From “Growling online scam: Catfishing” — It’s been a hot topic since the Manti Te’o story broke. It’s caused some to re-examine their behavior on the web and reaffirmed what others already thought about the online world.

But the question remains how could a very popular public figure like Notre Dame football player Manti Te’o fall victim to a growing online scam known as catfishing?

The term catfish was made popular by a recent documentary and television show on MTV by the same name.

According to Steve Noll, a Marketing Instructor and social media expert with Madison College, catfishing occurs when someone creates a fake account or profile online with the intent of starting a romantic relationship.

It’s not really illegal and you can argue if it’s moral.

Noll says, ” It’s one of those Grey areas. The interesting thing about the rise of social media and the changes and all that is the technology has changed faster than the laws. ”

For the scammer Noll says the relationship may help fill a void in their life. But for the victim the online romance can be very real and in some cases even more intense than a more traditional relationship.

To avoid being catfished Noll says a little paranoia can go a long way.

” A little paranoia can save you a lot of heartache and money loss later down the line.”


From “Career and Technical Education a viable pathway to college and career readiness” — MADISON— February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Technical College System (WTCS) are encouraging students, schools, parents and educators to discover the great CTE programs available in our state.

“One of the surest pathways to growing a more prosperous middle class in Wisconsin is through career and technical education, or CTE,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “To be pro-business, you have to be pro-education, and that is why I’m working with business and education leaders across the state to reinvigorate CTE programs. It is also why I’ve requested support for new investments in STEM, CTE, and industry certifications in my budget request.”

“As our economic transformation continues, existing careers are changing and new opportunities are being created,” said Morna Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “CTE Month is a great time for parents and students to explore the many education and career opportunities that are open to them.”

The DPI and WTCS are using February to observe and emphasize the value of CTE to Wisconsin’s economy. The DPI supports increased opportunities for career and technical education in high school. CTE programs can help students follow a viable route to a rewarding career. Many CTE programs provide multiple pathways for students to become college and career ready while still in high school, and Wisconsin’s technical colleges can play an important role in expanding CTE opportunities for students.

“Last year during CTE Month, I visited robust CTE programs in the Sun Prairie, Superior, Milwaukee, Beloit and Hartford Union school districts,” added Evers. “I look forward to touring many more this year. Thanks to programs like these, students participating in Wisconsin’s CTE programs graduate at a rate of more than 95 percent. That is good for students and for Wisconsin.”

More than 90,000 Wisconsin high school students are taking career and technical education courses in fields like agriculture, business, family and consumer science, health occupations, marketing, technology and engineering. Schools form partnerships with local businesses to provide opportunities for students to explore various career options, while developing academic and career plans students are given direction to post-secondary options.


From MSTC students honored with statewide scholarships” — The Wisconsin Employment and Training Association offers two statewide scholarships and both have been awarded to Mid-State Technical College students.

Kristine Ahles and Matt Nievinski, both of Wisconsin Rapids, have each received a scholarship in the amount of $750.  Ahles is pursuing Business Management and Administrative Professional associate degrees.  Nievinski is seeking an associate degree in Information Technology-Network Specialist.

The scholarship application considers economic need, personal characteristics, school and community involvement, personal expression of training and career goals, academic achievement, Wisconsin residency, and two letters of recommendation.  MSTC Financial Aid Supervisor and WETA member Mary Jo Green recommended both students for WETA scholarships.

“I am confident these two individuals will continue to achieve in the classroom and community,” said Green in a press release.  “They are a reflection of the quality of students we have here at MSTC.”

Ahles originally enrolled at MSTC through the Workforce Investment Act Dislocated Workers Program and enjoys MSTC’s personable hometown friendly atmosphere.

“I look forward to coming to school and learning,” she said in a press release.

Nievinski chose MSTC because he had seen firsthand how much faculty and staff care about their students and foster student success.

“I like the fact that at MSTC you are not treated like a number,” Nievinski said in a press release.  “Faculty and staff are friendly and want to help you succeed when you put forth the effort.”

WETA established scholarships like the Harmon Memorial Scholarship and the Brasch Memorial Scholarship to help students achieve their educational and career goals.

Dennis Harmon was a dedicated professional who spent most of his work life serving the needs of the poor and unemployed through the development, operation and management of education, employment, and training programs in Wisconsin.

John Brasch was one of the founders of WETA and remained an active member until his death.  In his role as a technical college counselor, Brasch was deeply committed to working with disadvantaged students.

From “2013 Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show to feature special attractions” — An enhanced Outdoor Living Area with a Mediterranean theme, the Schlossmann’s Dodge City Chrysler Jeep Vehicle Display, and an Interior Design Contest between local colleges are some of the attractions at the 51st annual Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Show at the Wisconsin Exposition Center at State Fair Park in West Allis, Thurs., Feb. 7, through Sun., Feb. 10.

The Show’s Outdoor Living Area will feature a Mediterranean theme, with landscaping, hardscaping, and water features. The following Milwaukee/NARI members are participating in the Outdoor Living Area construction:

• Aquatica, a division of Dean Pipito Waterfeatures, LLC: Creating an elegant and enjoyable water feature that can stand alone in any landscape, the Mediterranean themed feature will bring movement and sound, along with the vision of falling water over classical urns and statuary.

• Nite Time Decor by Bold Illuminations: Outdoor LED lighting to enhance the overall display space.

• Breezy Hill Nursery, Inc.: Whether it’s the presence of a quaint trickle of water, the naturally warm colors of the paved sitting area, the rustic appeal of the overhead pergola, or the idea of a relaxed game of Bocce Ball, this display contains all the elements of a desired Mediterranean getaway.

• Exteriors Unlimited Landscape Contractors, Inc.: The space will feature a natural stone fire pit, honed limestone grilling station with integrated bar seating, and a rustic cedar pergola. The distinct areas will be tied together with the use of Brussels tumbled pavers that resemble the classic time-worn, hand-hewn cobblestones from the streets of early American settlements. The same look is carried upward into the seat walls and pillars. Using a wooden pergola that extends the landscape vertically and is silhouetted by an overhead canopy of trees creates feelings of intimacy, warmth, and protection.

• Ground Affects Landscaping, Inc.: Welcomed by a bubbling urn, Show attendees will enter the outdoor room through the main entrance under a cedar Arbor with cast stone columns. The paver patio displays two styles of brick that coincide to create a beautiful and functional space. The space includes shade trees and plantings, a Holly bush, Hyacinths in full bloom, along with daffodils and tulips. Landscape lighting and a natural stone raised fire element complete the living space.

• Innovative Exteriors Landscape: The space will use a combination stone products with Fond du Lac flagstone steppers and a man-made aspect with walkway pavers and flooring in the fireplace area. The walkways will be covered with a pergola that uses both natural wood and wrought iron to create views to the center area’s focal point. A sitting area along the walkway will feature flagstone steppers surrounded by tall evergreens and perennials.

Attendees will have an opportunity to serve as judges of an Interior Design Contest sponsored by Nehmey Construction, which will pit students from Gateway Technical College, Milwaukee Area Technical College, and Waukesha County Technical College each designing and creating a 12′ x 12′ garage with a “man-cave” theme. The participating schools will each receive $1,000 for the school’s interior design program.

Providing attendees with a central location to learn about the various components of the country’s largest home improvement council, the Milwaukee/NARI Information Center will have members from different areas of the association, including Membership, Education/Certification, and the Milwaukee/NARI Foundation, the association’s charitable arm. At least one of the association’s Certified Professionals will be in the Information Center at all times to answer consumer inquiries relating to home improvement and remodeling.

The Grand Appliance and TV Coffee and Media Lounge will provide an area for Show attendees to relax as they walk the aisles, as well as enjoy a complimentary cup of Alterra Coffee on Feb. 7 and Feb. 8 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m., and on Feb. 9 and Feb. 10 from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Ultimate Confections will be at the Show during its entire run selling an assortment fine chocolates and other treats in time for Valentine’s Day.

The latest 2013 cars and trucks will be shown inside the expo center in the Schlossmann’s Dodge City Chrysler Jeep Vehicle Display, including the all new Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Durango, and a Chrysler 200.

On Feb. 8, the first 200 attendees will receive a Valentine carnation courtesy of Locker’s Floral.

The Kids Creative Zone sponsored by Advantage Carpentry and Remodeling, will be open Feb. 9 and Feb 10, featuring arts, crafts, face painting by Milwaukee Face Painter (1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Feb. 9 and 3:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. Feb. 10), interactive activities, and an opportunity to take a photo with Gerry the Carpenter Ant, Milwaukee/NARI’s mascot, 2:00 p.m. – 4:00 p.m. each day.

During the Show, educational demonstrations and seminars by home improvement experts and media celebrities will be held, including presentations on the Renewal by Andersen Seminar Stage by Bonnie Schneider, CNN/HLN Meteorologist and DIY Network weather expert, presented by Allrite Home & Remodeling, discussing “Extreme Weather,” Melinda Myers, The Plant Doctor, Gus Gnorski, Lis Friemoth, “The Garden Hoe”, and Tom Feiza, Mr. Fix-It, presented by J&B Construction, Inc. The Mukwonago Remodeling Cooking Demonstration Stage will feature area chefs and national cooking celebrities, including Mad Dog & Merrill, the Grilling Buddies, and Patricia Katopes, Food Network “Cupcake Wars” Winner. In addition, the Show will also feature live music featuring Scott E. Berendt and the Milwaukee Mandolin Orchestra, sponsored by Dimension Design, Build, Remodel, Inc.

Hours Thurs., Feb. 7, Fri., Feb. 8, and Sat., Feb. 9, are 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; and 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Sun., Feb. 10. Admission is $5 in advance, $8 at the door. Tickets for seniors 60 and older are $5.00, with a special price of $4.00 at the door on Thurs., Feb. 7, for Senior Day sponsored by Callen Construction, Inc. Children 12 and younger and all military personnel with a military ID card will be admitted free.


From “Commentary: Reinvigorating career and technical  education” — By Tony Evers, Wisconsin Supt. of Public Instruction — In Wisconsin and across the nation, employers are warning of impending shortages of workers in several specialized careers. Public education can help fix this problem as we reinvigorate the state’s high school Career and Technical Education programs.

While a bachelor’s degree is an important path to lifetime success and family-supporting careers, it is not the only route. Students and parents need information about diploma and apprenticeship programs, technical college degrees and industry certifications that require less than a four-year degree but also lead to a good life and a successful, rewarding career. Information and outreach are important parts of reinvigorating CTE. In October, about 20 manufacturing facilities across the state opened their doors to provide a new perspective on a variety of technical careers. Courtesy of a job-training grant, Western Technical College in

La Crosse supported a video series, “Max & Ben’s Manufacturing Adventures,” to help middle school students explore technical careers. Sustaining and expanding these types of efforts will require collaboration among all CTE partners.

When we reinvigorate CTE, we’re not just training students for high-demand jobs. The 16 career clusters, which are broad occupational groupings, provide high school students with rigorous academic preparation and skills for success in college, career and civic life. CTE gives students hands-on experience, developing the “soft skills” like punctuality, teamwork and problem-solving that employers say they want and are needed throughout life.

Because CTE programs must be at the forefront of innovation and industry standards, they can be expensive and have been hard hit by education funding cuts. Our most recent staffing survey showed a 6 percent cut to career and technical education positions in one year’s time. CTE needs a financial investment, which I’ve requested in my 2013-15 education budget. But, CTE also requires renewed partnerships with our state’s technical colleges, businesses and industries. The programs I visited for last year’s CTE Month observance overwhelmingly had strong connections with the local technical college and nearby employers. I expect to see similar partnerships Guest Editorials for Career and Technical Education Month when I tour programs in western Wisconsin, the Fox River Valley and southeastern Wisconsin during February’s CTE Month observance this year.

Career and technical education aligns talent development, job opportunities and workforce needs, supporting economic growth throughout the state. During February’s Career and Technical Education Month observance, and throughout the coming year, let’s work to reinvigorate CTE.

From “EMS project receives $20,000 grant” — SHAWANO COUNTY – A nearly $20,000 grant is aimed at improving the health of older patients in rural communities.

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and Shawano Ambulance Service were awarded the funds to train emergency responders.

The goal of the project is to help aging adults understand their key risk factors and make sure they are receiving the proper care.

The hope is that the model developed in Shawano County can be used in other locations throughout the state.

The funding for the project comes from the Wisconsin Partnership Program at the UW School of Medicine and Public Health.

From “Displaced workers launch new health care careers” — Cristin Johnson was laid off from her job at a call center, but today she sees great possibilities for her future.

Johnson, of Eau Claire, is about to enroll in the medical office receptionist program at Chippewa Valley Technical College as a way to transition to the medical assistant program next fall. She’s excited about the prospect of landing a job in the medical field.

Johnson is one of dozens of displaced workers in CVTC’s 11-county district to be introduced to new health care careers through the Health care Academy, part of the Bridges2Healthcare program that prepares displaced workers for specific jobs in the field. A group of 14 participants in the Health care Academy graduated from the program Jan. 11, with more sessions coming up.

“We took tours (of health care businesses) and the workers were so excited to be there for people. That’s why I want to get into health care, to be there for people,” Johnson said.

The people-centered nature of the health care field is one of the things participants learn about in the Health care Academy, the introductory part of the Bridges2Healthcare program.

Bridges2Healthcare is the result of a federal grant made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the so-called stimulus bill of 2010. The bill made money available for retraining displaced workers for the jobs available in their areas. CVTC was one of a group of eight technical and community colleges in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa to receive a grant to transition workers to jobs in health care, according to CVTC Career Pathways Coordinator Brenda Scheurer.

“A lot of people were losing their jobs in manufacturing at the time,” said Scheurer. “We found a lot of the skills they had could be applicable to the health care industry.”

In Bridges2Healthcare, educational institutions partner with local agencies that work with displaced workers. In the Chippewa Valley, that agency is Workforce Resource Inc.

“We were contacted by CVTC to put on the Health care Academy and to recruit people for the Bridges2Healthcare program,” said Sue Lane of Workforce Resource.

Workforce Resource screens prospects for their interest and aptitude for health care careers. Those selected enter the Health care Academy, a two-week session in which they explore the different aspects and opportunities available in the field.

“We go over medical terminology, regulations, safety, communication and time management,” Lane said. “They also become First Aid certified and do a lot of tours of local health care facilities.”

Through the process, the participants find areas of health care that interest them and are then channeled into further training programs, like Bridges2Healthcare’s Medical Office Receptionist or Geriatric Nursing Assistant, taught by CVTC instructors. Some enter regular CVTC programs like Nursing or Dental Hygienist.

“I really like how the staff at CVTC take time to give extra help if we need it. They will help make sure you are ready,” Johnson said.

Terri Rayner of Eau Claire was also laid off from a call center. Looking into a health care career seemed natural to her.

“I did CNA (certified nursing assistant) work before and when I got displaced, I wanted to see what the other options were,” she said. The Health care Academy led to interest in work as a resident assistant or a pharmacy assistant technician.

Rayner was fortunate enough to have a recent job offer. Now she’s considering obtaining health care career training while working so she’s in a position to advance her career in the future.

“It’s been a great experience for anyone wanting to pursue their education,” said Tonya Greger of Chippewa Falls. “In the Health care Academy, we heard all of the different aspects of the nursing and the medical fields. I’d like to further my career by going into nursing.”

More Health care Academy sessions are set up for later this month and into February in Eau Claire, River Falls and Chippewa Falls.

From “More fleets turning to compressed natural gas” — Oak Creek – Robert Holland waves a wand around a Cummins engine in the mechanic training center at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

He’s not training to become a magician. He’s using a combustible gas leak detector to find out whether the natural gas engine is leaking.

The alarm sounds, warning of a leak.

Instructor Craig Kuehl is teaching Holland and about 20 other students about the inner workings of natural gas engines as part of a “green” jobs training initiative at the technical college.

Holland, a Milwaukee resident, said he took the class because he sees job opportunities arising as fleets of trucks fueled by compressed natural gas expand.

“This is kind of cool, that it’s cleaner and it’s better for the environment,” Holland said as he and the rest of the class watched a demonstration of how a City of Milwaukee-CNG fueled refuse truck operates. “It’s helping us with the foreign oil situation and all the pollution going up.”

The course, funded through a green jobs training grant, is just one of the efforts taking place around the state to bolster the supply of natural gas-fueled vehicles.

The abundant supply of natural gas, in addition to being sourced domestically instead of overseas, burns cleaner than diesel and gasoline, so it’s better for the environment, said Carl Tillman, a mechanic for the city Department of Public Works who is taking the MATC course.

The savings add up because expanded domestic supplies have brought down the price of natural gas in recent years – so much so that one of Wisconsin’s nuclear power plants is being shut down because it can’t compete with the lower-priced fuel.

“This is the new technology, and it’s here to stay,” Tillman said.

Even though the price of compressed natural gas is one-third to one-half that of diesel, some companies have been reluctant to convert their fleets to run on natural gas, in part because the state has lacked a network of fueling stations.

That’s changing. The City of Milwaukee bought its first compressed natural gas trucks four years ago and recently opened two CNG fueling stations, primarily to serve its growing fleet.

Kwik Trip adding stations

A subsidiary of Integrys Energy Services Inc. is opening stations in northern Wisconsin, and Kwik Trip Inc. is expanding its lineup of CNG stations in Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin.

Kwik Trip has nine locations open and plans to add about 20 this year, including new locations in Lake Mills, Mauston, Grand Chute, Baldwin, Verona and Janesville, said Joel Hirschboeck, alternative fuels superintendent at the La Crosse-based company.

Hirschboeck was in Pewaukee last week to mark the opening of Kwik Trip’s second store in metro Milwaukee. The other is in Sturtevant.

“This is part of the core business of what Kwik Trip is doing now,” he said. “Our focus is to continue adding CNG locations, putting dots on the map, adding them to the major corridors throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa.”

Kwik Trip is transporting petroleum to its gas stations in tank trailers whose cabs are powered with CNG. The company pays an extra $38,000 or so for the cab compared with a conventional diesel cab. But the drivers are seeing savings every time they fill up, said Eric Kruse of Kwik Trip.

Pointing to a petroleum truck cab, Kruse said, “A truck like this would hold 100 gallons. It’s almost $200 in savings every time you fuel that up. It doesn’t take very long to make that money back.”

Mike Moeller, president of Remy Battery in Milwaukee, said he’s added two CNG trucks and is seeing savings.

There’s a lot of price stability that’s helpful in budgeting, especially compared with gasoline, he said.

“Fuel in our operating expenses is one of our highest pieces. Once we started testing it, we picked up one bi-fuel van from Honda Motorwerks, and from there we realized very quickly that the payback on it was going to be extremely quick.”

Now Moeller plans to replace his fleet with all CNG vehicles.

“With the number of miles we put on, the payback is about a year and a half on that up-charge.” Moeller said. “It was cutting our fuel expenses to a third to a half.”

Other companies are adding CNG trucks to their fleets as well, including Fastenal and Menards, Kruse said.

Vehicle sales increase

The increased interest in compressed natural gas means more business for companies that supply equipment for the filling stations, as well as for dealerships.

“We sold as many natural gas vehicles last year as we did the previous two years combined,” said Chris Schneider, who runs La Crosse-based Honda Motorwerks.

For Milwaukee, the Department of Public Works expects to buy another 20 natural gas refuse trucks this year, said Jeff Tews of the fleet operations division.

“Right now out of our fleet of 125 refuse trucks, 21 of those are natural gas,” Tews said. “Through attrition we’re probably going to change over the entire fleet to CNG.”

A state-organized grant from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act helped fund the initial purchase of CNG refuse trucks for the city in 2009. Grants tied to improving the region’s air quality could help the city finance more CNG trucks this year.

The training at MATC is important for the city fleet mechanics to attend, Tews said.

“It’s coming at a time when our warranty is about to expire for some of these units, so our own people are now going to be better positioned to keep these trucks on the road and keep them repaired.”

From “Refresh, renew getting reboot: Demand for interior designers growing as homebuilding, remodeling recovers” — Sixteen years working in retail was enough for Ross Proulx.

When he was considering a new career, he wanted a job that centered around his interest in design work and architecture. Proulx found it in interior design.

“Many years ago I had considered going to architectural school, but didn’t,” said Proulx, 39, of Appleton. While working full time, he reviewed programs at Fox Valley Technical College and was one of the first graduates of the school’s commercial design program in 2011.

Today, Prolux works as a facilities planner for Thrivent Financial for Lutherans in Appleton, where he has done everything from helping new employees set up ergonomic work stations to reconfiguring meeting spaces.

The work varies daily, which appeals to Proulx.

“What I like about the job is it’s a different challenge every day because there’s always different things to do and at times it can be like figuring out a puzzle,” he said. “Helping people make sure they have the resources they need to do their work is what I enjoy doing.”

Proulx may have entered the field at the right time. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projected available jobs for interior designers would grow 19 percent between 2010 and 2020.

There were 56,500 interior designer jobs in the country in 2010, the bureau estimated. That number was expected to increase another 10,900 by 2020.

The recovering home new home construction and commercial building markets as well as heightened activity in home remodeling is increasing demand for people with interior design skills, said Kathy McDonald, chairwoman of the interior design department at FVTC.

She said FVTC has offered general interior design programs since the 1970s but in 2011 launched an associate degree program in commercial design and kitchen and bath design.

The timing to launch the degree program was right since it was apparent job growth appeared promising, McDonald said.

“Even during the recession, there still was a lot of work for companies that did kitchen and bathroom remodeling,” she said. “And now we’re just starting to see new construction, both residential and commercial construction, increasing.”

McDonald said she is in contact with about 200 businesses around northeastern Wisconsin that need people with interior design skills. FVTC interior design students have had little trouble finding internships or work after graduation, she said.

FVTC said about 94 percent of its 60 interior design graduates the past two years are employed in the field.

Joey Wilinski, one of the owners of Wilco Cabinets in Green Bay, serves as an adviser for FVTC’s interior design program.

Her company, which employs 72, not only builds cabinets, but works with residential and commercial customers on layouts and installation.

Wilinski said the recession was challenging for her industry, especially as new residential and commercial construction slowed.

“We do a little bit of everything, but about 70 percent of our business is on the residential side,” Wilinksi said. “There was a major effect on our business during the housing downturn because there just weren’t as many new homes going up.”

Many home custom builders and related industries found opportunities in home and office remodeling.

“When the market was down, remodeling work helped keep the doors open for us and other companies like ours,” Wilinski said. “During the downturn, there still seemed to be a steady stream of business in people looking to replace counters and cabinets.”

Homeowners also turned to remodeling to revitalize kitchens or other areas of their homes if buying a new house was not an option, she said.

Reconfiguring existing spaces takes someone with the skills to redefine a room and make it flow, Wilinski said.

Her real-world experiences has been helpful to shape FVTC’s interior design program.

“The interest will be in people who have skills to plan a new layout for a bathroom or kitchen,” Wilinski said.

Proulx said he learned the intricacies of computer-aided design and time management at FVTC.

“Auto CAD was a huge skill and I couldn’t do my job without it,” he said.

While the new home building market still is recovering, Wilinski is optimistic of the future.

In terms of job prospects, interior designers who left the profession for other fields during the recession created some demand. She said job growth is not there yet but there is potential.

“When the market does really pick up again, there will be great potential,” Wilinski said. “The opportunities I see will be for the students entering the (interior design) program now.”

From “Newsmakers Q & A Fox Valley Technical College unveils new culinary arts theater” — Culinary arts instructors at Fox Valley Technical College have a new teaching tool: the Jones Dairy Farm Culinary Theatre.

The theater is a tiered classroom with an industrial demonstration kitchen. It seats about 120 people and it’s loaded with the latest in technology and food service equipment.

Mike Ciske, FVTC’s food services director, spoke last week about the new theater on Newsmakers, The Post-Crescent’s online issues show. Here’s an edited transcript of the interview.

Can you go through some of the different cooking techniques you can practice in the theater?

We have everything from induction cooking to traditional broilers, griddles, gas stovetops, convection ovens, steamers — all industrial-grade, all restaurant-style cookware so that, when the students are in there or there are community-based events, they’ll be able to see things as they would happen in a traditional restaurant or hotel kitchen. So from that standpoint, they’ll be able to take the things they see and take them back into their labs, and be able to do them on the exact same type of equipment.

The theater does look like something off the Food Network. Can you describe the technology?

The 120 seats are tiered, and students have the advantage of three very large LED monitors that will show one of three camera feeds that are located above the cooking areas or in the back of the room. No matter where you’re seated, you’re going to get a good view. And the cameras can zoom in, so you can basically see the head of a pin on the monitors. From a cooking standpoint, you can see tails on a shrimp as if you were looking at a cookbook.

What kind of advantage will the theater give culinary arts students?

I think it does a couple of things. The popularity of the Food Network and cooking shows on TV are part of the reason we’ve had such a groundswell of new students in the culinary arts. This really brings that home for them, and engages the student who is four or five rows back and can see things and smell things. That theatricality really keeps students engaged in their education.

It also gives them the opportunity to jump behind the counter, jump behind the demo table and work on those skills — their people skills, their soft skills, their ability to share their knowledge, which is what their employers are looking for. They’re not only looking for skilled culinarians, they’re looking for people who can teach their skills as well. This is one way for them to learn that in a safe way, among their peers.

The new theater cost about $1.8 million to build, and was not part of the referendum at FVTC. How was this program funded? What part did Jones Dairy Farm have to play?

Jones is a very old, family-run business in Fort Atkinson. I had some ties with the farm, and we’ve had a long relationship with them. They were looking for a way to give back to the community — the restaurant community, the hospitality community. Through the course of two or three years, we just kept in touch and showed them what we do at Fox Valley Tech. Eventually, they came up with a challenge grant, then it was up to us to match that. That was the exciting part. It was challenging, but it allowed us to reach out to other industry partners, and get them on board with what we’re doing at the Tech.

It sounds like there was a lot of support from the restaurant industry in this area. When did they come forward?

We had over 30 donors of all different types, some of them quite large and some of them quite small. We got a tremendous amount of support from local restauranteurs, the lodging association, manufacturers. Wisconsin’s home to a ton of food and equipment manufacturers, and there were very few doors that Jeff (Igel, chair of the Culinary Arts & Hospitality Department at FVTC) and myself knocked on that we weren’t met with a very positive response. It was something we thought the school needed. We thought the students could really use it and put it to good use. The restaurant and hospitality industry are very forward-thinking that way. They’re very community involved, so that when something like this comes up, they really jump at the chance to get involved.

Will FVTC use the theater for public cooking classes?

Yes, and those classes are in the works right now. I’d imagine that a few will be offered in the spring, and I’d imagine they could range from evenings, to weekends. The theater is pretty busy during the week, with cooking classes and other FVTC uses, but I can see it being available to the community quite a bit for classes, presentations, any type of event that would need a theater. It’s very multipurpose, and I think it’s limitless what we could see in there.

From “Changes coming to GED Program” — MADISON  — There are some big changes on the horizon for the GED program in Wisconsin and across the nation.

Starting in 2014, there will be a new computer-based GED test, which means the current version of the test will expire at the end of this year and people’s scores will expire too.

One problem is 43,000 people in Wisconsin could be affected by this change because if they don’t take the test by the end of this year, they’ll have to repeat parts they’ve already passed.

The Department of Public Instruction says each year, nearly 9,000 Wisconsin adults earn a certificate of high school completion, which can open doors to employment, further education, and opportunity.

“A GED gives adults an option to improve their employment situation or pursue additional education,” State Superintendent Tony Evers said. “GED-completers have gone on to successful careers as engineers and doctors, mechanics and office workers. The GED is a second chance that opens doors to the future.”

According to the DPI, Wisconsin offers adults seven options for earning a GED or high school equivalency diploma (HSED). One of the HSED options includes the five GED tests. All GED and HSED options for Wisconsin are explained during orientation.

The DPI says the new tests respond to changes in education, the workplace, and the world since the 2002 GED Series was introduced. It says the new GED assessments will be based on the Common Core State Standards and other college and career readiness standards.

“My message to those who started taking the GED but haven’t finished is, ‘Get it done. Your future is calling’,” Evers said.

Evers says the deadline for anyone who started taking the current GED series of tests to finish is December 13, 2013.

“The Department of Public Instruction is partnering with testing center, adult basic education, and community-based organization staff; literacy group volunteers; and corrections personnel to reach out and find people who started the current GED series and help them finish before they must start over with the new tests,” Evers said.

The DPI says adults who want to complete the 2002 Series GED must physically go to a testing center to take the tests, but do not have to finish the series at the same testing center where they started.

GED tests can not be taken online, they are only available at an official GED testing center.

From “Skilled worker shortage continues” — Grand Chute -Job creation was a big part of the Governor’s State of the State Address Tuesday night. It came as many of the companies hiring in the state are seeking skilled workers.

As one of many non-traditional students at Fox Valley Tech, Jason Westberg is hoping to take advantage of a growing list of help wanted postings upon graduation as a machine tool technician.

He went back to school last August after a decision to change careers.

“Machine tool is a huge opportunity for re-training and advancement, so that’s why I chose this career path,” said Westberg.

The college says it’s aware of at least 200 openings.

It’s the same story in the package and label printing industry, where a job board at FVTC is now covered.

Instructor Scott Gehrt says the industry in Wisconsin is growing at a rate of 8 percent.

Gehrt said, “There was a time this fall when we had almost a hundred jobs postings on that board at one time, so the industry is real strong.”

Not only are technical colleges taking up the task of filling this employment gap, but they’re also having to train existing workers who must continuously keep up their knowledge.

Fox Valley Tech Vice President of Instruction Chris Matheny said, “The average age of our student is about 30 or 32. So, these are individuals that had life experiences, had other educational experiences, had work experiences, and are coming back or continuing their education in a way that they see a direct need in industry.”

As a skilled worker, Westberg hopes to have his pick of employers.

“Even at this point, at my early stages in this, it’s still, job opportunities are out there and available,” said Westberg.


From “Mid-State Technical College: WTCDBA honors MSTC board member with 2013 Board Member of the Year” — MADISON – Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) Board member Patrick Costello was honored Thursday with the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association (WTCDBA) 2013 Board Member of the Year award. The award recognizes one person annually for their demonstrated collaboration, passion for technical college education, and leadership needed to be an effective district board member in the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS).

Costello has been a member of the MSTC District Board of Directors for nearly 20 years, serving 75% of that time in a board officer role: Chairperson twice (1999-2001), Vice Chairperson five times (1996-99, 2001-03), Secretary once (1995-96), and Treasurer eight times (2005-current). He also is the longstanding chair of the college’s Finance & Audit Committee. Fellow board members and college administrators say his reputation of dependability and credibility is second to none. Indeed, Costello has not missed an MSTC Board meeting in more than seven years.

“I have had the good fortune of serving alongside Pat for nearly 20 years and know first-hand how much energy and determination he puts into MSTC and the WTCS,” fellow MSTC Board Chairman Bob Beaver said.

The WTCDBA likewise realized the benefits of Costello’s dedication to advancing the quality of Wisconsin’s technical colleges. In 2007, Pat joined the WTCDBA Board of Directors, serving as Secretary/Treasurer from 2007-09, Vice President from 2009-11, and President from 2011-present. He has been a member of the WTCDBA Human Resources Committee since 1996.

“Students, MSTC, and our communities have all benefited from Pat’s lifelong commitment to advancing the quality of Wisconsin’s technical colleges,” MSTC President Dr. Sue Budjac said. “His wealth of experience and solid understanding of technical college issues and challenges are only surpassed by his strong commitment to MSTC.”

Costello’s award is the second prestigious WTCDBA award given to an MSTC-affiliated individual within the last three months. Scott Glinski, president of Skyward, Inc. and MSTC graduate, was honored last October with the WTCDBA 2012 Distinguished Alumni Award.


From “Menomonie native to lead CVTC’s River Falls campus” — A Menomonie native has been chosen to lead Chippewa Valley Technical College’s efforts to expand its programs and physical facilities at the River Falls campus.

The college has named Beth Hein campus administrator and dean at River Falls, effective with the start of the spring term last week. Hein, who lives just west of Menomonie near where she grew up,  had been serving as CVTC’s dean of Business and Service.

Among Hein’s new duties in River Falls will be to direct an expansion of both the physical facilities and program offerings at the campus, which opened in the 1998-99 term.

“Our plan in River Falls is to create a comprehensive campus, one in which all the services available at the Eau Claire Campus will be available at the River Falls Campus,” said Vice President of Instruction Dr. Roger Stanford.

The size, function, design, cost and financing of the physical expansion have yet to be determined, according to Director of Facilities Doug Olson.

‘Doubling down’

CVTC currently offers nine programs through its River Falls Campus. That number is likely to grow.

“We are doubling down on River Falls,” said Stanford. “We are adding leadership there, and Hein will do research to define the right program mix for the River Falls area.”

“The St. Croix Valley is one of the fastest-growing areas of the state, and it’s reflected in our growing enrollment at River Falls,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker. “We intend to do more to serve this area of our district, and Beth Hein will be taking a leadership role in working with the people, businesses and industry of the area to determine how we can best meet their needs.”

For the 1998-99 term, 899 different students were enrolled at River Falls, including those in noncredit classes. However, those students made up only the equivalent of 28 full-time students. In the 2011-12 term, 1,160 different students made up 318 full-time equivalent students.

“The campus is at 100 percent capacity,” said Stanford. “Every room is booked virtually every hour of the day.”

Adventure, challenge

“It’s going to be an adventure,” Hein said, emphasizing how much she’s looking forward to the new professional challenge. “One of the most exciting things is to get to know the region better and to learn how to meet the needs of the businesses and industry.”

Gaining a better understanding of their needs will drive the decisions on program expansions, which will affect the direction on facilities, Hein said.

“I will be doing the research to better align the programs to the employment needs. We want to be sure that whatever we’re adding, there’s a job out there for those students,” Hein said.

Hein is also looking forward to forming relationships with the students at the River Falls Campus. It’s something she’s used to doing at the Eau Claire Campus.

“We work very hard with students who are struggling, letting them know what kinds of services are available to them. We want to see everyone succeed,” Hein said.

“We want to have a dean present to answer students’ questions and work closely with them to help them succeed. Beth will be there every day to provide help and guidance to students,” Stanford said.

About Hein

Hein completed her undergraduate work in career and technical education at UW-Stout in 1996, after gaining some credits at UW-Eau Claire and CVTC. She completed her Master’s degree in 1998, along the way working some as an adjunct instructor at CVTC.

Hein then spent 10 years in the human resources field, working for some private businesses before joining CVTC as a human resources specialist in 2004. After two years, she became a program manager in the College’s business program, and went on from there to become dean of Business and Service.

Hein is in the final stages of work on her doctorate in higher education leadership.

While maintaining her status as dean, Hein will have expanded responsibilities at River Falls.

“It will be a new opportunity to provide support for multiple areas,” she said, noting that River Falls offers programs beyond the business and service areas in which she has been involved as dean previously.

“Beth has a unique set of skills. She has a lot of business background, and she has a real strong understanding of education, student services and operations,” said Stanford.


From “Second Chance Partners launch advanced manufacturing pilot program” — Second Chance Partners for Education on Tuesday launched a new advanced manufacturing certificate pilot program in partnership with the Kettle Moraine School District, Waukesha County Technical College, General Electric Co.’s Waukesha gas engines business and Generac Power Systems Inc.

The program is designed to provide high school students who have an interest in technical careers with the ability to earn hands-on work experience and credits at post-secondary schools.

“This pilot exposes students to career pathways inherent in manufacturing, including interests such as welding, fabrication and manufacturing processes to advanced degree fields such as mechanical and electrical engineering,” said Pat Deklotz, Kettle Moraine School District superintendent.

The pilot program will initially serve seven juniors and five seniors from the Kettle Moraine School District. It will be housed at Generac’s facility in Eagle and GE’s Waukesha gas engines facility.

Classroom work will focus on communications, math, applied sciences, social sciences and technical coursework.

Students will also participate in the Youth Apprenticeship Program, where they work four hours a day for the partner companies. They will earn an hourly wage and have the opportunity for raises that can be banked for use as a future college scholarship.

At the end of the program, students will have a portfolio of applied learning experiences and transcripted credits issued by Waukesha County Technical College that count toward an associate’s degree and are stackable and transferable to other Wisconsin technical colleges.

Second Chance Partners for Education, founded in 2000, has primarily focused on serving academically disengaged students with mechanical aptitude and an interest in manufacturing. This pilot program is open to any student with an interest in a technical career related to manufacturing, said Christopher Kent, marketing communications coordinator.

Other differences with the pilot include a more traditional semester model, rather than the 21 consecutive months in current Second Chance programs, Kent said.

Kent said the pilot is an extension of what the organization currently does.

“This pilot allows us to explore ways that we can leverage our model to help more students and be a greater asset for the industry and regions we serve,” said Second Chance Partners for Education president Stephanie Borowski.


From “WCA Issues First Credential to Madison College Student” — The Woodwork Career Alliance is pleased to announce that Jesse Spader, a Cabinetmaking & Millwork student at Madison College, is the first candidate to receive their Green Level credential as part of the newly inaugurated WCA credentialing system. Jesse completed 15 performance evaluations and used his previous work experience to qualify for the credential.

The WCA Credentialing system debuted in 2012, and is the culmination of several years of standards development for the Wood Industry. The Green Credential is the first stage of a 5 step system, which culminates in the Diamond Award. The system was created to ensure training and recognition for qualified Woodwork Professionals.

The Woodwork Career Alliance of North America is a not-for-profit 501(c)(3) organization actively promoting a skilled work force for the advanced woodworking industry in the United States and Canada. In partnership with the U.S. Forest Service, the Woodwork Career Alliance is the national forum for employers, workers, educators, associations, and government to address the human resource challenges facing the advanced woodwork industries. For more information visit

From “MPTC boot camp graduate honored by Gov. Walker” — When Diane Stepp was laid off last August, she probably didn’t think that six months later she would be recognized by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

In Walker’s Jan. 16 State of the State address, the Fond du Lac woman was among those honored for completing a vigorous 15-week Computer Numerical Control (CNC) Machinist Boot Camp through Moraine Park Technical College. Stepp was one of 12 graduates who completed the first boot camp funded through the Wisconsin Covenant Foundation Inc.

The only female in her CNC class, Stepp was not intimidated by her fellow students after growing up with five brothers.

“All of my classmates were very good people and very smart,” Stepp said. “It seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves and supported each other. We were all there to succeed and that was a good feeling. It was never a competition.”

Each student was required to complete an internship at one of the partnering companies. Stepp was placed at Ameriquip in Kiel for her internship and was asked if she wanted to continue working there in a full-time role as a CNC operator.

Six months ago the Governor awarded a $705,647 Wisconsin Workforce Partnership grant that allowed MPTC to quickly train students in CNC and welding, two job platforms in need of skilled workers.

In October, 12 students who were unemployed or working in a position unrelated to CNC entered the boot camp. On Friday, Jan. 11, they received completion certificates at Moraine Park’s West Bend campus.

Cmpleting the boot camp in addition to Stepp were Jeremy Blonigen of Eldorado; Jason Sippel of St. Cloud, Alex Anderson of Hartford; Paul Dadian of Jackson, Patrick Enright, Bob Lepak, Steven Maitz, and Jay Reisdorf of West Bend; Matthew Metrusias of Slinger, Michael Rath of Hubertus and Frank Vroman of Cedarburg.

The second set of 15-week boot camps begins in February. In all, MPTC expects to offer nine boot camps with the partnering companies and fill 108 new positions over the three-year grant period.

• For more information about the boot camps, visit camps.


From “Q&A: How Advance helps start-ups get off the ground” — Press-Gazette Media talks to business owners and leaders in its weekly conversation feature. Today, Elizabeth Slade, program manager of the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center, talks about the business incubator and how it works.

Slade joined Advance in July 2012. Before that, she was the volunteer coordinator for Freedom House Ministries in Green Bay.

Q. Describe the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center.

A. The Advance Business & Manufacturing Center is a program of the Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce that provides start-up and growth-focused companies with an array of targeted resources, programs and services.

There are individual offices, office suites and light-manufacturing or industrial space available. Our partner organizations — Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Entrepreneur Resource Center, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Small Business Development Center and SCORE — offer onsite business counseling, mentoring, technical assistance and training. Advance also offers the Advance Microloan program, Brown County Revolving Loan Fund, business attraction and retention services and commercial site selection. Essentially, we are a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs.

We also are a key partner in the Brown County Culinary Kitchen, which exists to help food-related businesses overcome the obstacle of high start-up costs by providing a fully equipped, commercially licensed, shared-use kitchen.

Our kitchen is open two hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. We use an online scheduling system so that clients can request time in the kitchen at their convenience. The kitchen is a nonprofit collaborative effort among N.E.W. Curative Rehabilitation, The Farm Market Kitchen, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College and Advance, the economic development arm of Green Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.

Q. How many tenants do you have and what types of businesses are they?

A. We are fortunate to work with 41 clients from various industries. The companies range from a machine shop, web design and web development, insurance agency, law firms, energy data aggregator and curtailment services provider, Christian counseling agency, marketing firms, financial planning, security systems, civil engineering firm, medical coding specialist, Jin Shin Jyutsu practitioner, ministry and more.

The kitchen currently works with 16 clients who produce the following products: candy, jellies, chocolates, gourmet popcorn, salsa, bakery, booyah, cocktail garnishments and gourmet treats for pets.

Q. How do businesses go about locating in the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center?

A. Businesses interested in becoming a client should begin the process by completing an inquiry form at and then schedule a tour. To be accepted into the program, every business must submit the following: a basic business plan, financial performance and a credit report request form.

A committee of volunteers reviews applications and renders a decision.

Q. What are the benefits to locating in the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center?

A. The initial start-up costs are minimal as opposed to traditional commercial real estate because we are a nonprofit organization that’s focused on helping entrepreneurs. Our monthly fee includes all of the following benefits:

• Flexible lease terms

• Utilities, maintenance and housekeeping

• Loading dock with material handling equipment and a shared forklift (licensed required)

• High-speed Wi-Fi

• 120-volt power and 440v three-phase power

• Fax machine use

• Building receptionist and comfortable visitor waiting area

• Daily mail delivery/pick-up

• Conference rooms, boardroom and classroom

• Network copy/printer (10 cents per color/5 centers per black and white)

• Secure 24-hour access to the building and shared services

• Dedicated parking lot

• NWTC campus security and first responders

• Well-equipped break room and coffee

• Video conferencing and presentation equipment

• Onsite seminars, classes, workshops, networking events, mentoring and technical assistance

• Basic office furniture is available, including desk, chair, file cabinet and table.

Q. What is the success rate of businesses leaving the Advance Business & Manufacturing Center?

A. The success rate of a company that graduates from the incubator is approximately 75 percent. These business owners sold their companies or are still in operation today. The success is directly related to the entrepreneurs building a strong foundation by using the onsite resources of the center.


From “Xten partners with Gateway on training” — Kenosha-based multifacturing company Xten Industries LLC has partnered with Kenosha-based Gateway Technical College to offer a scholarship and an internal training program.

The partnership, partially funded with a $37,000 workforce advancement training grant from the Wisconsin Technical College System, is part of the company’s goal to forge relationships with area educational institutions, said Xten CEO Matt Davidson.

“We’ve really revamped how we’re going to develop and look for talent in the future,” Davidson said.

Xten’s recent acquisition of Paramount Plastics in Lockport, Ill. has added a second location to the company. It is also in the process of moving to 24/7 production, which has stretched shop floor supervisory capacity and added to employees’ workload.

“From June of last year to June of this year, the company will grow by about 150 percent,” Davidson said. “We have never been in the position of growing this rapidly before, and so our systems for bringing people on and making them productive immediately were simply not up to task.”

As a result, Xten will implement a comprehensive internal orientation and training program. Instructors from Gateway will come to Xten to train all manufacturing floor employees in LEAN practices to increase efficiency in the manufacturing process.

The training will help Xten’s existing employees, but the company is still struggling to fill its open positions for technical skilled employees, which has delayed the process of moving to 24/7 production for the last three months.

Xten has also contributed funding for a new manufacturing lab at Gateway and $10,000 for an endowed scholarship at the technical college, with the aim of promoting the field of manufacturing and addressing the problem of finding skilled labor.

The grant will fund an annual scholarship of $500 for continuing students who have completed at least 12 credits and are in a manufacturing field, said Gateway Technical College Foundation executive director Jennifer Charpentier.

“We really appreciate when community businesses are working to keep education affordable for our students,” Charpentier said. “It speaks really well of the company that they’re interested in encouraging people to become employees of manufacturing.”


From “Senator Baldwin stops in Eau Claire to talk skills gap, gun control” — Eau Claire (WQOW) – Senator Tammy Baldwin was in Eau Claire Thursday to visit CVTC’s NanoRite Technology Center. She spoke about the “skills gap” in the state. Baldwin says lots of jobs are available in industries that require a two year technical college degree, but there aren’t enough qualified workers to fill those positions.

“We have so many people who were displaced in our great recession, displaced from manufacturing jobs, you have manufacturers who want new workers, but they’re finding a gap between skills. And Chippewa Valley Technical college and our statewide technical college system are really stepping up and forming partnerships and tackling this problem,” says Senator Baldwin.

The senator says she’s hoping to bring forward legislation to help fix the problem during this session.

“I’m on a committee that will be dealing with educational and labor issues and so the skills gap is one that is of deep interest to me, and I’d really like to see us move forward. It’s frustrating when you have good paying available jobs, people who want work and want those jobs, and all that’s needed is the resources needed to close that skills gap,” says Baldwin.

She also spoke about the national debate over gun control. Baldwin says she’s in support of closing loopholes on background checks for gun sales.

“I think closing that loophole is a very important thing, and it’s a view widely shared among gun owners like myself and people who don’t. I strongly support the second amendment but I think the second amendment is entirely consistent with prudent safety measures, and we need to step forward to protect our citizens and protect our communities,” Baldwin says.


From “Local volunteer remains engaged internationally” — Jane Svennevig knew early on in life that she was interested in learning more about other cultures. Possessing a huge heart for humanitarian efforts, she also has always enjoyed working with young people and reaching out to those in need.

Jane has been retired for more than a decade now, but as the vice president of adult continuing education and economic development at Blackhawk Technical College, she also forged long-lasting connections to the Stateline Area community.

Not one to remain idle in retirement, Jane has continued to use her collective talents, interests and connections to help others with her many volunteer endeavors.

Having traveled abroad many times, and being married to Egil Svennevig, who was once a foreign exchange student from Norway, Jane is well acquainted with how it feels to be far away from home. As such, they have been host parents to international students in Beloit since 1970. They have hosted students from China, Ukraine, Russia, Latvia, Bulgaria, Norway, Iran, Hungry, Afghanistan, Japan, Ecuador, Czech Republic, to name a few.

As a result, “We have met the brightest, most beautiful kids you would ever want to meet and it has been a fabulous experience,” Jane said.

Lasting friendships over decades also have emerged with the former students as well as visits with them in their respective countries.

Jane’s interest in international affairs also has taken her down other volunteer avenues.

One is connected to West Africa. She serves on Paul’s Computer Institute Board of Trustees and has been the secretary for 17 years. She recently helped write a grant for the school in Cameroon, West Africa, begun by retired firefighter Paul Michelson, and she handles correspondence and does administrative consulting.

“Jane has made a real difference on behalf of PCI,” said Gene Van Galder, president of the Friends of Paul’s Computer Institute Board of Trustees.

“She is a visionary who can contribute so much on so many fronts. Her background at Blackhawk Tech fits perfectly with PCI and it enables her to make suggestions and to provide leadership,” he said.

PCI is a school that teaches computer skills such as data processing, accounting and programming to people in Bemenda, Cameroon. The training helps the residents acquire needed skills to find jobs and improve their quality of life.

Jane and her husband also began sending monthly care packages to enlisted men and women four years ago after contacting Operation Shoebox in Florida, she said. The kindness has often been repaid with letters and emails and gestures of appreciation.

“We just want them to know they are not forgotten,” she said.

Jane also is involved with the Rotary Club.

“Jane is always there to support Rotary initiatives locally and internationally. She has been an integral part of (as co-founder and chairperson of) Beloit College Rotaract and many other Rotary/Beloit College initiatives,” said David Luebke, president of the Beloit Rotary Club.

“I have worked and continue working with Jane for all Rotaract/Rotary interactions,” said Zoe Lengjak, president of Rotaract Club at Beloit College.

“Jane was an extremely important part in helping register and start the Rotaract Club with me. When I first contacted the Rotary Club of Beloit I was immediately directed to Jane who went out of her way to both teach and assist me in every way possible. She facilitated the registration of the Beloit College Rotaract Club. Step-by-step, Jane and I completed the process so that now we are an internationally recognized student affiliate Rotary Club. Whenever possible Jane attends our weekly meetings and helps in resolving conflicts, shedding light on issues, adding ideas, answering any and all questions, announcing appropriate community events, etc. Whether on a professional or personal level Jane is a delight to deal with and I very much value her input,” Lengjak said.

She also is a member of the East End Club of Beloit, the oldest women’s literary group and serves as secretary.

At St. Paul Lutheran Church, both Jane and Egil help out with the Wednesday community lunches offered. Jane prepares tasty dishes for the weekly gathering and her husband helps serve the guests. She also facilitates the adult film discussion groups and handles special projects such as art shows at the church.

There are also the special projects of which she has been a part.

Jane developed and facilitated a feedback process to aid Beloit Regional Hospice with its strategic planning in 2011 and she is an active member of the Society for Learning Unlimited, presenting a program on the Iditarod sled dog race in Alaska at an SLU session and to several other groups in the area.

“Jane and Egil have made a difference in countless lives by the generous giving of their time and effort,” Van Galder said.

Of volunteering, Jane said the rewards can’t be counted.

“You get so much more than you give. When you reach out to people, they know you are making a connection,” she said.

From “CVTC eyes expansion, new River Falls leadership” — RIVER FALLS — Chippewa Valley Technical College is expanding its leadership team at the River Falls campus as it prepares for an expansion of the campus itself.

Beth Hein was also named campus administrator and dean at River Falls, effective with the start of the spring term this week. Hein had served as the school’s dean of business and service.

Among Hein’s new duties in River Falls will be to direct an expansion of both the physical facilities and program offerings at the campus that opened in the 1998-99 term.

“Our plan in River Falls is to create a comprehensive campus, one in which all the services available at the Eau Claire campus will be available at the River Falls campus,” said Vice President of Instruction Dr. Roger Stanford.

The size, function, design, cost and financing of the physical expansion have yet to be determined, according to Director of Facilities Doug Olson.

“In 2010, CVTC purchased land adjacent to the campus in anticipation of future expansion needs,” Olson said. “We will now be doing the research to determine what form the expansion should take.”

The same goes for a planned expansion of programs.

The school offers nine programs through its River Falls campus. That number is likely to grow.

“We are doubling down on River Falls,” said Stanford. “We are adding leadership there, and Hein will do research to define the right program mix for the River Falls area.”

“The St. Croix Valley is one of the fastest-growing areas of the state, and it’s reflected in our growing enrollment at River Falls,” said Chippewa Valley President Bruce Barker. “We intend to do more to serve this area of our district, and Beth Hein will be taking a leadership role in working with the people, businesses and industry of the area to determine how we can best meet their needs.”

With its main campuses in Eau Claire, Chippewa Valley Technical College serves an 11-county area, including Pierce, Pepin and Dunn counties, and part of St. Croix County.

Growing enrollment

For the 1998-99 term, 899 different students were enrolled, including those in noncredit classes. However, those students made up only the equivalent of 28 full-time students.

By the 2003-04 term, 1,054 different students were enrolled, for a full-time equivalent of 154 students.

In the 2011-12 term, 1,160 different students made up 318 full-time equivalent students.

“The campus is at 100 percent capacity. Every room is booked virtually every hour of the day,” said Stanford.

“It’s going to be an adventure,” Hein said, emphasizing how much she’s looking forward to the new professional challenge. “One of the most exciting things is to get to know the region better and to learn how to meet the needs of the businesses and industry.”

Gaining a better understanding of their needs will drive the decisions on program expansions that affect the direction on facilities, Hein said.

This strategy will also serve the students well, Hein added. CVTC works to prepare students for employment in jobs available in the local job market.

“I will be doing the research to better align the programs to the employment needs. We want to be sure that whatever we’re adding, there’s a job out there for those students,” Hein said.

 Current programs

The River Falls campus offers programs in administrative professional; business management; human resources; marketing management; nursing; nursing assistant; criminal justice; building construction; and liberal arts.

In addition, Hein will strive for further partnerships with other educational institutions that serve the St. Croix Valley, including UW-River Falls, area high schools, and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, which has a campus in New Richmond.

Stanford said partnerships involve high school students gaining technical college credits for completion of certain classes that meet the College’s standards. Likewise, CVTC students may earn credits transferrable to UW-River Falls and other four-year institutions.

In her past assignments at CVTC, Hein has already worked on such agreements in the St. Croix Valley.

Hein is also looking forward to forming relationships with the students at the River Falls campus. It’s something she’s used to doing at the Eau Claire campus.

“We work very hard with students who are struggling, letting them know what kinds of services are available to them. We want to see everyone succeed,” Hein said.

Said Stanford: “We want to have a dean present to answer student questions and work closely with them to help them succeed. Beth will be there every day to provide help and guidance to students.”

From “Newsmakers: Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy” — In a Newsmakers interview in her office on Jan. 14, Foy said the System had more than 362,000 students last year and the typical student is about 34 years old. She also said the colleges coped with a 26% cut in state aid over the last two years by eliminating some programs, adding more wait lists and laying off instructors.

Listen to interview


From “Gateway to take $49 million plan to voters” — A new campus building would be planned for Gateway Technical College to house a public safety and training center if voters approve a $49 million referendum in April.

Officials have been looking at possible sites for the facility in Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties, said Zina Haywood, college vice president and provost. The Gateway district includes those counties.

The goal is to build the new campus in the center of the district, she said.

The college board on Monday approved putting the referendum on the ballot.

Haywood didn’t have the estimated number of acres for the site. She did say the location would be home to the 30,000 square-foot public safety building with facilities including a driving track for emergency vehicle operators to practice and a mock city street for responders to act out emergencies, at a cost of $15.5 million.

The building would include classrooms, an indoor shooting range and a technical lab.

The referendum question, on the April 2 general election ballot, would ask district taxpayers to approve borrowing to pay for the new campus and other projects. Voters must give their approval for going into debt by $49 million because the school is at its borrowing limit, officials have said.

Haywood said the tax increase from referendum approval was estimated to be $9.73 on a $100,000 home each of the next 20 years.

The anticipated additional cost to operate the new and expanded facilities was about $390,000, Haywood said. That spending will have to come from budget cuts or increased income other than taxes because the state has frozen all 16 state technical colleges’ operating budget tax levies, she added.

Kenosha campus projects would total $7.8 million and include renovations for academic support services; adding a studio for the interior design program, and making way for the district’s barbering program to expand onto the campus.

The borrowed money also would pay for:

— Elkhorn campus construction for new or expanded programs for veterinary technician, barbering, cosmetology, culinary arts, food manufacturing lab and computer numerical control students, $13.6 million.

— Racine campus work to house the fresh water lab, now on the college’s Sturtevant site, and renovating office space, $2.5 million.

— Districtwide energy projects and expansion of the administration center, $7.3 million.

Officials have said the public safety center is needed because police science classes are being taught in a former welding lab, and high-speed pursuit techniques are practiced at the former Dairyland Greyhound Park parking lot.

June 2013 would be the earliest any projects might begin. The public safety center is the largest effort and could take 18 to 24 months to complete, Haywood predicted.

The Wisconsin Technical College System Board will review the plans for its approval at its March meeting.

Gateway has three sites in Kenosha, two in Burlington and one each in Racine and Sturtevant.


From “Dual enrollment program makes students eligible for aid” — Gateway Technical College students now have the opportunity not only to kick start earning a bachelor’s degree at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, they can reduce their total tuition cost while revving up their financial aid.

That’s been made possible by a new dual-enrollment plan Gateway and Parkside worked out late in the fall and which became effective Jan. 1.

Under the partnership, Gateway students now may choose to enroll in what’s called the “1-Plus-3 General Studies Certificate Program” and complete 30 credit hours of general education requirements, while simultaneously being admitted into Parkside.

While a 1-Plus-3 agreement has been in place for a number of years between the schools, until now it did not include dual enrollment, which officials said is significant — not only for the students, but for the institutions as well.

“One of the things that I’m excited about is this is sort of the next step in our relationship with Parkside,” John Thibodeau, Gateway assistant provost, said. “We were giving a (1-Plus-3) certificate before, but we were unable to provide students financial aid.”

He said for a Gateway student to earn financial aid previously, the Wisconsin Technical College System required students to be enrolled in degree-awarding program. The structure of the former 1-Plus-3 program wasn’t of sufficient duration for Gateway students to meet the requirement.

“Now, with dual enrollment, because they’re then admitted into Parkside and Gateway simultaneously, they’re able to get financial aid through Parkside because Parkside is able to admit them and offer them financial aid. At a 4-year college, when you’re admitted, you become eligible for financial aid upon admission. But, at a two-year tech college, you have to be in a specific degree or diploma program to become financial aid eligible,” Thibodeau said.

Added Thibodeau: “From the practical everyday point of view of students, that’s important because they want to know how they’re going to be able to pay for college.

Since the 1990s, the schools have honored what’s known as a “2-Plus-2” articulation, or transfer, agreement. It allows Gateway students to earn two years of transfer credits at Gateway before enrolling at Parkside to earn their remaining credits toward a bachelor degree, based on the remainder amounting to about two years matriculation at Parkside.

However, the new 1-Plus-1 program provides students greater flexibility in pursuing Parkside degrees, DeAnn Possehl, Parkside associate vice chancellor for enrollment management, explained.

“This is for general education requirements. The 2-plus-2 is program specific. So, it doesn’t apply to all the programs. That’s the substantial difference,” Possehl said

The schools began working on dual enrollment for 1-Plus-3 nine months ago when it came up during periodic conversations the campuses have about improving communication and transfer-related issues between them, as well as how they can smooth the experience for students, according to Possehl.

“This was just an outcome of that. We’re always looking for pathways to help our students succeed,” Possehl said. “From our point of view, I think the value is it provides an alternative, particularly for us, for a student who isn’t ready yet to start a four-year program maybe financially or academically or in just in their life.”

Another significant element of the agreement is the clarity it provides for students planning to continue toward earning a bachelor degree because the program spells out the proper general education requirements that will correctly transfer to Parkside, keeping students on track for timely graduation. “It addresses a number of issues and ensures they are on a very clear path with transferable courses. This is about students and really addressing their needs,” Possehl said.

%d bloggers like this: