From “Local firefighters learn dangers of hybrid vehicles when responding to crashes”  — You’ve probably seen more hybrid vehicles and even hybrid buses zipping around town lately.

And that means local firefighters are training on how the vehicles operate in case there’s a crash.

Thursday morning, there were shiny new green-friendly cars, lined up and ready for a spin.

But the vehicles weren’t at a car dealership; they were at Eau Claire Fire Station #9.

“With hybrid vehicles they have new technology which creates different issues for us,” said Eau Claire Fire and Rescue Lt. Bob Pratt.

Lt. Pratt showed firefighters and students from CVTC the ins and outs of the rides.

“Where the high voltage batteries are located, the high voltage cables, how they run within the motor itself, where the airbag systems are,” Lt. Pratt said.

Two handicapped-accessible vehicles, four hybrid cars and one hybrid city bus were all on loan this week for the training.

Although the cars cut down on gas, they do provide new dangers to firefighters responding to an emergency.

One of those dangers is how firefighters cut out a person trapped in a vehicle.

Lt. Pratt said the orange colored cables in hybrid engines have high voltage going through them.

“And if we were to cut those cables, there’s potential that you’re going to have a high voltage displacement. Which means you could potentially be electrocuted,” Lt. Pratt said.

He said hands-on experience for the firefighters means less fear when they respond to a crash.

“The more that they’re out there, the more there’s potential to be involved in accidents and that’s why we’re doing the training,” Lt. Pratt said.

The two handicap-accessible vehicles came from A and J Mobility, the hybrid cars came from Markquart Motors, Eau Claire Ford and Ken Vance Motors.

The hybrid bus came from Eau Claire Transit.

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From ‘Trends in Mobile Technology’ seminar offered April 5″ — Northcentral Technical College (NTC), UW-Oshkosh and the Partnership for Progressive Agriculture are teaming up to present a “Trends in Mobile Technology” seminar on April 5 from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. at the NTC Center for Business and Industry, Wausau.

The event will open with a 90-minute presentation that will cover how smartphone popularity is changing the way business is conducted. Topics will include the benefits of mobile technology and how to build strategy in iOS and Android platforms to aid growth and profitability.

The seminar will close with an agricultural and business panel from 10 to 10:30 a.m., during which experts in education, business and agriculture will discuss the latest trends and information in mobile technology.The cost is $20 and includes a light breakfast and refreshments. Seminar registration price is waived for current UW-Oshkosh MBA students.

From “Recycle your electronics at Moraine Park” — Moraine Park Technical College’s IT Club will be holding its E-cycle event from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, April 20 at Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus.

Items can be dropped off at the campus courtyard, closest to the intersection of Johnson Street and University Drive. Accepted items include: Monitors, laptops, servers, TV’s, printers/fax/scanners, computers, video game consoles, mice/keyboards, cell phones, MP3 players/iPods, phones, DVD players, VCRs, cable boxes, satellite dishes, vacuum cleaners (without bag), coffee makers, bread makers, irons, hair dryers, radios, clocks and much more.

All batteries must be removed from all items including cordless/rechargeable products.

Items not accepted include curling irons, refrigerators, dish washers, stoves and household batteries.

A full list of items can be viewed by emailing Lisa Pollard at

From “Column: Find summer opportunities at MSTC” — In the last couple of weeks, it seems like everyone is talking about the weather. I have heard people saying things like, “When is it going to stop snowing?” “When will it finally be spring?” “Will the weather ever turn nice?” “I was planting my garden last year at this time.” “I wore shorts on St. Patrick’s Day last year.” And so on.

Unfortunately, I cannot tell you when the weather will change, only that I’m sure it will. This anticipation of summer weather has us thinking about summer school opportunities at Mid-State Technical College. As a matter of fact, we think the summer session has something for everyone.

Many students find that our summer session provides the opportunity to focus on just one course rather than several courses at once. Delivery options include face-to-face, video-conferenced classes and online instruction.

If you are a college student who is at home for the summer, many of these courses are transferable to other colleges or universities. Please check with your college to see if they accept these transfer opportunities.

Another option is the chance to work on your basic skills in the Academic Success Center, or ASC. Staff members are available to help you brush up on basic skills in computers, math or language, or to help you improve your entry-level scores for admission to an MSTC program. Maybe your college admissions test did not come out as well as you would have preferred or you would just like to upgrade your skills in a particular area for work

MSTC’s summer session would allow you to enroll in a class that may have been filled during the fall or spring semester, enroll in a class to update and enhance your professional skills, earn credits that will transfer to other colleges and universities or take a class in an environment in which classes are often smaller and less formal.

For an enjoyable and rewarding summer experience, consider joining us at MSTC. Visit us online at or, better yet, stop by Marshfield Campus at 2600 W. Fifth St. and register for summer classes or get more information about any of these options. We look forward to seeing you here.

Brenda Dillenburg is dean of the Mid-State Technical College campus in Marshfield.

From “Educators can tour tech college programs” — Local kindergarten through grade 12 educators will have the opportunity to tour Mid-State Technical College and four other technical colleges during the week of June 17 to 21.

Registration has begun for a statewide collaborative offering graduate credit for increasing awareness of Wisconsin Technical College System, or WTCS, programs and services.

Teachers, counselors and administrators participating in the week-long Tours of Excellence visit a different technical college each day for hands-on learning about the programs and services available to students, as well as the 21st century career options that await WTCS graduates. Tour participants complete an action plan for disseminating what they’ve learned, and will earn 3 graduate credits from Marian University in Fond du Lac.

The tours are planned on a regional basis to allow for broad participation with local partners. Tours are broken into north, central and south sections, and space is limited to 30 individuals per section.

A participant of the 2012 Tour of Excellence said, “I feel much more prepared to share the opportunities for jobs and associate degrees that the technical colleges offer, as well as suggesting programs I feel my students would excel in.”

“Participants complete the tours with 3 graduate credits and an increased understanding of the great career and entrepreneurship opportunities available through MSTC and other WTCS programs,” said new student specialist Lana Mallek.

Additional information and online registration is available at

From “Forestry program provides graduates for a growing industry” — Antigo – The first graduating class from a Northwoods forestry program will receive their diplomas this May, and most of them have job offers.

It’s a program that’s taking the forest industry to another level.

But it’s not just about the trees.

It’s about jobs. “We’re just trying to develop the best possible people for this industry that we can,” said Brown.

Northcentral Technical College’s Wood Tech program is teaching future forest industry employees, right in Antigo.

“The equipment that we have here on the floor, the curriculum that we teach here at NTC is very unique, and it is cutting edge. It’s what employers are looking for when they’re hiring new employees,” said instructor Travis Allen.

The forestry industry job market looks good too.

With almost 60 thousand jobs in Wisconsin in 2011, compared to 52 thousand in 2010, according to the DNR.

Oradei sees it as a sustainable job market too.

“It’s a very desirable industry to be involved with; you’re always working with a renewable resource,” said Oradei.

Brown is happy to see business growing.

“Business has picked up in the united states and worldwide, so it’s getting a lot more fun,” said Brown.

Sixteen students in Travis Allen’s class are hearing from employers too.

“A week ago I had three different employers contact us for skilled employees, and the nice thing is our curriculum is covering exactly what they want to hire on,” said Allen.

From “Upgrades moving forward at FVTC” – Last April, residents approved a referendum totaling $66,525,000 that authorized Fox Valley Technical College to expand facilities.

Behind the referendum was a growing demand for training that current facilities are not able to meet, said Chris Jossart, spokesman for the college.

He said that FVTC fills a vital role in providing skilled workers needed by regional employers to stay competitive. In addition to proving themselves, Jossart said, “the program areas involved have been through a rigorous analysis of industry growth projections.”

Construction on the health simulation and technology center began already last October. Spring will see the start of construction on the public safety training center and the student success center, as well as expansions of the agriculture center and the J. J. Keller Transportation Center. The projects have varying completion dates, starting with fall of this year and continuing through spring of 2015.

A little more than half the funding will be spent on the Public Safety Training Center, the flagship project of the referendum.

“The 93,000 square-foot facility, created in partnership with the Outagamie County Regional Airport, will address capacity needs for training in law enforcement, fire protection, and emergency medical services,” Jossart said.

The health technology center will open first, Jossart said, welcoming students at the min campus in Grand Chute this fall.

“The center will allow students from several programs to better use human patient simulators to prepare for realistic health care and emergency situations within a virtual hospital setting,” he said.

The student center project will provide needed space for supplemental instruction, tutoring, and academic support, Jossart said. The central core of the main campus will be remodeled to create the center, he said.

Space for vehicle inspection and maintenance was behind the expansion of the J.J. Keller Transportation Center, Jossart said. The expansion also allows the college to accept more students.

There is a waiting list, and demand from employers is high for truck driving, diesel technology and automotive technology graduates, he said. The public safety training center is expected to alleviate some of these challenges, too.

An 87 percent jump in enrollment in the last four years in agri-business, the state’s largest industry, required expansion of the agriculture center, Jossart said.

The public referendum also included the purchase of land in Oshkosh and buying the college’s Chilton Regional Center, which was formerly leased, to accommodate future program and campus growth. The Chilton purchase freed up operating dollars to build a small expansion made necessary by enrollment growth of 36 percent since 2008.

Jossart said later this year there are “a number of initiatives to enhance our partnership with K12 education systems to prepare young learners for the skills today’s employers need.”

Statewide, he said, employers are seeking professionals with two-year degrees to a greater extent than ever before.

“We are strategically developing new directives to guide the next generation workforce,” he said.


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