From “Baldwin gets crash course in latest manufacturing technology in Kenosha” — U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin had an industrious day in the Kenosha area Wednesday. The freshman Democrat from Madison operated a laser engraver, carving her office’s slogan, “Fighting for Wisconsin!” into a refrigerator magnet, and she tried her hand at precision torque wrench use. And that was all before she co-piloted a simulated plane flight. Baldwin took in these demonstrations and more during tours of two Gateway Technical College facilities and a Kenosha manufacturing plant.

The senator visited Gateway’s SC Johnson integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology Center in Sturtevant and the Horizon Center for Transportation Technology in Kenosha — the latest stops in a survey of such facilities across the state, as part of an effort to study and promote workforce training and manufacturing job creation efforts.

“I don’t think you can have an economy built to last that doesn’t make things,” Baldwin said while at the iMET Center, a recently dedicated facility that includes a flexible manufacturing lab and training centers for computerized machining, welding and fabrication and other skills.

While Baldwin said manufacturing has taken some hits that cannot be controlled — not the least of which being the changing global marketplace — the senator said there are areas, such as worker training and education, where constructive action can be taken.

“We can, we must,” Baldwin said.

Impressed by GTC

Baldwin said she was impressed by what she saw at the Gateway facilities, where she heard about partnerships between the technical college and companies including Snap-on and Xten Industries, the latter of which she toured at the end of the day. She also joined a student for a cruise over Kenosha in a flight simulator and rubbed elbows with a dozen or so members of a welding/fabrication boot camp — a 15-week, full-time program that resulted in a 92 percent job placement rate for its last batch of graduates, said Mark Mundl of the Racine County Workforce Development Center.

“And that one guy who’s not working is lazy and has decided to sit on his couch,” Mundl told Baldwin.

Baldwin said she recently toured a similar, though more established manufacturing lab at the University of Wisconsin-Stout, which, she said, has brought significant benefits to that region.

“So this is a really great investment in this area,” Baldwin said, of iMET.

Baldwin’s on-the-ground research comes as she is serving on a Senate committee that, this summer, will likely study the reauthorization of the federal Workforce Investment Act, a 15-year-old law that serves as the framework through which federal dollars are delivered to local workforce programs.

Partnerships powerful

Among the things Baldwin said she’s learned is the power of public-private partnerships.

“We have to think more creatively these days, because of the financial picture that we’re in,” Baldwin said.

An example Baldwin saw firsthand Wednesday was the mutually satisfying agreement between Gateway and Snap-on. Gateway needed to replace aging automotive education facilities in Kenosha and Racine, and Snap-on needed training programs for the high-tech diagnostic tools it now produces, explained Matt Janisin, an instructor at the center and coordinator for the National Coalition of Certification Centers, an international network of educators and corporations that supports training efforts.

“What started with one company and one school is now up to multiple companies and we’re up to 120, 125 schools across the country and one in Morocco,” Janisin said.

From “Blackhawk Tech faculty establish scholarship fund” — The union representing Blackhawk Technical College faculty announced a new scholarship program aimed at students struggling to stay in school because of a lack of money. The Blackhawk Technical Faculty Federation recently unveiled a $20,000 scholarship pool that will begin helping students in 2014. The fund is for full- and part-time students carrying a minimum 2.5 grade-point average.

The scholarships are expected to run between $500 and $750 each, depending on financial need. At least two scholarships per semester are expected to be available. The fund received an additional contribution of $500 from Douglas Tabbutt, a computer information systems instructor, during last Friday night’s graduation rehearsal program. BTC faculty and staff will be able to contribute to the fund through payroll deductions.

Faculty members have noticed too many students withdrawing from school because of a lack of money, according to a college news release. The BTC Foundation will administer the scholarship. The foundation committee reviews all applications and scores them on financial need, family circumstances, grades, neatness and completeness of the application and potential. Applications for the first scholarship award are due Oct. 1. Scholarship recipients will be notified in November and the funds will be applied to the semester beginning in January 2014.

From “Griesmer named MPTC Student of the Year” — Tom Griesmer, of Rubicon, was recently named the Moraine Park Technical College Student of the Year.

Griesmer, who will receive his electrical power distribution technical diploma this May, was named student of the year following an intensive interview and presentation process.

Each year, one student is chosen to receive the Student of the Year award, according to Lisa Manuell, Moraine Park’s student involvement specialist.

“That student has excelled in and outside the classroom, made the most of his or her college experience, and modeled Moraine Park’s core abilities, or life skills,” she said. These skills include the ability to communicate clearly, act responsibly, work cooperatively and productively, adapt to change, demonstrate integrity, and think critically and creatively.

“I was caught off guard receiving the award,” said Griesmer, who enrolled at Moraine Park at the urging of his employer. “I believe that Moraine Park’s core abilities represent how people should carry themselves in everyday life. I didn’t think I was doing things that were out of the ordinary.”

Griesmer, who was among five other finalists – May Montezon of North Fond du Lac, Tanya Schloemer of Hartford, Austin Barten of Mayville, Becca Jahns of Beaver Dam, and Bonnie Weiss of Kewaskum – best fit award qualifications, according to a selection committee comprised of Moraine Park faculty, staff and a student representative.

It was his story that set him apart, according to Scott Lieburn, dean of students. As an older student with a family and full-time job, Griesmer enrolled in Moraine Park’s Electrical Power Distribution technical diploma program to further his knowledge and skills.

“I was sent to Moraine Park for cross training by the utility division of the City of Hartford,” he said. “I was really excited for the opportunity, but nervous because the program is mostly filled with younger students.”

Griesmer, who brought hands-on skills and knowledge to class, served as a mentor to his younger fellow classmates. He involved himself in the Electrical Power Distribution club on campus – working to gain as much skill and knowledge as possible.

“I had 23 years of working experience with a utility company, while most of my classmates came in from high school,” said Griesmer. “I was able to share my experiences with my classmates. They are a good group of guys who strive to do their best and are encouraging to each other. That helped me a lot, as well.”

Griesmer maintains his greatest challenge involved gearing up for the requirements of a college program.

“I had to get back into the classroom itself and switch my lifestyle from work back to homework,” said Griesmer. “I had to adjust to studying out of books again. The whole experience was wonderful. I got through it, did well with grades and made great friendships along the way.”

“More employers should send their employees back to school for training,” he said. “It’s been a mutual investment and commitment that I hope makes me a more valuable employee.”

From “New approach to EMS training stresses, continuity, mentoring approach” — A joint effort among three community entities has seen success in a new approach to a traditional emergency medical service training program.

Students this year have been exposed to the new training process organized by leaders from the Kenosha Fire Department, Gateway Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Kenosha Fire Department’s Division Chief of EMS Jim Poltrock said in the past, Gateway had its students complete their field time with the department, but there was little organization and consistency to the process.

“The way the program was set up before was kind of chaotic,” he said. “There was no structure, and students were jumping shifts and were randomly assigned to work with different professionals each time.”

The new approach assigns students to work with a specific EMS person to establish a relationship and better develop their skills and evaluate students more accurately.

“Continuity is key,” Poltrock said. “While working with the same person each day, preceptors are able to monitor what their personal skills are and focus on areas the student needs to improve on. They also become more comfortable in asking questions, because they’ve established more of a relationship.”

Crista Kruse, mentor Kenosha/Racine manager at the University Wisconsin-Parkside, has been involved in the implementation of the new plan this year through the UW-Parkside Center for Community Partnerships. The center bridges the university with nearby communities through extended learning opportunities. She said the more formalized approach is beneficial to students.

“The mentoring approach is kind of a new trend, and research shows it works,” she said. “It’s beneficial to both the employer and the student, so it’s a win-win.”

Both students and preceptors have to go through an application process and meet specific requirements to be a part of the program.

“Our agreement within this joint effort is that we’ll provide our best, and they send us their best,” Poltrock said.

Students in support

Both students and preceptors said the changes are successful and beneficial to everyone.

Kenosha Fire Department Capt. Steve Allemand, an EMS preceptor/peer mentor, said the traditional training program used to be “hit or miss,” because students would come and go, riding with different paramedics at different stations.

“Now, there’s more ownership, so it’s almost like it’s your own kid,” he said. “You can actually keep a better eye on them for how they’re progressing along. It’s a huge difference.”

Allemand said he has always enjoyed teaching and coaching his own children, so he was interested right away in becoming a teacher and mentor.

“Fire and EMS is kind of a family affair, so it really helps out that you have the same person there with you the whole time to get the full experience,” said Steffanie Olson, 24, who is enrolled in the program and close to completing her ride time with the Kenosha Fire Department.

“This program helps build your confidence as a medic, and it also helps facilitate the fact that they know where you’re at with things,” she said. “(Allemand) knows what I’m looking for in my education to make me a well-rounded paramedic at this point.”

Olson was among those who responded to a rollover injury accident on Friday. It was the first time she had been involved with Flight for Life in Kenosha, but she felt prepared.

“I always feel that I have a good support team here,” she said. “Even if I’m not sure on something, I can just look over my shoulder and someone will be there to give me a little extra support. These guys run a good ship, so it’s easy to pick up and jump in.”

Different perspectives

Students work with the same shift every day, so everyone on the shift contributes to the training, Allemand said.

“We all have slightly different perspectives due to our position, age and rank, so it helps to give students a full view of what EMS actually is,” he said.

Overall, Allemand said the program will help southeastern Wisconsin have better EMS care, because the students are better trained for the future.

“It’s a vision that’s long term, and it’s going to be something very positive,” he said. “It’s hard to break the traditions of how things were done, but once people see the benefits to this and the positive repercussions of it, there’s absolutely no way places could not do this.”


From “Sargento cheese guitar made at FVTC” — GRAND CHUTE – Are you a cheese and music lover? Some area students mixed the two together for a special project.

Company officials from cheesemaker Sargento Foods made a visit to Fox Valley Technical College Monday.

They were collecting a customized cheese guitar.

The guitar will be put in Sargento’s lobby to help raise awareness on what initiatives around the region are going on to build skill sets.

Organizers say the students learned a variety of skills during the project.

“They start with a solid block of wood and they start exploring different careers like mechanical design and they have to design and cut out their guitar, after that you’re looking at wood science, there’s soldering, all the science of intonation and tuning so they cover about a dozen different careers that they explore,” said Steve Gallagher, FAB Lab manager.

A guitar building class is offered through Fox Valley Tech.

From “Dental clinic expansion could double patient capacity” — GREEN BAY – It may be a little easier for certain people in Brown County to get care from the dentist.

The NEW Dental Clinic on the Green Bay campus of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College has been serving low-income and uninsured people for about a year and a half.

An expansion is expected to double the facility’s capacity.

Tammy Marcelle suffers from cerebral palsy and arthritis. She and her service dog Puppy checked in to the dental clinic Monday.

“Before I found this place, I haven’t been to the dentist in 20 years,” said Marcelle of Green Bay.

Marcelle met with her dentist Gretchen Evenson.

“A lot of these people have been trying to find dentists for years. No one sees the medical assistance. We’re happy that we devote our entire clinic to these people,” said Dr. Evenson, NEW Dental Clinic dentist.

NEW Dental Clinic provides dental services often free-of-charge to low income or uninsured people in Brown County.

The clinic was formally dedicated Monday morning. NWTC provided the space as part of a federal grant. St. Vincent Hospital and St. Mary’s Hospital Medical Center provided $330,000 for equipment.

“Getting care and getting that taken care of also pulling the teeth when appropriate so it doesn’t abscess and can cause further health problems is really important,” said Bonnie Kuhr, NEW Dental Clinic CEO.

Bonnie Kuhr says another dentist will be hired Tuesday. Kuhr says 10 people will staff the expanded office and serve an estimated 6,000 people a year.

“You didn’t have to do that,” said Marcelle.

Marcelle and Dr. Evenson have formed a friendship, but an upcoming root canal may put that friendship to the test.

“I think she should just pull it so we don’t have to deal with it. But that’s not her attitude,” said Marcelle.

“Tammy’s a character. She’s had some dental work that was done, and then of course, once the dental work is done, then we want to continue to monitor these patients and make sure that they get the continued care they need,” said Dr. Evenson.

“It’s a relief that people with low incomes have finally a place they can come and get things done. They need it,” said Marcelle.

From “Cadott’s Weiland brothers take different paths to the golf course” — CADOTT — Twin brothers Scott and Eric Weiland are like typical twins in some regards.

The two brothers hold many traits in common.

They’re both competitive. They’re both passionate. They have common interests. Their personalities have specific quirks, but in general are quite similar.

However, on the golf course it’s a different story. Both enjoy the game, obviously.

But the paths they took in joining the Cadott boys golf team, and the paths they hope to take after graduating this year are markedly different.

Separate paths

Seniors on a Hornets golf team that hopes to advance to the WIAA Division 3 state tournament in June, Scott and Eric Weiland will be heavily counted on to do their share if Cadott is going to reach its ultimate goal.

Scott is the more experienced golfer of the two, having played as either the No. 1 or No. 2 player on the Hornets since he made the varsity squad as a freshman. So far this year, Scott has taken medalist honors at two Cloverbelt Conference meets and was just a couple strokes from qualifying as an individual for state a season ago.

Meanwhile, Eric is the No. 4 player, having joined the team a few weeks into the season last year after having tried baseball his first couple years of high school.

At first, both Scott and Eric began their golfing careers together in middle school, learning from Cadott golf coach Brad Rogers at a summer junior program. In fact, according to Scott, Eric was the better golfer when the two were just starting out.

But Scott soon developed a deep passion for the sport that made it a primary focus in his life, while Eric liked to try other activities, enjoying golf more as a pastime.

“Even back then (in middle school), Scotty was more of a student of the game. He really just ate it up, was studying it, was really serious,” Rogers said. “Pretty much all the time, Eric had his driver and was bombing for the fence.”

When the two began high school, Eric decided to go out for the baseball team instead of joining the golf team. After a couple years in baseball, Eric, at Scott’s urging, decided to join golf.

“I had a lot of things I wanted to do and I wanted to try them, see if I did like them,” Eric said. “That (baseball) is one of the things I tried quick. I ended up not liking it at all so then I went back out for golf. Scott helped me out a lot with everything.”

Not only did Scott want Eric to join golf because he thought he may enjoy it more, but the Hornets also needed a guy who could shoot consistently after a few seniors graduated from the year before.

“I thought it would help the team because we were losing a couple of our golfers that were seniors, graduating,” Scott said. “We needed a solid No. 4/5 seed and I thought he would have the talent to do it.”

However, when Eric joined the team midway through last season, the rust of not having played golf for a couple years was apparent. In his first practice round, he shot a 63, leaving Rogers a bit deflated. But, four-iron in tow (Eric doesn’t currently carry a driver), he got his game back into shape and has become a steady player for the Hornets.

“He really worked on the game, was consistently working on it,” Rogers said. “By the end of the season, he was shooting high 40s. That was all within a matter of about three or four weeks. He’s a quick learner, stuck with it.”

This year and beyond

As Scott and Eric finish up their high school careers, their paths will once again diverge.

With plans to attend UW-Stout in the fall, Scott wants to have a career in golf — his passion since his cousin Ray Weiland, Jr. took him out on the course about six years ago. Between taking lessons with Cadott golf pro John Pozarski, working at Whispering Pines Golf Course and spending his free time on the links, Scott has devoted much of his life to the sport and wants to keep it that way.

Meanwhile, Eric hopes to start a career as a fire medic and is already a volunteer firefighter. Enrolling at Chippewa Valley Technical College following the school year, saving peoples’ lives and helping out in any way he can is Eric’s goal in life.

Unfortunately, that goal will also mean that the Cadott golf team’s road to state could be a bit bumpier.

Eric begins an EMT class on Tuesday — the same day of regionals for Cadott, meaning the Hornets will need to manage without a player who has developed into a consistent performer for the team.

But with the way Scott — who Rogers believes will make it to state as an individual at the very least — and the rest of the team has been playing, a trip to state is still within the realm of possibility even if Eric isn’t available for regionals.

It is fitting that this is how it played out though. As unfortunate as the timing is, Eric is simply following his passion. Scott is following his.

The golf course brought them together as brothers for the past two years, but the real world will once again send them in different directions, albeit maybe a bit sooner than they would have liked.

Said Rogers: “Eric pretty much lives for firefighting and fire rescue, while Scotty lives for golf.”

%d bloggers like this: