From “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.


From “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.


From “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.


From “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.


From “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.”

From “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.

From “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.

From “Column: MSTC centennial celebration in October” — As I wrote last month, Mid-State Technical College celebrates its centennial birthday this year. We are 100 years old! It will be a celebration that lasts all year, and we hope you will participate in many events to celebrate this milestone in our history.

We are making plans for our Centennial Celebration at Marshfield Campus, and we can’t imagine celebrating this milestone without you. Please consider this your official invitation to join us at Marshfield Campus from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 22. Help us treasure our past and celebrate our future.

You will experience hands-on demonstrations in many of our program areas. For example, the emergency medical services, nursing, respiratory therapy and surgical technologist programs will offer interactive simulated activities. The welding area will feature stainless steel welding techniques in our recently renovated lab. Urban forestry students will be here to demonstrate their skills. Business and information technology programs will also have interesting hands-on activities for you to enjoy.

We hope you will attend our celebration to experience our specialized lab facilities and interactive demonstrations. Our positive environment is focused on student learning and the services needed to support learning. The use of technology is a significant component of a technical college education. Our specialized labs attempt to replicate the settings and equipment in which our graduates will work.

The programs that we offer at each of our campus locations are designed to meet the needs of employers in our communities. Each program is advised by a committee of employees and employers in the field. These advisory committees keep us well connected with the employers in our district. Each committee includes employees who work in the position for which we are training as well as individuals who supervise these employees. They provide up-to-date information on skills, techniques, and equipment that needs to be included in the curriculum.

If you are unable to attend our Marshfield Campus celebration, please consider attending one at another of our campus locations. These events will be Oct. 10 in Wisconsin Rapids, Nov. 5 in Adams and June 4 in Stevens Point. On these days, we will showcase our programs for high school students in the morning and celebrate with the community in a variety of afternoon and evening activities. Visit our website at to learn details about each event.

From “Construction of seventh student-built home begins” — High school students from Luxemburg-Casco, Sturgeon Bay and Kewaunee participated in the seventh annual groundbreaking ceremony Sept. 16 as part of the home construction project. The Door-Kewaunee Business Education Partnership (DKBEP), the Door County Builders Association and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College support this program which gives the students hands-on construction education and a home for a new family.

The new home, at E2337 Sunset Road in Luxemburg, has its foundation laid, and building began on Sept. 17. Students will be working with licensed local contractors to do all the aspects of the construction work including electrical, carpentry, plumbing and more.

The 2,300-square-foot, five-bedroom home is expected to be completed in June, when the school year comes to an end. The students will work on the house or in the trailer that acts as a classroom from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. every day for the duration of the school year. At the end of it, each will have earned 16 transcribed credits from NWTC’s wood technology program.

The owners of the home, Brian and Cindy Peot, heard about the project though the Door County Builders Association and got on board.

“It’s really exciting, I really am glad to give these kids this opportunity,” Brian Peot said. “I wish I had this chance when I was in high school.”

Tara LeClair of the DKBEP is happy with how the program is teaching so many students.

“They learn in the classroom and they can apply their knowledge right away by working in the field,” LeClair said.

This is the third home to be built in Kewaunee County and the second in Luxemburg. More than 80 students have passed through the program and around 80 percent have moved onto something related to the trades including NWTC, four-year colleges, military or construction-related employment. No females have entered the program.

“I really would like to see the dynamic of a female student on site. None have applied, but we are encouraging it,” LeClair said. “Girls are said to be more detail-oriented, and it would be neat to see if that holds true.”

U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., was also in the audience of the groundbreaking.

During the presentation, LeClair informed the group that this program allows the students to learn life skills including critical thinking, problem solving, productivity, communication and accountability.

Jeff Schlag was hired to be the instructor on site to work with the boys. He announced to the group that he was inspired to apply for the job after working with students who participate in Habitat for Humanity in Green Bay.

“I love working with these guys, and I know they want to be out here,” Schlag said. “They are not going to lose what they learn here. Hopefully they are the start of rebuilding the quality skilled labor force.”

Kewaunee High School student builder Calen Delleman made a statement to represent all of the student workers and said they are looking forward to getting going with the project.

“We appreciate the subcontractors and schools for giving us the opportunity,” Delleman said. “Being on this site is a great experience for us and it is going to stay with us for the rest of our lives.”

From “Good news for Wisconsin job seekers” — There’s good news on the horizon for Wisconsin residents looking for work.

Though the state’s labor market continues to recover from the Great Recession of 2007-09, Wisconsin economists say prospects for job seekers are looking up.

“The picture is improving significantly,” said Jeff Sachse, an economist for the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development (DWD) who monitors the labor market in northeastern Wisconsin. “We’re seeing demand pretty much all over the place in fairly large numbers statewide. We have about 42,000 job openings on our Job Center of Wisconsin website right now.”

Wisconsin’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2013 was 6.8 percent, unchanged from June and down from 7.0 percent in July 2012, according to the most recent numbers from the DWD and the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Across the U.S., the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for July 2013 was 7.4 percent, down from 7.6 percent in June and 8.2 percent in July 2012.

While Sachse anticipates Wisconsin’s unemployment numbers would remain relatively high in August because of the number of high school and college students looking for summer work, he predicts the jobless rate will dip below 6 percent in fall in many parts of the state, including the Fox Valley.

“That’s an indication that the labor market itself is getting back to normal,” Sachse said. “The real growth areas in the state are the Fox Valley into Green Bay. If you’re looking at central Wisconsin, there’s a lot of activity in Wausau around insurance as well as metal manufacturing.”

Wider range of manufacturing jobs

Economists continue to see strong hiring activity in manufacturing, especially in the Fox Valley and Sheboygan.

In central Wisconsin, economists are beginning to see an uptick in metal fabrication and machinery manufacturing jobs.

“We got hit pretty hard in paper manufacturing and wood product manufacturing over the course of the recession,” said Tom Walsh, a DWD economist who monitors the labor market in north-central Wisconsin. “But we’re now starting to see some other manufacturing sectors start to grow.”

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From “Clinic gives pet owners chance to provide protection for four-legged friends” — South Wood County Humane Society employees and volunteers turned Robinson Park into a clinic over the weekend to encourage healthier and safer pets.

During the Humane Society’s annual Pet Vaccine and Microchip Clinic, a veterinarian administered rabies and distemper vaccines and implanted microchips for identification. The clinic gives pet owners a lower-cost chance to protect their dogs and cats, said Bridget Chariton, Humane Society executive director.

Also, she said, “a high number (of Wisconsin Rapids pets) are not microchipped.”

Chariton expected to place microchips in 200 to 250 pets on Saturday.

The veterinarian places the microchip in the fatty tissue on the back of the dog or cat’s neck. Humane Society employees then register the animal, and when someone scans the animal with a hand-held wand, it picks up the signal from the chip.

Blue, an energetic three-legged female blue heeler, already has a microchip but was at the clinic Saturday to get vaccinated, said Sher Mosley, Blue’s owner.

Mosley found Blue abandoned in a barn and rescued the dog. The pair do a lot of camping and Mosley said she would miss her canine companion, if anything happened to her.

“This is my second year (at the clinic),” Mosley said. “I love it; it gives people who couldn’t otherwise afford it a chance to get their dogs immunized.”

Roxann Cote of Wisconsin Rapids said she’d been telling her husband they should get their Yorkie, Sammy, a microchip for a long time. Cote previously had a Yorkie that ran away, and she wanted to be sure Sammy is safe, if he should decide to chase a rabbit or squirrel.

On Saturday, the couple brought Sammy to get his microchip.

“We live in the city and anything can happen,” Cote said. “He’s a spoiled dog. We’d feel terrible if anything happened to him.”

Most animal shelters scan all incoming cats and dogs for microchips, Chariton said. Pets frequently lose collars and tags, which are designed to come off easily to prevent dogs from becoming choked. The chips often are the only way to quickly identify an owner.

Although people most frequently think of placing a microchip in their dog, it’s important to give cats protection, too, Chariton said. Cats can often slip out of homes, and it has to happen only once to lose the pet.

This past summer, the shelter was able to return Ace the cat to his Arizona family when staff members found and scanned the feline’s chip. The Siamese cat had disappeared from his Tuscon, Ariz., home about 10 months earlier, and no one knew how he had gotten to Wisconsin.

The South Wood County Humane Society provides the vaccines only once a year but will place microchips in pets any day the shelter is open. The cost is $25, and people can call 715-423-0505 to schedule an appointment.

From “Nicolet College’s EMT’s, Firefighters at High Percentage” — Nicolet College is turning out a new batch of EMTs and state certified firefighters. 25 out of 26 students passed the most recent national certification for Emergency Management Technicians. 17 out of 18 passed the state’s practical firefighting exam. Director of public safety and campus security Jason Goeldner says a new curriculum helped bring in the high passing rates.

“We’ve incorporated an online platform, which is either called a blending or a hybrid learning style. And even though most of the learning takes place in the classroom, through lecture or hands on, we are able to stream online supporting materials – videos, exams, practical sessions in which the students can also learn outside of the classroom.”

Goeldner says high quality instructors are also to thank for the good scores. He says most students will use their certifications to volunteer.

“Many people in the Nicolet district are doing this on a part-time basis to support their communities. There are a small portion that do it full time, mostly on the medical side of it.”

The number of training hours required for EMTs at Nicolet went up significantly this year. Goeldner says he hopes to improve the passing rate even further in the future.


From The Dunn County News: “CVTC students help seniors stay on their feet” — Valeriya Argo used a cell phone as a stopwatch and kept time as an elderly woman walked a pre-determined distance, turned and walked back. For the patient, the exercise was to test balance and help gauge her risk of falling. For Argo, it was a step closer to a return to a career working  with patients.

Now a Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) student from Menomonie in the Physical Therapist Assistant program, Argo is a native of Russia, where she was a medical doctor. She visited the United States five years ago, where she met her now-husband. She’s not licensed to practice here, so she turned to CVTC for a new healthcare career.

She misses working with patients.

Tuesday, Sept. 10, the second-year student had that opportunity. She was one of a small group of program students who volunteered to help with a Falls Prevention Screening event at the L.E. Phillips Senior Center in Eau Claire. The event was sponsored by the Aging and Disabilities Resource Center of Eau Claire County, which partnered with CVTC, Marshfield Clinic and others in recognition of Septem-ber as Falls Prevention Month.

Balanced approach

“Falls are a leading cause of death among people age 65 and over,” said Deb Bruning, prevention program coordinator with the resource center. “Seventy percent of emergency room visits for people over age 65 are due to falls. And 40 percent of falls are 100 percent preventable. Falling is not a normal part of aging.”

The event, and one like it scheduled for Sept. 25 at the Senior and Community Center in Augusta, was designed to determine a person’s risk of falling. For those at higher risk, follow-up with a physician or other professional is recommended.

“We were asked to provide students for each event to do balance screenings,” said Alissa Amundson, CVTC Physical Therapist Assistant instructor. “There are different short, simple tests that can be done that give a general idea of a person’s balance ability. There’s some correlation with balance as a pre-dictor of falls.”

“We’re going to find out who is at large risk. Sometimes it’s just muscle weakness. If we find out, we can help them,” said Argo.

“It’s creating an awareness for them on where their balance is. If they are at high risk, they can meet with their doctor and see what they can do to prevent falls,” said Angella Niblett, a CVTC student from Chippewa Falls.

Argo timed people starting out from a seated position, standing and walking a few steps at a meas-ured distance, then returning to sit down.

Stand up, sit down

“I’m helping with the 30-second chair stand,” said Angie Burgess, a student from Eau Claire. “They cross their arms and put their hands on their shoulders and completely sit down and completely stand up as many times as they can in 30 seconds.”

Burgess was excited about getting started in her new career. A university graduate with degrees in Spanish and kinesiology, she hit the job market just as the economy turned bad.

“I heard about a job as a physical therapist assistant, but found I wasn’t qualified, so I went back to school.”

“This is a change of careers for me,” said Niblett. “I previously did management (in healthcare) and decided I wanted to be on the side that was working with patients.”

Amundson said the work the students were doing at the screening is typical for physical therapy assistants. Students in the program also volunteer at other events where their skills can come in handy, such as helping Special Olympics with athlete screenings.

Bruning was excited to have the students and other volunteers who helped with the event, which included a dietician from the Greater Wisconsin Agency on Aging Resources with help from a UW-Stout student, vision screening with a volunteer from the UW Health Family Medical Clinic in CVTC’s Health Education Center, a medication review station with a Sacred Heart Hospital pharmacist and University of Minnesota students, and a physical therapist from Marshfield Clinic.

Those wishing to attend the upcoming screening in Augusta should contact the Aging & Disability Resource Center at 715-839-4735 or 1-888-338-4636.

From “Fox Valley Technical College building specialized skills” — Fox Valley Technical College’s Board of Trustees recently approved the state’s only Precision Agriculture program, a new offering designed to train the next generation of agribusiness and agronomy professionals.

The concept of precision agriculture takes data collected from industry equipment and generates prescribed maps for fields through the use of GPS technology and related software.

This innovative method of farming results in better tilling, planting, and harvesting due to variable rate applications.

Each soil and topographic makeup on any given parcel of land is unique, and precision agriculture pinpoints these distinctions to optimize the growing experience for stakeholders of production agriculture.

“Precision agriculture is the 21st Century management tool for production Ag,” says Mike Cattelino, associate dean of FVTC’s Manufacturing and Agriculture Technologies division. “This technology enables agriculture professionals to become better micro-managers of their own soil.”

Service Motor Company (SMC) in nearby Dale has been a strong proponent of the new offering, validating the need for advanced skills in farming.

“The whole landscape of agriculture is changing rapidly,” notes Jim Sommer, president of Service Motor Company.

He added, “Fox Valley Tech focuses on technology, which is needed to advance today’s agriculture industry by lowering costs and increasing productivity. Essentially, ag professionals now need to be visionaries when it comes to crop management, production, farm operations, and more to meet the intricacies of an ever-changing industry.”

One current challenge in the industry calls for more partnerships like SMC and Case IH uniting with FVTC to address a skills shortage in agriculture. The organizations continue to work in collaboration with FVTC’s agriculture programs to shape the college’s longstanding tradition of nearly 65 years as one of Wisconsin’s training leaders.

SMC and Case IH officially ventured into a new partnership in 2010 with FVTC by providing the state’s largest technical college with a plethora of new equipment over a 10-year span.

“The company is more engaged with us than ever before,” adds Cattelino. “The Sommer family and its staff helped us blueprint the precision Ag program based off of recent experiences they’ve encountered within the industry. It’s a model working relationship.”

FVTC’s Agriculture Center is currently undergoing an expansion due to the passage of the April 2012 public referendum, which advanced several facility-related projects for the college by nearly a 2-1 margin.

The center’s 7,600 square-foot expansion supports a nearly 87 percent growth in full-time equivalent students in FVTC’s agriculture-related programs since 2008.

The completion is set for September, in time for students this fall to experience the added learning labs, not only in agriculture, but in horticulture and outdoor power equipment as well.

In addition, strong graduate placement rates reaffirm the steady growth and need for newer programs that require advanced skill sets.

For example, all 37 graduates of FVTC’s Agribusiness and Science Technology program over the past three years landed careers, and all 12 graduates from last year’s class in the Agriculture Power Equipment program earned new jobs as well.

Cattelino says it’s an exciting time to be involved in agriculture. “With so much technology at one’s fingertips, the possibilities are endless in an industry that will never go away.”

From “Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges win $23 million federal grant” — Wisconsin’s employers and workers will benefit from a new $23.1 million investment by the U.S. Department of Labor, which today announced a grant to Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges to address emerging needs in the information technology (IT) sector.

The successful grant application applies to the third installment of a multi-year, nearly $2 billion federal stimulus initiative designed to increase community college credential attainment in high-priority economic sectors.

In the previous round, the Wisconsin technical colleges won an $18.3 million grant to expand innovative programs that produce high-skilled workers in advanced manufacturing.

“Collaboration within our system has allowed us to leverage more than $41 million to address the strategic needs and priorities we’ve identified with our workforce and economic development partners,” said Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy. “That’s pretty exciting for Wisconsin.”

The most recent grant will allow the colleges to enhance and expand career pathways not only within cutting-edge IT programs, but also within other critical sectors – such as health care and manufacturing – that increasingly require workers with advanced IT competencies.

Drew Petersen, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board and an executive with TDS Telecom, said, “Our programs are uniquely industry-driven, and these funds will allow us to scale innovation in response to needs identified by our employer partners in the IT space.”

Northcentral Technical College (NTC) led the consortium effort for the initiative. NTC President Lori Weyers said, “We recognize the importance of a skilled workforce in the IT sector and the significance of this industry to the state’s economy. This grant award is a testament to the many individuals from the 16 colleges that worked together to put this grant proposal together.”

Wisconsin’s technical colleges received one of the largest single awards from the Department of Labor’s investment, and the collaboration makes the technical college system one of the few applicants to receive back-to-back grants. Grant implementation will begin in October.

From “Northcentral Technical College expands Dairy Science programs” — WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAU) – This year marks the second anniversary of the Northcentral Technical College Agricultural School of Excellence, and the program is running stronger than ever.

Students are starting to graduate from the program after doing training at the Center, and NTC VP of learning Shelley Mondeik says they’ve been placing all their graduates. “At this point, the students that we’ve surveyed have had 100 percent employment, so we’re very excited.” Students have been getting jobs working in cattle sales and trading, running farms, and working as farm hands while they continue their training.

The dairy sciences program at NTC has been expanding as well, and Mondeik says they’ve got more to offer students. “When we started we only had the one dairy science degree. As of today we’ve got three associate’s degrees, one technical diploma and an apprenticeship, so it’s just more and more offerings for the students.”

Mondeik says that apprenticeship program is really helping retain farmers and keep the dairy tradition alive. The program pairs students with a master grazer who works with the school, and they go through about 4000 hours of training over the course of the program. “Once that person achieves those hours, they have the potential to be an expert in dairy grazing.”

If you’re interested in the dairy sciences program, contact NTC through their website at or call the college at 715-675-3331.

A new degree program at Mid-State Technical College, or MSTC, is designed to address the need to provide services for an aging population in central Wisconsin.

The college has begun offering a two-year associate degree program in gerontology, the study of the physical, mental and social changes in seniors as they age. The program is available only at the Stevens Point campus.

Beth Smith, associate dean of MSTC’s Service and Health Division, said the program was in development for a few years before receiving final approval by the Wisconsin Technical College System board back in March; it is only one of two in the state. Smith said MSTC was a good choice for the program because of the demographics of the region.

The U.S. Bureau of the Census estimates that around 17.7 percent of the population in Wood County was 65 years old and over in 2012; 15 percent were older than 65 in Marathon County and 13.7 percent in Portage County.

“We had to show that a program like this would have strong enough interest here, and that there would be jobs in the community for our graduates,” Smith said. “The population is aging, particularly at the local level, and that population will need people who can provide services to them.”

Smith said graduates from the program could serve as activity directors at senior living centers, as lobbyists or advocates for the elderly or could work at aging and disability resource centers. The Wisconsin Technical College System estimates the annual salary for a graduate of the gerontology program at $27,940.

Sarah Gray is one of three activities directors at Harmony of Stevens Point, an assisted living facility at 1800 Bluebell Lane. After being laid off from Sentry Insurance about five years ago, Gray opted to go back to school and get into the health care industry. After earning a degree in business administration from MSTC, she worked for Aurora Community Services for two years, managing an adult family home, before joining Harmony a year ago.

“I was one of those people who never thought I would be working at a place like this, that I was happy behind a desk,” said Gray, 26, of Stevens Point. “After I got laid off, when I looked at what was out there, this profession was a great option. There were a lot of jobs out there, and I found that I enjoyed working with people.”

Smith said the program now has 11 students, and around 27 students are taking general education courses and will be able to enroll at a later date.

“That’s definitely a stronger number than we were expecting, but I think it shows the interest there is in this field,” Smith said.

Sheila Bluhm is the primary instructor for the gerontology program, and helped Smith in getting it approved. Bluhm is teaching the first course in the program, introduction to social gerontology, which will cover several issues related to aging — family relationships, social support, retirement, poverty and politics.

“It’s meant to provide a foundation that we can build on throughout the program,” Bluhm said. “It was exciting to get this program put together, because we feel like this will have a real impact locally.”


From “Trailer will bring Nicolet College to area communities” —  The Nicolet Area Technical College district covers more than 4,000 square miles so for those living in the district it may not be easy to get to the main campus located just outside of Rhinelander for certain services.

The college has moved to remedy this with a new trailer that will be taken around to area communities to bring the school to prospective students.

“We can really do anything in the trailer that we can do in our office,” Kenneth Urban, Nicolet vice president of teaching, learning and student success, said. “The only thing we can’t do is testing. But financial aid, registration, we can do that in this trailer.”

Urban was one of the leading figures in trying to find a way the college could reach all corners of the district.

“Our district is 80 percent the size of Connecticut so we have a big area to cover,” Urban said. “It is not easy for people to sometimes get the services they need by coming to the main campus.”

The idea to bring those services to the district via trailer was the logical next step so the college began looking for a suitable vehicle.

Fortunately, they did not have to look far.

“Luckily the Wisconsin Technical College System Foundation is the organization that handles federal property in Wisconsin,” Urban said. “They had a FEMA trailer sitting in their lot in Waunakee.”

The trailer, Urban said, was just a typical camping trailer so the college needed to put work into it to make it a mobile extension of the college.

Again, the school did not have far to go to find qualified help.

“We have some very talented students and staff at this school,” Urban said.

Students and staff went to work on gutting the trailer and putting in the equipment and finishes needed to make the trailer function like the home office.

They removed the bathroom and made that they technology hub and electrical hub that feeds the two computer work stations in the area. They turned a couch into a work surface and installed an oak table with the college’s oak leaf logo.

On the outside, of the trailer, the students modified the main side window and inside built a storage case that houses a flat panel television, one of two in the unit.

“The idea is that you would pull up to where you are going to set up, you put the awing down and set up a table in front and have the television playing behind you with information,” Urban said. “We can customize the message to whatever we are doing that day. If we are there for financial aid sign up, we can have a video about financial aid playing. Or if it is a general visit, we can have a video of information about the school playing.”

Urban said the idea is to have at least two school representatives with the trailer when it goes to events in communities to help people with their needs. But he adds the college is still experimenting on how it best works in the real world.

“It has been out on one official event and that was Rediculous Dae in Rhinelander,” he said. “People really liked it. We learned thought that we need paper weights for the papers on the table outside. But that is where we are at right now, we are experimenting to see what we need and how the trailer works best.”

The trailer will be used for two more events this year though those dates have not been finalized but Urban said he is excited to get the unit out in the public.

“We want to take it where the people that will use the college the most will be,” he said. “We will stay away from tourist events, but you will see this trailer at high school football games where a couple of schools in our district are playing each other or other events where people that use the college will be.”

From “Inside the new MATC health ed building” — A new health education building is open this semester at Madison College.

The new addition allows students to have hands-on experience in the medical field, with rooms simulating hospitals, hospice facilities, and triage situations.

“In this building here we have theory they teach, they practice in the same space. And then the next day they go out to the clinical site and actually implement what they’ve learned here,” said Mark Lausch of the School of Health Education.

The more than $40 million dollar project was approved by voters in a 2010 referendum.

1,100 students were surveyed to get their ideas on what they wanted to see, as well as the faculty and stakeholders.

View video from


From “MATC launching water technician certificate through Water Council, MAWIB partnership” — By Jeff Engel – Milwaukee Area Technical College will offer a water technician certificate to serve increased demand for water industry professionals, according to a Wednesday press release.

The program was developed in partnership with Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board and The Water Council, which is officially opening its Global Water Center in Walker’s Point Thursday.

The certificate requires 17 to 19 credits and courses also count toward MATC’s environmental health and water quality technology associate degree and other related associate degrees and technical diplomas.

“Having a strong educational foundation for future professionals is essential for the continued growth of this industry,” said MATC president Michael Burke. “MATC is committed to providing the education and training area residents need to secure employment in water careers.”

The Water Council aims to establish the Milwaukee region as the world hub for freshwater research, economic development and education.

The program was developed through a $1 million grant to MAWIB from the U.S. Department of Labor as part of the Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

“Together, we worked with more than 50 water-related industry employers for input as to the fundamental skills needed to enter into water industry jobs,” said MAWIB president and CEO Donald Sykes. “We are pleased that this industry-recognized credential, in one of the most promising employment sectors, will serve as a foundation to water industry careers.”


From “Event inspires administrators to go two-wheelin'” — GRAND RAPIDS — These days, Sue Budjac, of Rome, and Connie Willfahrt, of the town of Arpin, might consider riding their bikes to their Wisconsin Rapids campus office as a simple jaunt.

That might not have been the case last spring, when Budjac, Mid-State Technical College president, and Willfahrt, vice president of student affairs and information technology, decided to participate in Saturday’s centennial bike ride, a kickoff event to the college’s 100th anniversary celebration.

The ride will highlight the employee wellness program and offers a ride — or walk — at three levels: a 100K and 50K bike ride and 10K ride or walk, Budjac said.

“It (also) allows us to extend an invitation to community members throughout our district in hopes of engaging them in our celebration,” Budjac said.

The noncompetitive event benefits the college’s scholarship program.

“In addition to celebrating the college’s 100 years, it’s also an opportunity to celebrate and help reduce barriers for our students, because the funds that, either through donations that have been made or through registration fees, those funds are going to go to assist students through emergency loans and scholarships,” Budjac said.

More than 80 percent of the college’s almost 9,000 students at its four campuses get some type of financial assistance. The average age for students is about 28, and many are working and have families, Budjac said.

“They struggle every day to achieve their education goal, and a scholarship makes a huge difference in them being able to continue with school,” she said.

It might have been easy for the administrators to sit back and be content to help facilitate and support the event from a bystander aspect. But these two women decided to lead by example. They bought bikes, helmets — even bike wear.

“If I were a designer, I would design much more complimentary bike shorts,” quipped Budjac.

Willfahrt laughed.

“It’s not about fashion; it’s about comfort,” she said.

“What really motivated me was the excitement that has been brewing throughout the weeks and months of planning and wanting to jump in and be part of that,” Willfahrt said.

It’s been a work in progress, but both could be considered accomplished bikers. Willfahrt participated in her first official event, a 70-mile ride in Door County, which she proudly finished in just more than five hours.

Budjac’s practice route was a 60-mile trek around Lake Petenwell.

“That’s a lot of butt-to-seat time,” Budjac said, regarding the length of the rides.

Both said they have relished the training journey and look forward to Saturday’s ride. They’ll both participate in the 100K ride — just more than 62 miles.

“I’m thoroughly enjoying this, so I anticipate participating in an event at least once or twice a year,” Willfahrt said.

Budjac is along for the ride, but more as a recreational biker.

“I don’t see another 100K in my future, but I’ll keep riding,” Budjac said.

From “New homes for Madison’s downtown birds” — On a hot and humid weekend in July, Madison College student, Amanda Vang, ventured out from the air-conditioning, and led a group of volunteers in constructing 20 songbird houses.

Amanda is taking a summer course at Madison College which includes a service learning project with a local organization. She noticed the increasing construction of suburbs and cities, and wanted to help attract and create safe habitat for birds in the Madison downtown area. In her proposal she says,

“Madison Audubon is all about bringing people together to benefit nature, and this is what my project does… A simple bird house is going to encourage people to pay closer attention to the environment, and learn about the changes going on around it”.

One of Amanda’s volunteers found some shade!

So, the Madison Audubon office teamed up with Amanda to sponsor her project. She hoped to build 20 songbird houses, and donate them to downtown residents in Madison. Amanda worked hard raising funds for the materials, consulting with our bird expert, Karen Etter Hale, on appropriate birdhouse designs, picking out the wood, and finally assembling the 20 birdhouses!

This songbird house design (which can be found on the Cornell website) provides safe habitat for many species, including the House Wren, Black-Capped Chickadee, White-Breasted Nuthatch, Prothonotary Warbler, Deer Mouse, Whitefooted Mouse, and more.

Though building birdhouses isn’t hard, it does require the
right materials, and a bit of patience. Way to go, Amanda!
Amanda has already found homes for 15 of the birdhouses (including 10 to the Madison Property Management, who are excited to put them up at their downtown locations!). There are five birdhouses available for downtown-area residents at the Madison Audubon office.

From “Another Chapter from Little Free Libraries” — PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, WI (WXOW)—The Little Free Library is an idea that originated in Hudson four years ago.

People put up these little libraries outside their home, business or school; the community can borrow books from the library for free and donate their unwanted books.

People make their own library or they can get them from the organization.

You can make them however you want and any size you want as long as it’s a safe home for books.

Andrew Doubek, 23, has always loved working with his hands.

“It helps me process things,” Andrew said. “It’s nice to be able to think about the logic of it all.”

Andrew spends five hours a day in a wood shop turning a wooden pallet into a Little Free Library.

“He’s done well,” Chad Cline, Teacher, Vocational Building Maintenance and Construction said.  “An excellent student.  Does his work, minds his business, pleasure to have in class.”

“It’s nice to be able to get out and be able to work with your hands do something for a while. Lets you escape this kind of place for a while,” Andrew said.

The kind of place people are sent after breaking the law, Prairie Du Chien Correctional Institute.

“We’re pretty isolated in prison so it’s kind of nice to be able to reach out and do something for other people,” Andrew said.

“That’s really part of the motivation for all of us,” Rick Brooks, Co-Founder, Little Free Library said.  “Each individual story has its value but we just have a week by week renewal in faith in humanity that comes from things like that.”

A few years ago, the prison reached out to Little Free Library to see if construction students could help.

“It fit really well with the program and gave us projects we could get out the door rather than piling up here,” Cline said.

Over the last year and a half, inmates have donated 80 libraries.

“We had a Brownie troop from Minneapolis that sent us a big poster of thank you,” Cline said. “We’ve gotten them from Joplin, MO after the tornado.”

Andrew has two years left in prison. He said it’s a process, but he truly does want to change.

“I can see clearly now,” he said. “I’ve made some mistakes but I’m going to try to bounce back and use the tools I can learn here in the shop and apply it to doing well on the outside.”

The construction class is part program offered by Southwest Technical College in Fennimore.  Inmates can earn a degree or certificate while serving their time.

Andrew said he already has an Associate’s Degree in Computer Science and when he gets out he wants to finish up his Bachelor’s Degree.

The Little Free Libraries inmates make are donated to communities with out a library.

Communities can apply for a Free Little Library online.


From “Central Wisconsin lawmakers support workforce grants” — A proposed state grant program would allow Wisconsin Technical College System schools to obtain funding to work with businesses and economic development agencies to help address documented skills gaps or high workforce shortages in their regions.

Introduced and cosponsored by state Sen. Julie Lassa, D-Stevens Point, and Rep. Scott Krug, R-Rome, the Workforce Growth Program would allocate $10 million to the Technical College System to offer rapids response grants for job training scholarships; building or infrastructure construction; equipment and material purchases; faculty hiring; curriculum development; or student career support services, according to the Legislative Reference Bureau.

“What we’ve been hearing from local businesses all across the state is that there really is a skills gap, and they’re having difficulty finding workers with the right skills,” Lassa said in a Central Wisconsin Sunday interview. “The workforce growth plan is designed to be flexible to address those needs.

“It really has a holistic approach, and it builds off the model of the successful (Workforce Advancement Training) program, which is wildly popular all across the state.”

For organizations such as the North Central Workforce Development Board, which serves nine counties in central and northern Wisconsin, the grant program would make more resources available to help potential workers gain skills employers are looking for in applicants, said Jane Spencer, workforce services director for the Stevens Point-based organization, which is one of 11 such boards throughout the state that closely partners with the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development and local technical colleges.

“We have good working relationships with them,” Spencer said. “All those partners are coming to the table to determine what is best and how we can deliver (worker training) in a flexible way.”

A grant program would allow all entities involved to refine their efforts even more on individuals who need it the most, she said.

Mid-State Technical College is among local post-secondary institutions the board has worked with to create several training programs, including a food science certificate, a machine tool training program and others, said Ann Krause-Hanson, vice president of academic affairs for the college, which has campuses in Wisconsin Rapids, Marshfield and Stevens Point, as well as a learning center in the city of Adams.

“Any opportunity or any support that we can have for doing customized training or training for business and industry is totally appreciated,” she said. “We do a lot of customized training for business and industry already, so we have a good reputation.”

From “New computer training lab opens” —MENASHA — Job seekers will receive free computer literacy training at a new lab that opened Monday at the Fox Cities Workforce Development Center.

Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson said the new lab is among more than $100 million in additional investments being made as part of Gov. Scott Walker’s workforce agenda.

“The new lab serving job seekers represents more investments to come, from new worker training grants, to a state-of-the-art labor market system and a renewed funding for apprenticeships,” Newson said in a news release. “Under Governor Walker’s leadership, and in collaboration with legislative partners, we are making strategic investments to help ensure a skilled workforce that will sustain and promote economic expansion and job growth in Wisconsin.”

Figuring prominently in Walker’s workforce agenda is Wisconsin Fast Forward, an initiative approved by the Legislature that includes a new state-funded $15 million grant program to deal with the skills gap by helping employers train new and existing workers. The initiative also includes a new labor market information system to provide real-time data and better connect job seekers to jobs by keying on skills.

The new computer lab at the Fox Cities Workforce Development Center is a collaborative effort by the Department of Workforce Development, the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board and Bay Area Workforce Development Board, Fox Valley Technical College, Outagamie County, Goodwill and the Forward Service Corp.

Starting Oct. 13, Wisconsin residents who file an unemployment insurance claim who by law must register for work will have 14 days to register with Wisconsin Job Service to receive benefits. They can do so online through or by visiting their local Job Center.

The registration process, which takes about an hour to complete, includes completing a job profile and identifying skills, abilities, work experience, education, training and other crucial information that can help Job Service staff connect them to new opportunities.



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