From wsau.com: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” — It’s the big question we all face when we’re young, “what do you want to be when you grow up?” Common answers are firefighter or police officer and middle and high school students from the Wausau Boys and Girls Club got the chance to live out that dream on Wednesday.

Kids got to try on a couple different hats for size at the Northcentral Technical College Safety Center of Excellence in Merrill as they went through the training exercises of police, fire, and EMS professionals.

“It’s really fun and it teaches us to be on our feet and be very active,” Tyler Jones, 14 said.

“They’re kind of at that point of ‘what should I do for my career when I get a little bit older?’ And, ‘where should I go to college?’ And things like that are starting to play into their minds, so this gives them an opportunity to see maybe this might be the avenue that they might want to venture into,” said the college’s Public Safety Executive Director Bert Nitzke.

Fourteen-year-old Asia Stalsberg said she’s now thinking of going into the behind the scenes work of public safety.

The hands-on experiences is, of course a great opportunity for all the kids involved, but it’s especially so for the young women.

“This has been a male-dominated field for a long time and seeing more girls come here today and seeing them apply at the fire departments is great because we do need that diversity and it’s just great seeing them out here having fun,” said SAFER Firefighter and EMT Emily Dobeck. “Sometimes it can be very intimidating seeing is how most of the tasks that we perform require strength, but sometimes it comes in handy when you’re smaller.”

Experiences like the one the Boys and Girls Club and NTC provided for the kids may inspire more women to join the field.

If you would like to try some of the college’s hands-on training classes or bring your group to some, you can visit their website here: http://www.ntc.edu/.

From motoemag.com: “Wigwam partners with Lakeshore Technical College to Engage Youth In Manufacturing” — Wigwam Mills, Inc. recently partnered with Lakeshore Technical College (LTC) to participate in the Sheboygan Area Youth Apprenticeship program to get more graduating adults interested and involved in careers in manufacturing.

Youth Apprenticeships offer students in high school the opportunity to explore future careers while receiving school credit and pay for the work they are performing. The Youth Apprenticeship program is limited to high school juniors and seniors and covers a wide variety of job fields such as, Health, Finance, Hospitality, Culinary, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) and Manufacturing.

In addition to requiring the students to work a minimum of 450 hours on the job, they are required to take one job related class each semester at either their high school, if available, or at LTC. The student will receive college credit for any classes taken at LTC and the cost of tuition and books is covered by a grant from the Wisconsin Department of Workforce and Development. Last year, the Sheboygan Area Youth Apprenticeship program placed approximately 65 students from 11 area high schools into various career opportunities with more than 30 area companies.

For the 2014-2015 school year, Wigwam has hired one student to participate in the Youth Apprenticeship program as a Knitting Mechanic. This student will work mainly 1st shift hours during the summer and then switch to partial afternoon hours during the school year. “Our hope,” said Jerry Vogel, President at Wigwam Mills Inc., “is that this student, as well as others involved in the Sheboygan Area Youth Apprenticeship program, will develop a renewed interest in manufacturing and look to Wigwam as a career choice after graduation.”

From pbn.com: “Mobile lab considered for marketing, training” — Gerald J. Bronkhorst, 45, of Suamico, Wis., trains students from six high schools in northeast Wisconsin in an advanced-manufacturing mobile lab – a model Rhode Island educators are considering emulating.

The Iraq War veteran decided to attend Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay, Wis., to earn certificates in advanced manufacturing when he got back to the United States in 2006, and five years ago was hired by the college as a lab technician, he told Providence Business News in a phone interview.

For the past three years, he has worked as the mobile-lab technician with a few teachers and as many as 12 high school students at a time in the mobile lab, which travels about 50 miles within the school district and cost about $300,000, Bronkhorst said. The high schools pay about $5,000 for every two semesters of use, he said. Precise costs for the lab itself, a trailer hitched to a commercial grade pickup truck, and its operating costs were unavailable.

“If I can convince some of these kids to go out and learn a trade and get a job, that’s a huge win,” said Bronkhorst, the lab technician.

Rhode Island educators found out about a Michigan mobile lab just being implemented this summer and fall that is based on the Wisconsin model, and are actively exploring how such a vehicle might be used in connection with programs at the University of Rhode Island, the Community College of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College.

Chris Semonelli, one of several co-directors in the Newport County Mentor Co-Op, met on June 27 with URI President David M. Dooley to further the conversation. Semonelli said he focused on the collaboration between North Central Michigan College, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the Northern Lakes Economic Alliance, and a local manufacturer, Precision Edge Surgical Products Inc. of Boyne City, Mich.

From journaltimes.com: “Gateway campuses receive Fast Forward – Blueprint grants” — Gateway Technical College Racine and Kenosha campuses are among recipients of the 2014 Wisconsin Fast Forward-Blueprint for Prosperity High School Pupil Grant Awards. The intent to award total is $149,512.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development secretary Reggie Newson announced Department of Workforce Development’s intent to award 30 grants totaling $2.1 million to develop or expand creative programs that prepare high school pupils for the workforce or postsecondary education through training in high-demand fields. The grants cover training for up to 949 high school pupils and could involve employment at up to 153 employers.

The investment is part of Gov. Scott Walker’s Blueprint for Prosperity, a comprehensive agenda to provide tax relief and invest in worker training to move Wisconsin along a path to prosperity. The plan includes $35.4 million to expand the Wisconsin Fast Forward worker-training program into three key areas, including increasing industry-recognized certifications in high-demand fields for high school students; reducing wait lists in high-demand fields at Wisconsin technical colleges; and enhancing employment opportunities for workers with disabilities.

The Department of Workforce Development worked with the state Department of Public Instruction to develop grant criteria and issue a grant program announcement in March for up to $1.5 million in potential awards. Applications had to include at least one business or business organization in collaboration with school districts, educational partners and/or technical colleges.

The Department of Workforce Development’s Office of Skills Development is administering the grant program. The school-to-work programs will kick off during the 2014-15 academic year.

From leadertelegram.com: “Math, science lessons propel camp” — Gina Filkins figured it would be fun to build a race car, so she signed up for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Race Camp, which took place this week at Chippewa Valley Technical College.

Filkins, of River Falls, was among 19 high school participants at the camp, but one of only four girls.

“I think more girls should do camps like this,” Filkins, 14, said. “I’ve always been into science and math, so this has been really fun.”

Throughout this week, race camp participants learned about career opportunities in the disciplines of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a hands on environment, camp director John Wagner said.

Campers focused on powering race cars using three different petroleum-independent technologies: wind, solar and hydrogen. Participants were divided into teams to modify the cars before a race Thursday afternoon.

Along with making the vehicles run with an alternative fuel source, participants learned to adjust the cars’ alignment, gears and tires to optimize their performance, Wagner said.

Elliot Voelker, 15, who will be a sophomore at Regis High School next school year, said he enjoyed racing cars while getting to know other camp participants.

The camp is part of a nationwide effort to expose students to opportunities in STEM-related professions. The event, funded by grants, was started by CVTC staff. Grants provide scholarships to help qualifying students afford the camp.

Tucker Manderscheid, 14, who will be a freshman at Chippewa Falls High School, enjoys modifying cars. His team powered their vehicles with solar power, which he thought was the easiest of the three alternative power sources to use.

Chicagoria Yang, 15, who will be a sophomore at North High School, was part of a team using wind to power its car. Team members adjusted the car’s gears and experimented with different wheels in an effort to enable it to drive more efficiently.

Wagner said some camp participants showed up early to spend extra time working on their cars.

“The kids are so exceptional,” Wagner said.

From wiscnews.com: “RAHS seniors graduate college” — By Julie Belschner – Reedsburg Area High School seniors Maura Machovec, Terra Kauffman and Payton Legner have graduated from Middle College. A graduation ceremony was held May 13 at Madison Area Technical College-Reedsburg campus to honor their accomplishments in the healthcare track of the program.

Graduation ceremonies were held across the South Central Wisconsin region to honor 40 high school seniors from 12 school districts graduating from the healthcare and manufacturing program tracks. The graduates are now preparing for paid summer work-experience opportunities with local businesses as part of the Middle College program.

Founded in 2010, Middle College is a dual-credit career pathway program targeted toward high school juniors who are interested in advancing their education in targeted industry sectors. Students study concepts in healthcare or manufacturing during the regular school year at participating Madison Area Technical College or Moraine Park Technical College campuses. The program track allows for students to take college classes while they work to complete their high school graduation requirements. Students may earn up to 30 free college credits upon successful program completion and have the opportunity to participate in up to two paid work experiences with local companies as part of the program.

The program is administered by the Workforce Development Board of South Central Wisconsin, which partners with technical colleges to provide technical college training and curriculum for the program. Upon enrollment into the Middle College, participating high school students achieve college status and enrollment with the technical college. The board collaborates with employers and employees in Columbia, Dane, Dodge, Jefferson, Marquette and Sauk counties to promote a healthy economy; it continually seeks innovative solutions to the economic challenges that face today’s workforce.

From livinglakecountry.com: “Playhouse provides opportunities for MHS students” — Building trades students at Mukwonago High School had a wealth of experience outside of the classroom this year. The team focused the beginning of the year on completing the School-to-Work house Fox River View subdivision, which sold this spring. This semester, the group worked on the playhouse/garden shed, which residents might have seen traveling around the area in recent weeks.

Associate Principal, School-to-work coordinator and Rotarian Mark Blodgett has been a key liaison in having the Mukwonago Rotary Club sponsor these opportunities for students.

“After we built our first (School-to-Work) house during the 1999-2000 school year, the instructor and I were trying to come up with some project ideas for the class to do during the ‘off’ year of house building,” Blodgett recalled. ” I had just been to the Metropolitan Home Builders Show in downtown Milwaukee, where a handful of contractors had built playhouses to be auctioned off. I took the idea to the (Rotary) Club, and it has become our biggest fund raiser.”

The building trades class is a one-year, two-hour-per-day course that allows students to earn two high school credits and fits within the Waukesha County Technical College program so students also earn four credits toward WCTC’s construction program. This year 14 students took advantage of the program.

“The benefit to our students is that both the house and playhouse projects help them meet the WCTC competencies in knowledge and skills sets to get them college- and career-ready for after high school,” Blodgett said.

The playhouse project has students start construction at the start of the new semester in January. It uses about $2,400 worth of material that is purchased largely thanks to community contributions. The playhouse is 10 feet square and could also be used as a garden shed.

The Rotary Club sells raffle tickets to raise money to offset remaining costs and put more seed money into future to School-to-Work projects to offer future students the same opportunity.

Rotarian Rick Debe helps to coordinate Rotary members each weekend from Palm Sunday to mid-June to sell those raffle tickets for the playhouse.

“Two of the key components of Rotary International’s mission is vocational service and education. This project touches both and instills both pride and confidence in young men and women,” Debe said. “We know that not all students will embark in a career in the trades, but we are certain they will use these skills as adults as they move through their life with homes and families.”

This year’s drawing will be June 12. Tickets will be available next weekend, May 31 and June 1 at Pick ‘n Save from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. The last opportunity to get tickets will be at Maxwell Street Days on June 7 and 8.

 

From chippewa.com: “Menomonie students earn college credit early” — Tyler Luzinski has not finished his junior year at Menomonie High School, but he has a great start on his college education. Luzinski plans to attend Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) to study business management or marketing communications. He already has 12 ½ credits toward a degree from CVTC.

He doesn’t have to pass a test or apply for the credits. They will already be on his CVTC transcript.

His classmate, Adam McCulloch, who plans on attending CVTC in the FireMedic program will have CVTC credits for a medical terminology class he took at Menomonie High School. Senior Ashley McKay will be able to transfer CVTC credits from that same class when she attends UW-Eau Claire in the fall.

The Menomonie students are just three of the hundreds of high school students in western Wisconsin benefitting from college-level classes through CVTC’s dual credit program. Many of these students attend Menomonie High School, which was recognized Friday, May 16 by CVTC with the Partnership Award for its outstanding participation and cooperation in the program.

Full credit

In dual credit classes, known in academic circles as “transcripted credit,” high school students earn full credit directly from the technical college just as if the student took the class at the college. “They get credit on their (CVTC) transcript right away. They don’t have to apply for it. That credit can transfer to a university too,” said CVTC Registrar Jessica Schwartz. “We are looking for ways to create pathways from high school to CVTC, and to their bachelor’s degree at a university.”

The CVTC credits transfer to universities, including UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout, with which CVTC has transfer agreements.

“It’s part of the lifelong learning and career pathways initiative going on in technical colleges and in education as a whole,” said Amy Mangin, who works out the agreements between CVTC and participating high schools.

Dual credit classes must meet college standards, and CVTC instructors and staff work closely with the high schools on the curriculum and instruction. There must be a “100 percent competency match” between what is expected of a CVTC student and what is expected of the high school student, according to Schwartz.

Savings, benefits

Dual credit benefits students in multiple ways. Luzinskl enrolled in dual credit classes in accounting, marketing, computer applications and business management. Having the credits already on his CVTC transcript once he completes his junior year will save him time and money in the future.

“I’m planning on finishing college early,” Luzinski said.

And he can finish college spending or borrowing less money along the way. Schwartz noted that a popular dual credit class is Accounting I, a four-credit CVTC class. By taking the class tuition-free in high school, the students save $544 in tuition, plus $328 for books and materials. In tuition alone, Luzinski has already saved over $2,000 toward his college education.

Dual credit benefits students in career planning and college preparation as well. “High schools are looking at their programs of study and creating seamless transitions into higher education, or into careers,” said Mangin.

“The more students are exposed to a college environment while in high school, the more likely they are to complete college,” said Margo Keys, vice president of student services for CVTC.

“I wanted to see what the college load would be like,” Luzinski said. “I was a little surprised at first, but I’m doing well with it. It’s more self-taught. I like it when I can do more of it myself instead of listening to the teacher talk a lot.”

Starting out ahead

While students recognize the financial and time-saving benefits of dual credit, it’s really all about learning.

“I took Medical Termionology to get the knowledge for my nursing major,” said McKay. “I’ll be ahead of the other students in my class. But it’s very nice the credits will transfer to UW-EC.”

“Taking Medical Terminology is definitely something that will help me throughout my FireMedic program,” McCulloch said. “But the credits help. It would definitely cost me money to take it at CVTC.”

“It’s like getting a check every time you take one of these classes,” said Jeff Sullivan, associate dean of manufacturing at CVTC. “And the students see the rigors of college.

Menomonie High School currently has five dual credit classes through CVTC this school year, with another six classes under investigation for next year. CVTC has been expanding its dual credit offerings throughout its 11-county district. This school year, CVTC has 100 sections of 81 dual credit classes spread over 30 schools. In the 2011-12 school year CVTC had 24 classes in 15 schools throughout the district.

Support for the program is strong in Menomonie, according to Menomonie School District Director of Instruction Brian Seguin. “The community has spoken loud and clear. They want to see us expand our post-secondary partnerships,” Seguin said.

From iwantthenews.com: “Students visit Miller Manufacturing” — New Holstein High School students enrolled in the Moraine Park Technical College Articulated Drafting class visited Miller Manufacturing of St. Nazianz on Thursday, May 8. Over the past three months students created 45 working drawings for the worldwide agricultural manufacturer.

The students’ drawings were being used to cut out metal parts on a CNC plasma torch. The tour started with a company introduction followed by a plant tour.

The first stop on the tour was a table full of parts waiting to get welded and painted. As they stood over the parts students realized that the blueprints underneath each part were the exact blueprints that they made in the classroom.

Students said they were excited to see that Miller was actually using their custom made blueprints on their manufacturing floor.

“This really brought itself full circle as we toured the rest of the plant and got to see how our drawings are going to help with Miller’s lean manufacturing approach,” teacher Ted Bonde said.

The tour ended and it was then the engineers’ turn. Drafting students were able to see how Miller’s drafting software is used to aid in manufacturing. Before they left, Miller paid back the students by handing out a T-shirt and meal for their work well done.

This relationship has helped these NHHS students grasp the real life application of their drafting software and its importance in the world of manufacturing.

Bonde said, “I would like to say thank you to Miller for the opportunity and support to help reiterate the importance of what we teach at the high school level.”

 

 

 

 

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 wausaudailyherald.com: “GED/HSED grads overcome much on their path to diplomas” — WAUSAU — Jason Wolfgram said he grew up on the “rough south side of Milwaukee, where finishing high school, or even imagining of going to college, was completely unheard of.”

But on Friday evening, Wolfgram, 36, was wearing a dark blue graduation gown and mortarboard, standing in front of his three children and a crowd of fellow GED/HSED graduates, their friends and family members, talking about how he earned his diploma after years of selling and taking drugs and spending plenty of time behind bars. He talked about how he was now working as a welder and taking human services classes at Northcentral Technical College.

Wolfgram was a student speaker at NTC’s commencement ceremony for its GED, or General Educational Development, and HSED, or high school equivalency diploma, programs. He was one of more than 250 graduates receiving the diplomas at NTC this spring.

NTC President Lori Weyers and keynote speaker state Sen. Jerry Petrowski, R-Stettin, spoke about how important those diplomas are. They stressed that the graduates had achieved a crucial accomplishment that can help lead to a successful life.

“Years ago, it was possible to make a living in this world without an education,” Petrowski said. “Those days are over.”

That’s one reason why Melody Olson, 55, of Colby decided she would pursue her GED. When she was a teenager, “I didn’t like school,” she said. “So I quit, married and had kids.”

Now her three daughters are grown, and she has four grandchildren with a fifth on the way. She moved from Baraboo to Colby to be with her longtime boyfriend, Jim Powell, 59. She said she couldn’t find a job without a high school diploma, but it also simply bothered her that she didn’t have a diploma. So with the encouragement of Powell, she enrolled in NTC’s individualized, self-paced GED/HSED program.

“I thought, ‘I gotta do something,’” Olson said.

Getting the GED has given her confidence, Powell said.

“That was really important for her,” Powell said.

Wolfgram made his decision while serving time in the Marathon County Jail.

“I wanted to make some serious changes finally. I wanted to be a person that my family, mostly my babies, could and would look up to,” he said. “You see, all my life, I have lied my way through applications, jobs, to support my family. I never understood the true meaning, or the feelings associated with receiving a diploma. But today I stand here, before all of you, with what’s accepted as a high school diploma.”

Wolfgram thanked the NTC staff members forsticking with him and helping him earn the diploma.

“Like I said earlier, I’m just the product of rough streets,” Wolfgram said. “The stigma of a violent offender. A drug user. A dealer. Those things are all in my rear-view mirror right now.”

From biztimes.com: “DWD awards grants for school-to-work programs” — The Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development has awarded a total of $2.1 million to 30 school-to-work programs across the state.

The grants are for development or expansion of innovative programs that prepare high school students for the workforce or post-secondary education by offering them training in high-demand fields. About 950 students will benefit from the grants, and up to 153 companies could employ them.

The DWD and the state Department of Public Instruction worked together to develop criteria for the grants.

“Thanks to Governor Walker’s vision, high school pupils will have an opportunity to learn new skills that are in demand by employers, and earn a semester or more of technical college credit while still in high school,” said DWD Secretary Reggie Newson. “The experience translates directly to future success in the classroom or on the shop floor. These are the kinds of innovative collaborations that effectively address Wisconsin’s skills gap and move our state forward.”

Among the local programs receiving grants are Gateway Technical College in Racine and Kenosha counties, which was awarded $149,512; Trace-A-Matic Corp. in Waukesha County, $130,000; Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board in Milwaukee County, $129,800; Bruno Independent Living Aids, Inc. in Waukesha and Ozaukee counties, $128,344; WRTP/Big Step in Milwaukee County, $122,751; CL&D Graphics in Waukesha County, $120,100; Mishicot School District in Sheboygan County, $87,384; GPS Education Partners in Waukesha County, $85,027; CESA 6 in Racine, Walworth and Waukesha counties, $57,150; Lakeshore Technical College in Sheboygan County, $32,064; School District of New Berlin in Waukesha County, $27,990; Lakeshore Technical College (Hospitality) in Sheboygan, $19,444; and Lakeshore Technical College in Sheboygan (Safety), $13,629.

“Transforming education is a core part of my administration’s focus,” said Gov. Scott Walker. “The Blueprint for Prosperity will increase opportunities for hundreds of high school students across Wisconsin to pursue training in high-demand fields like manufacturing, information technology and construction. We will continue to prioritize efforts that prepare students for family-supporting jobs here in Wisconsin.”

From wisbusiness.com: “Edgerton and Milton High School students to get sneak peak for new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center” — Some 240 high school students – 90 from Edgerton High School and 150 from Milton High School – will receive a sneak preview of Blackhawk Technical College’s new Advanced Manufacturing Center in Milton this Wednesday as part of an encompassing tour of Blackhawk’s facilities and manufacturing programs.

Milton students will get the first taste of their new neighbor starting at 8:30 a.m. After the 90-minute tour, the Milton students will head to Blackhawk’s Central Campus, where they will have the opportunity to learn about eight of the school’s Advanced Manufacturing programs.

The Edgerton students will reverse that route, first heading to the Central Campus in the morning, before heading to the Advanced Manufacturing Center at 12:30 p.m. for an afternoon tour.

Students from all four years of high school will be represented at the event.

Phase one of the Advanced Manufacturing Center is set to open in August for the fall semester of the 2014-2015 school year. The second phase of the facility will be completed in the summer of 2015.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for us to highlight our programs and how they will fit in at the new facility,’’ said Barrett Bell, Blackhawk’s Director of Enrollment Services. “In addition, these two schools and their students will get first hand exposure to the variety of our Advanced Manufacturing programs and the new facility.’’

While at the new Milton Campus facility, students will spend 25 minutes in three sessions – a tour of the building, an admissions seminar and a panel discussion on the Advanced Manufacturing programs.

While at Blackhawk’s Central Campus, students will have the opportunity to investigate current facilities for one of two tracks of programs.

The first track covers a new Blackhawk program — Manufacturing Information Technology Specialist – plus Automated Systems, HVAC-R and Computer Numeric Control Technician.

The second track will introduce students to programs in Industrial Maintenance, Welding, Mechanical Design and Electrical Power Distribution.

From htrnews.com: “Mini-choppers take shape at area schools” — By Phillip Bock – Motorcycles are taking shape in metal shop classrooms across Manitowoc County as students work toward a Friday deadline to complete their bikes in time for a late-April motorcycle show.

This year five schools are participating in the mini-chopper program, which provides students with real life experience and promotes careers in manufacturing as they build mini choppers as part of their academic curriculum. The project is a collaborative effort by the Economic Development Corporation of Manitowoc County, The Chamber of Manitowoc County, local high schools, Lakeshore Technical College, and sponsorship by area business.

“Some of the benefits of the mini-chopper program is that students get to work with area manufacturing and area businesses to not only design, but fabricate, construct, and stay within budget, a complete mini-chopper,” Ryan Zimmerman, a technical education instructor at Lincoln High School said.

Students at Lincoln are creating two mini-choppers this year, small-sized motorcycles that incorporate sponsorship logos into their designs. The students are creating one bike for Lincoln, which incorporates theschool’s colors and the iconic tower into the design, and a second bike for the Manitowoc Public School District.

“We figure out how we want it to look, paint colors and things like that,” Lincoln student Logan Newberg said. “This year we bent and cut the whole frame.”

Students start from scratch and first sketch out a design on paper or in a computer assisted design (CAD) program. At Lincoln, students first built a mock-up of the bike using plastic PVC piping before building the steel frame.

“The entire machine was challenging once they left the plastic design stage,” said Gerald Neuberger, a technical education instructor at Lincoln. “We practiced welding and cutting, but it just isn’t the same as when you have to get a perfect fit.”

McKinley gets in on design

Students at McKinley Academy in Manitowoc built their own bike this year — a first for the school. Without fabrication facilities on-site, students partnered with LTC welding instructor Mitchell Schmidt and used the college’s facilities to fabricate their bike.

“When we first started, the students said they wanted to be completely different and did not want it to look like a typical mini- chopper,” Schmidt said. “One thing they didn’t realize was how much work would go into finish it, but the more you struggle the more you learn.”

The McKinley bike is certainly unique. Students created single-sided axles for the front spoke and rear-swing arm, utilized a bicycle tire and golf cart wheel, and combined elements of dirt bikes, such as a kick-start, to give the bike a truly one-of-a-kind look.

“Originally the gas tank was not as big as we thought it would be, but we decided to leave it and I think it is looking pretty good with how it is turning out,” student Miles Schreiber said.

Students in Two Rivers, Valders and Mishicot are also creating bikes, which are set to be unveiled during an annual Northeastern Wisconsin Charity Motorcycle Show on April 25.

Production is completed under tight deadlines and, in addition to time management, students learn skills such as team work, budgeting, and engineering design.

“I enjoy being able to be a part of something bigger than myself and working with somebody to make a product that works,” Courtney Spangenberg, a senior at Lincoln, said.

Local manufacturing companies help fund the program, provide parts, and assist with other tasks, such as painting and chroming the bikes.

Students will be putting the finishing touches on their bikes over the next week as the unveiling deadline rapidly approaches.

“A lot of after-school hours have been spent getting this thing done,” Zimmerman said. “Getting things done on deadline was definitely a challenge this year.”

From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Teaching, class sharing rises at rural schools as budgets shrink” — As rural schools deal with the reality of reduced budgets and smaller enrollments, one of the inevitable trends is the reduction in the number of classes offered as schools focus on core subjects.

A number of Clark County schools are turning toward sharing teachers in a number of elective classes as a way of saving costs, while still providing students with learning opportunities.

Sue Rudesill, a family and consumer sciences teacher, begins each day in Neillsville, and then around lunch time makes the 20-minute commute to Greenwood to continue teaching in the afternoon.

It’s the first year she’s split time between two schools and said it took a little getting used to the first semester.

She would find herself trying to help students after class in Neillsville, but that potentially delayed her getting to Greenwood, causing the first part of her class in Greenwood to be missed.

After discussions with administrators in both districts, she said she now has a little more time to make the commute this semester.

Another change that districts are seeing is the increased reliance on distance learning courses. Students will be in a normal classroom, but the teacher often will be miles away in another school.

“We do have some rooms that are now available,” Neillsville School District Superintendent John Gaier said. “A lot of the rooms that used to have classes in them are now being used as distance learning classrooms. It’s possible for a high school class period to have four online classes going on.”

Students in Neillsville take distance learning classes through a number of different institutions, including the Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay.

But it’s not just courses being taught at institutions of higher education that students are taking. Sometimes schools share courses with each other through distance learning.

In Loyal, students take social studies through Granton, a required course for graduation.

“That’s a big step to go into that. Spanish is an elective, but to have a required class that’s important, the reason we did it was it seemed to be the least detrimental. The teacher would be the most able to appropriately communicate with students. You would not want to do chemistry (over distance learning),” Cale Jackson, Loyal School District administrator, said. “History seemed like something where the kids could still have a good experience even though it was over the distance learning.”

It takes a lot of work and coordination between schools to sync schedules, Jackson said, “but everybody is in the same boat, so everybody is willing to do it.”

From leadertelegram.com: “Local high school students get college jump-start” — Ashley Carlson’s notebook page was neatly divided into two parts, with topics on the left side of the paper and details on the right.

Also on the left side of the page, Carlson wrote notes to herself, reminders such as “Double Check” and “New Stuff.”

Carlson, an Eau Claire Memorial High School senior, was learning valuable study skills along with algebra in her first-ever class on a college campus.

Area students have been taking college-level classes while still in high school through advanced placement and dual credit programs for some time. But twice a week Carlson sits in a classroom at Chippewa Valley Technical College with 23 other Memorial and Eau Claire North High School students, learning not only algebra skills but how to study effectively as well.

The goal of the program is to increase the odds of students completing college by giving them an early taste of it.

The experience was made possible through a College Success grant from the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corp. With the grant, CVTC and the Eau Claire school district implemented the class as part of the Collaboration for Postsecondary Success (CAPS) program.

“We want them to get the college experience within the institution,” said CVTC academic services instructor Molly Craker, the grant coordinator. “We want them on our campus so they are introduced to our resources such as academic services, diversity resources, academic advisors and counselors.”

College dropout rates are higher for students from minority groups, low-income families, and first-generation college students. The CAPS program targets students from such groups.

“We were looking for students with a high likelihood of post-secondary attendance who could benefit from the program,” said Dianna Zeegers, an Eau Claire school district instructor who teaches college success strategies in the CAPS program.

Students gain credit toward their high school graduation and credit at CVTC that can be transferred to other institutions. The content instructor for the class is CVTC math teacher Mike Davis.

“We teach intermediate algebra, but the bigger lessons being learned are the opportunities that college can present.” Davis said. “They get treated as adults and some of them are not used to that as high school students.”

Among the lessons students said they learn by participating in the program is that success in college takes work.

“One of the first things (Davis) said to us was if you are not going to use your time well in class, there’s no point being here,” said Carlson. “It helps me to take class time a lot more seriously.”

The college experience involves much more than not having to get a hall pass to go to the bathroom. Much of students’ work is done online through a program called MyMathLab, which allows students to learn and work at home.

“They use an electronic textbook, which may be new to many of them,” Craker said.

Students notice, too, that the college will work with them to help them succeed. Many students make use of the Academic Services Center.

“I go there every Wednesday,” Memorial senior Kayli Werk said of the Academic Services Center. “The lady down there is super-helpful. Instead of giving you the answer, she’ll give you worksheets to help you understand it.”

Werk said Davis encourages students to ask questions and shows concern that students understand the concepts.

“I’m not really good at math,” said Carlson. “It’s shocking to me that I’m doing so well.”

Davis said the students he teaches generally are ready for the college work.

“Some of the students have had math at the level we are teaching. For some it is very new to them,” Davis said. “But they are all learning personal responsibility.”

Zeegers helps students with that part of the class. On a recent day she taught them the divided-page method of taking good notes, called “Cornell Notes,” and modeled it on an easel in front of the class. “As they progress through the class, I give them feedback on their notes and assess them on that,” Zeegers said.

The hybrid college/high school class seems to be well-received by participating students.

“I signed up because I thought I would get a taste of what college math would be like,” North senior Dave Zook said. “It’s going all right. We’re getting into some new stuff, but people are good at helping us out.”

Carlson said the algebra class is a good warm-up for her future education plans, which include attending CVTC next school year.

“This was an awesome opportunity,” Carlson said.

Davis said he’s happy to see his students advance their math skills as they mature into young adults.

“There’s definitely a handful of them that we know we have changed their path,” Davis said. “And when they say ‘I don’t know what I want to do,’ we help them work through that.”

 

From whby.com: “FVTC hosts ag competition” — About 1,000 high school students from 70 schools are participating in an annual competition, at Fox Valley Technical College today.

It’s the career development event for the Future Farmers of America.

Agriculture department chair Randy Tenpas says the number of jobs in the industry is growing, and so is technology. He says demand for skilled workers has never been higher.

Tenpas says students are competing in 13 different areas, including veterinary, dairy and horse sciences, and forestry and wildlife.

Qualifiers will move onto the state competition in Madison. Nationals are in Louisville, Kent. in October.

 

From beloitdailynews.com: “YouthBuild program helps young people develop skills” — In honor of National YouthBuild Day, which is being observed today, those at Community Action Inc.’s Beloit Fresh Start program have been celebrating its impact in the community and opening its doors to the community.

On Wednesday, those at Community Action were providing tours of housing projects FreshStart students are working in the Merrill neighborhood. And to celebrate Janeville’s 12 administrative personnel from Community Action moving to the Beloit facility at the Eclipse Center there was a ribbon cutting ceremony at 4:30 p.m. followed by an Business After Hours event at 5 p.m.

Since the program launched in 2006, there have been 88 graduates and an 80 percent success rate, according to Gary Wagner, program manager.

In the program, students age 18 to 21 who have dropped out of high school can get re-enrolled to attend classes at the Community Action Pathways Center to obtain their diploma and obtain job skills. Students have three career path certifications they can choose from — certified nursing assistant, business and customer service or construction, said FreshStart Academic Supervisor Linda Fair.

Fair said students can obtain their high school diplomas with the chance to walk across the stage in the graduation ceremony by taking online classes.

Next year the business and customer service certification will be replaced by a welding certificate. Efforts are also under way for the welding program to be held at Beloit Memorial High School’s newly remodeled career and technical education area.

In light of the successful programming, Candelaria Diaz and Ike Lee are visiting Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. today to speak about the need for funding for YouthBuild USA. The Fresh Start program of Community Action is funded partially by YouthBuild USA and is up to renew its grant nationally. Diaz and Lee graduated from the program and are now program assistants working through AmeriCorps.

In Beloit one of the most popular career paths for the Fresh Start program has been in construction. A few years ago Community Action purchased more than 17 properties in the Merrill neighborhood. Students in the FreshStart construction program worked on rehabbing the homes as they gained work skills. The homes are then resold to qualified low income families through the Merrill Housing Initiative.

FreshStart Construction instructor Deitra Green said students graduate from her classes with a pre-apprenticeship certificate from the nationally-recognized Home Building Institute. Green, an electrician with more than 20 years of experience in construction, said students completing her classes know how to use tools as well as the basics of building and fixing homes. On Wednesday, she was helping her students work on a home at 1346 Yates Ave. Many of them were learning the fine art of dry wall installation.

The students in Fresh Start’s construction program work on rehabbing a home to sell each spring.

Tailor Laidig, 18, is one of the students who will graduate with a certified nursing assistant certification. Laidig, who had her son in tenth grade, said she couldn’t continue her education because of childcare. At the time she only had 6.25 credits and needed 24 credits to graduate.

However, now her son is enrolled nearby in Head Start and she is able to attend classes at FreshStart. The program has also helped her get assistance with an apartment and transportation. Once Laidig graduates, she hopes to continue on to college to become a pediatric nurse while using her CNA certification to get a job as she gets through school. Laidig is currently attending some of her classes nearby at the Blackhawk Technical College site in the Eclipse Center and doing clinical work in Brodhead before she will take her state board exam.

Wagner said there were more than 70 applications for the program which can only accept 21 students. He noted that applicants must pass a thorough interview process and a 2-week “mental toughness” component to demonstrate if they are ready to fully commit themselves to the program.

Community Action is an 100 percent local, not-for-profit organization, offering a broad spectrum of community programs aimed at preventing and reducing poverty in Rock and Walworth counties. It operates the Fresh Start program, offers child care, at-risk youth programming, teen parent support, women’s health care, senior benefits counseling, home ownership programs, affordable housing units, home weatherization and rehab, assistance in dealing with a housing crisis, food for area pantries and shelter for the homeless.

 

From swnews4u.com: “Boscobel High School offers course options for college-bound students” — By Tricia Hill – Boscobel High School faculty have been working on helping their students in grades 9-12 prepare for college by giving students the opportunity to participate in transcripted, articulated and Advance Placement (AP) courses. Currently, they are offering 14 credits of transcripted courses, which means they can be added to their college transcripts; six credits of college board-certified courses and three credits of articulated courses.

“We encourage our students to take these courses,” said guidance counselor Rhonda Scallon.

The transcripted courses include Accounting, Computer Applications, Speech, Vocational English, and Theme Writing. This is the first year that Theme Writing and Speech have been an option for seniors to take as transcripted courses. The students are encouraged to take these courses not only by the faculty, but also by some of the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College faculty.

“When a student decides to take the course, faculty from Southwest Tech come and talk to the students so they have an idea on what to expect,” Scallon said.

Once a student enters into the transcripted courses, they will be taking a course that they can add to their college transcripts. However, if a student starts taking a transcripted course and their grade seems to be dropping, they have the opportunity to not continue it as a transcripted course, but they must remain taking the course at the high school.

There is currently only one option available to students interested in taking an articulated course, which is a Southwest Tech math course. Students can only use the credits earned by taking this class if they plan to attend Southwest Tech. When taking an articulated course, the student earns a certificate of completion instead of credits added to their college transcript. However, in order to earn the certificate, the student has to earn a B or higher at the completion of the course.

Boscobel also offers some AP courses to their students, such as AP Biology and Advanced Urban History. Boscobel hopes to some day add AP Psychology to the list. Come this May, Boscobel will have nine of their students partaking in the AP exam so see what they have learned.

“The students in AP classes are working during the summer on course work,” Scallon said.

Having these options for Boscobel High School students is a great asset if students take advantage of the situation, according to Scallon. If the students participate and work hard in these programs, they will be given a head start at courses that will be expected of them in college, get a taste of college AP work, see how rigorous the class work can be, and best of all, the classes are free for the students if they take them while in high school.

“As of right now there are no disadvantages to the programs,” Scallon said. “I feel we are setting up the ground work with other colleges by having our students take part in these programs.”

Some students may have concerns if the college they plan to attend will accept credits from Southwest Tech. So the teachers have introduced them to a website called Transfer Wizard, where the students are able to go and see if their college accepts credits from Southwest Tech.

From sheboyganpress.com: “Youth apprentices find positions with local companies” — Nick Steenwyk, of Sheboygan, is a computer aided design drafter in the bathing group for Kohler Company in Kohler. Like most CAD drafters, he performs tasks such as working with Creo software to create models and drawings of whirlpools.

Unlike most CAD drafters, Nick is currently a high school student at Sheboygan Christian High School. Through the youth apprenticeship program at Lakeshore Technical College, Steenwyk began working at Kohler Company.

“The best part of my YA experience has been working in a career field I’m interested in pursuing,” Steenwyck said in a news release. “Not only am I able to pick up skills and techniques that with be invaluable in years to come, my experience has been a tremendous help in determining a career field I want to enter.”

Steenwyk is not alone in Sheboygan County when it comes to Youth Apprenticeship. The Lakeshore Technical College Youth Apprenticeship program recently completed their annual Information Nights for high school students interested in the 2014-15 Youth Apprenticeship program. For the third consecutive year, the Sheboygan County Youth Apprenticeship program is seeing large increases in both student apprentices and employer participation.

Representatives from employers like Nemak, Rockline, Blue Harbor and Wigwam also are working with students.

Youth apprenticeship offers students the opportunity to explore future careers while they are still in high school and get paid for their time working at area employers. Youth apprenticeship offers one- and two-year programs in fields like health, hotel and hospitality, culinary, finance, mechanical design, welding and manufacturing.

The Sheboygan youth apprenticeship program has grown rapidly in the past few years, from 11 students in 2010-11 to 32 students in 2011-12. The program swelled to 68 students in the current school year. It’s expected that number will rise to 85 for next school year.

For more information on the LTC youth apprenticeship program, contact Jill Preissner at 920-693-1261 or jill.preissner@gotoltc.edu.

From fox11online.com: “New grants in Green Bay to help teen mothers” — GREEN BAY- Green Bay Area School District and NWTC are working together to make sure teen moms graduate high school.

It’s an effort that may benefit the entire community.

Nineteen-year-old Augustina Medina says she wants to give her 18-month-old daughter Isabella the best life possible.

“When you get pregnant, you’re put in as you’re not going to graduate,” Medina said. “You’re not going to get far in life. And that always bugged me.”

Medina says she was supported by family and school counselors after giving birth.

But she still needed to step up her efforts to graduate from Green Bay Southwest High School.

In Wisconsin, nearly half of high school aged mothers do not graduate.

School social workers say one of the biggest barriers to not graduating high school as a teen parent is not know where to go for help. But two new grants are aimed at helping teen parents get their diplomas and go on to higher education.

The first grant: 200 thousand dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

It will provide additional academic support, career counseling, and parenting classes.

“We know that a really strong predictor of whether or not a child will grow up in poverty is if they are born to a mother who is a teen and one of the amazing things of the opportunity of this project is by getting more of our teen parents to the post-secondary level, we can potentially take two generations out of poverty,” said Green Bay West High School Social Worker Kim Schanock.

The second grant is from the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation Women’s Fund.

The organization won’t say how much it’s for.

The money will go toward a two year program which will directly connect NWTC counselors with pregnant high school students.

“How can you develop study skills and really learning about how to apply for financial aid, and how to fill out a college application,” said Amber Michaels, the students services manager for NWTC.

Medina now attends NWTC, studying business management.

She hopes other teen mothers will use the new resources in high school to find their own motivation, and provide a better life for their children.

From htrnews.com: “Educators in career and technical education recognized” — CLEVELAND — Lakeshore Technical College presented its second annual Top Tech Awards to recognize the top influencers in career and technical education in Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties. The five awards were presented at a reception at the Lakeshore Culinary Institute on Feb. 20.

Educators from Manitowoc County were recognized with three of the awards.

• Rick Conrad of Manitowoc Lincoln High School serves as the school’s youth apprenticeship liaison, transition specialist, work experience teacher and tech ed teacher. Conrad was nominated for his role in the approximately 30 students a year from Manitowoc Lincoln High School participating in Youth Apprenticeship.

Conrad sets up job shadows for all Lincoln students, transitions special needs students into the workforce through a fundamental work experience program and coordinates more than 50 students in Lincoln’s work experience programs. He has worked with all departments on their career and technical education advisory committees, and is currently working with the tech ed department on its three-year plan and new course proposals.

• Marcy Kuhn and Amber Brewer, academic advisors and guidance counselors for Mishicot High School and Mishicot Middle School, respectively, also were presented with a Top Tech Award for their leadership, tenacity and passion for students’ post-secondary success. Their high school advisement period provides weekly lesson plans to each of the four grade levels to better prepare students after the end of high school.

Their Career Portfolio project implements student, parent, and school counselor meetings at key transition points in a student’s school career. During these meetings, the student’s strengths and areas of improvement, future plans, and goal setting are discussed with assessments aiding students and parents in their course choices and development of their four-year plans. This duo is sought after as a resource by other organizations and districts to replicate this success.

From lacrossetribune.com: “Lincoln students get creative with junkyard sculpture in welding contest” — Lincoln High School students are too creative to weld a sculpture of just any old fish out of scrap metal for the Chippewa Valley Technical College Manufacturing Show’s Junkyard Battle welding contest.

“I came up with the idea of the fish body,” said senior Nicki Danielson. “I just thought an angler fish would be awesome.”

But that wasn’t all. They had it in a tank of water, set up a system by which it could be raised from the tank by turning a wheel, had a spout of water coming out of its mouth through use of a pump system and integrated a little game with prizes. The effort was good enough to win second place, with another angler fish sculpture from Fall Creek taking first. The Lincoln team took first place at last year’s show.

Lincoln High School had a strong showing at the manufacturing show, with over 40 students coming in attendance. The students and other participants and visitors to the show experienced just how interesting and fun manufacturing can be. Area high school students were heavily involved in this year’s show. Besides the Junkyard Battle, students created complicated mazes in the machine tooling technics contest, and in electromechanical technology, students built robots to navigate a simple maze as fast as possible.

Visitors were able to don masks and try their hands at welding under the watch and with assistance from a CVTC student or instructor. People saw automated machines that could play guitar, set up bowling pins and make a golf putt – all designed and created by CVTC students. The chair on the flight simulator moved with the banking of the plane on the screen. In the nano engineering technology area, students demonstrated the properties of liquid nitrogen.

Nearly 40 companies from around the Chippewa Valley set up displays to show their company’s role in area manufacturing, and to recruit future employees.

“In the Chippewa Valley, close to 40,000 people make their living in manufacturing,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker in opening the show along with Gov. Scott Walker. “Ninety-one percent of our graduates have jobs within six months, 89 percent are right in the state of Wisconsin, and 70 percent are in northwest Wisconsin.”

A major purpose of the show was to present the modern face of manufacturing.

“If you go in our shops, they’re bright, they’re clean, they’re automated, and it takes a high skill level to operate the equipment,” said associate dean of manufacturing Jeff Sullivan.

To many of the young people attending, there was just a lot of fun stuff to do, like race robots and show off their junkyard fish sculptures.

The Lincoln team’s sculpture incorporated concepts of metal working, making it an educational piece as well. The tank of water, for example, can serve as a common welding shop tool.

“You can put a piece of metal you just welded in the fish’s mouth and lower it down to cool it. It’s called a quench tank,” Danielson said.

“We made a prototype of the sculpture out of cardboard,” said team member Edwin Ramos. “Nicki was the lead welder in putting her dream together.”

Team member Daniel Brown brought a lot of the junk used to make the sculpture.

“I got a lot of used junk trucks sitting around. I had an old fuel pump from a Chevy truck and an old fuel line, and wired it all up,” he said, explaining how he made the pump system for the spout of water.

Ramos explained another part of the process.

“We used an old water boiler, band saw blades, a weight bench, and a chain for the hook,” he said.

Many students in Scot Kelly’s principles of engineering class helped on the sculpture.

While many high school students took part in competitions, many students and members of the public came to learn more about opportunities in manufacturing. Jonathan Hurd, 23, of Fall Creek was eyeing up a new career by visiting the various program areas.

“I’m interested in electromechanical technology, but I’d love to learn it all,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I came, to get a feel for it all.”

Becky Larson of Eau Claire came with her husband and their son, Nick, who is in eighth grade. “I wanted to see what opportunities are out there for a job, and so many of the jobs that are coming up are going to be in manufacturing,” she said.

Larson, a middle school counselor, was also picking up information for her students who are beginning to think about careers.

“Electromechanical technology was fun with all the projects they do, like the ‘Smoke on the Water,’ one that played guitar by itself,” said Nick Larson.

Approximately 2,000 people attended the show, including Walker, who noted in opening remarks to an audience mostly of high school students that the Wisconsin flag displays the tools of manufacturing.

“It’s part of our heritage and our history, and it’s part of our future,” Walker said. “Manufacturing is leading our state’s economic recovery, and we need to encourage the next generation of workers by educating everyone about the great, family-supporting jobs available. These students are the future of our workforce; and by providing quality, highly technical training, we are setting them up for success and securing Wisconsin’s place among the top manufacturers in the country.”

From fdlreporter.com: “Skilled worker shortage drives partnerships between business, education” — By Laurie Ritger – A local business leader is stressing the need for communication and collaboration between industry and educators — especially as a shortage of skilled workers looms.

“This is a heavy manufacturing area. We may be one of the heaviest in the state and maybe the nation. Let’s support that,” said Jim Wessing, president and co-founder of Kondex Corp. in Lomira. “There are great jobs and a great future in manufacturing.”

Wessing warned, however, of a looming shortage of skilled employees during an appearance Tuesday at Business, Industry and Education Day 2014 at Marian University’s Stayer Center. Approximately 150 educators and business people turned out for the event, a program of the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce.

Projections show that there will be 17,000 to 19,000 unfilled jobs in the greater Fond du Lac area by 2025, according to Joe Reitemeier, president and CEO of the Association of Commerce.

Perception vs. reality

Wessing was part of a panel that included Lomira School District technology education teacher Jon Marx and Lomira High School Principal Deb Janke. They discussed a business and education partnership success story that began several years ago with a Project Grill competition that pairs businesses with a school.

Marx explained how the tech-ed program has grown in the past several years and how Kondex has helped with equipment and financial support. Marx, who once taught part-time and had 55 students, now is full-time and instructs more than 100 students at the middle and high school levels.

Some of his former students are working toward degrees at technical colleges and engineering schools.

Wessing said manufacturing has a reputation as a “dark and dirty and dangerous” profession. The reality, he said, is that it is very clean and high-tech with the advent of robotics, high-speed cameras and computers.

Wages can be very high. Wessing said educators and business leaders need to connect with parents of students who are considering their career paths to explain options and show them realities of the work world.

Options

Reitemeier said nearly all parents of incoming high school sophomores expect their children to attend college, but a year later only half of the students will take a college entrance exam. That leaves half of a graduating class to make plans for technical college or immediate entry into the workforce.

Janke said a Career Fair was held at Kondex that exposed students to careers in many fields, including manufacturing, human resources and sales. She said the school also is trying to work with other key employers in the community, including Michels Corp. and Quad/Graphics. Staff are visiting employers so educators and counselors are aware of available businesses and career opportunities.

“We’re interested, at the school level, how can we (prepare) better employees for you?” Janke said about the partnership between business and schools. She said students need to be exposed to careers and the tools and equipment they may be using. Girls that have an interest in math and science need to enter engineering and manufacturing fields.

Wessing said 85 percent of his employees are from within a 35-mile radius of Fond du Lac. Kondex is a product design and manufacturing partner for agriculture, lawn and turf, and other areas, producing custom-designed metal components.

National speakers for BIE Day included Kimberly Green of Rockville, Md., who has worked the past 18 years on federal policy impacting career and technical education; and Patrick McGaughey, an international speaker from Idaho with a background in broadcasting and business association management who led a two-part workshop: “Business + Education = Education, Development: How Education Closes the Deal.”

The connections established between business representatives and educators during BIE Day are intended to help the partners develop solutions to economic and community issues — including the expected skilled labor shortage facing Fond du Lac.

From chippewa.com: “Herald, Dunn County News launch Extra Effort program” — If you want a lesson in resiliency, you don’t have to look far. Just point yourself in the direction of the nearest school, where many kids provide daily examples.

For instance: students who come from split families and single-part families, who have had to deal with tragedy and loss; students who have had to work through communication barriers that impacted their studies; and students who have persevered through cancer diagnosis and other health ailments.

It is our goal to tell several of these inspirational stories in the coming weeks as part of a program called Extra Effort that we are launching in the Chippewa Valley. The program will honor high school seniors who have overcome challenges or provided exemplary service to the community, often with little recognition.

Extra Effort is about students on the verge of adulthood who have tales of struggle, illness and survival, or of making a dedicated effort to give back to the community. Their road hasn’t typically been an easy one. They likely aren’t star athletes or valedictorians. They probably don’t have perfect grades. But many of them have overcome tremendous odds, and the one thing they all have in common is the way they can inspire.

All area high schools have been invited to take part. The Chippewa Herald and our sister paper, the Dunn County News in Menomonie, will publish profiles of a student from each school in the coming weeks. Our first one will appear in Monday’s Herald.

We are partnering in this program with the University of Wisconsin-Stout, the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and Chippewa Valley Technical College, to recognize and provide some scholarship assistance to the Extra Effort winners. The three institutions will take turns in hosting a spring reception for the students who are chosen to represent their schools. This year’s reception will be hosted by UW-Eau Claire on Wednesday, May 21.

Extra Effort is based on a program that our fellow Lee papers in La Crosse and Winona, Minn., in conjunction with its higher-ed institutions, have been operating for several years. The program has been extremely well received by the public and the educational community.

“We’re very fortunate to develop this dynamic partnership with Chippewa Valley Technical College, the University of Wisconsin-Stout and UW-Eau Claire to honor some high school seniors who have overcome obstacles or provided exemplary service to their communities,” Herald Publisher Rusty Cunningham said. “Our programs in La Crosse and Winona have recognized and provided scholarship help to some courageous students who otherwise wouldn’t have received the recognition they deserve,” Cunningham said.

It is our plan to make Extra Effort a beloved yearly tradition in the Chippewa Valley, just as it has become in the River Valley.

“I can honestly say that this program tops my list as a favorite part of my career, because this recognition is nothing less than life-changing for these kids and an inspiration for us all,” says Patty Shepard, a counselor at Holmen High School. She said she could probably name every one of her school’s recipients and is in contact with many of them, all of whom continue to succeed.

“The Extra Effort program is an incredible endeavor that connects the area businesses and post-secondary institutions with our schools and most importantly, highlights the value of our youth through their incredible stories. We are so very privileged to be part of this program,” Shepard said.

We are privileged to be able to tell the stories of our 2014 Extra Effort recipients. They are deserving of your time, just as the subjects are deserving of your admiration.

%d bloggers like this: