From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Area students learn about employment in agriculture” — Seventh- and eighth-grade students from five area public schools had the opportunity to learn the ins and outs of 32 different agricultural employment fields at the Kewaunee County Economic Development Corp.-sponsored Ag Career Days. More than 900 students gathered at Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy April 10-11 to learn about potential future careers based in agriculture.
“Today is about showcasing opportunities available in agriculture,” said Tori Sorenson, GreenStone Farm Credit Services and co-chair of the KCEDC Ag Committee. “Students are getting further away from family farms, and we want to make these local opportunities known.”
Students had the opportunity to rank four different “clusters” of careers: Dollars and Sense, Grinding Gear, Diggin’ Deep and Cow “Tipping,” with the intention of learning about specific jobs within those clusters.
“We need to put the tools in the toolbox and offer the opportunity to learn about where food comes from,” Sorenson said.
Monica Streff, a nutritionist at Cornette Farm Supply, dairy farmer and custom calf ranch raiser, served as one of the stops in the Cow “Tipping” cluster, and she talked about mixing products to create a formula for calf nutrition.
“I look at kids as the future of agriculture. If we don’t educate them today, we may not have a future,” Streff said. “There are jobs that involve more than just animals, like in horticulture, crops, sales, mechanics, fruits and vegetables.”
Steve Bretl of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College was a presenter in the Grinding Gear cluster, informing students about the diesel technician program at NWTC. He was showing the students how to use a PTO dynamometer, which can calculate if a piece of machinery is producing the horsepower and torque it is rated for.
“The complexity of the industry requires students to have communications, math, and technical skills in high school to prep them for program soft skills,” Bretl said. “It is important to make them aware now of what they can do and how they can obtain their goals.”
Students from Luxemburg-Casco, Algoma, Kewaunee, Denmark and Southern Door attended the two-day event.
April 14, 2014
From haywardwi.com: “WITC-Hayward plans hospitality seminar Apr. 26″ -- In a joint effort, WITC-Hayward and Sawyer County UW-Extension will host a customer service seminar designed specifically for tourism employees from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, April 26, at WITC Hayward.
Andrew Nussbaum of the Wisconsin Department of Tourism will present a full-day of informative tips on how employees in the tourism industry can help employers generate customer loyalty. This seminar, Northern Hospitality, will be held at WITC-Hayward. Materials, lunch and snacks are included in the fee of $35 per person or $16.67 for individuals 62 or better.
Employees will hear and be involved in the discussion of the importance of personal job success, customer relations and selling. Some of the specific topics will include: honesty; teamwork; loyalty and job performance; punctuality and attendance; work ethic, selling products, personal image, social media interaction and the job, dealing with customer complaints, and the top 10 customer relations strategies. This seminar will be appropriate for all ages, including high school students.
Seating is limited so register early. For more information or to register, call WITC at (715) 634-5167. You may also view course information at www.witc.edu/classfinder.
April 7, 2014
From itjungle.com: “What Works for Women in IT” — Obstacles and solutions are a large part of the IT professional’s career choice. Organizations assemble IT staffs to solve business problems. Traditionally, it’s been a man’s world, with women in a decidedly minority role. The IBM midrange community is no different. But last month at the Wisconsin Midrange Computing Professionals Association Technical Conference, a session called Women in IT put the gender topic in a new light.
The role of women in IT is changing. And it’s not changing because we’ve all sat around and waited for change to happen on its own accord. It’s changing because there are people who want it to change and because it’s time for change.
According to the 2013 statistics by the U.S. Department of Labor, 57 percent of professional occupations in the U.S. workforce are held by women, yet only 26 percent of professional computing occupations in the U.S. workforce are held by women. If the number of women in IT careers doubled, it would still fall short of current benchmark for professional women in all categories. Obviously, there is room for improvement.
One person who takes that as a challenge is Beth Akerlund. She was recruited as the keynote speaker for the Women in IT session by Sue Zimmermann, vice president of the WMCPA user group that hosts the annual tech conference for IBM i advocates who take their career development seriously.
Akerlund began her career in IT with a Milwaukee area software company after graduating from college. She moved on to work for Groupon when it was a start-up. There her career experiences expanded as she began working with engineering teams, process improvements, implementing a variety of technologies, and software development. Later she returned to her hometown of Milwaukee, where she is works in custom software development for Centare.
Through a variety of industry networking events, Akerlund became acquainted with women in IT. Their conversations included the need for a women’s network that would provide the platform for meeting, building peer relationships, improving career skills, and provide mentoring to a younger generation of women in computer science as well as other areas of high technology.
As a result of those connections, Akerlund and others launched a Milwaukee chapter of Girls in Tech, a global non-profit organization with 35 active chapters. The Milwaukee chapter’s launch event had 75 attendees. Ten months later, the local chapter membership is 325 and the organization has discovered local business support and support from tech leaders in the greater Milwaukee metro area.
Already in place are programs for conferences, mentoring young girls, mentoring college-aged women, mentoring for women already in technology, a boot camp that teaches entrepreneurial skills, and cultural exchange programs.
One example of a youth outreach program for the Girls in Tech Milwaukee branch is a partnership with Girl Scouts. Another partnership has been set up with the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. “Businesses in the Milwaukee area supportive,” Akerlund said during a phone call with me last week, “and they encourage us (and men, too) to develop a greater interest in tech careers.”
At the WMCPA Tech Conference, the Women in IT session was peppered with stories about inspiration, enthusiasm, and empowerment.
“Sharing personal stories–triumphs and challenges–benefits everyone who hears them,” Akerlund said.
Alison Butterill, product offering manager for IBM i, was one of the speakers at the WMCPA conference. Women in IT and women in business are topics she enjoys talking to women about, she said in an email.
“It’s important for women to establish goals for themselves–pick something to aspire to and strive for that,” she said. “Business is a game and it’s crucial that women learn the rules and key players in that game quickly. Those who do can leverage their natural human characteristics–like being nurturing and collaborative–to advance quickly. It’s also important for women to find a mentor, male or female, who can be a sort of coach for them throughout their career. Women have come a long way in the IT business, but they are still coming into their own and face challenges.”
Karyl Ruiz, a student at Gateway Technical College (one of the most prominent IBM i-oriented schools in the U.S.), attended the WMCPA Conference and the Women in IT session. Ruiz will graduate in May with associate degrees in software development and Web development. She’ll also have two certifications–programmer/analyst and iSeries operator.
“The Women in IT event helped me to see that we don’t have to know everything come graduation,” she said via email. “With experience those gaps would be filled. It also showed that women do hold a strong place in IT and that the way I was feeling up until this event was common among other women just entering into the field. The speakers made me feel like I wasn’t alone.”
Jessica Wagner, a second Gateway student, looked around at the women who attended the session and took note of the variety of ages.
“A lot of these women came into a field when it was all men,” she said in an email. “It can be intimidating to join a field when it’s all men, especially at a time when women were deciding they didn’t want to be in the home anymore and find their own path. Alison gave a lot of really useful information about what to expect in the business world. One thing schools don’t teach is how to interact in business and the importance of acting professional in the way you dress, your hair style, and the way you interact with coworkers and the boss. I also was really impressed with Beth; her wanting to bring more information to the younger generation about this field is important. I think more women like her talking to the younger generation is important to know that this field is no longer for just men and that women can make a difference.”
Akerlund said her focus and the focus of Women in IT is to show women success stories and demonstrate there is an increase in women in computer science and engineering.
“Organizations that are taking the steps to empower girls and women,” she said. “They’re not just saying there is a problem; they’re taking action.”
April 1, 2014
From wjfw.com: “NTC program helps middle school students explore careers” – Phillips – You might not think that students start thinking about the future until High School.
But some Northwoods middle school students are already thinking about their careers.
Northcentral Technical College in Phillips works with local students to help them plan careers.
Starting earlier helps students when they graduate. “The sooner they start their career exploration, the easier it is for them to actually transition into a career pathway. And it’s not so much finding an occupation or career pathway that you want. Maybe it’s finding a career pathway that you know isn’t appropriate for you. So the sooner we can start the students exploring, the better it will be for them,” says NTC Phillips Dean Bobbi Damrow.
NTC is hosting a Get Smart Program for 5th through 8th graders.
Students can explore different careers they might be interested in.
“They might spend the morning in a IT media experience, and then the afternoon perhaps a welding fabrication experience. Or perhaps maybe a mini medic or an electronics. So students will get two experiences that day. It is a requirement that they have a parent or guardian with them. So it’s a very nice opportunity for students and parents to work together and explore careers for their children,” says Damrow.
NTC also held a career symposium and a campus visit last week.
They hope that students can get a better idea of what careers are available to them.
March 28, 2014
From PriceCountyDaily.com: “NTC, partners open students’ eyes to local careers” -- The Phillips Campus of Northcentral Technical College (NTC) is once again teaming up with community partners to put on a series of events aimed at helping local youngsters at different points in their educational path explore career options available to them right here at home.
First up was Campus Visit Day, which invited local high school students to the Phillips NTC campus for an exploration of occupations and coursework offered at NTC in support of those career fields Wednesday, March 26. Event organizers were expecting around 200 students to come in from across Price County and Butternut for the visit.
A smaller scale version of the event made its debut last year. This time around the visit was expanded to include more academic disciplines and such hands-on features as simulators brought in by NTC’s health division and activities in the welding and electromechanical area of programming.
Ahead of the event, Campus Dean Bobbi Damrow explained that most visiting students would come from the sophomore grade level. Older students, in particular seniors, tend to already be set on a career path by this point in the school year, Damrow said. “So we wanted to give those sophomores kind of an early exploration experience.”
Instructors from Wausau were brought in to answer any questions students had about a specific field of study or the outlook for a particular career path. Next in the event line-up is the Price County Career Symposium, coming to the Chequamegon School District’s Park Falls campus Thursday, March 27 beginning at 5 p.m. The event is open to Price County middle school and high school students and parents of youth in those age groups.
“It’s really important that not only the students attend but that they bring a parent, adult friend or guardian in with them just so they have that support and when they want to go back and talk about that field, they have someone to talk to in their personal life.”
NTC and some of its partners, including local school districts and Northwest Wisconsin CEP (Concentrated Employment Program), Inc., introduced the event last year as an avenue for helping students discover local opportunities in the manufacturing field, nicknamed “Gold Collar” careers due to the increasing demand for a more advanced technological skillset within the occupational area. This year healthcare, or “White Coat,” employment offerings are also being spotlighted at the event due to the high demand for candidates in the career field, Damrow explained.
Students and parents will be able to explore displays set up by local representatives of the manufacturing and healthcare fields between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Attendants will have the chance to ask those professional such questions as the types of career opportunities offered at their business, competencies and skills required to clinch a job in the career field, classes students should be taking in high school and what they can do to further their exploration of those occupations, Damrow said.
The event is also set to feature panel discussions and Q and A sessions led by a sampling of local employees and employers drawn from the healthcare and manufacturing fields. The “Gold Collar” discussion runs from 5:30-6 p.m., and the “White Coat” group takes center stage from 6-6:30 p.m.
“So, the Career Symposium is kind of one outlet that allows our high school students to connect with local business and industry,” Damrow said, adding that of course, those who have a hand in the event would be glad to see local students pursue some of the occupations highlighted there and one day, come back to work in Price County.
The last program in the event series is geared at a younger group on the age spectrum – area students from grades 5-8. Get S.M.A.R.T. (Science & Math Activities using Real-world Thinking) will be connecting students in that age range with their choice of two hands-on activities at the Phillips Campus of NTC Saturday, April 5 from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Each student needs to be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the event.
Damrow explained that the event, which was open to 20 youngsters in its debut at the Phillips campus last year, has been expanded to include two new activity offerings in order to accommodate more student participants.
Projects in welding and electronics will be back alongside a new IT Media session giving students the chance to produce their own music video and a new Mini Medic tutorial guiding students through basic life-saving skills.
“We hope that this will inspire our middle school students to actually take an active approach to early career exploration,” Damrow said.
A little over half of the 48 slots open to area students were already filled as of March 24. Anyone who’d like to be a part of the event is encouraged to call the Phillips campus at (715) 339-4555 – the sooner the better as spaces are filled on a first-come, first-served basis.
“It’s just overall a really fun day for the students,” Damrow said.
There is a $15 charge per student attending the event to help cover program expenses. That fee secures students lunch, their completed projects, a T-shirt and door prizes as well as lunch for their adult companion. The Price County Economic Development Association stepped up as co-sponsor for Get S.M.A.R.T., helping to cover the cost of program materials.
“They see the importance in giving these experiences to the students at a young age,” Damrow said.
Those kind of community partnerships are really what NTC is all about, with the school needing to work with representatives of local industry and education in order to “create a pipeline” that puts future employees to work in Price County, as Damrow explained.
She noted that one major goal of these types of events is to make such vital connections with businesses and industry.
Damrow said, “We have some fantastic career opportunities here in Price County, so having the partners that we have, business and industry and the Price County Economic Development Association, is critical to the success of the events.”
She emphasized that community members are also welcome to stop by events in the NTC calendar and discover what they are all about.
March 17, 2014
From htrnews.com: “Lakeshore Technical College offers non-traditional occupation exploration classes” — CLEVELAND — Lakeshore Technical College will be offering the opportunity to explore non-traditional occupation opportunities through free, 16-hour exploration classes. NTO exploration classes are designed to give women the opportunity to experience “hands-on learning” in fields that have traditionally had few females in their ranks and that may offer higher pay and greater satisfaction. Four different exploration classes will be offered in the manufacturing field.
Introduction to Machine Tool Skills will be held from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. April 7, 14, 21 and 28 Participants will learn about career opportunities in the machine tool field, the terms and skills used in machine tool, workplace safety and tools, hands-on introduction to the operation of the following machines: drill press, milling machines, lathes, saws and CNC.
Introduction to Industrial Maintenance Skills will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. April 22 and 29 and May 6 and 13 Participants will learn about workplace safety and tools, the terms and skills used in industrial maintenance, career opportunities in the industrial maintenance field and an introduction to math, precision measurements, blueprint reading, hand and power tools, mechanical fasteners, pumps, PVC pipe and copper tubing, motor wiring and more.
Introduction to Industrial Electrical Studies will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. April 23 and 30 and May 7 and 14 Participants will learn about workplace safety and tools, the terms and skills used in industrial maintenance, career opportunities in the industrial maintenance field and an introduction to math, precision measurements, blueprint reading, hand and power tools, mechanical fasteners, pumps, PVC pipe and copper tubing, motor wiring and more.
Welding for Women will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. May 20 and 27 and May 21 and 28 Participants will learn about the terms and skills used in welding, workplace safety and tools, Gas metal arc welding, and oxyfuel/plasma cutting, fabricate a box or project of choice and career opportunities in the welding field.
Space is limited. Preregistration is required and may be completed at www.gotoltc.edu/nto or call LTC Sheboygan at (920) 208-5884 or LTC Manitowoc at (920) 683-2846 for more information.
January 30, 2014
From lacrossetribune.com: “February is CTE Month” – February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and the Wisconsin Departments of Public Instruction (DPI), Workforce Development (DWD) and the Wisconsin Technical College System (WTCS) are encouraging students, schools, parents, and educators to discover the high standards, innovation and excellence offered through the state’s CTE programs.
“Career and Technical Education introduces students to workplace expectations for knowledge and technical skills through a blend of classroom instruction and hands-on experiences,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “Because coursework is grounded in high standards and workforce needs through partnerships between educators and employers, young people in our high school CTE programs graduate college and career ready.”
“CTE has never been more important,” said Morna Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “We’re proud to be partners in highlighting the many opportunities students have to participate in CTE. The result is a richer learning experience, greater awareness of education and career options, and many times, college credit.”
“Career and Technical Education Month offers an excellent opportunity to highlight successful partnerships, strong leadership, and promising initiatives to help build a skilled workforce to move Wisconsin forward,” DWD Secretary Reggie Newson said. “In collaboration with schools, the technical college system, employers, and parents, we are committed to helping both current and future generations of workers gain greater awareness of the challenging and cutting-edge career paths that technical education supports.”
More than 90,000 Wisconsin high school students are taking career and technical education courses in fields such as agriculture, business, family and consumer science, health occupations, marketing, and technology and engineering. Those increased opportunities help students find a viable route to a rewarding career. Many CTE programs provide multiple pathways for students to prepare for diploma and apprenticeship programs, technical college degrees and industry certifications, as well as four-year degree programs and other career and training.
Wisconsin’s technical colleges play an important role in expanding CTE opportunities for students through partnerships and dual credit coursework.
“Everyone knows that student engagement through great teaching is at the core of learning,” Evers said. He recounted a visit to Eleva-Strum’s Cardinal Industries, which focuses on metal fabrication. “The students do customized piece work for various fabricators in northwest Wisconsin, filling a niche in the industry. The class was run like a business. Students received both high school and technical college credit. And at the end of the year, profit sharing provided $1,200 per student. This innovation has been recognized nationally through Modern Machine Shop Magazine.”
In a partnership among the Baldwin-Woodville, Hudson and Menomonie high schools and OEM Fabricators, coursework and experience promote advanced manufacturing as a career choice. The Manufacturing Careers Pathway Partnership reaches both middle and high school students through career exploration, job shadowing, youth employment, state of the art training facilities, dual enrollment with Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College and tuition assistance. Evers visited the Eleva-Strum, Baldwin-Woodville and Menomonie high school CTE programs last year as part of the CTE month observance in Wisconsin.
In honor of this year’s CTE month observance, Evers, Foy and Newson are planning classroom and on-site CTE visits throughout the state. Details will be forthcoming.
January 23, 2014
From fox6now.com: “Baldwin announces legislation to train workers for green jobs” – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin on Wednesday, January 22nd, visited technical colleges across Wisconsin to announce her new legislation to help train the next generation of skilled-workers for jobs in clean energy.
Baldwin visited Milwaukee Area Technical College, Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland, and Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay on Wednesday and will tour Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids on Thursday.
The Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation (GREEN) Act allocates competitive grant funding for clean energy career and technical training programs so that students are better trained for post-secondary education and better equipped for the high-skilled jobs of the future.
“In order to create a Made in Wisconsin economy that is built to last, we must invest in job training and workforce readiness for clean energy jobs. In Wisconsin, we know that higher education is the path to the middle class and this legislation will help open the doors of opportunity and strengthen our Wisconsin economy,” said Baldwin.
Over three million Americans are employed in the growing green collar workforce, including in clean energy and sustainability, which is more than the amount of people working in the fossil fuel industry, and twice as many as those employed in the biotech industry. In fact, the clean energy sector has grown nearly twice as fast as the overall economy. Additionally, the jobs created in the clean energy economy pay better than the average American job, with compensation rates 13 percent higher than the national average.
“Over the past several years, Wisconsin’s technical colleges have created cutting edge sustainability programs in areas like wind, solar and geothermal. We’ve also “greened” our remaining curriculum by including sustainability concepts in sectors including agriculture, construction and health care. The GREEN Act supports and advances this work in a ground-breaking way,” said Morna Foy, President Wisconsin Technical College System.
By supporting the development of clean energy career and technical training programs, the GREEN Act creates a bridge between secondary and postsecondary schools so that students can transition from high school with technical knowledge that will be expanded and honed in a postsecondary environment. Post-secondary institutions, local education agencies, career and technical schools, and community partners will use the grants to enter into partnerships to develop these training programs. The bill also provides opportunities for technical schools to upgrade their own energy systems to serve as model training facilities.
“We applaud Senator Baldwin’s introduction of the Grants for Renewable Energy Education for the Nation (GREEN) Act. Supporting the development of Career Technical Education programs of study in the fields of clean, renewable, and efficient energy ensures that the United States will have the skilled workforce it needs for the 21st century. This legislation will help support the growth and development of this critically important sector of our economy and is an essential component to a sustainable future,” said Kimberly Green, Executive Director National Association of State Directors of Career Technical Education Consortium.
December 16, 2013
From leadertelegram.com: “Area mom, judge adds nurse to her agenda with a degree from CVTC” – Mindy Carothers-Harycki wears plenty of hats: mom, business manager, judge.
The 35-year-old Cornell woman on Tuesday will be able to add nurse to her list of titles.
Carothers-Harycki is among this semester’s graduates from Chippewa Valley Technical College, where she earned a nursing degree through CVTC’s two-year nursing program.
Carothers-Harycki said CVTC’s flexible class options made it possible for her to complete her degree without having to drop her other obligations.
“They’re all priorities in my life. My family comes first but education is also important to me…(CVTC) does a nice job of offering classes in different formats,” Carothers-Harycki said, noting she took a mix of online and in-person classes.
Carothers-Harycki didn’t need a new career. She already helps manage her husband’s construction company, Otter Creek Construction. She also has served three terms as the city of Cornell’s municipal judge, a part-time elected position, where she presides over traffic citations, municipal citations and other matters. She plans to continue in that role.
And Carothers-Harycki has an 11-year-old son and twin 7-year-olds, a boy and a girl. She graduated from Cornell High School in 1996, and earned a two-year-degree in business management from CVTC in 2002.
Still, becoming a nurse appealed to Carothers-Harycki. She liked the idea of working in a profession where she could have a positive and profound impact on others.
“And having my children, I really got to see what a difference nurses can make. And I had just recently lost my grandmother and had spent some time near the health care business. And then I decided to go back to school,” Carothers-Harycki said.
Danielle Ryan, a CVTC nursing instructor, said Carothers-Harycki has a talent for focusing on patient needs and listening to them. Those attributes are characteristics of a good nurse but listening and being empathetic with stressed-out patients is something young nurses can lose sight of while juggling their job duties, Ryan said.
“She is an extremely conscientious and a smart individual,” Ryan said.
Carothers-Harycki said she has hopes of working in a hospital or becoming a legal nurse, which would combine her interest in health care with her interest in the law. A legal nurse consults with attorneys on medical cases, insurance claims and other matters.
“It’s a nice combo,” Carothers-Harycki said.
December 10, 2013
From marshfieldnewsherald.com: ” MSTC forestry students win accolades” – A total of 23 Mid-State Technical College students went to the Tree Care Industry Expo in Charlotte, N.C., recently, a huge gathering of tree care vendors, employers, employees and students.
Almost 20 colleges and universities competed in the conference’s Nov. 15 Tree Care Skills Competition. For the first time in the college’s history, MSTC students took home prizes in the both the men’s and women’s overall championship.
Bryce Crunkilton took first on the safety portion of the student competition and won the overall championship for men. Kerstyn Perrett placed first on the work climb component and placed second in the overall championship for women.
Participants competed in up to five competitions: work climb, scramble, safety check, throw line and written exam. MSTC students thrived against some of the larger schools in the nation, including BYU, Utah State University, Pennsylvania State University, Michigan State University, Virginia Tech University, Purdue University and the University of Tennessee.
“I am so proud of all the students that went to the Expo,” said MSTC urban forestry technician instructor Deb Crunkilton. “I had high expectations, and they exceeded those.”
The TCI EXPO, held Nov. 14 to 16, is the world’s largest tree care industry trade show and conference. The skills competitions were part of the conference’s 17th annual Student Career Days, open to students enrolled in arboriculture, horticulture, forestry and related programs. Students attended a job fair, as well as several casual receptions where they met and networked with potential employers. TCI Expo attendees also had the opportunity to visit about 200 vendors, as well as a tour of the Bartlett Tree Expert research lab and arboretum. Seminar topics ranged from safety and business strategies to workplace dynamics and tree health.
“All of our students — a record number — were engaged and excited to meet people, look at equipment and compete in various events,” Crunkilton said.
Established in 1938 as the National Arborist Association, today’s Tree Care Industry Association is a trade association of more than 2,200 commercial tree care firms and affiliated companies. It develops safety and education programs, standards of tree care practice, and management information for arboriculture firms around the world. Their Certified Tree Care Safety Professional program is the only safety credentialing program in the industry. TCI Magazine is the most circulated and read publication in the industry.
December 9, 2013
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Local high school girls learn about male-dominated fields” – More than 50 girls from nine central Wisconsin highschools learned Friday what it would be like to be welders, mechanical designers, machinists and other professionals in the manufacturing and technical fields.
They were taking part in a program called Females in Technology & Trades at Northcentral Technical College. The idea was to expose the girls to professions that are in what have been traditionally male-dominated fields to ensure that they know of all the career opportunities available to them.
The program was organized by Laurie Schulz, a mechanical design instructor at NTC. Schulz worked as a designer for years and said she had no problems working in a male-dominated field, but not all young women know that such careers are even possible.
The F.I.T.T. program, Schulz said, was meant to change that by both exposing the girls to all of the programs NTC has to offer and giving them a chance to do some hands-on activities, such as welding.
Maddy Krueger and Katherine Russell, both juniors at Tomahawk High School, participated in the program to find out what they might do after graduation.
“I think this is really interesting,” Krueger said. “I’m in a shop class at school, and I’m interested in mechanical comprehension and design. So I thought that would interesting to learn.”
Russell wants to become a materials sciences engineer, designing materials that can do new things.
“There’s a need for more women in engineering fields, so I wanted to learn more about that. And I’ve never welded before, so I’m really nervous,” Russell said. “I really learned a lot today about what NTC had to offer. I didn’t know we had an engineering and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) school so close as Wausau.”
The program was beneficial for female students, Schulz said, so that “they can see what types of options are out there for them that are nontraditional, compared to what they may normally do.”
September 3, 2013
From chippewa.com: “CVTC students return for new term: New conference center, program among changes” – A group of Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) students sat in the commons of the Business Education Center Monday morning with laptops open and running. They were already reviewing a schedule of homework assignments and upcoming quizzes for the new school term, which just opened that morning.
They had a number of common classes because they were all enrolled in the liberal arts program. CVTC is seeing an increase in the number of students enrolling in liberal arts, which include general education classes in communications, math, science and other areas. The reason for the increased interest in the program is economic.
“It didn’t make logical sense to spend twice the money for the same program,” said Alex Martinez, a second-year student and Eau Claire North graduate. He plans to transfer to UW-Eau Claire to study finance after earning his general education credits at CVTC.
Tuition at CVTC is about $4,000 a year, compared with an average of about $7,000 at Wisconsin’s four-year universities.
“This will be my last full year at CVTC, then I’ll be transferring,” said Ethan Thomson, another Eau Claire North graduate. “I am going to UW-Eau Claire for the Earth and Space Science Education program.”
Kassonere King, who attended both North and Memorial high schools in Eau Claire, wants a four-year degree in Diagnostic Medical Sonography. She’s in her second semester of liberal arts classes at CVTC.
“It’s cheaper than a lot of other places and I wanted to stay in my hometown for my first year,” she said. “I’m not sure if I’m going to stay here or transfer to a college in the Twin Cities.”
Most students arriving for the first day of classes were focused on specific CVTC programs. Cheryl Huebner of Elmwood and Danielle Fregine of Baldwin met one another at the Health Education Center, ready to start their classes in the AODA program. They both had personal reasons for their career choices.
“I have been through chemical dependency. It’s my goal to give back. I want to work with teenagers,” said Huebner, who admitted to being a bit nervous on the first day. “I haven’t been to school in 30 years.”
Like many CVTC students, Huebner will be balancing raising a family and holding down a full-time job with her studies. “But this is my chance. I have to change my career,” she said.
“Someone very, very close to me decided to use a variety of drugs, which motivated me to not only help people who use drugs, but the people they affect,” Fregine said.
Over at the Manufacturing Education Center, Steve Forster of Mondovi and Corie Bergeron of Chippewa Falls were ready to get started in the Electromechanical Technology program. They both come with manufacturing experience.
“I’ve been working in manufacturing for seven years,” said Forster. “One of my jobs was at Phillips Plastics and I was intrigued by the automation. I thought I would go back to school and get a degree and learn how to fix them myself.”
Bergeron worked with automated equipment at National Presto. “I had a lot of interaction with engineers in the manufacturing department,” he said. “I like the troubleshooting and problem solving, using my brain.”
New this year at CVTC is a two-year Industrial Mechanical Technician program, an extension of the one-year Industrial Mechanic program. This program prepares graduates to install, maintain, operate, diagnose and repair equipment used in manufacturing industries.
Also new in the manufacturing area is a water jet metal cutter in the Welding program. The equipment uses water under high pressure to cut metal, avoiding the damage to the metal that heat cutting can cause.
A major facility change can be found at the Business Education Center, where a new dividable conference center has replaced the former auditorium. The center gives CVTC an ideal space for holding large meetings and banquets. Use of the conference center is open to the public.
August 27, 2013
From jsonline.com: “Building inspector making Milwaukee ‘a better place to live’” — By Tom Dakin - By the time she was 8 years old, Stacey Tyler’s dad was taking her along to help out on handyman jobs he did in his spare time. Over 30 years later, Tyler is a city building inspector at Milwaukee’s Department of Neighborhood Services. Tyler, who jokingly calls herself a “professional household technician,” has worked at the department for 13 years and focuses mainly on inspecting residential rental properties.
On its most basic level, Tyler’s job involves making Milwaukee “a better place to live,” she said.
“I try to make sure that the constituents I deal with are living in places that have very minimal violations, and that there are no health and safety violations that would affect them, or their children,” Tyler said.
Tyler typically spends about half of her work day doing building inspections, with the other half of her day tied to writing reports to correct building code violations and other matters. She is currently assigned to an area on Milwaukee’s north side.
How did you get the job? Tyler was working at a medical company, where her duties included scheduling services for patients and ordering supplies. She saw a job description for building inspectors, and thought the work sounded interesting. Tyler was hired as a Department of Neighborhood Services intern, and after completing the two-year program was hired as an inspector.
What kind of education did you need? A high school diploma was required to become a department intern. The internship included taking courses at Milwaukee Area Technical College in such areas as technical math and architectural drawings.
Tyler also had practical experience in home repairs and maintenance. Her father, Robert, who died last year, taught her at a young age such tasks as preparing walls for painting and applying the floor seal when installing a new toilet.
As an alternative to the internship program, the department’s minimum requirements are an associate’s degree in the field of architecture, real estate, fire safety, environmental health, law enforcement or building trades, and two years of work experience in one of those specialties above the level of laborer.
What do you like about the job? “I enjoy going out and meeting the constituents. There are a lot of interesting personalities in the city of Milwaukee. And I have great co-workers. … I really like the fact that I can set up my own schedule. I like going out on my aldermanic walks because I can be heard by the people who have questions that need to be answered. It gives you a chance to be one-on-one with the constituents.”
What are some of the challenges? For Tyler, who’s a mom, perhaps the most difficult situation is when a family is displaced because she inspects a rental unit that has such serious health and safety problems that it’s not livable. That happens every couple of months or so, and the department works with Community Advocates, a nonprofit group that helps poor people on housing issues, to relocate the displaced families.
“You want to try to give the best help you can give them,” she said.
Is there a particular horror story the stands out from your 13 years in the Department of Neighborhood Services? About five years ago, Tyler inspected a property where the gas meters were pulling away from the foundation wall, raising the risk of a natural gas leak and explosion. The department immediately shut down the property, which encompassed over 20 rental units in four buildings.
“The situation was so horrible. All of those people had to be removed from the buildings,” Tyler said. “We had a little meeting on the front lawn and told them we have to vacate the buildings immediately. It’s difficult, especially when that happens so close to the time when they just paid rent. Their concern becomes where are they going to live, and how are they going to pay the rent for that month.”
August 19, 2013
From leadertelegram.com: “Rig watching , job scouting both in vogue at show for big trucks” — By Chuck Rupnow - A national trucking company based in Mondovi needs about 100 drivers on any given day.
Bob Stensen of Augusta found a truck driving job “perfect” for him during last year’s Eau Claire Big Rig Truck Show.
On Friday, opening day of the fourth annual event, Stephanie Zirkus didn’t care anything about truck drivers, or even trucks for that matter.
“It’s something different, and I just needed to get out the house, away from my husband, so I told him I was coming here,” she said. “Of course, he won’t believe me; well, until he sees my name in the paper.
“Actually, this is pretty cool,” the 37-year-old mother of two said while gazing at
colorfully decorated trucks lined up on the Chippewa Valley Technical College’s parking lot on West Clairemont Avenue. “I like the purplish one over there.
“I think I might try and get my husband here tomorrow,” Zirkus said, earning questioning looks from her children, Masia, 8, and Emile, 6. “It’s hard to realize how huge these things are, not to mention how fast they go and how much they weigh on the road. It’s way too dangerous for me to imagine.”
Stensen, 56, said he was a truck driver for 15 years for Bush Brothers & Co. in Augusta before the company “went away” from owner-operators, causing him to enter the dairy farming business for another 15 years. He sold his 225 milking cows, hauled some hay for several years and came to the truck show last year “just to see if there was a trucking job out there.”
“I was looking for something during the winter months, since I still raised crops in the spring and summer months,” he said. “I found the perfect job here.”
Stensen has pulled a tanker for Jade Transport of Winnipeg, Manitoba, since January.
“I love it,” he said at the show Friday. “I came here last year and talked to a guy from Jade, told him what I was looking for, and the next thing I knew, I was working for them. I found something that was a perfect fit for me.”
Tim Norlin, director of recruiting for Mondovi-based Marten Transport, said Friday that “every company needs drivers,” adding that on any given day Marten could use about 100.
“There will be more retirees, and we’re not seeing an influx of young people in the industry,” he said. “A lot of it may be because of the lifestyle — not being home as much as they might like. We’re doing what we can to help with that.”
Norlin said Marten works with drivers to get them home more often, and also has started something new in the industry, giving drivers $20 an hour in “detention pay” for times where they are waiting at docks to load or unload.
“We all have to be creative, and with the shortage there is, we have to pay attention to the drivers’ needs,” he said, adding that more than half of Marten’s drivers earn $50,000 a year or more.
Marten does not take newly licensed drivers; it prefers drivers with “an appropriate” amount of experience, Norlin said.
An estimated 15,000 to 18,000 visitors are expected to attend the truck show, which is expected to attract up to 200 trucks and about 100 exhibitors, according to event organizer Terry Biddle.
“We will definitely have more than last year, and we have some exhibitors who have expanded,” he said. “It’s becoming quite an event, something different, something the whole family can enjoy.”
If it’s up to 7-year-old Sam Perkins, he and his family are returning to the show next year and for a long time to come.
“This is the best thing ever,” he said Friday, drawing a smile from uncle Rob Traylor of Chippewa Falls. “My dad and mom and I will be coming here forever. I can’t wait to be big enough to drive one of these myself.”
August 12, 2013
From fdlreporter.com: “Tech Knowledge College puts kids in career fast lane” – Nearly 200 area middle school students got a glimpse into potential careers at Moraine Park Technical College’s Tech Knowledge College (TKC) held at the Fond du Lac campus.
During the three-day camp, Aug. 6-8, students enjoyed hands-on learning as they participated in course offerings from among almost 20 different sessions. There was something for everyone, and participants left TKC with new skills in a variety of areas, including movie making, yo-yo manufacturing, gourmet baking and hair techniques.
“The camp is great,” said Mohini Kumar of Fond du Lac.“I have learned a lot of new things and I love how the teachers let us use our imaginations and make whatever we want.”
Kumar’s projects had no shortage of imagination. During the Quick Breads course, a new session at TKC this year, she made scones filled with pineapple, cashews and cranberries. She also created a short film about a dance team with her group in the Movie Making session at MPTC.
Moraine Park has been hosting TKC for more than 20 years. Although sessions have changed to complement new and evolving technology, the purpose of the event has remained the same — to give students a chance to get a hands-on, interactive look at the skills and careers needed today and in the future.
August 6, 2013
From wqow.com: “CVTC camp aims to get girls more involved in firefighting” — By Aarik Woods - Girls are getting an inside look at a profession that is typically dominated by men. This week Chippewa Valley Technical College is hosting its first ever “Girls on Fire” camp. It’s a way to expose girls to the work required of firefighters and emergency medical service workers.
“Girls my age, they don’t think that they ever could be a firefighter,” said Redgy Bleskacek of Bloomer.
Sometimes, it takes a leap of faith to try new things. But that’s the idea behind the girls on fire camp; expose girls to something they may otherwise never try.
“When you think of firefighter, you think of male, so you think of a guy doing it. But now that I came to this camp, I feel like I can do it too,” explained Bleskacek.
CVTC says that women make up only four percent of firefighters nationwide. Local firefighters say the job can be demanding, which is why girls from 7th grade through high school are taking on ropes courses as part of the camp.
“You have to be strong. You’re going into places where nobody wants to go and you need to be able to get people out when they’re screaming your name. And a lot of women I guess probably don’t want to do that,” said Katie Hakes, Chippewa Fire District Firefighter.
But the job is more than just fighting fires, which is why the girls are also getting a first hand look at what else they could encounter.
“These girls need to realize that 80% of calls to the fire service are for EMS, so because of that they have to be trained. But we don’t really want to train them here, we just want to expose them and make them realize that EMS is a big piece of this, a very, very important part of it,” said Marcy Bruflat, CVTC Fire Training Program Director.
“It was a lot of hands on experience, and it’ll be a good learning experience because I think going in to EMS or firefighting would be a lot of fun,” said Madison Gilmartin.
Hakes added, “I don’t think it really matters whether you’re a man or a woman, but there’s definitely a necessity for us, because if your daughter or somebody was drowning, wouldn’t you want someone there right away?”
To give you an idea of the field locally, the Chippewa Fire District has 110 firefighters, and of that number, four are women. There are also several other women that are volunteers. Eau Claire has 92 firefighters, and just two are women. And in Chippewa Falls, the fire department is made of up 25 members, all of them men.
June 21, 2013
From wisbusiness.com: “BTC Chapter of Society of Human Resource Management earns Merit Award for excellence and achievement” – Blackhawk Technical College’s chapter of the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM) has been named a Merit Award winner for excellence and achievement for the 2012-13 school year by SHRM’s national organization.
The annual Merit Award program recognizes chapters for activities that enhance the professional development of members and the professional operation of the chapter’s program. Each chapter applying for a Merit Award is required to formally outline its activities, which is then evaluated by the national organization. A program earns a Merit Award if it accumulated enough points for its activities.
Beth Chambers, a Human Resources Instructor, and Colleen M. Koerth, an Employment Specialist Instructor, are co-advisors of the BTC chapter.
The BTC chapter will be recognized for its program online at shrm.org and acknowledged in the national chapter’s Student Focus Magazine, which is distributed quarterly to 17,000 student members as a supplement to HR Magazine. It also will be recognized during the Society’s annual convention.
The Society for Human Resources is the world’s largest association devoted to human resource management. It represents more than 250,000 members in over 140 countries. There are 575 chapters in the United States.
June 14, 2013
From brookfield-wi.patch.com: “WCTC’s Career Quest designed for middle school students” – Waukesha County Technical College will host Career Quest, an opportunity for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to get a closer look at what skills and qualifications are needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.
The three-day summer exploration will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 6, 7 and 8, at WCTC’s main campus in Pewaukee.
Middle school students will be introduced to a variety of careers – including those in Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Metal Fabrication/Welding, Cosmetology and many more — and learn about the education and training needed for those jobs. Cost of the event is $100 per student. Sessions run from at 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; lunch and snacks will be provided. Registration ends June 28, and the sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited!
From the options below, students can choose two career sessions to explore: • Future of Nursing (Nursing) • What’s Up, Doc? (Medical Assistant) • Authorized Personnel Only! (Surgical Technology) • To Protect and Serve — CSI style (Criminal Justice) • Emergency! (Firefighting/EMT) • Fuse it Together (Metal Fabrication/Welding) • Precision Parts (CNC Manufacturing) • Explore Robotics (Automation Systems Technology) • Baking Quest (Baking/Pastry) • Culinary Quest (Culinary Management) • The Art of Play (Early Childhood) • Spa Day (Cosmetology)
For details on career sessions, to learn more about Career Quest and to register, visit http://www.wctc.edu/career-quest. For questions, contact John Pritchett, Career Quest coordinator, at 262.695.7847 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 12, 2013
From wsaw.com: “College Camp prepares middle schoolers for future” – School is out for summer, but more than 200 middle school students were back in class today at Mid-State Technical College where they spent the day exploring the careers and skills of tomorrow.
This was the 23rd year MSTC hosted the College Camp. Students picked four different career sessions to attend throughout the day, with fields ranging from firefighting and EMS to cosmetology. It was just a small sampling of the more than 50 programs Mid-State Technical College offers.
“The kids can really get an exposure to different career options helping them to make informed decisions for their post secondary education and future career,” New Student Specialists at MSTC Betsy Feaster explains.
Feaster says it’s especially important to expose them to their options now.
“Really in these grades they’re starting to formulate those ideas, taking general education classes or electives in junior high and high school it helps them get that broader knowledge for future decision making.”
Coordinators say college camp fills up fast every year. If your child wants to attend next year’s camp you are asked to contact the college.
From voiceofwr.com: “MSTC to host College Camp, Race Care Engineering Camp, and Makers Faire” – Mid-State Technical College (MSTC) is preparing for a busy week at Wisconsin Rapids Campus with the arrival of College Camp, VEX Robotics Camp, Race Engineering Camp, and Makers Faire.
Approximately 200 central Wisconsin students entering grades 6 through 8 will be on campus Tuesday for MSTC’s annual College Camp, a hands-on and fun-filled opportunity to explore the careers and skills of tomorrow. College Camp presents each attendee with the opportunity to participate in four career exploration sessions from a long list of options. MSTC New Student Specialist Betsy Feaster says the June 11 daytime camp filled up quickly again this year.
“Campers come excited to learn and ‘try out’ new things,” said Feaster. “This is a great opportunity to introduce middle school students to MSTC and the Wisconsin Technical College System to help them begin to form opinions and make early decisions regarding post-secondary education options and future careers.”
The Technical & Industrial Division is hosting a VEX Robotics Camp for middle school students and the Race Engineering Camp for high school students this week as well. A total of 24 students will participate in each of the engineering day camps to be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on June 11-13.
VEX Robotics campers are divided into teams of two. The camp concludes with a robotics competition on the last day of the camp. Race Engineering campers are divided into four-person teams. Each student team is sponsored by an area business (ERCO, Pointe Precision, Domtar, NewPage, Corenso, and Renaissance Learning) to lower the cost of the camp to participants. Teams set up a 1/10 scale remote control car for durability, speed, and efficiency. Along the way, students learn valuable lessons in engineering science, electronics, physics, and math. They also learn about branding and promoting their team and get an opportunity to view setup of an actual race car on the first day of the camp. The camp will conclude with time trials and racing on the last day.
The eventful week closes with a Makers Fair from 6-8 p.m. on Thursday, July 13 in room T-137. This community show and tell event is intended for all ages. VEX Robots and race cars from the aforementioned camps will be on display, along with a nanowire kit, production of isoprenes from algae, innovative wood byproduct materials, kinetic glass sculptures, silk and flax spinning and weaving, a 3D printer, and techniques in pottery, glass working, jewelry, sculpture, and blacksmithing. The event is free and open to the public.
Local artists, tinkerers, makers, and hackers are all encouraged to exhibit the interesting and beautiful things they are working on. Makers wishing to participate should contact Richard Breen at 715-423-5359 to arrange for space and power. Maker setup is scheduled from 5-6 p.m.
MSTC camps are popular with area youth, so they fill up fast. Students interested in attending College Camp next year can contact Betsy Feaster at 715-422-5413. Individuals who are interested in future engineering camps can contact Gary Kilgas at 715-422-5572. To learn more about MSTC, visit www.mstc.edu or stop by the MSTC location nearest you.
From wiscnews.com: “Griesmer named MPTC Student of the Year” – Tom Griesmer, of Rubicon, was recently named the Moraine Park Technical College Student of the Year.
Griesmer, who will receive his electrical power distribution technical diploma this May, was named student of the year following an intensive interview and presentation process.
Each year, one student is chosen to receive the Student of the Year award, according to Lisa Manuell, Moraine Park’s student involvement specialist.
“That student has excelled in and outside the classroom, made the most of his or her college experience, and modeled Moraine Park’s core abilities, or life skills,” she said. These skills include the ability to communicate clearly, act responsibly, work cooperatively and productively, adapt to change, demonstrate integrity, and think critically and creatively.
“I was caught off guard receiving the award,” said Griesmer, who enrolled at Moraine Park at the urging of his employer. “I believe that Moraine Park’s core abilities represent how people should carry themselves in everyday life. I didn’t think I was doing things that were out of the ordinary.”
Griesmer, who was among five other finalists – May Montezon of North Fond du Lac, Tanya Schloemer of Hartford, Austin Barten of Mayville, Becca Jahns of Beaver Dam, and Bonnie Weiss of Kewaskum – best fit award qualifications, according to a selection committee comprised of Moraine Park faculty, staff and a student representative.
It was his story that set him apart, according to Scott Lieburn, dean of students. As an older student with a family and full-time job, Griesmer enrolled in Moraine Park’s Electrical Power Distribution technical diploma program to further his knowledge and skills.
“I was sent to Moraine Park for cross training by the utility division of the City of Hartford,” he said. “I was really excited for the opportunity, but nervous because the program is mostly filled with younger students.”
Griesmer, who brought hands-on skills and knowledge to class, served as a mentor to his younger fellow classmates. He involved himself in the Electrical Power Distribution club on campus – working to gain as much skill and knowledge as possible.
“I had 23 years of working experience with a utility company, while most of my classmates came in from high school,” said Griesmer. “I was able to share my experiences with my classmates. They are a good group of guys who strive to do their best and are encouraging to each other. That helped me a lot, as well.”
Griesmer maintains his greatest challenge involved gearing up for the requirements of a college program.
“I had to get back into the classroom itself and switch my lifestyle from work back to homework,” said Griesmer. “I had to adjust to studying out of books again. The whole experience was wonderful. I got through it, did well with grades and made great friendships along the way.”
“More employers should send their employees back to school for training,” he said. “It’s been a mutual investment and commitment that I hope makes me a more valuable employee.”
May 21, 2013
From fox11online.com: “Sargento cheese guitar made at FVTC” – GRAND CHUTE – Are you a cheese and music lover? Some area students mixed the two together for a special project.
Company officials from cheesemaker Sargento Foods made a visit to Fox Valley Technical College Monday.
They were collecting a customized cheese guitar.
The guitar will be put in Sargento’s lobby to help raise awareness on what initiatives around the region are going on to build skill sets.
Organizers say the students learned a variety of skills during the project.
“They start with a solid block of wood and they start exploring different careers like mechanical design and they have to design and cut out their guitar, after that you’re looking at wood science, there’s soldering, all the science of intonation and tuning so they cover about a dozen different careers that they explore,” said Steve Gallagher, FAB Lab manager.
A guitar building class is offered through Fox Valley Tech.
From whattheythink.com: “Fox Valley Technical College welcomes the NPIRI Printing Ink Technology Course” – National Printing Ink Research Institute (NPIRI) will be hosting its annual Printing Ink Technology Course July 14-19 in Appleton, Wisconsin. NPIRI is offering this unique course at Fox Valley Technical College and it will provide comprehensive, in-depth yet flexible coverage of printing ink and printing technologies.
The course is carefully designed to bring new employees up to speed quickly; and provide more experienced employees the fundamental understanding necessary to improve, update and expand their skill sets.
“The NPIRI Summer Course is an exceptionally unique educational opportunity which appeals to both experienced ink technicians and those new to the field. The scope and depth of the course is unmatched by any other course or seminar. This is the course to learn about printing ink,” said George Fuchs, Director – Environmental Affairs and Technology for NAPIM.
Attendees can expect an ‘immersion’ type environment in which introductory and advanced concepts are reinforced with multiple practical/hands-on applications in an informal and interactive format. This course is also an exceptional value among training courses of its type.
The course is presented by industry experts from both ink companies and suppliers who know the language of the industry and the fundamental science.
This course has been conducted by NPIRI since the mid-1960s. Over time it has been modified to include newer technologies and instructional techniques but one thing hasn’t changed – the all but unanimous positive reviews from its attendees.
From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Retiring fire chief reflects on 31-year career” – Marshfield Fire Chief James Schmidt retires May 24 after more than 31 years of service to the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department. I had a chance to sit down with him recently to reflect on his career and more than three decades of service to the city of Marshfield.
A Wisconsin native, Chief Schmidt grew up in the Fox Valley area and attended school in Appleton. His father worked for a large fire apparatus manufacturer in Appleton, and his uncle worked for a fire department in the Milwaukee suburbs. The seeds of a career in the fire service had been cast. Upon graduation, he enrolled in the Fire Protection Program at Fox Valley Technical College, graduating in 1981. He completed the cadet program a Grand Chute and Oshkosh Fire departments. Shortly after graduation, he landed his first full-time career in the fire service with the Kaukauna Fire Department.
A strong work ethic and a desire to serve the public in concert with all the ideologies of a new recruit were met with the realities of recession and budget cuts. After only six months on the job, the new recruit’s position was eliminated.
Newly unemployed in a recession that was affecting most municipalities in Wisconsin, Schmidt began testing state-wide for positions. On April 5, 1982, he accepted a position with the Marshfield Fire Department.
Clayton Simonson was the fire chief at the time. The Marshfield Fire Department was in the process of addressing a referendum regarding the Optional Powers of the Fire and Police Commission, the reorganization of the two platoon shift schedule, and a paid-on-call firefighter program. Firefighters had many questions for Schmidt about his time at Kaukauna, Oshkosh and Grand Chute and the schedules and operations at those locations.
He served as an acting lieutenant/relief lieutenant before being promoted to deputy chief of the Red Shift on Aug. 7, 2001. In that capacity, he was responsible for the city and county hazmat team, the Fire Investigation Team and specialized rescue programs. He secured a grant for the purchase of rescue vehicles, equipment and training as part of a Central Wisconsin Collapse Rescue Team. He was a fire investigator for the city and served on the Wood County Fire Investigation Task Force as secretary/treasurer and president.
Schmidt was instrumental in developing the regional training center in partnership with Mid-State Technical College. The training center is one of his proudest accomplishments. As a fire service instructor, he recognizes the complexities of emergency service response and making sure our rescue workers are prepared.
Schmidt is on the board of directors for the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association, co-chairman of the Wisconsin Technical College System Fire Service Advisory Committee on Education and Training and chairman of the MSTC Fire Service Advisory Committee.
People always are curious about rescue workers’ most memorable calls.
“You remember a lot of calls for various reasons,” Schmidt said. “The calls that seem to stick with me are the untimely deaths of the young, whether it is by traumatic accident or illness.
“If pressed, I would say the Central State Supply fire on Depot Street early in my career was one of the more memorable because I was treated and released from the hospital for smoke inhalation and heat exhaustion,” Schmidt said.
“I also responded to a fatal fire that same year where a young child perished. I can still see vividly the image of the lifeless child being carried in the arms of another firefighter from a second-story closet.”
The downtown Magic Moments fire on April 1, 2005, was the largest multi-agency fire response Schmidt commanded.
In three decades of service, the biggest changes in the Marshfield Fire and Rescue Department from Schmidt’s perspective are the development of the paramedic ambulance service, the advancements in personal protective equipment, firefighter safety and the cost of vehicles.
When Schmidt started in 1982, the annual fire department budget was $800,000; this year it was just under $4 million.
Other notable changes are in training and education. We have a more educated workforce, and advancements in state and national standards have increased the need for more training to meet the many varied emergencies to which today’s fire departments respond.
“I am happy to say the fire service has become more proactive versus reactive,” Schmidt said. “The fire department culture has become more professional and less traditional.
“We have become the risk managers of our community,” he said. “We spend more time identifying potential threats, analyzing the risk, and assessing our vulnerabilities.”
“Through our fire prevention and training efforts, responsive fire codes, improved building design, and cooperation from the general public, the number of significant fires has been reduced,” Schmidt said.
“We still have far too many fires that could have been prevented by adherence to simple fire safety practices,” he said.
Two accomplishments he is proud of are the part he played in the development of the regional training center and the construction of the new fire station. However, he is most proud of his role in changing the organizational culture of the department.
“The high level of cooperation that currently exists within the organization has helped us overcome most any operational challenges we have faced over the past six years,” he said. “The fire service truly becomes your second family, and when the alarm sounds, regardless of any interpersonal conflicts, all members work as a team for the common goal of saving the life or property of someone they typically have never met.”
Schmidt said, “I’ll miss the camaraderie, and I am confident the department will continue to adhere to the basic philosophies: treat people the way you want to be treated, make decisions that are best for the community and department and do what you can to leave the department in a better position than we you got there.”
May 9, 2013
From greenbaypressgazette.com: “NWTC students will use donated semi-tractor from county” – The Door County Highway Department has made a donation to Northeast Wisconsin Technical College that the school says will advance diesel training in Northeastern Wisconsin. The Department presented a Peterbilt Model 378 semi-tractor for use in NWTC’s Diesel Equipment Technician and Diesel Equipment Technology programs. Both programs are offered on NWTC’s Sturgeon Bay campus.
The donated tractor will offer students exposure to all aspects of truck systems repair, including electronic diesel engine technology, power trains, electrical systems, steering, brakes, suspension and air conditioning.
“The key to the success of our Diesel Equipment programs is offering our students a chance to work on modern equipment,” said Joe Draves, NWTC associate dean of trades and engineering technologies. “NWTC recognizes the importance of this donation and appreciates the support of the Door County Highway Department in developing future diesel technicians.”
With the diesel industry on the upswing and the current work force aging, demand for skilled technicians is high. The Department of Labor expects diesel technician positions to grow 15 percent by 2020.
“The Door County Highway Department is pleased to assist the NWTC Diesel program, which is an extremely valuable part of our community,” said John Kolodziej, Door County Highway Commissioner. “We are giving back because many of our employees have gained valuable training and education from the NWTC program.”
NWTC offers both a two-year technical diploma and a two-year associate degree in diesel equipment. Graduates of the programs are equipped to diagnose, service and repair a variety of diesel-powered equipment.