturing skill gap that is rampant in the U.S. and abroad. Tooling U-SME’s Platinum Education Centers (TUPECs) are educational programs that embrace technology and are active in developing manufacturers for today and tomorrow.

The TUPEC program was created in part because of the crisis facing manufacturing. Business research firms like Deloitte report that, by 2021, one million skilled jobs such as machinists, assemblers, inspectors, among others will go unfilled due to retirement and the lack of individuals with the right manufacturing skills and knowledge to replace them. Schools in the manufacturing industry are doing their part, and Tooling U-SME applauds those who have stepped up to meet the global challenge.

The six programs honored this year are:

  • NTMA-U National Apprenticeship Program
  • Northcentral Technical College, WI
  • Davidson County Community College, NC
  • Wilbur Wright College, IL
  • Virginia Western CC, VA
  • Middle Georgia Technical College, GA

The schools chosen have invested in their curriculum with Tooling U-SME’s online training program, which offers a blended learning format that trains specifically to the daily job functions of skilled workers. Pre- and post-exams help identify learning disparities with a learning portal that allows for reporting for teachers and multimedia, key manufacturing content and assessment exams for students. The 400+ online classes in departments like abrasives, metal cutting, welding, among others allow students to learn at their own pace while giving instructors extra time to teach in the classroom. Tooling U-SME’s content is robust and maps to industry credentialed standards: NIMS, SME, MSSC and AWS. Following the adoption of Tooling U-SME educational programs on average, educational institutions noted a marked 16-18-percent increase in post-exam testing. Tooling U’s efforts to support the manufacturing community will continue as industry partners with schools to produce a knowledgeable and skilled workforce.

“Manufacturing in the U.S. is thriving and we need to ensure that we have a strong pipeline of workers to fill the gaps to keep our manufacturers competitive,” says Toni Neary from Tooling U-SME’s Government and Education Group. “We are dedicated to working with instructors, programs and school systems throughout the U.S. to make sure students are well-trained, competent and, where applicable, certified. Our programs use Tooling U-SME to deliver knowledge to their students while conducting hands-on and in-person training to instill the skills needed for today’s cutting edge jobs. We are so proud of all of our schools and wanted to congratulate our six newest TUPECs. They are shining examples of where career and technical education is moving.”

From “NTC introduces new iPad app for area students” — A new iPad app is helping teachers see how their students are learning.

The WI-Skills app was introduced by North Central Technical College and is currently being used at four local high schools to monitor students’ apptitude in manufacturing courses.

NTC officials said the goal is to help educators map the progress of students throughout their coursework.

It will also allow them to see how they are grasping the material.

“It’s going to give them real time access to the student progress. They are going to be able to see how the student is doing and have video and picture documentation of the student performance,” Wausau West Instructor Theran Peterson said of the new app.

Teachers said the app is in the early stages. It was created thanks to a grant from the Department of Education.

From “MSTC Quick Start Learning classes set for winter and spring” — Want to train for a new career?  Need to advance your skills in your current career?  Mid-State Technical College’s new Quick Start Learning classes are an easy solution for people on the go.

Quick Start Learning classes are ideal for the busy lives of local businesses and their employees.  These short-term classes don’t follow traditional semester schedules.  Convenient start dates offer more flexibility and choices in what, when, and where students can learn.  Evening and online classes accommodate those who are unable to attend daytime classes.

Class options include topics like fire training, first aid/CPR/AED, gerontology, hazardous materials, hydraulics, leadership, medical terminology, Microsoft Office, nursing assistant acute care, phlebotomy, quality management, and Spanish.  View classes in these and many other fields at

Additional classes are added often.  Class offerings are subject to demand and provided on a first come, first served basis.  For more information, contact an MSTC Career Coach at 1-888-575-MSTC or stop by an MSTC Campus Office.  Individuals previously enrolled at MSTC can register online through MyMSTC.

From “Scholarship for motor-minded Two Harbors High School senior” — Russell Nelson missed his lunch hour on Thursday. Instead, the Two Harbors High School senior spent those 40 minutes checking out AMSOIL’s latest snocross racing technology, on display behind the mechanics shop at the high school.

There was pizza available, but he was too busy hobnobbing with the AMSOIL snocross team’s owner Steve Scheuring, mechanic Tony Clement and Air Force Staff Sergeant Dave Overstreet to grab a bite. He finally slipped away to have a snack but returned quickly for the grand finale of the afternoon–receiving a $200 scholarship from the AMSOIL team.

“I chose him based on the fact that he’s a good student and a good worker,” said Mike Fitzpatrick, who made the call as to which of his students would receive the scholarship.

Nelson plans to attend Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College for mechanics and says he hopes to be a millwright after graduation.

“He has a plan and we want to support him. We’re all about success,” said Staff Sgt. Overstreet. The Air Force is a sponsor of the AMSOIL team and part of their outreach work is getting kids excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics—STEM subjects. They’ve found that showing off the snocross machines at high schools is an effective way of doing so.

Nelson has already proved his dedication to technology and engineering. He spent most of his high school career in the shop classrooms at the high school, evidenced by the impressive number of advanced mechanics classes he has under his belt. In fact, he’s taken many of the classes twice; not because he failed them, but because he enjoys spending his days in the shop, he said.

“I just always knew I wanted to work with my hands,” he said.

Overstreet said Nelson is exactly the type of student they’re looking to support. Although Overstreet is a recruiter and Nelson isn’t joining the Air Force, he’s still impressed with Nelson’s drive and focus on the future.

“Our country needs guys that are thinking ahead,” he said, whether they are in the armed forces or not. Nelson fit the bill.

From “MATC investing millions to address skills gap” — Milwaukee Area Technical College is investing millions into its programs to address the region’s talent shortage and has added dozens of new programs since 2011, president Michael Burke said.

The school also recently received a more than $1 million federal grant to provide advanced manufacturing support for the community, Burke said.

Southeastern Wisconsin employers, particularly manufacturers, say they’re struggling to find candidates for open positions with the right skill sets, despite high unemployment.

As part of its response to that need, MATC has added eight degrees, 15 technical diplomas and 24 certificates since 2011, Burke said.

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