From rivernewsonline.com: “IT job growth projected to rise; Nicolet College to hold career training info sessions” — With solid job growth projected for information technology in the Northwoods and across the state in coming years, Nicolet College is holding a series of information sessions for people interested in training for a career in this field.

In the Northwoods, computer user support specialist positions are expected to grow 6.5 percent over the next three years. Across the state, that position is ranked 27th in the Top 50 high demand jobs over the next five years.

Nicolet offers a variety of IT classes that provide flexible scheduling. These include more evening and online options and classes that require students to come to campus only twice a month. Student can also complete any one of several IT credentials in less than a year.

Information sessions are scheduled for:

• Monday, July 28, 3 to 6 p.m., just north of Tomahawk in the Bradley Town Hall, 1518 W. Mohawk Dr.

• Tuesday, July 29, 3 to 6 p.m., Tamarack Center 102, Nicolet College Campus, one mile south of Rhinelander just off of Hwy. G.

• Monday, Aug. 4, 3 to 6 p.m., Hwy. 70 Vilas County Business Park Incubator, 555 Enterprise Parkway.

• Wednesday, Aug. 6, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m., Minocqua Public Library, 415 Menominee St.

Interested individuals can stop by anytime during a session to learn about Nicolet’s many IT training options, what it’s like to work in the field, financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and the admissions process.

Michael Spafford graduated from Nicolet’s IT program in May and currently works in the IT department at Drs. Foster & Smith in Rhinelander.

“When I graduated I had many different employment opportunities,” Spafford said. “My instructors at Nicolet provided me with all of the help and resources I needed to be successful.”

In all, Nicolet offers seven college credentials in IT, ranging from short-term training certificates to two-year associate degrees. The college also has many credit transfer agreements with four-year colleges and universities that create a pathway for students to earn a bachelor’s degree.

For more information, visit nicoletcollege.edu and click on the Careers in Information Technology graphic at the top of the page or call the Welcome Center at (715) 365-4493, 1-800-544-3039, ext. 4493: TDD 711 or 1-800-947-3529.

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From leadertelegram.com: “CVTC unveils mobile major” — Chippewa Valley Technical College prides itself on keeping its students up-to-date with new and emerging technologies. But to do so, sometimes faculty and administrators must listen to those students.

That willingness to listen and adapt has led to the introduction this fall of a third major in CVTC’s Information Technology program. The IT-mobile developer major will focus on preparing students to serve the growing need for individuals and businesses to communicate via handheld mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablet computers.

“The popularity of mobile devices has just exploded, and Apple is No. 1 in that area,” says IT Instructor Jon Cooley. “We haven’t had anything in our program to deal with that, and our students were telling us that.”

There will be significant overlap in the required courses in the new mobile developer major and CVTC’s existing software developer major, but several new courses are being introduced specifically to address the world of mobile communication devices.

Cooley will teach the first course to be offered in the mobile developer major. Called Objective C Programming-Cocoa, it will teach students the underlying language for programming Apple’s iPhones and iMac computers.

Development of the mobile developer major was undertaken with input from the IT Department’s Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives of various businesses and industries within CVTC’s 11-county region.

“Most of the companies on our Advisory Committee are using, or are at least planning to introduce, mobile (communication) applications,” Cooley says. “So the base for mobile applications is already here and it will expand.”

As a result, there projects to be a growing number of jobs available to graduates with the mobile developer major at a variety of local companies, including Menards, JAMF Software, IDEXX Laboratories and Menards in Eau Claire; TTM Technologies in Chippewa Falls; and Sajan in River Falls.

But graduates with the mobile developer major won’t face geographic limitations when it comes to seeking employment, Cooley predicts.

“Mobile development has exploded nationally and internationally,” he says. “So learning the skills we’ll teach in this program is basically a passport to getting a job anywhere.”

George Andrews, who also will teach courses in the new major, agrees with Cooley, saying the need for people with mobile developer skills “has pretty much been skyrocketing in the past few years.” That trend will continue, he says, because companies that have an online presence will need to incorporate a mobile aspect.

“The direction technology is heading means that anything you can do on a desktop you will be able to do on your phone with the proper mobile app,” Andrews says.

Shawn Creviston, who chairs CVTC’s IT Department, says the mobile developer major will limit instruction to the Apple and Google Android platforms of mobile technology.

“There are others, like Blackberry and Microsoft, in the smartphone universe. But they don’t have nearly the market share that Apple and Android have,” Creviston says. “For most of the consumers and the businesses around our area, those are the two they focus on.”

The mobile developer major will prepare students for jobs with all kinds of companies, not just those strictly related to computers, Creviston says.

In the CVTC region, graduates will be able to find jobs with many manufacturing plants and retail outlets, he says. And they will find themselves doing things like creating applications for online purchasing, mobile websites and tracking inventory.

“It really comes down to whom you get employed with,” he says. “We have so many different employers in this area and they all have their own needs.”

The Twin Cities will be fertile ground for graduates with a mobile developer major, a key reason it will by the first IT major offered at CVTC’s River Falls campus as well as in Eau Claire, Creviston says.

With its initial allocation of a three-year, $1.1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, CVTC has installed new labs in Eau Claire and River Falls filled with iMac desktop computers. Most mobile developer courses will be held in the Mac labs.

The grant also will cover the cost of hiring new IT faculty member Eric Wackwitz, who will teach all of the mobile developer courses in River Falls.

Wackwitz, who graduated from CVTC with an IT degree in 1997, returns to the college from United Health Group in Eau Claire, where for the past 15 years he developed mobile applications for business use.

Wackwitz’s description of how he feels about his new job are summed up in a statement that seems to encapsulate the general attitude of all involved in introducing the mobile developer major.

“It’s exciting,” he says, “and terrifying at the same time.”

From jsonline.com: “Milwaukee Housing Authority OKs new technology training center” —The Housing Authority of the City of Milwaukee announced on Wednesday the creation of a $1.2 million technology training center, the first program to be developed outside the walls of its many public housing projects.

Antonio Perez, executive director of the housing authority, said the new center would be at the Adult Learning Center and would be operated in partnership with Milwaukee Area Technical College, St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church and others.

“We want to use housing as a platform to continue to be relevant to those inside and outside the walls of our housing units,” Perez said at the housing authority’s annual meeting, held under a tent in the parking lot of the Adult Learning Center, 1916 N. 4th St.

The new tech facility, called the Milwaukee iCenter, will be built in space on the second floor of the Adult Learning Center, which leases the building from St. Francis Church across the street. It is scheduled to open in 2015.

The center is financed with a $1.2 million grant that the housing authority received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

MATC will provide instruction, case management and tech support services at the center. Job readiness and youth educational activities will be provided by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, Milwaukee Public Schools, the housing authority and others.

The center will blend classroom instruction with online advanced courses so that those who use the center can develop and improve their technology skills, prepare for jobs and use the training to potentially continue on to MATC for additional credentials and certifications in the tech industry.

Once completed, the center will be open to adult learners who attend the center, residents of housing authority projects, including nearby Hillside and Lapham Park, and others.

Perez said the housing authority looked for a place to house the tech center and decided instead to team up with the Adult Learning Center, which already teaches adult educational classes and has a staff and corps of an estimated 100 volunteers.

With decreasing federal money, the housing authority needs to leverage the government funds it receives and work with others in the community to provide services, he said.

The Adult Learning Center has been working with adults for 34 years and has helped more than 350 get their GED, said Herb Hayden, director.

“This new iCenter will bridge the technology divide and make adult learners more marketable,” he said of the new partnership with the housing authority.

The Adult Learning Center gets 90% of its money from foundations and private sources, with MATC providing teachers and support, he said.

Cynthia Dalton, 43, told those gathered for the meeting that she first went to the center in 2008 to work on her GED and managed to get it in 2013. But in the process, she got help with a hearing disability and housing, she told those gathered for the meeting.

While she was attending classes at the center, a volunteer noticed her speech and hearing difficulty and suggested she be tested, Hayden said in an interview.

“Since I was about 6 years old I’ve had speech and hearing problems, but I didn’t think they were so bad,” Dalton said.

Audiology tests showed she had about a 70% hearing loss, Hayden said.

“A hearing loss can impact and slow down learning,” he said.

Dalton said, “I was frustrated.”

After the tests and the diagnosis, a center volunteer paid for a hearing aid for Dalton, Hayden said.

“It’s made a huge difference,” she said. “I could hear and understand.”

Dalton said she also encountered homelessness and the center helped her to find shelter and later a place to live.

Today she’s studying at MATC and wants to be a nurse. She’s also learning sign language because she said she hopes to help those with hearing disabilities.

From gmtoday.com: “WCTC to offer program for high-in-demand careers” — PEWAUKEE – Waukesha County Technical College will offer a new program this fall with training opportunities for high-in-demand careers in information technology.

The Network Enterprise Administrator-INTERFACE Accelerated Pathway program is designed for veterans, their spouses and students eligible for Trade Adjustment Assistance programs, Workforce Investment Act programs, and Workforce Development Vocational Rehabilitation programs. It will also be offered to unemployed individuals and qualified adults seeking the next career step.

The program could potentially help fill the skills gap by offering a special pathway for network enterprise administrator-cyber security education, according to a WCTC press release.

Network enterprise administrators are responsible for the day-to-day operations and security of computer networks that are a critical part of almost every organization, and the program will provide students with the skills and experience to support current industry technology implementations.

The program will consist of multiple credential opportunities in certificate form, including enterprise support technician, IT network support specialist, storage and virtualization administrator, and IT security administrator – all leading toward the final credential, the technical diploma.

“The program’s greatest benefits lie in the additional services of in-class tutors to support students throughout the accelerated/hybrid courses, and the four semesters of work-based service learning projects integrated into the curriculum,” said Danielle Hoffman, WCTC’s IT skills and placement coordinator.

“Embedded industry-recognized certificates earned each semester lead to possible job opportunities. Combined with enhanced job search assistance, we expect many students will be working in their chosen field well before graduation.”

Hoffman said INTERFACE is a two-year program and students will earn the certificates along the way, one certificate for each semester. She said the program is designed for students to complete all four semesters, but expects some students will find careers after receiving certificates in their desired field.

The program is funded through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant program, which provided a $23.1 million grant to be shared among Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges.

From journaltimes.com: “‘Victory’ over blindness–Woman graduates from Gateway despite going blind while in school” — By Aaron Knapp – RACINE COUNTY — When Leticia Gomez walked up to receive her diploma from Gateway Technical College Tuesday evening, she did so without something that she started her studies with three years ago — her sight.

The 35-year-old Union Grove resident was diagnosed with a degenerative retinal disease in 2010, and even though doctors expected she had 15 years of eyesight remaining, she describes her vision currently as what one might see looking through a hole in a child-sized shoebox.

Nevertheless, Gomez is graduating with an associate of applied science degree in information technology from Gateway with a 3.95 GPA, and will continue her studies at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in the fall.

“Over the past three years, it’s been all about adapting,” she said in a phone interview Monday. “It’s not critical; it’s not taking years off of my life.”

She is one of more than 700 Gateway students expected to graduate either in spring or summer who were recognized at a commencement ceremony at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside’s Sports and Activity Center, 900 Wood Road in Somers, on Tuesday night, according to a press release from Gateway.

Gomez had intended to start school in 2008 and had registered for classes at Cardinal Stritch University, but when her then 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, she canceled those plans to be her daughter’s caregiver.

She explained that her daughter requires constant monitoring because she was diagnosed at such a young age that she does not recognize the signs in her body to treat herself.

Although Gomez was diagnosed with a degenerative eye disease two years later, doctors anticipated the disease would take 15 years before she would notice a loss in her vision — ample time to plan for her own livelihood and her daughter to become self-sufficient in treating herself.

That changed as her eyesight failed much more quickly than anticipated. She lost her driver’s license in June 2012 and was deemed legally blind in July 2012, barely two years after the initial diagnosis.

Gomez explained that school became even more urgent to set an example for her daughter, noting that diabetes can lead to blindness.

“I just said, ‘I need to do this for my daughter,’ ” she explained. “Why don’t I choose to be a role model for her?”

Gomez started classes at Gateway’s Racine campus soon after losing her driver’s license, in spite of snickers from passers-by when she was dropped off at school in a bus.

“All the time she’s been in school, she’s worked around it, didn’t bring attention to it,” said instructor Jill Fall. “I’m just thrilled she’s going back to school … nothing stops her.”

Gomez gained confidence as she consistently earned high grades and joined organizations at school, like as an officer in the Association of Information Technology Professionals.

“Seeing those A’s and making the dean’s list … that’s what fueled me to do better because that was the only thing I could control,” she said. “I earned those; I made those happen. I could put in the hard work and see the results. That was my victory.”

Already registered at UW-M, Gomez will start classes toward a four-year degree in information technology in the fall with the end goal of getting her master’s degree and returning to Gateway as an instructor.

From nbc15.com: “Protecting your data when selling a device” — As phones become more sophisticated, we store more and more data on them, use them for more and more tasks, and put personal information more and more at risk.

With smartphones, you’ve got probably photos, videos, your entire phone list, even credit card information stored on there. And if you don’t take the proper precautions, you become vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and blackmail.

These days folks are always trying to keep up on the latest technology; trading up for the newest and best on the market. And it’s so easy to ditch your old devices and make some green in the process. You can sell online, at places like gazelle.com, Amazon, EBay, and Craigslist. You can also sell devices in person, back to your phone carrier or at a pawn shop

But, before you fork over your phone, listen up! If you have an SD card, take it out. The same thing goes for any memory cards.

Most newer phones, like the iPhone, have a factory reset button under Settings. But, if you have an older model, you’ll want to double check your work.

“On some of the older phones, you can go in, go through and pull data it off” says Mike Massino, an Information Security instructor at Madison College.

If that leaves you a bit hesitant, you have to ask yourself: “is the value of my personal data worth more than the phone I’m trying to sell?”

Nick Koshollek, owner of Tech Heroes in Madison, says companies have taken great strides, in recent years, to help consumers protect personal information.

“We’re actually required by law to wipe all the devices and to remove all user data before we resell the devices again” says Koshollek.

Seeing personal information left on devices isn’t shocking for Koshollek. He says folks come in all the time with data still on their phone…a scammer’s dream come true

Does this mean you shouldn’t sell your old devices? No. But when in doubt, take your phone to an expert like Koshollek, before shipping it off to a new owner.

From bizopinion.com: “Demand for IT skills signals next advance in modern manufacturing” — By Jennifer Sereno — Wisconsin has been staking its claim as a center of skilled manufacturing since the 1860s. And Blackhawk Technical College intends to help the state build on that legacy for generations to come with a groundbreaking program to develop the new workforce skills Wisconsin manufacturers need to remain competitive in the global economy.

While some of the state’s earliest skilled manufacturing businesses emerged in Milwaukee — steam engine producer Allis Co. (later Allis Chalmers) was founded in 1861 — manufacturers in Rock County were not far behind.

Thanks to the arrival of rail lines in the 1850s as well as the proximity to Chicago, Rock County’s  starting with an iron works, a paper mill and agricultural equipment producers. Parker Pen Co. which ultimately became a global pen manufacturer, was founded in Janesville in 1888.

More recently, Rock County has weathered a number of manufacturing-related challenges, including closure of General Motors assembly plant. However, manufacturing remains the county’s third-largest source of employment, accounting for some 14 percent of jobs, according to the state Department of Workforce Development.

Blackhawk Technical College plays an important role in maintaining the region’s skilled manufacturing leadership. With locations in Janesville, Beloit and Monroe, the technical college offers more than 75 programs that can lead to associate degrees, technical diplomas, certificates and apprenticeships in fields such as business, manufacturing, health sciences, computers and more.

Those offerings will expand in an important way this fall when Blackhawk launches a two-year program that trains students as information technology specialists for advanced manufacturing jobs. The program will complement the technical college’s new Advanced Manufacturing Center, the first phase of which is scheduled to open in Milton this fall.

“The face of manufacturing is changing nationally, regionally and locally,” says Gary Kohn, Blackhawk’s marketing and communications manager. “Modernization is critical for survival. And what’s happening with respect to modernization is improved techniques in the plants – new quality management systems, robotics, other intelligent systems.”

In the modern manufacturing environment, skilled workers are needed for more than just operating the increasingly complex machines, Kohn says. They need to be able to integrate, program and fix the machines, as well.

Today’s manufacturing equipment is being linked together through sophisticated computer networks and operated from remote workstations. Kohn says the shift to this new, lean environment puts a premium on workers skilled in information technology with knowledge of both hardware and software.

College officials are quick to credit regional business and community leaders who serve on various advisory groups for identifying the need for such cutting-edge training. Among them is SSI Technologies of Janesville, a privately held company that designs and manufactures sensors, sensor-based monitoring systems, digital gauges and powdered-metal components for automotive and industrial applications.

“Our instructors are constantly getting feedback and seeking input” from industry, workers and community members, Kohn says. “We’ve heard about the need from our community advisory groups … This is going to be a program that should really gain a lot of traction because these jobs are applicable in so many areas.”

In developing new educational offerings that align with the emerging needs of the manufacturing sector, Blackhawk Technical College is bettering opportunities for its students while building workforce capacity for the future. If history shows anything, Kohn says, it’s that manufacturers and workers need to be adaptable.

“We use that word ‘adaptability’ with a lot of our programs,” he says. “We want our welders to be familiar with precision machining and we want our industrial mechanics to be able to weld. Our HVAC students don’t just fix air conditioning units; sometimes they have to build things requiring machining.”

If Wisconsin is to maintain its heritage as a global center of skilled manufacturing in the New Economy, advanced training such as the manufacturing information technology program offered by Blackhawk Technical College will be key.

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