From wxow.com: “Bridges2Healthcare” grant funds healthcare academy at WTC” – One of seven colleges to receive the “Bridges2Healthcare” Grant, Western Technical College hosts a Healthcare Academy which introduces career options in healthcare to those interested.

The four day Academy runs from April 8 through April 11, from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The Healthcare Academy provides introductions to various career options in healthcare, training, and employment requirements.

The participants are additionally mentored by a Success Coach in communication and study skills, financial literacy, safety, stress management, customer service, and how to stay healthy.

Not only is it a 30 hour introduction program, but the benefits stretch beyond the four days.

Tutors and Success Coaches will be available to participants if they choose to pursue a career in the health field.

“I have seen a huge increase in the need for employees, well trained and prepared employees in the health care field,” said “Bridges2Healthcare” facilitator, Ray Heidel. “The healthcare field is huge.”

The program is partially funded by the nearly $13 million “Bridges2Healthcare” Grant from the Department of Labor, making it free to all those interested.

The grant was awarded to seven colleges in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin recognized for a growing need in healthcare employees as part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program.

Those interested must be at least 18 years old, out of high school, and be interested in the healthcare field.

The next Healthcare Academy session is set to take place in June; to preregister for the event, contact the “Bridges2Heathcare” Facilitator, Ray Heidel, at (608)789-6216.

 

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 itjungle.com: “What Works for Women in IT” — Obstacles and solutions are a large part of the IT professional’s career choice. Organizations assemble IT staffs to solve business problems. Traditionally, it’s been a man’s world, with women in a decidedly minority role. The IBM midrange community is no different. But last month at the Wisconsin Midrange Computing Professionals Association Technical Conference, a session called Women in IT put the gender topic in a new light.

The role of women in IT is changing. And it’s not changing because we’ve all sat around and waited for change to happen on its own accord. It’s changing because there are people who want it to change and because it’s time for change.

According to the 2013 statistics by the U.S. Department of Labor, 57 percent of professional occupations in the U.S. workforce are held by women, yet only 26 percent of professional computing occupations in the U.S. workforce are held by women. If the number of women in IT careers doubled, it would still fall short of current benchmark for professional women in all categories. Obviously, there is room for improvement.

One person who takes that as a challenge is Beth Akerlund. She was recruited as the keynote speaker for the Women in IT session by Sue Zimmermann, vice president of the WMCPA user group that hosts the annual tech conference for IBM i advocates who take their career development seriously.

Akerlund began her career in IT with a Milwaukee area software company after graduating from college. She moved on to work for Groupon when it was a start-up. There her career experiences expanded as she began working with engineering teams, process improvements, implementing a variety of technologies, and software development. Later she returned to her hometown of Milwaukee, where she is works in custom software development for Centare.

Through a variety of industry networking events, Akerlund became acquainted with women in IT. Their conversations included the need for a women’s network that would provide the platform for meeting, building peer relationships, improving career skills, and provide mentoring to a younger generation of women in computer science as well as other areas of high technology.

As a result of those connections, Akerlund and others launched a Milwaukee chapter of Girls in Tech, a global non-profit organization with 35 active chapters. The Milwaukee chapter’s launch event had 75 attendees. Ten months later, the local chapter membership is 325 and the organization has discovered local business support and support from tech leaders in the greater Milwaukee metro area.

Already in place are programs for conferences, mentoring young girls, mentoring college-aged women, mentoring for women already in technology, a boot camp that teaches entrepreneurial skills, and cultural exchange programs.

One example of a youth outreach program for the Girls in Tech Milwaukee branch is a partnership with Girl Scouts. Another partnership has been set up with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Businesses in the Milwaukee area supportive,” Akerlund said during a phone call with me last week, “and they encourage us (and men, too) to develop a greater interest in tech careers.”

At the WMCPA Tech Conference, the Women in IT session was peppered with stories about inspiration, enthusiasm, and empowerment.

“Sharing personal stories–triumphs and challenges–benefits everyone who hears them,” Akerlund said.

Alison Butterill, product offering manager for IBM i, was one of the speakers at the WMCPA conference. Women in IT and women in business are topics she enjoys talking to women about, she said in an email.

“It’s important for women to establish goals for themselves–pick something to aspire to and strive for that,” she said. “Business is a game and it’s crucial that women learn the rules and key players in that game quickly. Those who do can leverage their natural human characteristics–like being nurturing and collaborative–to advance quickly. It’s also important for women to find a mentor, male or female, who can be a sort of coach for them throughout their career. Women have come a long way in the IT business, but they are still coming into their own and face challenges.”

Karyl Ruiz, a student at Gateway Technical College (one of the most prominent IBM i-oriented schools in the U.S.), attended the WMCPA Conference and the Women in IT session. Ruiz will graduate in May with associate degrees in software development and Web development. She’ll also have two certifications–programmer/analyst and iSeries operator.

“The Women in IT event helped me to see that we don’t have to know everything come graduation,” she said via email. “With experience those gaps would be filled. It also showed that women do hold a strong place in IT and that the way I was feeling up until this event was common among other women just entering into the field. The speakers made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”

Jessica Wagner, a second Gateway student, looked around at the women who attended the session and took note of the variety of ages.

“A lot of these women came into a field when it was all men,” she said in an email. “It can be intimidating to join a field when it’s all men, especially at a time when women were deciding they didn’t want to be in the home anymore and find their own path. Alison gave a lot of really useful information about what to expect in the business world. One thing schools don’t teach is how to interact in business and the importance of acting professional in the way you dress, your hair style, and the way you interact with coworkers and the boss. I also was really impressed with Beth; her wanting to bring more information to the younger generation about this field is important. I think more women like her talking to the younger generation is important to know that this field is no longer for just men and that women can make a difference.”

Akerlund said her focus and the focus of Women in IT is to show women success stories and demonstrate there is an increase in women in computer science and engineering.

“Organizations that are taking the steps to empower girls and women,” she said. “They’re not just saying there is a problem; they’re taking action.”

Additional information on the Girls in Tech Milwaukee branch can be found at the organization’s Meetup page and also on the group’s Facebook page.

Other resources for women in technology provided by Akerlund include: Women in Technology, She ++, The Anita Borg Institute, and Lean In.

From wjfw.com: “NTC program helps middle school students explore careers” – Phillips – You might not think that students start thinking about the future until High School.

But some Northwoods middle school students are already thinking about their careers.

Northcentral Technical College in Phillips works with local students to help them plan careers.

Starting earlier helps students when they graduate. “The sooner they start their career exploration, the easier it is for them to actually transition into a career pathway. And it’s not so much finding an occupation or career pathway that you want. Maybe it’s finding a career pathway that you know isn’t appropriate for you. So the sooner we can start the students exploring, the better it will be for them,” says NTC Phillips Dean Bobbi Damrow.

NTC is hosting a Get Smart Program for 5th through 8th graders.

Students can explore different careers they might be interested in.

“They might spend the morning in a IT media experience, and then the afternoon perhaps a welding fabrication experience. Or perhaps maybe a mini medic or an electronics. So students will get two experiences that day. It is a requirement that they have a parent or guardian with them. So it’s a very nice opportunity for students and parents to work together and explore careers for their children,” says Damrow.

NTC also held a career symposium and a campus visit last week.

They hope that students can get a better idea of what careers are available to them.

 

From fdlreporter.com: “Professional attire offered free to local collegians” — College students living on a budget now have an opportunity to dress the part when they apply for jobs.

The Revolving Career Closet will be open to all area college students two days only: From 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday, March 31, and Tuesday, April 1, in Room 109 at Moraine Park Technical College.

The closet will offer free professional business attire to students who present a college identification card. Clothing such as suits and ties, sport coats, dress shirts, dresses, blazers, blouses and dress pants will be available in all sizes.

The innovative project was developed by five members of Leadership Fond du Lac, a community based program offered through the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce.

The group timed the opening of the closet so students planning to attend MPTC’s April 16 Job Fair can dress appropriately. The fair runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Team member Patty Breister, a supervisor at Charter Communications, said the group was looking for a project that would benefit the community and identified there was a need for students in the area to dress more professionally when they went for job interviews.

Back in August 2013, the Leadership Fond du Lac team started brainstorming ideas and contacted key people at Marian University, MPTC and University of Wisconsin-Fond du Lac to find out how they group could reach out to students.

“We also spoke to area businesses and surveyed about 15-20 business leaders. They told us that this was definitely something that was needed,” Breister said. “Students need more education on how to come prepared for a job interview.”

More and more young people are applying for jobs dressed in casual jeans and T-shirts, Breister said. The group felt that if it could provide free dress clothes to students it would improve their chances of being hired and teach them how to better promote themselves.

Society Insurance loved the idea so much its employees held an internal clothing drive. Marian University also sponsored a clothing drive.

“We have a large room that is filling with donations — more each day,” Breister said.

Another team member, Caron Daugherty, dean of general education at MPTC, said although the “pop-up” closet will only be offered for two days the intent is to bring it back annually.

“Even people coming in for interviews at the college level, I have seen some not wearing the appropriate dress,” Daugherty said. “And it’s so important to make that first good impression.”

The plan is to have career counselors from the area colleges available at the Revolving Career Closet to counsel students on how they should dress.

“I have heard counselors say that you should dress one step above the position you are applying for. For example, if it is an entry level position, you should dress at the management level,” Daugherty said. “Even if it were a cook position, I would not wear jeans and a polo shirt.”

Mary Hatlen, academic advisor at Marian University, said the collaboration between the three campuses underscores what can be achieved when the focus is on helping all students down the road of success.

Next year Marian will host a job fair and the Revolving Career Closet.

“It takes a team effort to ensure the sustainability of this project moving forward and we are excited about that,” she said.

Other members of the Leadership Fond du Lac Team are Marcus Butts, CitizensFirst Credit Union; Travis Van Dyn Hoven, American Family Insurance; and Sue Toll, from Aurora HealthCare.

From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Information technology, nursing head list of local jobs” — WAUSAU — Information technology is on the A-list of in-demand jobs in Marathon County right now.

Laurie Borowicz, vice president of student services at Northcentral Technical College, says the college is doing its best to keep up with demand for positions in the IT field.

“We could take 50 more students in IT tomorrow if we could find them,” Borowicz said. “That’s probably our issue right now, is finding people, getting people into these high-demand programs.”

The technical college is trying to make it easier for students to take the IT track by offering more courses in the evenings and online, she said.

Jim Warsaw, economic development director for Marathon County Development Corp., said there’s a growing concentration of IT and technology-related businesses in the Wausau area and those employers currently can’t openings.

“NTC doubled their graduating class in IT and it still isn’t enough to keep up with demand,” Warsaw said.

In addition to IT, Warsaw said, other popular positions in the area include welding, skilled trades, manufacturing, health care, sales and nursing.

Most job activity, he said, is with companies that were prepared to come out of the recession when things turned around, most of which are larger employers.

“Small businesses are still trying to cope with the recession’s impact on their cash flows and equity positions,” Warsaw said.

The job of certified nursing assistant, or CNA, is big right now, according to Marathon County Job Center W2 job developer David Cruz.

One reason for that growth is that it’s easier to get started in a certified nursing course than in a registered nursing program, Cruz said.

Overall, the unemployment picture has improved in Marathon County over the past year.

The most recent figures from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development show the December 2013 unemployment rate for Marathon County at 5.7 percent. That’s nearly a full percentage point better than the 6.6 percent registered in December 2012.

From journaltimes.com: “Gateway offering optometry assistant programs” — RACINE – Starting later this spring, students at Gateway Technical College will be able to begin training to become an optometry or ophthalmologist assistant thanks to a federal Affordable Care Act grant.

Gateway received a five-year $10 million grant in 2010 to help pay for health programs and help students going into health related fields, said Stacia Thompson, the project director for Gateway’s Health Profession Opportunity Program.

It’s largely gone to pay for support services for Gateway students going into health fields. That included tuition assistance, tutoring, job search assistance and transportation and child care assistance.

The idea of the grant was to help prepare and train students for the growing health care industry, Thompson said.

Recently area optometry and ophthalmology professionals indicated the need for more training to help assistants learn how to use new equipment, Thompson said. Currently the closest place to receive the training is Milwaukee, she said.

“A lot of things the college does are employer driven,” Thompson said. “The local workforce came to us and said there was a need and we saw we had to respond to that need.”

Through the federal grant, Gateway was able to purchase approximately $103,000 in equipment to start offering the program at Gateway’s Racine campus, she said.

That includes equipment that checks for glaucoma, tells what prescription glasses are currently, and helps determine lens prescriptions.

The grant is also paying for the instructor for the first class and books for the first class, Thompson said, although she did not have the cost breakdown for those.

They already have a limited group of 15 students who are in the process of registering for the classes starting in May, but it will be open to the public as a whole in the fall semester, Thompson said

To complete the certificate program students must complete four classes, adding up to 13 credits.

From jsonline.com: “MATC’s culinary programs expand, benefitting students and public” – By Nancy J. Stohs – The culinary programs at Milwaukee Area Technical College have undergone major changes in the last couple of years, and the hungry public is as much a beneficiary as the students.

When the student-run Cuisine restaurant relocated in fall of 2012 to the first floor of the school’s main downtown campus, that opened up space on the sixth floor to add a second culinary skills lab and an international foods lab, both of which opened this past fall.

That made two things possible: the addition of four course requirements to the culinary arts curriculum — regional American cuisine, European/Mediterranean cuisine, Asian cuisine, and South and Central American cuisine — and to eliminate the program’s waiting list.

“In the past, we could take 35 new students a semester, or about 70 a year,” said Richard Busalacchi, associate dean of hospitality and food manufacturing programs at MATC. “Last fall we took in about 75 students and this spring 86 students.

“Anybody who applied to the culinary arts program got in.”

The baking and pastry arts program, similarly, nearly doubled its enrollment after a new baking and chocolate lab opened last fall on the first floor. Typically, 50 students would be admitted each year; this year, it was 80.

And that’s where the hungry public comes in. The new baking lab feeds a new student-run venue, the 6th Street Cafe, located across the hall from Cuisine. Opened last fall serving coffee and breakfast, it added lunch this semester.

That was based on a recommendation from the program’s advisory committee.

In order to stay competitive, “the bakeries we knew once upon a time that just did doughnuts and cookies and cakes have evolved,” Busalacchi explained. So while the students do learn how to bake, “they also end up with a solid skill set for the café operation.”

Soups ($2 cup, $3 bowl), salads ($4.95 to $6.95), sandwiches ($6 or $6.94), plus various coffee drinks, pastries, cold beverages and seven flavors of ice cream and sorbet are on the cafe’s menu, which changes slightly every few weeks.

Everything in the cafe is made from scratch, including the breads for sandwiches and the sorbets and ice creams, and — as in Cuisine — ingredients are sourced locally as much as possible.

Last week I sampled a zesty Oaxacan black bean soup, a flavorful spinach salad with walnuts, pears, chevre, grapes and balsamic vinaigrette and an applewood smoked ham and aged cheddar sandwich. Oh, and a couple of couldn’t-resist desserts sold in the adjoining 6th Street Bakery.

Like Cuisine, the cafe is open most Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays during the fall and spring semesters. Café hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. (lunch service starts at 11:30). The café will close for the semester around the first week of May; Cuisine the second or third week.

Cuisine takes reservations (free through Open Table), while the cafe, which seats up to about 70 in two dining rooms and which also offers carryout, is walk-up service.

So far, promotion of the cafe has been internal word of mouth only.

Operating the 6th Street Cafe is the capstone class for the two-year baking and pastry arts program, just as operating Cuisine restaurant is the final course for culinary arts students. Graduation and job-hunting are next.

In addition to these two programs, MATC also added a two-year culinary management program about a year ago.

And where will all of these graduates find jobs?

Busalacchi isn’t worried. Statistics show that more than 800 new food service jobs — cooks, chefs, bakers and managers — are added annually within a 50-mile radius of downtown Milwaukee.

According to the National Restaurant Association, the restaurant and foodservice industry is the nation’s second-largest private-sector employer, employing more than 13 million people, or 10% of the U.S. workforce.

What’s next?

The school is hoping to have Cuisine restaurant open for business some evenings in the spring of 2015 and that summer, Busalacchi said.

As for major changes, “we’re done for a while.”

From thenorthwestern.com: “Oshkosh schools working to build apprenticeship” – After years of lagging behind other districts, the Youth Apprenticeship program in Oshkosh is getting a push from the school district and chamber of commerce to offer high school students work experience in a variety of careers.

The Oshkosh Area School District hasn’t historically had a strong apprenticeship program, because the curriculum wasn’t developed enough to meet their requirements or there weren’t employers to sponsor them.

Still, businesses in Oshkosh have consistently been involved in employing students through cooperative education programs, or co-ops, Julie Mosher, OASD director of curriculum and assessment, said. The youth apprenticeship program asks them to take that partnership to the next level.

Wisconsin’s YA program is part of a statewide school-to-work initiative and integrates school-based and work-based learning. Students are simultaneously enrolled in academic classes and employed locally under the supervision of a skilled, worksite mentor.

Oshkosh’s effort to expand apprenticeships comes at the same time that Gov. Scott Walker is pushing to increase funding for the programs. Walker announced in January that Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, program would receive additional grants totaling more than $226,000, and Cooperative Educational Services Agency 6 in Oshkosh received $18,747 of those funds.

CESA 6 serves 42 schools in seven counties to coordinate programs and services between schools, districts and the state.

Tania Kilpatrick, CESA 6 career and technical education coordinator, said YA is an important opportunity for students to test drive a career.

“When you’re looking at a workforce, economics, building the pipeline of future employees,” she said. “Any opportunity that you can give kids options for education I think is important.”

Changes to the requirements for apprenticeship programs have changed, while the district’s strategic plan has an increased focus on ensuring students are college, career and community ready.

“With the new checklist and the new requirements that matched our curriculum and matched our philosophy a lot better,” Mosher said. “We felt that we could possibly start getting employers to match up with it.”

With that in mind, the Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce stepped in to help create partnerships with local businesses.

Two apprenticeships were recently secured with Bergstrom Automotive.

Hands-on learning

Marc Stanga, a senior at Oshkosh West, is an apprentice at the Bergstrom GM division in Oshkosh. He works for a few hours each day after school and on Saturdays, where he’s learning alongside a mentor to become a GM-certified auto technician.

So far the 17-year-old has learned how to do oil and headlight changes, check fluids and more.

“It’s teaching me the basics of being an auto mechanic,” Stanga said, adding the mentor has been a key part to what he’s learning.

Stanga plans to attend Fox Valley Technical College, where he’s enrolled in the GM program.

“My whole life I’ve wanted to be an auto mechanic,” he said. He thinks the youth apprenticeship will be a big help to getting a job in the future and hopes to receive a scholarship from the program as well.

Stanga said he’s loving his apprenticeship because it’s really hands on.

“It’s like a paid internship,” he said. “You really can see if you really like to do what you were planning on doing.”

Stanga is also working on live cars in a lab at West for the curriculum part of his apprenticeship.

The college-level learning uses standards for 11 different areas that are put out from the national Automotive Service Excellence Certification, Mark Boushele, transportation technology instructor at West, said.

“The homework is all right in front of you,” he said. “So you actually see … the progress that you’re doing and working with.”

Apprenticeships have benefits for both students and employers.

Students gain a valuable, real-world connections between the curriculum and work. There’s no bad internship experience because of the skills one learns during it, Mosher and Patti Andresen-Shew, Oshkosh Chamber of Commerce education and workforce coordinator, said.

Even if students end up not wanting to go into the career, it teaches the importance of showing up on time, flexibility and adaptability, as well as how to work under pressures and stress, Mosher said. Plus, learning they don’t like something can be just as important.

A long-term investment

YA is a heavier load for both students and employers than co-ops because of the mentorship requirement and need to complete a checklist of requirements laid out by the state. Many different scheduling factors have to line up in order for it to work, Mosher said, which is why co-ops have worked out better in Oshkosh in the past.

Juniors and seniors have to apply for the program, and then they have to nail an interview with the employer to get the position. The courses for the program have to fit with the high schools’ schedules, and that has to line up with lab, clinical or work schedules. Students also need to complete a certain amount of hours working on the job.

“All these stars have to align,” Mosher said.

Though it’s a commitment for employers to train, mentor and pay the students, in many cases it’s a long-term investment.

The State Department of Workforce Development said 85 percent of YA students are offered jobs at the end of apprenticeships, which can be more effective than finding workers through recruiters or advertising. Employers have said it also inspires current employees to be even better workers.

“We like to hire locally and have had great success hiring people early in their work life, who can then learn and become a part of our culture and grow with our company over the course of their career,” Tim Bergstrom, President and COO of Bergstrom Automotive, said in a statement.

“The Chamber and our local school system have come together to provide us with a unique opportunity to find just this type of candidate to become a potential long-term team member,” Bergstrom said.

YA is not limited to any one kind of career or student, Mosher said. There’s room for all Oshkosh students, whether they go on to a two or four-year school, into the military or directly into the workforce.

Mosher and Shew would like to see the program expand to include more career paths. Agriculture, communications, tourism, and information technology are just some of the possible programs listed on the Department of Workforce Development website.

Shew and Mosher are actively looking for more employers to participate in YA, as well as students who want to explore their interests in an apprenticeship setting.

Career exploration is the most important aspect of YA, they said.

“We want our students to explore their career options and have a plan,” she said. “That plan may change, but at least they have a plan and they’ve done some thinking behind it.”

From woodworkingnetwork.com: “Teaching Wood Students Success at Fox Valley Tech” – By Matt Schumake -With each lesson in the Wood Manufacturing Technology program at Fox Valley Technical College, students routinely pull out calipers to check their work.

The goal: “To develop their sense of precision,” says instructor Mark Lorge. And paired with the students’ broad understanding of secondary wood processing, it creates a well-rounded knowledge base, which Lorge says is essential for a career in the industry.

An alumnus of the program, Lorge graduated in 1983 and went on to work with production and millwork companies such as Morgan Products Ltd., Elipticon Wood Products and Valley Planing Mill. Last year, Lorge celebrated his 20th year of instruction at Fox Valley Technical College.

Associate instructor Glenn Koerner leads the program with Lorge. Also a graduate, Koerner returned to Fox Valley Tech after more than 14,000 hours of industry experience.

The Wood Manufacturing Technology program is housed at Fox Valley Tech’s S.J. Spanbauer Center in Oshkosh, WI. There, Lorge and Koerner work with approximately 20 students each year, guiding them through five nine-week units of instruction.

“Some students come in with no prior understanding,” Lorge says. During the first nine weeks, they are introduced to the groundwork of every project — planning. They learn to read blueprints, prepare a parts list and production estimate. They also learn basic machining and wood identification.

The second block further develops students’ understanding of material, terminology, tooling and processes. They are introduced to an advanced level of setup and operation on woodworking machines, and demonstrate their psychomotor and cognitive competency of the process through a series of operation exercises.

It is during the third block that students become familiar with basic cabinetmaking processes. They design doors and drawers, build jigs and fixtures, and process materials to create laminate countertops. Cabinets completed in the program have been donated to Habitat for Humanity.

Advanced Skills

After approximately 36 weeks, students learn the principles of veneering, advanced machine joinery and CNC routing.

Through a partnership with Komo Machinery, the Wood Manufacturing Technology program has been provided with a VR510 Mach 1 S router, software for 21 seats and upgrades of RouterCIM and two seats of AutoNEST applications to operate the machinery.

“Most students embrace the CNC technology with enthusiasm,” Lorge says. By writing G-code, programming the router, setting tools, developing multiple tool programs and creating a gasketed fixture, students gain an understanding of the machine and its capabilities.

With these skills, the hiring rate for students is currently at 100 percent, Lorge says; over the past five years, the program has witnessed a 94 percent employment rate for graduates.

“A company needs employees who possess technical ability and a good work ethic — good training is one of the keys to success,” says Len Riebau, owner of Wisconsin-based WDL, and a member of the Fox Valley Tech advisory board. Industry feedback also has helped the program stay successful and relevant to today’s needs, he adds.

Currently, Lorge and Koerner are in the process of revising the curriculum for web-based delivery and to require tablet access for each student by August 2014. The two also are working with high schools on a curriculum with transferable credit to Fox Valley Tech, and to develop a basic-skills certificate program for students who cannot commit to the year-long program.

Under Lorge’s and Koerner’s direction, Fox Valley Technical College’s Wood Manufacturing Technology program already has received notice for its efforts. Not only is the school a past recipient of the “Educator of the Year Award” by the Woodworking Machinery Industry Association, but its students frequently receive awards from the Association of Woodworking and Furniture Suppliers.

 From htrnews.com: “Finding a path: Area students take part in Career Expo” – CLEVELAND — Although the halls of Lakeshore Technical College are bare of college students this week, the classrooms are alive with the sound of high school students as sophomores forge paths toward careers after graduation.

Approximately 1,000 sophomores from highs schools across the county participated in a two-day Career Expo at Lakeshore Technical College. The career exploration program, which also continues today, was separated into three sections aimed at helping students find a career path suited to their interests.

“Today is a day that opens their horizons to look at many different facets of possible career choices,” Karen Szyman, executive director of The Chamber of Manitowoc County, said. “Hopefully it will get them on the path of thinking and choosing classes that are associated with those careers.”

The first section, a traditional career expo, allowed students to interact with 22 different business leaders in the community to discuss employment opportunities. Business leaders discussed skills needed for specific jobs and highlighted lesser-known careers students might be interested in.

“I think they look at a nursing home and think, ‘I’d have to be a nurse,’” said Tracy Miller, human resources director at Shady Lane Nursing Care Center. “I have to convince them there are many other areas. There are more things happening behind the scenes than just caring for the residents.”

Variety of ambitions

The approximately 500 sophomores at LTC on Thursday were mixed on their career ambitions. Some, such as sophomore Vanessa Bautista of Two Rivers, focused on a career, such as health care, while others, such as Autumn Conjurski, were not so sure.

“I would like to help people. I just have an interest in that,” Bautista said. “I’d always wanted to be a doctor to help people who were injured.”

Conjurski, also of Two Rivers, said she was considering a career in graphic design, but was looking at other options, too.

“I plan to help other people with my disability, autism, or be an animator or video game designer,” she said. “My brother plays a lot of video games and always asks me to make something. I always say, ‘sure, whenever I get the right skills to do it.’”

Her friend, Sheryl VanGinkel, was set on pursuing a career in the psychology field.

“I love the human brain and how people react with certain things,” she said.

The career fair provides benefits to both types of students, Heidi Soodsma, the finance and program manager for the Chamber, noted.

“The importance is career exploration for students,” she said. “For some, it is there first exposure to different career opportunities. A lot of schools do career planning, but this is an opportunity for students to talk directly to the experts in their field.”

Job interviews

In addition to the traditional career fair, human resource professionals were on-hand to educate students on employability skills, such as creating resumes or going to job interviews.

“Present a winning impression,” RaeAnn Thomas of Seek Careers Staffing in Manitowoc, told a classroom of students. “You are not the only one for a job interview, and you want to stand out.”

In other classrooms throughout LTC, students met with, and asked questions of, employees within their desired field. In total, 90 volunteers from local businesses attended the fair.

Eric Haban, a machinist at LDI Industries in Manitowoc, said the discussions provided students with valuable career information, but also allowed businesses direct access to potential future employees.

“We get a big pipeline of potential candidates into the welding and manufacturing field from this program,” Haban said. “I got a call out of the blue last year from a parent who said their kid watched our presentation and wanted to know more about industrial maintenance.”

Haban, who said he found his calling at the Career Fair years ago, returns every year to talk with students.

“I think what attracts me to come back every year is I remember sitting out here in 10th grade and thinking about the career options that were out here,” he said. “I want the students to know that manufacturing is thriving and is not a dying career. There are good opportunities to make a decent living in the skills area.”

Haban met with students, such as sophomore Sam Oswald, who said he was looking into a career in electrical engineering

“My dad works at Manitowoc Company, so I was checking that out,” Oswald said.

Organizers said they hoped the program inspired students to begin thinking now about their future career plans.

“Apply yourself now,” Jon Shambeau, an engineer at Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, told a group of students. “Now is the time to do it, because other things will come at you way to fast. Today is the day.”

 

From wisconsinrapidstribune.com: “Column: Ring in a New Year with MSTC” — By Sue Budjac, president of Mid-State Technical College – I hope you had a joyful holiday season and wish you a happy New Year. This time of year is a culmination of sorts for many Mid-State Technical College students. An impressive class of 142 graduates gathered Dec. 19 for fall semester commencement ceremonies to celebrate a transition from their MSTC hands-on college education to new beginnings and enhanced opportunities in the workforce.

The solid reputation of this college and the impressive skill set of MSTC graduates are well documented. Nearly nine out of 10 MSTC graduates are employed within six months of graduation, and 95 percent of employers who hire MSTC graduates are satisfied or very satisfied with their education, training and skill set. These are some of the reasons why nearly 9,000 people make MSTC their preferred choice for education and training each year.

Yet statistics alone will not ease fear of the unknown. Anxiety sometimes can hinder our desire to achieve the skill set that enhances our career options. Fear ultimately “… holds us and binds us and keeps us from growing.”

However, success is often driven by a willingness to step out of our comfort zones and try something new. The following stories show how two students faced fear, made sacrifices, rolled up their sleeves and tackled the unknown.

Nancy, a 27-year-old mother of three from Stevens Point, was a small-business owner before undergoing an organ transplant, forcing her to give up her business to focus on her recovery. While taking classes on Stevens Point campus in spring 2012, she realized she wanted to pursue a career that empowered her to help others feel good about themselves; cosmetology was a natural fit. She graduated in December with a technical diploma in cosmetology and is currently readying to take her State Board licensing exam. Nancy isn’t going anywhere though; she plans to continue taking classes this semester in MSTC’s business management program.

Dan also stepped away from the status quo. While still a senior in high school, Dan completed paramedic technician program classes at MSTC. Dan since has finished his paramedic core courses, passed his National Registry exams and became licensed in Wisconsin as a paramedic — all before celebrating his 19th birthday. He subsequently was hired as a full-time paramedic, where he works today.

Maybe you know someone who needs encouragement overcoming a fear of trying something new, someone who will benefit from enriching skills they need to be successful in the local workforce. MSTC is the first stop on a path to a new or enhanced career. Our helpful and caring employees provide the custom support and assistance each person needs.

Ring in the New Year with small class sizes, hands-on instruction and engaging faculty with real-world experience. It’s not too late to register for MSTC’s spring semester — classes start Jan. 13. Stop by any of our four locations, call 888-575-MSTC (6782), or visit www.mstc.edu to learn more.

 

From htrnews.com: “Students will explore career interests” – Career Expo, hosted at Lakeshore Technical College, will be assisting more than 1,000 Manitowoc County high school sophomores in exploring future career interests while promoting the development of our future workforce.

This event is held in cooperation with the Manitowoc County public and private high schools, University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc, Lakeshore Technical College, Lakeland College and Silver Lake College of the Holy Family.

The high school sophomores will be involved in the following events:

• Career Exploration in 16 various Career Clusters

• Career Fair representing area Manitowoc County businesses

• Employability Skills Session

• Career Mapping Session

• Career Activities with their high school guidance counselors

Over 95 volunteers from across Manitowoc County will speak to students about their respective careers and opportunities for the future. The day program includes career presentations, employability workshops and a Career Fair.

At the Career Fair the students will be instructed to interview three representatives from the 22 businesses showcasing their career opportunities. The students will discuss potential careers, skills required in the field and the advantages and disadvantages of the careers.

The third workshop entitled “You, You, You” will focus on employability skills.

2014 Career Expo is being held Thursday and Friday beginning each day at 9 a.m. and concluding at 11:30 a.m.

It will be held at Lakeshore Technical College, 1290 North Ave., Cleveland. Career Expo will host Two Rivers, McKinley, Reedsville, Brillion, Kiel, Lutheran and Valders students on Thursday and Lincoln, Hilbert and Mishicot students on Friday.

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Alliance works to change state’s manufacturing image, increase education” – When Northeast Wisconsin Technical College’s 44-foot mobile CNC lab made an appearance at Bonduel High School, the pieces fell into place for junior Race McClone.

McClone, 16, is planning a career in manufacturing. If he becomes a mechanical engineer and welder as he proposes, it will be another in an increasing number of successes for NEW Manufacturing Alliance, NWTC and other supporters of manufacturing.

October is Manufacturing Month in Wisconsin, and that’s more than just another in a rotisserie of months with special names. Indiana and Wisconsin regularly trade positions as the top manufacturing states in the nation. Statewide, 16.1 percent of Wisconsin jobs are manufacturing related. In the 14-county NEW North region, one in every four jobs is in manufacturing.

“That is one of the largest concentrations of manufacturing in the country,” said Ann Franz, NEW Manufacturing Alliance coordinator.

The Alliance was founded in 2006 to foster collaboration between manufacturers and educators in the promotion of manufacturing and development of a future workforce.

The Manufacturing Institute, affiliated with the National Association of Manufacturers, says that workforce is growing older at a greater rate than the economy as a whole, and the lack of qualified workers is beginning to impact manufacturers’ ability to compete in the global market. It says schools are not equipping students with the appropriate skills and in the necessary disciplines to contribute to the manufacturing economy.

The Institute says U.S. schools are not producing enough engineers, and the manufacturing workforce is growing older and is not as well educated as other sectors.

The Alliance is working to change that in Northeastern Wisconsin. It arranges tours of manufacturing plants — it sponsored 11 visits for students and teachers in October — and sends manufacturing representatives into classrooms. It is developing manufacturing-related math problems for use in middle schools, provided $20,000 in college scholarships last year, publishes a magazine, produces videos and hosts the annual Manufacturing First Expo & Conference, to which 200 students are invited.

Franz’s salary is paid by the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, which also helped pay for creation of NWTC’s Computer Integrated Manufacturing mobile lab. Much of the rest of the work is done by volunteers on five Alliance task forces.

Manufacturing jobs pay well, but an enduring image of workers standing on assembly lines doing the same things over and over again is discouraging to digital-age students, not to mention their parents. It doesn’t help that the image is totally inaccurate.

Nels Lawrence, technology education instructor at Kaukauna High School, said plant tours dispel notions of manufacturing as “dumb, dull and dirty.”

Northeast Wisconsin Chambers Coalition’s 2012-13 Fox Valley Wage & Benefits Study found that intermediate-level electrical engineers in Brown County earned an average $62,766 per year and electrical engineers at Fox Valley companies earned an average annual wage of $71,109. Again, the number of responding companies was not large (six in one case, seven in the other) and the respondents were self-selected. The average wage for senior electrical engineers was $91,028.

“One employer said to me, ‘You want to recruit kids. Take a look at what’s parked out in are parking lot,’” Lawrence said.

Franz and Lawrence said manufacturers are desperate to grow the workforce.

“More and more human resources directors are contacting me directly, looking to contact 16- and 17-year-olds,” Lawrence said. “If I had more students, I could find more openings.”

Franz said the increase in engagement between employers and schools is significant. Schools are calling the alliance — a 180-degree turnaround from seven years ago — and asking how they can partner.

As a sign of progress, Franz said NWTC graduated 19 welders in 2000, 28 welders in 2005 and 119 welders in 2010. It has more than 200 people enrolled in welding classes now, and last year enrollment in its manufacturing classes was up 19 percent.

Welding is just a tiny slice of manufacturing jobs, though in considerable demand in the region. Surveys by NWTC also identified electrical engineers, among others, in high demand.

“The message is resonating,” Franz said. “NWTC graduates more manufacturing degree holders than any other technical college in the state.”

Bonduel High School’s McClone had taken computer-aided-design and civil engineering classes in tech ed, but the arrival of NWTC’s mobile lab took his interest to a new level. The school also has a new welding lab.

“I’m really interested in the CNC program. If Bonduel didn’t have the trailer here, I probably wouldn’t have known about the CNC at all,” he said, talking on his cellphone from the lab.

He said Bonduel’s tech ed teachers themselves are enthusiastic about manufacturing, and promotional efforts are beginning to make an impact.

“People are starting to see this as a great opportunity,” he said. “There are all kinds of jobs. It can be pretty much anything.”

 

From ozaukeepress.com: “Grafton High students hit the street” – Career day talks can only go so far in inspiring teenagers to the varied job prospects in the work world.

The Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce and the Grafton Education Foundation were looking to fill that void on Wednesday, Oct. 16, when nearly 500 Grafton High School students hit the street for a first-ever Career Exploration Day.

During the day, buses transported students to job sites throughout the community to learn about career opportunities in manufacturing, health care, education and marketing.

The goal was to expose students to workplace settings and to provide prospective employees with information as they think about career possibilities.

More than a dozen local employers took part in the career day, with students boarding shuttling buses to visit two job sites during the day.

Participating businesses included Kapco Inc., John Crane Engineered Bearings, Waukesha Metal Products, RAM Tool, Blanking Systems/Oetlinger, Exacto Spring Corp., Axcesor, Gilman USA, Frank Mayer & Associates and Gauthier Biomedical.

Stops were also made at Concordia University Wisconsin and Milwaukee Area Technical College North Campus, both in Mequon.

The program was made possible through a $3,000 AT&T Wisconsin Innovation & Investment Award.

Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Pam King said the seeds for the program were sown, during a 2012 brainstorming session on ways to address the manufacturing skills shortage in Grafton.

From that session, the Grafton Manufacturing Alliance was formed. The group has hosted two manufacturing career fairs at the high school.

King said the AT&T grant allowed the group to bring students — freshmen, sophomores and juniors — to local job sites. Representatives from the Foundation helped write the grant proposal.

She said everyone involved agreed the on-site visits would open the eyes of manystudents.

“We believe that it will be much more impactful for our students to see and experience actual job sites rather than just hearing about them,” King said.

“With manufacturing in particular, it is important for our students to see what it looks like and all of the technology that is involved.”

Ken McCormick, principal of Grafton High School, said the tours are sure to make an impression.

“This event is a neat opportunity for our students to travel out into the community to explore potential careers and not only see firsthand the available jobs, but also begin to plan for their future academic and work careers,” McCormick said.

Foundation President Bob Hoffman said the program was a welcome opportunity to collaborate with the business community and to support the group’s slogan, “Quality Schools, Together.”

“Thanks to AT&T, this award will help us live our mission of connecting the community and businesses to our Grafton schools,” Hoffman said.

“I am hopeful this is just the first of many grants from local businesses that the Foundation can use to fund other Grafton School District programs.”

The AT&T Wisconsin Innovation & Investment Award program provides funding to organizations and programs that improve the community by advancing education, enhancing the environment, promoting economic development, or delivering other community services. This is the second year of the program.

“We are very proud to support the efforts of Grafton’s Chamber, business and education leaders to introduce students to the many exciting careers available in the Grafton community,” said Julie Tonkovitz, director of external affairs for AT&T Wisconsin.

“As a company, AT&T is committed to investing in education and helping prepare our young people for future success.”

MSTC celebrating centennial

October 17, 2013

From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “MSTC celebrating centennial Tuesday” – MARSHFIELD – Mid-State Technical College is celebrating its centennial from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Marshfield Campus, 2600 W. Fifth St.

MSTC is a leading provider of higher education and training in central Wisconsin. Smaller beginnings 100 years ago have evolved into a network of educational opportunities throughout what is now known as the Mid-State Technical College District, according to a MSTC press release.

Today, the college provides more than 100 associate degrees, technical diplomas, and certificates, including 10 Wisconsin Technical College System programs you will only find at MSTC, according to the release.

In celebration of the centennial, people throughout the college district are invited to attend centennial celebrations at each of MSTC’s four locations.

The MSTC Foundation kicked off the year’s celebration Sept. 14 by hosting a Centennial Bike Ride & Walk. This non-competitive event which included 100K, 50K, and 10K bike routes and a 10K walk option drew 150 bikers, walkers, and volunteers. Over $8,000 was raised with all event proceeds going to student scholarships. About 80 percent of all MSTC students receive some kind of financial assistance.

MSTC, one of 16 colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System, serves a resident population of approximately 165,000 in central Wisconsin with campuses in Marshfield, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids, and a learning center in Adams.

For more information about these centennial events or to learn more about MSTC’s history, visit www.mstc.edu.

From chippewa.com: “Counselors live what students will experience” – EAU CLAIRE – At McDonell Central High School in Chippewa Falls, it’s part of Jerry Van Dyke’s job to advise students on college and career selections and keep their high school experiences on track so they can reach their goals. He just got a little better at it.

Now Van Dyke will be able to tell his students from firsthand experience what they’re going to need in some of Chippewa Valley Technical College’s (CVTC’s) most popular programs.

“I’m here to learn about what young students in the program are experiencing right out of high school. It’s learning about it through practical experience,” Van Dyke said. He was one of dozens of high school counselors attending a recent conference at CVTC in which they were updated on requirements and expectations in the FireMedic, Paramedic/EMT, Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement and Paralegal programs.

However, the CVTC students who acted as instructors for the session did not just talk to the counselors about the credits required. They had them dressing in firefighter’s gear, holding a spraying fire hose, climbing ladders, tearing apart a wrecked car, checking vitals on a simulated patient, and many other activities that students in the programs face.

“I can advise kids so much better after today,” said Aaron Hass, the counselor at Mondovi High School. “I will have the practical experience to say, ‘I was in on that session, and you need (Advanced Placement) one and two.’”

Counselors from the area meet at CVTC once a year. “The purpose is to give them an overview of admission requirements and programs and update them on changes,” said Gayle Ostermann of Menomonie, an enrollment specialist at CVTC who works closely with the counselors. “This year was different because we decided to target one of our career clusters.” A survey of the counselors led to selection of the Law, Public Safety and Security cluster.

The CVTC staff planning the event decided to make it a hands-on experience, and to have students, who were so recently high school students themselves, conduct the sessions.

“The level of maturity of the students now in college was displayed to the counselors, who can talk about that with their high school students too,” Ostermann said.

Van Dyke sees the opportunity to take what he’s learned back to McDonell, where he can quickly dispel some of the misconceptions of students who think they don’t need this-or-that class to pursue a chosen career.

“One of the (Criminal Justice program) students pointed out the need for communication skills. That’s something 17-year-olds don’t realize,” Van Dyke said.

“The kids would be surprised by the amount of academics,” Hass said. “A lot of them want to skid through high school and think tech school will just be easy. (In Paramedic/EMT) they have to take anatomy and physiology.”

“In firefighting, they have to know physics, and do math right in the truck,” Van Dyke added.

“Math is so incredibly important. Kids need math skills and need to continue them because of the safety factor,” said Linda Mikunda, counselor at Barron High School.

Barb Van Doorn of Lake Holcombe High School had a different perspective. Academic requirements can be found in publications. “But we saw firsthand exactly what you need for FireMedic. You get a better idea of what students are going through. We are always so concerned about cognitive abilities, but with this program we learned what is physically needed, and what is emotionally needed.”

“We thought the sessions would energize them” said Ostermann. “There were a lot of smiles today.”

 

From beloitdailynews.com: “BMHS fairs expose students to career success ingredients” – Beloit Memorial High School was buzzing with activity on Thursday morning as the school held its first Wisconsin Education Fair in the field house and first Annual Career and Technical Education Fair in the Barkin Arena.

Juniors and seniors had a two-hour block to visit both fairs to learn about possible careers and the skills and education required to obtain them.

The Wisconsin Education Fair (WEF) featured four-year universities, colleges, technical colleges and other post-secondary schools. BMHS school counselor Erin Wolf said it was the first time WEF, the largest educational fair in Wisconsin, came to Beloit. Those at BMHS had tried for two years to get the school to be one of the approved sites. On Thursday, Wolf said there were 102 post-secondary options represented including two-year and four-year schools in addition to the military and cosmetology schools.

Representatives from universities and colleges from Iowa, Alabama, Minnesota, North Dakota and other states were represented.

BMHS senior Heather Miller, interested in biology and astronomy, was checking out a booth from Northland College, a small school in Ashland, Wis. She said she liked the idea of a college with classes as small as 12-14 students. She said having schools from across the state and country was a great idea.

“I don’t have to go visit all of them. To come here is pretty helpful,” she said.

Students Erica Dominguez-Martinez, Ann McKee and Kaitlyn Rivas were chatting with University of Wisconsin-Platteville Admission Advisor Katharine Caywood about their interests in psychology, foreign languages, animal science and business degrees.

Kaitlyn said she was interested in Platteville because of it’s forensic science investigation major as she hopes to become a coroner or medical examiner. Caywood told her Platteville also offers internships at the Rockford, Ill., Coroner’s Office.

Wolf said the fair was a great success, and that afterward school counselors were preparing to make individual contact with all the seniors to help them work on their college application processes.

Businesses involved in manufacturing, construction, welding, information systems, graphic arts, even tourism and hospitality were invited to set up a booth at the Career and Technical Education Fair. And on Thursday some were getting some hands-on experience.

Blackhawk Technical College Culinary Arts instructor and executive pastry chef Katie Thomas’s table was a hit with students as she offered them the opportunity to make little swan-shaped cream puffs. She said it was a great way to engage with students.

“Students feel like they’ve made something, and it gets their creative juices flowing,” she said.

Heather Warne, a human resource generalist, with Prent Thermoforming out of Janesville, said her company packages medical components. There is a strong need for engineers as well as machine operators as well as IT, finance and human resource professionals. She said students who come out of high school with some automotive training can be easily trained to work on machines.

University of Wiscoinsin-Platteville Professor of Electrical Engineering Dale Buechler, Ph.D., who works with engineering students at UW-Rock County, brought a miniature solar panel, paper plate turbine and a circuit board to entice students into pursuing engineering careers. He told them with Rock County’s partnership with UW-Platteville, there are classes in the evenings allowing students to work during the day while pursuing engineering. And advances in technologies have made much of the equipment more affordable and portable so students can spend less time on campus and more time working at home.

From StarJournalNow.com: “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 bizjournals.com: “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 chippewa.com: “Chippewa Falls mom reinvents herself for new career” – EAU CLAIRE — In her early 30s, Mandi Leos found her life in crisis. With four children under age 10 at the time, she was going through a divorce and facing the prospect of living on her own and raising her children without a good enough job to bring in the income and benefits she would need. She had long-term concerns about her health, too.

Five years later and weighing 70 pounds less, Leos crossed the stage to receive her associate degree in radiography from Chippewa Valley Technical College. She’s ready to launch a new career, has high hopes for a job interview coming up next week, and has her eyes on a bachelor’s degree and saving some money for her children for college. Her oldest is now 14.

A great example of how to take control of one’s own life, Leos was the student speaker at the CVTC summer commencement ceremony, held at Memorial High School in Eau Claire. Leos, though, says she didn’t take control on her own, but let a higher power take the lead.

“My faith is what made me strong,” she said. I couldn’t have done it without faith.“

A 1993 Chippewa Falls Senior High School graduate, Leos took some training to be a hair stylist and worked in that field in Texas, where she and her husband lived for a time, and in Wisconsin. When her marriage ended, she realized the hair care business wasn’t going to cut it.

“You really can’t support four kids on that and help them with college or anything,” she said. “I thought to myself that I should look into the medical field. My mother is a nurse.“

She also thought she needed to be strong physically to meet the challenges of her changing life. There’s a history of diabetes in her family.

“I thought, if I am going to do this, I have to take better care of myself. I started running and changed my diet,” she said.

Leos explored the radiography program at CVTC and found some decisions she made in high school came back to haunt her. She was pretty light on the math and science credits. She then started attending CVTC to get the prerequisites she needed to attend CVTC’s radiography program.

“When I started I was terrified. I could hardly send an email,” she said.

Now, five years later, she’s one of the top graduates in the program and was selected as the student speaker for the ceremony.

“Whatever your field, this journey has not been an easy one,” she told her fellow graduates. “As a single mother of four, I can attest that this path has been perilous. I have had to expand my focus to include not just my family and current employment, but also my program requirements and future career path.

“When I chose to continue my education, it wasn’t just my decision, but a decision that required the support and patience of the people around me.“

The faculty speaker also came from the radiography program. Instructor Deb Kjelstad noted that all of the graduates were more self-assured and confident after two years in the program, and she predicted that Leos two years ago never would have dreamt that she would be the speaker.

“Knowledge gives us the inner strength and power to do things we never thought we were capable of,” Kjelstad said. “I have had the privilege of watching the graduates grow and develop into the future workforce and leaders of our community. Confidence is the companion of success.“

CVTC President Bruce Barker in his remarks to the graduates referenced a quote from Albert Einstein in urging the graduates not to settle for success.

“Don’t be satisfied with success,” Barker said. “Strive to be a person of value.“

 

From brookfield-wi.patch.com: “WCTC’s Career Quest designed for middle school students” – Waukesha County Technical College will host Career Quest, an opportunity for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to get a closer look at what skills and qualifications are needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The three-day summer exploration will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 6, 7 and 8, at WCTC’s main campus in Pewaukee.

Middle school students will be introduced to a variety of careers – including those in Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Metal Fabrication/Welding, Cosmetology and many more — and learn about the education and training needed for those jobs. Cost of the event is $100 per student. Sessions run from at 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; lunch and snacks will be provided. Registration ends June 28, and the sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited!

From the options below, students can choose two career sessions to explore: • Future of Nursing (Nursing) • What’s Up, Doc? (Medical Assistant) • Authorized Personnel Only! (Surgical Technology) • To Protect and Serve — CSI style (Criminal Justice) • Emergency! (Firefighting/EMT) • Fuse it Together (Metal Fabrication/Welding) • Precision Parts (CNC Manufacturing) • Explore Robotics (Automation Systems Technology) • Baking Quest (Baking/Pastry) • Culinary Quest (Culinary Management) • The Art of Play (Early Childhood) • Spa Day (Cosmetology)

For details on career sessions, to learn more about Career Quest and to register, visit http://www.wctc.edu/career-quest. For questions, contact John Pritchett, Career Quest coordinator, at 262.695.7847 or jpritchett@wctc.edu.

 

From wjfw.com: “Nicolet College holds career expo for seventh graders” – Rhinelander - You may not like hunting for jobs. And searching for a career is just as hard, but Nicolet College made the process fun for seventh graders today.

Nicolet College held their first Career Expo at the Rhinelander Ice Arena. About 700 seventh graders wandered through the tables.

“It is so important because I think there are so many great professions in our area that people just don’t know about. And especially at that seventh grade age, they’re just learning about careers and really starting to investigate maybe what direction they want to go,” says Teri Phalin, Nicolet Career Coach. The Expo showed off a wide range of careers from around the Northwoods. There were 42 careers showcased, including photographers, lawyers, EMT’s and many more.

“We have Ponsse who have a really great simulated logging machine. We have Dream Flight. We have PT offices. We have an exercise instructor,” said Teri Phalin.

Even Newswatch12 came out for some of the fun. But it was the students who enjoyed it the most.

“Students are loving this! Every student, I just said, has been walking past me with a huge smile on their face. They’re getting some really great information but they’re having fun while they’re doing it as well.”

Nicolet College Career Coach Teri Phalin said the Expo was a success and hopes to do it again next year.

From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Retiring fire chief reflects on 31-year career” – Marshfield Fire Chief James Schmidt retires May 24 after more than 31 years of service to the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department. I had a chance to sit down with him recently to reflect on his career and more than three decades of service to the city of Marshfield.

A Wisconsin native, Chief Schmidt grew up in the Fox Valley area and attended school in Appleton. His father worked for a large fire apparatus manufacturer in Appleton, and his uncle worked for a fire department in the Milwaukee suburbs. The seeds of a career in the fire service had been cast. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the Fire Protection Program at Fox Valley Technical College, graduating in 1981. He completed the cadet program a Grand Chute and Oshkosh Fire departments. Shortly after graduation, he landed his first full-time career in the fire service with the Kaukauna Fire Department.

A strong work ethic and a desire to serve the public in concert with all the ideologies of a new recruit were met with the realities of recession and budget cuts. After only six months on the job, the new recruit’s position was eliminated.

Newly unemployed in a recession that was affecting most municipalities in Wisconsin, Schmidt began testing state-wide for positions. On April 5, 1982, he accepted a position with the Marshfield Fire Department.

Clayton Simonson was the fire chief at the time. The Marshfield Fire Department was in the process of addressing a referendum regarding the Optional Powers of the Fire and Police Commission, the reorganization of the two platoon shift schedule, and a paid-on-call firefighter program. Firefighters had many questions for Schmidt about his time at Kaukauna, Oshkosh and Grand Chute and the schedules and operations at those locations.

He served as an acting lieutenant/relief lieutenant before being promoted to deputy chief of the Red Shift on Aug. 7, 2001. In that capacity, he was responsible for the city and county hazmat team, the Fire Investigation Team and specialized rescue programs. He secured a grant for the purchase of rescue vehicles, equipment and training as part of a Central Wisconsin Collapse Rescue Team. He was a fire investigator for the city and served on the Wood County Fire Investigation Task Force as secretary/treasurer and president.

Schmidt was instrumental in developing the regional training center in partnership with Mid-State Technical College. The training center is one of his proudest accomplishments. As a fire service instructor, he recognizes the complexities of emergency service response and making sure our rescue workers are prepared.

Schmidt is on the board of directors for the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association, co-chairman of the Wisconsin Technical College System Fire Service Advisory Committee on Education and Training and chairman of the MSTC Fire Service Advisory Committee.

People always are curious about rescue workers’ most memorable calls.

“You remember a lot of calls for various reasons,” Schmidt said. “The calls that seem to stick with me are the untimely deaths of the young, whether it is by traumatic accident or illness.

“If pressed, I would say the Central State Supply fire on Depot Street early in my career was one of the more memorable because I was treated and released from the hospital for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion,” Schmidt said.

“I also responded to a fatal fire that same year where a young child perished. I can still see vividly the image of the lifeless child being carried in the arms of another firefighter from a second-story closet.”

The downtown Magic Moments fire on April 1, 2005, was the largest multi-agency fire response Schmidt commanded.

In three decades of service, the biggest changes in the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department from Schmidt’s perspective are the development of the paramedic ambulance service, the advancements in personal protective equipment, firefighter safety and the cost of vehicles.

When Schmidt started in 1982, the annual fire department budget was $800,000; this year it was just under $4 million.

Other notable changes are in training and education. We have a more educated workforce, and advancements in state and national standards have increased the need for more training to meet the many varied emergencies to which today’s fire departments respond.

“I am happy to say the fire service has become more proactive versus reactive,” Schmidt said. “The fire department culture has become more professional and less traditional.

“We have become the risk managers of our community,” he said. “We spend more time identifying potential threats, analyzing the risk, and assessing our vulnerabilities.”

“Through our fire prevention and training efforts, responsive fire codes, improved building design, and cooperation from the general public, the number of significant fires has been reduced,” Schmidt said.

“We still have far too many fires that could have been prevented by adherence to simple fire safety practices,” he said.

Two accomplishments he is proud of are the part he played in the development of the regional training center and the construction of the new fire station. However, he is most proud of his role in changing the organizational culture of the department.

“The high level of cooperation that currently exists within the organization has helped us overcome most any operational challenges we have faced over the past six years,” he said. “The fire service truly becomes your second family, and when the alarm sounds, regardless of any interpersonal conflicts, all members work as a team for the common goal of saving the life or property of someone they typically have never met.”

Schmidt said, “I’ll miss the camaraderie, and I am confident the department will continue to adhere to the basic philosophies: treat people the way you want to be treated, make decisions that are best for the community and department and do what you can to leave the department in a better position than we you got there.”

From wiscnews.com: “Car lover gets his career in gear” – Most young guys love hot cars. It’s been a passion that started when Henry Ford cranked his first engine.

But at 19 years old, Brady Beth of Reedsburg has found a way to turn his love of cars into what is already an award-winning profession.

Last month, Beth won the coveted first place award from Skills USA, once known as VICA, Vocational Industrial Clubs of America, for the second year in a row for his successful completion of auto body collision-related tasks.

He was competing against about 40 other entrants from technical schools around the state in his category.

It’s the first time in Madison Area Technical College-Madison history that any student has won a first place Skills USA award two years in a row.

Both years, Beth completed completed 12 welds with perfection, and repaired seven dents, two cracked fenders, and a crack and a tear in a plastic bumper.

There also were written tests and a mock job interview.

Just after that, he succeeded at a real job interview and got a position with Avenue Auto Body in Middleton, where he will go to work full-time after he graduates in two weeks.

“I like to make cars look new again,” Beth said. “To see something wrecked up, you can make it perfect again.”

He gives a great deal of credit to his MATC-Madison auto body and collision instructor, Tim Hoege.

“He’s really good at what he does,” Beth said. “He’s helped me a lot.”

Beth worked for Koenecke Ford since he was 16 alongside his dad, Dale Beth, another auto body technician.

“I was supervising and watching them,” Beth said with a smile. “But at 16, I actually started working on cars there.”

Not only did Beth take first place at Skills USA two years in a row, last year he place 13th at the Skills USA national competition in which he competed against contestants from 50 states, plus Puerto Rico and Guam.

He’ll try at the nationals again next month in Kansas City, Mo.

“It’s very difficult to win the state event twice,” Hoege said. “It’s quite a competition. Some people have the touch. Brady can see what has to be done and visualize it before it’s done. You need to visualize it completed in your head before it’s done. He can do that.”

Beth said he won’t be happy with 13th this year at nationals.

This year better be the top five,” Beth said. “This year I know what to expect.”

Last year he came in first place with the Specialty Equipment Market Association, or SEMA, Car Show competition in which contestants are selected based on an auto-body idea submission. Beth’s was chosen among the top five and he painted an image on the hood of a Honda Civic to gain first place.

The SEMA Show is touted as the world’s largest auto trade show event that is said to bring more than 60,000 domestic and international buyers together.

Hoege said many winners of the Skills USA competition are picked up by major auto market companies as sales representatives or executives.

“These companies want these winners because they know they have the passion and the drive to want the best out of themselves,” Hoege said.

Beth said future plans include dreams of owning his own business, but he’d like to stay close to home.

“I want to stay in the Reedsburg area,” Beth said. “I’d rather work here.”

 

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