September 30, 2013
From shoeboyganpress.com: “LTC offers active shooter, workplace violence seminars” — Lakeshore Technical College is offering seminars intended to help the public respond to incidents of school or workplace violence. Seminars will be held Oct. 16 from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and Nov. 14 from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. on the Cleveland campus in the Public Safety building.
The seminar will address school and workplace violence, with a major emphasis on the active shooter. Participants will learn how to respond to threats, what to expect from law enforcement’s response, what to teach children about the immediate actions to take when confronted by an active shooter and what plans businesses and citizens should have in place in case an incident occurs.
The seminar is designed for everyone, especially parents and those in the business and school community, according to a news release.
Instructor Jason Wilterdink, who has 15 years of experience as a law enforcement officer, is a full-time instructor at LTC, a master instructor in use of force and is certified by several organizations as a firearms instructor. He also has served as an instructor and expert witness in self-defense, training, safety, security, health, wellness and fitness.
Wilterdink also served in an international police mission for the United Nations where he served in Liberia as the team leader for the crowd control team and lead instructor for physical security, operational security and civil unrest in accordance with UN Security Council resolution 1509.
The cost of the seminar is $89. To register by phone with credit card, call 888-468-6582, ext. 1366.
September 27, 2013
From waow.com: “Job fair in Wisconsin Rapids full of employers” — Hundreds of job seekers headed to Mid State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids.
The school held its annual job fair Thursday and coordinators say the turnout was better than expected.
According to the latest jobs report, businesses across the country continued to hire new workers in August.
Employers from all over Wisconsin attended the job fair.
From Madison to Green Bay, employers were looking for workers.
The job seekers included students and people of all ages.
57 employers set up booths in the gymnasium on Mid State Tech’s campus.
Organizers tell Newsline 9 that it’s the most booths they’ve had for the fall fair in several years.
“This past spring we had 58, this time we have 57, which is very encouraging and I’ve done this for a number of years and in the fall it’s usually pretty small, but this is our best fall in over seven years,” said Stephany Hartman, Career Services employee with Mid State Technical College.
Mid State Technical College holds two job fairs per year.
School leaders say the next one is in April of 2014.
September 25, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Scott Walker, GOP legislators to focus on job training in fall session” — Madison — Ahead of a major jobs report expected this week, Gov. Scott Walker and the Legislature’s top two GOP leaders said Tuesday they will spend $8.5 million more in state money over the next year and a half to train the state’s workers for in-demand jobs such as manufacturing.
Walker, Assembly Speaker Robin Vos (R-Rochester) and Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) laid out worker training as one of their legislative priorities for the fall, saying they plan to pass eight Republican and Democratic bills aimed at that goal. Walker said the three leaders would have more announcements in the coming days on creating jobs and improving schools.
One of the bills highlighted Tuesday by the governor would put $1 million more over the next two years into the state’s Youth Apprenticeship program that works with on-the-job trainees as well as high school students. Overall, the new proposals would pull down an additional $14 million in federal matching dollars over the next year and a half.
“People are hungry to do more things to create the economic environment in the state where businesses can create jobs,” Walker said of state leaders.
So far, Republicans have outlined a modest agenda for the remaining legislative session ending this spring, including a bill to allow a mining company to close off its land to protesters, hunters and the public and another to hold private voucher schools receiving taxpayer money to standards similar to those of public schools. Other potential bills include an overhaul of election laws and a ban on taxpayer money covering abortions under public employee health plans.
Over the past 21/2 years, GOP lawmakers and Walker have passed so many elements of their conservative agenda that they’ve been moving slower since they returned to the Capitol this fall. The Assembly chose not to take to the floor in September, putting off votes until next month.
Democrats have criticized Walker and Republican legislators for cuts they made to technical colleges and their training programs two years ago. The current budget gives tech schools $5 million more in state money over two years, but that doesn’t make up for the 30% cut passed in 2011, which dropped state funding for technical schools from $119.3 million a year to $83.5 million.
“It’s inadequate to a state that is significantly lagging in job creation,” Assembly Minority Leader Peter Barca (D-Kenosha) said of the proposals highlighted Tuesday. “This is far too little far too late to really have the kind of impact that’s necessary at this time.”
The state’s economy will play a key role in the re-election campaign next year for Walker, who in his initial 2010 campaign promised to create 250,000 private-sector jobs in his first four-year term.
With 16 months left in that term, the state has created 89,882 jobs, according to a PolitiFact Wisconsin analysis of the latest estimates. That’s a little more than a third of the way toward his goal.
Fitzgerald said he hoped to pass the jobs bills by the end of the year, saying they would improve on the state’s current efforts rather than make a radical departure.
“I think what you’re seeing is a fine-tuning of existing programs,” he said.
The bills would:
■ Pay for up to 25% of the cost of tuition for an apprenticeship program, with maximum payments of $1,000 per student.
■ Give incentive payments to school districts of up to $1,000 per student if they developed programs encouraging students to get certificates in high-need industries before they graduate from high school. The measure would initially provide $3 million in additional funding for schools.
■ Provide $4 million in state funds for vocational rehabilitation services for people with disabilities. The program is expected to lure $14 million in federal funding as well, helping to serve another 3,000 people over two years.
■ Create a scholarship program for top students who want to pursue a technical education.
■ Revive a program that allows people to get job training while they are unemployed and continue to receive unemployment benefits while they do so.
■ Allow students to take state licensing exams before they complete their training, with the license issued as soon as they finish their training. This would prevent graduates from having to wait weeks or months before taking a licensing test.
■ Create a new transitional jobs program outside of Milwaukee so low-income people could build their job skills. The program would supplement one for Milwaukee included in the state budget.
In other news Tuesday, Wisconsin ranked as one of the best states in the country in a monthly index of economic activity issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.
Last week’s report from the state Department of Workforce Development showed that Wisconsin added an estimated 7,300 private-sector jobs in August, though those preliminary numbers are subject to heavy revisions.
Wisconsin’s unemployment rate also declined last month to 6.7% in August from 6.8% in July. The rate fell mainly because several thousand unemployed Wisconsinites quit looking for work, which removed them from the official tally of the unemployed.
Nationally, the proportion of Americans working or looking for work fell to its lowest level in 35 years.
The most comprehensive set of jobs numbers for Wisconsin — a more reliable but less timely report covering the first three months of 2013 — comes out Thursday.
Lawmakers won’t just be considering jobs bills this fall.
The Senate, for instance, has yet to decide what to do with two abortion bills passed by the Assembly this year. One would ban abortions that are chosen because of the fetus’ sex and the other would bar public workers from using their government health insurance to pay for the procedure.
In June, the Assembly also approved a bill allowing online voter registration and doubling the amount of money donors can give candidates for governor and the Legislature. Senate leaders have not determined what they will do with the measure.
An earlier version of the measure included changes to election laws, and Assembly leaders have said they would like to adopt at least some of them later this session. The earlier package would have made it harder to recall municipal and school officials, limited early voting and modified the state’s voter ID law, which has been blocked by a judge.
September 25, 2013
From kenoshanews.com: “Gateway, Parkside strike transfer agreement” —
Gateway Technical College students graduating with degrees in accounting, business and supervisory management, marketing, and graphic communications can now transfer to the University of Wisconsin-Parkside as juniors and work toward bachelor’s degrees.
Gateway President Bryan Albrecht and Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford announced the new program agreements at a ceremony Tuesday at Parkside as their school mascots hammed it up behind them.
Because about 62 percent of Parkside graduates stay in southeastern Wisconsin, Albrecht said the effort ripples beyond the campuses.
“It’s all for us to provide stronger support for our communities,” Albrecht said.
Gateway student Greg Kiriaki, 29, said he’s looking forward to transferring to Parkside to earn a business degree.
He went to college for a semester straight out of high school, then worked in construction. He’s put down roots in Kenosha and said he appreciates the chance to complete his education without leaving the area.
“It’s nice to stay here without losing a chunk of my credits,” he said.
Gateway students like Kiriaki will see 54 to 62 of their credits transferred toward Parkside degrees.
The relationship between Gateway and Parkside goes back to the time before Parkside was even a university; Ford said the first UW Extension classes in the Kenosha area were held in Gateway buildings.
“For decades, we have worked together so our community residents could move their careers forward,” Ford said.
Parkside and Gateway already have similar agreements in general studies, HVAC/geosciences, civil engineering and physical therapy, and 94 students are enrolled at both schools.
September 25, 2013
From thenorthwestern.com: “Robotic welding program brings Walker to FVTC” — Learning to weld is normally a hands-on experience, but 14 Fox Valley Technical College students are taking a very hands-off approach to a new course.
Fox Valley Tech has introduced a course in robotic welding at its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Center on Oshkosh’s south side this semester as it responds to changing demands of area manufacturers.
The new program, and the eight robots mounted with MIG welding guns, caught the attention of Gov. Scott Walker, who toured the manufacturing campus Tuesday afternoon.
“We can compete with anybody in the world, anywhere around the world, but we’re not going to compete the way we used to,” Walker said. “Advanced manufacturing means people who have multiple skills that can be applied using not only crafts they’ve learned here, but also all the technology that goes with it.”
FVTC Metal Fabrication and Welding Instructor Ben Cebery said the college was able to use a portion of a three-year, $3 million Advanced Manufacturing Pathways Plus grant the U.S. Department of Labor awarded FVTC earlier this year to develop the robotic welding course’s curriculum.
“We’re seeing more automation in manufacturing,” Cebery said. “Surveys with local companies suggested it was a good idea for students to be exposed to automation. This program prepares students for what we’re seeing and the demands of industry.”
Jay Manufacturing CEO Matt Jameson said the company has six robotic welding stations and a lot more manual welding stations at its west side fabrication shop. He said the company has hired several welders recently, and needs to hire as many as 20 more. He said the company views robotic welding training as a definite plus.
“The more versatile a person is, the more we can do with them,” Jameson said. “If they know manual and robotic welding, that’s just a bonus. In addition, the people we have interviewed who tested well almost all had some form of technical college training.”
Joe Serio, of Menominee Falls, and Austin Kopplin, of Oshkosh, both said they’re excited to learn how to program the robots and get them to execute precision welds. Serio said he knows welders are in high demand, but learning more advanced skills like computer programming is vital to finding a good job.
“Usually, we don’t get to deal with computers much while welding, but there’s always someone who needs to run the robot in case something happens,” Serio said. “This comes easy and it’s a pretty nice skill to learn.”
Kopplin said he’s been impressed by the amount of programming required to get the robots to work and the precision with which they execute commands.
“It’s consistent and perfect every time,” Kopplin said. “You get jittery welding for six hours at a time, but these things can run all night.”
Cebery said the college reached out to companies who said students need to be familiar with robotic welding and asked them to provide one or two robots they use. He said Ariens Co., in Brillion, and Muza Metal Products, in Oshkosh, are just two of the companies that stepped up to help out.
“Getting eight robots on the floor would have cost an astounding amount of money,” Cebery said. “Finding another way was vital. Fortunately, we were able to find a way via donations and gifted equipment that exposes students to the different types of robotic welders. They get to learn on each of them.”
September 25, 2013
From wisconsinrapidstribune.com: “New MSTC fire tower a safe way for emergency service personnel to learn” — By Karen Madden – GRAND RAPIDS — A new training tool at Mid-State Technical College will allow firefighters to practice basic to complex skills in a safe environment, according to officials.
Members of both career and volunteer fire departments helped design the campus’s new fire tower, said Barb Jascor, MSTC associate dean and fire training coordinator. It was important to the school to get input from fire departments in designing the new tower to make sure it met the needs of all central Wisconsin fire departments, as well as the needs of students.
On Monday, Wisconsin Rapids firefighters trained in the new tower for the first time. Until MSTC built its fire tower, Wisconsin Rapids firefighters traveled to Rome to train on the Rome Fire Department’s tower, Wisconsin Rapids Fire Department Captain Chuck Peters said.
“To be able to have this in our city is such an asset, not only to our department, but to Mid-State, as well,” Peters said.
The caliber of the new tower’s equipment rivals any that Peters has seen. Not only firefighters, but emergency medical technicians and law enforcement officers, will be able to use the tower to practice realistic scenarios in a safe environment, he said.
Rescuers can practice getting a patient down from the building’s third floor, Peters said. A basic medical issue can become much more difficult when EMTs have to get a patient down stairs, he said.
The tower contains two rooms where firefighters can practice putting out live fires, Jascor said. One is larger and can be used to simulate a living room or other large-room fire. A smaller room would be similar to a fire in a bedroom, Jascor said.
The second floor of the tower contains walls that can be moved to create different layouts. The ability to change the floor plan will keep firefighters from getting too accustomed to what they’ll find when they enter the tower for a training exercise, Jascor said.
The three-story tower has multiple doors in each room, window openings and both an inside and outside staircase, allowing many different types of training scenarios, Jascor said. An enclosed ladder on one side of the building is meant to simulate what firefighters would encounter in a silo or some factories.
Pittsville Fire Chief Jerry Minor said his department encounters situations such as the enclosed ladder frequently. Minor, who was a member of the committee that planned the tower, said the ladder is one of the things he asked to be included in the training structure.
“There are a lot of different options with this building,” Minor said. “I think we looked at about every conceivable option we could think of.”
Committee members toured many fire tours, Jascor said. They talked to fire departments and schools about what worked and what didn’t work, she said.
“The project was truly a collaborative effort,” Jascor said.
September 24, 2013
From thecountrytoday.com: “Career exploration: Ag education council considers new website plan” — MADISON — Wisconsin’s Agricultural Education and Workforce Development Council is heading in a new direction with its efforts to recruit potential workers for the state’s agricultural industry.
At a Sept. 17 meeting, WAEWDC members discussed a plan to transition from its “WhyAg” website that links qualified job candidates with companies that have employment needs to an online Career Pathways Initiative being developed by Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.
The career pathways website is designed to help middle and high school students, parents and displaced workers explore potential career end points for their educational efforts. It will be a resource for young people and displaced workers as they determine what type of education they need for jobs in the broad field of agriculture.
The website would include links to agriculture career exploration, higher education opportunities and job placement/wage data.
The WAEWDC was created by the Wisconsin Legislature in 2008 to help provide a qualified workforce to support the state’s agricultural industry. It has been struggling to stay financially afloat since no state money was allocated to fund the effort when the council was created.
Council vice chairman Corey Kuchta said Al Herrman, a past WAEWDC chairman and current council executive director, has been organizing a fundraising campaign to help fund future council efforts. Herrman is working on a volunteer basis.
“In October he’s going to start to do some mailings to ask people who have contributed to the council in the past for future contributions,” Kuchta said. “The money is needed to fund all of the council efforts.”
Lori Weyers, Northcentral Technical College president, said the career pathways website will outline the steps in the career decision-making process.
“Where do I want to go and how do I get there,” she said. “Students will be able to see what jobs are at the end of the path for them and how much those jobs pay.”
Katie Felch, director of marketing and public relations at NTC, described the website as a “one-stop shop to see all the things that are available.”
People visiting the website would be able to review a wide variety of agricultural job opportunities and investigate what type of school might be best for them to get the training they need for the job they want.
Council members discussed the possibility of selling advertising on the website to employers who are in need of agricultural workers.
Although NTC officials developed the website, Weyers said it could be customized to include information from all of the various technical colleges and universities in Wisconsin.
“Even though we developed this template, this is not about NTC,” Weyers said. “We did this on our own time as an in-kind donation to the council. We want to share it — you can use it and you can have it.”
WAEWDC members discussed on what server the website would be housed and who would pay for maintaining and updating it.
Weyers said she would come back to the next council meeting in December with information on how much it would cost to host the website on NTC servers. Council members said employer sponsorships could help pay for the service.
Each technical college and university listed on the website would be responsible for keeping its information current, Weyers said.
Randy Zogbaum, agriculture and natural resources consultant for the Wisconsin Technical College System, said he would take the concept to deans of the technical college system and ask for funds to help support the project.
Council members said the career pathways website could be an extension of what the council has been working on with its WhyAg initiative.
“I think this will be a great transition from WhyAg,” Kuchta said.
Kuchta said the difference with the career pathways website will be that people will be able to do everything from explore career opportunities to find a path to get there and see how much money they can make.
“This is why we exist as a council — to create an opportunity to build that pipeline for jobs and to connect workers and employers,” council member Liz Henry said.
Mike Compton, dean of the UW-Platteville School of Agriculture, said he is looking forward to sending the school’s agricultural ambassadors out to high schools with the career pathways website in their tool belt.
Council members said the new website would not compete with but be a complement to the Wisconsin Job Center website recently developed by the Department of Workforce Development. The website has a page devoted to agriculture.
On a related note, Wisconsin FFA Adviser Jeff Hicken said the National FFA Organization is collecting job and career data on an Ag Career Network. The effort is directed at helping students develop profiles, resumes and portfolios before they leave high school.
Paul Larson, an agriculture instructor in the Freedom School District, has agreed to continue as chairman of the council for the next year, Kuchta said.