From biztimes.com: “DWD awards grants to Gateway and Waukesha County Technical Colleges” — Gateway Technical College has received nearly $1.9 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grant funding, while Waukesha County Technical College has been allocated close to $1.7 million, Wisconsin’s Department of Workforce Development announced today.

The two technical colleges were awarded portions of a grant initiative totaling more than $28 million that Gov. Scott Walker announced last week.

According to Walker’s announcement, Wisconsin is distributing more than $28 million in Wisconsin Fast Forward grants to the Wisconsin Technical College System to train more than 4,900 workers.

That system encompasses 16 schools, including Gateway Technical College in Kenosha and Waukesha County Technical College in Pewaukee.

At Gateway Technical College, grant dollars will support the training of a maximum 756 workers in several “high-demand areas,” the DWD said. Those areas touch disciplines in manufacturing, business management, apprenticeship, education, health care and more.

At Waukesha County Technical College, up to 168 workers will benefit from grant dollars. Workers will be trained for careers in manufacturing, education and human services, and applied science fields.

Transportation, distribution and logistics training will also be covered under the grants.

“These grant dollars will significantly impact the journey of our students pursuing high-demand programs such as welding, computer numerical control (CNC), early childhood education and transportation, and in turn benefit our local economy,” said Kaylen Betzig, interim president of Waukesha County Technical College. “We are pleased and honored that the governor recognizes WCTC’s work as an important and valuable investment.”

From leadertelegram.com: “High school dropout receives college diploma 31 years later” — By Emily Miels – Until recently, Jim Voss didn’t consider himself a scholarly person.

The former high school dropout didn’t know if he could even pass the G.E.D. test — a test designed to determine whether the test-taker has a high school graduate’s level of knowledge — let alone obtain a college diploma.

On Friday, Voss, who will be 50 in June, will graduate from Chippewa Valley Technical College with a degree in business management and near perfect grades.

After receiving failing grades in high school, Voss dropped out in 1983 to pursue employment.

“Back then it wasn’t uncommon for somebody to leave school to go to work,” Voss said. “I actually hitchhiked to Portage after I dropped out.”

Voss got a job in the newspaper industry. He started as a “paper stuffer” and eventually worked up to various management positions, following job opportunities across the state and Midwest.

“I started at the bottom of the newspaper business, and I rose and rose,” Voss said. “About every four years I was promoted, usually to another company that would see my talents.”

After a series of unforeseen events, including the moving of print operations at the Chippewa Herald — where Voss was working as pressroom manager — to La Crosse, Voss found himself out of a job and searching for new opportunities.

“It scared the bejeebers out of me walking in here,” Voss said about his first day at CVTC in 2012.

Voss didn’t know what to expect when he decided to return to school, but he felt at home at CVTC right away.

“When I walked in here, you know, the students and the instructors all treated me as an equal,” he said.

One of Voss’ main goals was to succeed academically at CVTC. Though he said it wasn’t always easy, he did just that. He is president of Phi Theta Kappa, an honor society for two-year schools that provides members with grants and networking opportunities.

Valuable experience

CVTC’s business management program helped Voss grow the skills he’d learned during his years in the newspaper industry.

“It helped me expand some of my management knowledge, but it also well-rounded it to more than just one business as well as bringing me up on some of the technology,” he said.

Tom Huffcut, CVTC’s vice president of operations, said students in that program are required to have an internship. Voss was interested in something more advanced, focusing on mid- to senior-level management.

“He approached our president for that reason, who put him in touch with me, and from there I kind of matched him up,” Huffcut said, noting Voss was eager to help and make an impact.

Voss worked on a combined project with human resources and college professional development as an intern. He created surveys, developed spreadsheets, revised outdated policies and participated in leadership programs.

“I learned a lot of things in my classes here, but those people are the trainers of the trainers,” he said. “They train the people that are instructing, and it shows.”

Voss was the department’s first intern. Karen Callaway, his supervisor and professional development specialist at CVTC, said his work continues to be beneficial in developing and customizing training programs.

“He fit right in and everything,” she said. “We were glad to have the help.”

Voss said he hopes to work toward managing operations and feels more confident and prepared than ever.

“I can use my knowledge, my expertise and the things I’ve learned here, and I can apply them to any business,” he said.

From wjfw.com: “Northwoods college students design food pantry” — RHINELANDER – Some local college students helped design the new Rhinelander Area Food Pantry building. Nicolet Technical College Business Management and Marketing students created the plans for the building.

It took them the entire semester to come up with the design.

“It’s been super exciting,” says Bailey Wheeler, Nicolet Technical College Student. “We started out being a little bit overwhelmed with it but it’s definitely as the time went on we got used to the whole project, and I think we were able to narrow it down a little bit and really see how we were able to help.”

Students were divided into three groups to come up with the new design. Each group handled a different section of the building. After the plans were submitted an architectural student rendered the design. Doing this project gave students real world experience.

“This is a powerful way of learning,” Dianne Lazear, Business management program instructor. “It allows students to concretely see what they’ve learned and use it in a way that matters.”

“These students are engaged and they are committed to the project. For an instructor having commitment and enthusiasm from your students about what they’re learning and doing is just the sweet spot of teaching,” says Lazear.

The Rhinelander Area Food Pantry will move into the new building in July.

From wisbusiness.com: “Blackhawk Technical College Business and Community Development division to host upcoming seminars” — Blackhawk Technical College’s Business and Community Development division is holding three different seminars in late April and throughout May aimed at enhancing business climate and improving workplace safety.

The classes, which will be held at Blackhawk’s Central Campus and Center for Transportation Studies, are:

Building Inclusive Teams: A How-To Leader’s Guide; Monday, April 28; 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Central Campus; $69.

This workshop demonstrates how to effectively build a team in an era when the workplace often is a collection of individuals with different social values and abilities. Learn how a business can appreciate and celebrate these individuals yet still mold them into an effective workforce.

Mobile Air Conditioning Certification; Thursday, May 8; 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Center for Transportation Studies; $69.

This is a State of Wisconsin approved certification course for operators of refrigerant recovery/recycling equipment. Those who install, repair or service mobile air conditioners with refrigerants or anyone who operates a business where refrigerant is recycled or used to charge mobile air conditioners must be certified. Participants must pass a final test to receive certification.

OSHA 10-Hour Voluntary Compliance for General Industry; Tuesday, May 20; Thursday, May 22; Tuesday, May 27; and Thursday, May 29; 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.; Central Campus; $249.

This certification seminar is intended for managers and other personnel responsible for job safety and implementing practices that comply with OSHA standards. This course introduces the OSHA act and covers topics such as walking and working surfaces, exit routes, emergency plans, fire prevention and protection, electrical safety and hazard communications. Participants will receive and OSHA 10-hour card.

For more information on these and other programs sponsored by BTC’s Business and Community Development Division, contact BCD at (608) 757-7728 or online at http://www.blackhawk.edu/bcd.

From wiscnews.com: “Former ag agent touts farm business education” — Randy Zogbaum was preaching to the choir.

It was a familiar choir — the Columbia County Board’s agriculture and land and water conservation committee. Zogbaum had been the agriculture agent for the University of Wisconsin-Extension Columbia County before leaving in late November 2008 to be education director for agriculture, natural resources and renewable energy with the Wisconsin Technical College System.

His message fell on receptive ears: Madison Area Technical College is here to help farmers manage the dollars and cents of agriculture.

“Whether you’re a fresh-market vegetable producer or have a 1,000-cow dairy herd, farming is still a business,” Zogbaum said.

Now an MATC agriculture instructor, Zogbaum came to Columbia County on Monday at the invitation of County Board Chairman Andy Ross to talk about a series of farm business classes — each lasting six weeks and offering 24 hours of instruction — that Zogbaum is helping to put together.

Zogbaum is based in Reedsburg, but he said many of MATC’s satellite campuses, including the one in Portage, are expected to offer the classes.

Some of the topics are:

• Understanding the farm business, mainly for people who are new to farming or who are contemplating launching a career in farming.

• Developing a farm business plan.

• Farm business analysis and decision making.

• Farm enterprise analysis and marketing.

• Long-term farm budgeting and management.

Kurt Calkins, Columbia County’s director of land and water conservation, said he thinks classes like these should include education on farmers’ compliance with state pollution control standards.

They will, Zogbaum said — the classes will show farmers the costs of non-compliance, the losses in profit that can result from using more fertilizer than is needed and the sources of financial assistance for farmers who want to (or have to) undertake a costly pollution-abatement project.

Committee member Mike Weyh, who is a farmer, said he was curious about whether the classes would address the sometimes-daunting process of navigating farm markets and determining when and where to sell farm commodities.

That will be addressed in the more advanced courses, Zogbaum said.

He said the classes can be taken sequentially, or experienced farmers can take only the more advanced classes.

Zogbaum said he would not teach all the classes; in fact, MATC is looking for adjunct instructors for the classes, most of which are expected to start this fall.

But some of the people sitting around the table for the committee’s meeting, he said, could play a role in the instruction. For example, Calkins could share information about cost-sharing programs offered by the state through county land and water conservation departments. And representatives from federal offices like the Natural Resources Conservation Service and the Farm Service Agency could show farmers how to tap into resources offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The cost would be about $240 per course.

Zogbaum said MATC will put out a brochure sometime in the late summer to announce the classes’ schedule and locations where they will be offered.

From journaltimes.com: “County hires help to trim expenses” — RACINE COUNTY — For any organization that’s been around a while, it can be difficult to change its way of doing things, no matter how burdensome or tedious its operations become.

Racine County government is no different. Only in its case, outdated and time-consuming processes can mean wasting public money or government employees’ time.

About two years ago, Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig created a “lean government” initiative to trim waste out of county government. The effort isn’t about reducing the workforce, he said, but delivering services in a better way and possibly saving money along the way.

Now, the county is ramping up its efforts. About 50 staffers and department heads packed a courthouse conference room last week to hear from Pat Dolan, a Waukesha County Technical College instructor who works with governments across the state on making operations more efficient.

A smaller group of about 20 employees will get more extensive training from WCTC to facilitate projects throughout county government. The county is paying WCTC just less than $11,000 out of its training budget.

“What I love about it is it’s not a top-down type system,” Ladwig said. “We have people on the front line, we have supervisors, we have department heads. All of them are involved in this … we have a ton of talent throughout the county and they have a lot of good ideas. It’s important that we cultivate that.”

Principles of WCTC’s “lean” instruction originated in Toyota’s manufacturing operations and have been applied to workplaces of all kinds, Dolan said.

His goal is to train employees to develop a “set of glasses” that will help them identify and get rid of waste. Ideally, it’s a mindset that becomes part of the job and not extra work, Dolan said.

The county has already benefited, Ladwig said. Its biggest success was a project that reduced employees’ purchasing requests by 3,500 and saved the county between $50,000 and $100,000, Ladwig said.

Other projects, like improving the laundry process and supply room at Ridgewood Care Center, are smaller. But even those types of changes free up employees’ time and make them more productive, Ladwig said.

That reflects the incentive employees have to buy into the initiative — it’s designed to make their lives easier. Lean government isn’t solely about cost savings, Ladwig said.

“It’s really just about improving the process and improving the service we provide,” Ladwig said. “It’s empowering (employees) to change the way we do business.”

From journaltimes.com: “Gateway Technical College awarded initial accreditation of business programs” — The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs Associate Degree Board of Commissioners has awarded Gateway Technical College initial accreditation of its business programs, the first technical college in Wisconsin to receive that designation.

The national accreditation means Gateway Technical College programs, curriculum and staff members meet the rigorous standards set by the ACBSP, and put the learning opportunities on par with four-year colleges in Wisconsin and throughout the nation.

“This accreditation is a validation that our program is now on an even higher level than in the past,” said Gateway Technical College associate dean of business Manoj Babu. “It’s a tribute to our business and information technology team.

“It means our programs are enhanced, our effectiveness in teaching is increased and our students receive the optimal training at our college. Businesses look for this accreditation as they interview applicants, and our graduates will have an increased opportunity to be hired because of it.”

Four-year colleges also look for this accreditation when forging transfer agreements with technical colleges, which may open doors to even more opportunities for this in the future.

“Gateway Technical College has shown their commitment to teaching excellence and to the process of quality improvement by participating in the accreditation process,” said ACBSP director of accreditation Steve Parscale, who will present the Certificate of Initial Accreditation at the ACBSP Annual Conference in Chicago on June 29.

“This accreditation is evidence that Gateway Technical College is committed to providing the highest quality business education for their students.”

Babu said accreditation has been a longtime goal of the business program, but that work was ramped up when businesses began asking for even more verification of the ways Gateway Technical College provides quality education.

“Accreditation gives us that high value, that we are doing what we say we are doing,” he said. “And it’s ongoing — accreditation doesn’t end here. It begins here, to retain the accreditation, we need to consistently improve and provide the best education we can to our students.”

Established in 1988, ACBSP is the only organization offering specialized business accreditation for all degree levels, from associate to baccalaureate to doctoral degree programs. ACBSP accreditation certifies that the teaching and learning processes within the business school at Gateway Technical College meet the rigorous educational standards established by ACBSP. For more information on ACBSP, go to http://www.acbsp.org.

 

%d bloggers like this: