From thenorthwestern.com: “FVTC, UW-Oshkosh hope to make a dent in projected pilot gap” — By Noell Dickmann – A dark cloud is looming above the aviation industry: A predicted shortage of pilots by 2022 will affect everyone who travels by air.

Jared Huss, Fox Valley Technical College Aeronautics Pilot Training Lead Instructor, said a shortage of pilots will mean fewer planes in the air and fewer seats for passengers – pushing up the cost of air travel.

“Everything’s kind of pointing to that perfect storm of that happening,” Huss said.

In response to the shortage, colleges are making changes to get more pilots into the work force faster. In Oshkosh, FVTC and the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh established a partnership to help meet the demand for pilots.

Huss said there are a number of reasons for the shortage, including mandatory retirements and duty time regulation changes in the wake of Continental Flight 3407s crash into a house near Buffalo, N.Y. in 2009 that killed 50.

Pilots must now have more uninterrupted rest between flights and are required to have an ATP license, or Airline Transport Pilot license, which mandates 1,500 flight hours as a pilot. Regional airlines could previously hire pilots with 250 hours, but now legally cannot, Huss said.

The 1,500-hour qualification poses a problem for pilot-training graduates, who in general come out of aeronautics programs with 250-300 flight hours.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) forecasts that 18,000 pilots from major airlines in the United States will reach mandatory retirement age by 2022. The GAO also forecasts that regional airlines will need about 4,500 pilots per year for the next decade to fill the void.

However, studies show the flight-training industry can only support between 2,500-3,000 pilots per year.

To help fill that void, graduates from two-year schools with programs that are approved by the Federal Aviation Administration can qualify for a restricted ATP at 1,250 hours instead.

FVTC is applying for that certification. Students will have the option to graduate with a technical diploma in two years, and can return for a third year to earn their associate’s degree and flight instructor certificate. The changes will give FVTC the ability to double its capacity, graduating an average of 16 pilots per year.

“I realize that when there’s a demand for 4,500 pilots a year that’s…a drop in the bucket, but we’re doing what we can to stretch that and grow our capacity,” Huss said. “And if all the other flight training programs out there can do something similar to scale, then hopefully we can ramp it up for the need.”

The typical path of graduates is to go on to be a flight instructor and build the hours they need, then move up to a regional airline, continuing to build hours and work their way up to a major airline.

“We send graduates all over, anywhere from those commercial type of jobs, like [pilots for] the skydiver, crop dusting, aerial photography, all the way up to corporate pilot and airline pilot as well,” Huss said.

In the long run, a new collaboration with UWO could be recognized for a restricted ATP at 1,000 hours as well.

The partnership between the schools allows FVTC graduates to earn a Bachelor of Applied Studies degree with an emphasis in aviation management from UWO online, and they can do it while they’re working. It allows them to get in the work force sooner and build more flight time.

Take Kodye Shier, who graduated from FVTC in 2011 and went on to be a paid flight instructor intern at FVTC for two years. He built up about 1,000 hours of flight experience, and is now a corporate pilot for Menards based in Eau Claire.

Originally from Rice Lake, the 24-year-old now has 1,600 flight hours under his wings and flies Menards staff all over the Midwest on a daily basis.

He said taking the route he did has put him ahead – on average he has about 250 more flight hours than other pilots he sees with the same level of experience.

Shier is working part-time toward his bachelor’s degree through the online program with UWO. He said the degree will help him when looking for jobs.

“I think with aviation timing is everything,” Shier said. “And I feel like where I’m at right now is a very comfortable spot as far as timing.”

Huss said not all FVTC graduates want to be airline pilots – actually, he sees many going the corporate route like Shier did for stability.

“We just want to have our program and partnership with UW-Oshkosh to be as best set up as possible so that if our graduates want to go that route, that they’re set up and ready to go as best as they can.”

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From thenorthwestern.com: “University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh among partners for new engineering degrees” — The University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will soon be one of two four-year UW institutions to offer a new collaborative degree program aimed at meeting the demands of local employers.

Members of the Northeast Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance announced Wednesday the creation of Bachelor of Science programs in electrical, mechanical and environmental engineering technology developed by faculty members at the alliance’s 13 institutions and colleges and regional manufacturers.

The program aims to make the training more accessible to students in northeast Wisconsin and to fulfill a growing need in the region for “well-prepared engineering graduates.”

UWO, along with UW-Green Bay, will serve as the four-year institutions where students can finish the program and earn their degrees, although students can begin their academic studies at any of the 13 NEW ERA institutions and colleges, said UWO Chancellor Richard Wells, who also serves as founding chairman of the alliance.

“That’s what makes it especially exciting and innovative and very accessible both for people who already have, say, an associate degree and extensive work experience as well students coming in right out of our high schools in the state of Wisconsin,” Wells said.

A consortium of executives from the region’s four technical colleges, five UW two-year colleges, two comprehensive universities, the College of the Menominee Nation and the UW Extension, NEW ERA serves as a vehicle for collaboration among higher learning institutions, economic and workforce development agencies and business.

The new degree programs will teach students the skills necessary to become engineering technologists in a variety of industries including manufacturing, construction, operational engineering, water and waste-water management, agribusiness, biotechnology and engineering service firms.

Through the use of existing laboratory facilities, such as UWO’s Environmental Research and Innovation Center, technical college instructors and university professors alike will be able to build on existing associate degree programs in hopes of supporting employees and employers in manufacturing and other industry sectors, said Mark Weber, dean of trades and engineering technologies at Green Bay-based Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

Although many manufacturers in northeast Wisconsin already employ such graduates, they often lack a connection to the region and in some cases, the state, Weber said.

“Unfortunately, they were coming from universities outside of our region,” he said. “Additionally, several employers have indicated that they are encouraging many of their existing employees to return to school to complete these new programs.”

The effort serves as an example of the positive work higher education institutions can accomplish when they collaborate toward a common goal, said John Short, CEO and dean of UW-Fond du Lac.

“We were able to work together to meet the needs of our area,” Short said, noting leaders will continue to work with employers and others in the region to adapt to their changing needs. “This program is truly unique. It breaks down barriers, it brings together partners and it really meets the economic development needs of this area of the state.”

From lacrossetribune.com: “Job training law to help businesses compete globally, Doyle says” — ONALASKA — A law incubated in La Crosse will hatch jobs throughout Wisconsin and enhance Badger State employers’ ability to be global players, said author Rep. Steve Doyle.

The law, which Gov. Scott Walker signed in April and repeated at a ceremonial signing at Crescent Printing Co. in Onalaska Friday, expands Workforce Advancement Training grants to technical colleges.

“Current use of WAT grants is too limited for many businesses to make use of them,” said Doyle, an Onalaska Democrat. “This proposal was designed to help companies compete in new markets by expanding the way these grants can be used.”

Established in 2005, the state-funded WAT grants are administered by the Wisconsin Technical College System, which awards them to the state’s 16 tech schools to train companies’ current employees.

That differentiates them from programs to train new employees and allows businesses to advance their workers’ skills, Walker said.

Roger Bjorge, president of the fourth-generation company Crescent Printing, said, “It’s an opportunity for our employees to take classes to get further training.”

The company, which Bjorge co-owns with Bill Lund, has 45 employees, Bjorge said.

Grants previously were allowed for businesses with no more than 100 employees or $10 million in gross annual income. The new law expands the programs to businesses with up to 250 employees and allows grants to tech schools to help business expand their markets or diversify.

“This diversification will ultimately result in job growth,” Doyle said.

The grants range from $2,500 to $200,000 a company for general businesses and $2,500 to $50,000 for small businesses.

The grants provided about $17.6 million to help hundreds of employers train more than 77,000 workers across the state by the end of fiscal year 2012.

La Crosse economic development professionals helped formulate the law at a roundtable that included representatives of Western Technical College, Workforce Connections, the La Cross Area Chamber of Commerce, the La Crosse Area Development Corp. and other members of the Seven Rivers Alliance, as well as Doyle and Sen. Jennifer Shilling, D-La Crosse.

Doyle authored the measure in the Assembly and asked Shilling to sponsor it in the upper chamber, and she enlisted Republican Sen. Joseph Leibham of Sheboygan as primary author, while she became secondary author.

“I give her a lot of credit for getting something done without getting credit,” Doyle said.

The bill passed the Legislature with nearly unanimous bipartisan support. Out of 380 bills the Legislature passed this past session, only 31 had Democrats as primary authors.

“Jobs creation is not a partisan issue, and I was happy to work with both sides of the aisle to make sure this bill became law,” Doyle said.

From biztimes.com: “Fill the skills gap” — by Cary Silverstein – A question constantly asked by business people and the unemployed is: “What are we doing to close the skillset gap in Wisconsin?”

The answer lies in businesses and the community getting together to solve this “gap.” According to Competitive Wisconsin Inc.’s Be Bold 2 study by ManpowerGroup, the unmet demand for metal workers, including welders, is expected to reach 7,101 by 2016. Should these positions remain unfilled, it is estimated that state and local government lost revenues could amount to $265,410,915 over a 10-year job lifecycle.

The Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Wisconsin, a non-profit 501(c)(3) established more than 40 years ago, has developed a new generation training solution that addresses the growing skilled worker shortage in the greater Milwaukee, Wausau, Fox Valley and Green Bay regions. It is called the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership.

The HCCW has developed this partnership with Miller Electric Mfg. Co., Monarch Corp., Joy Global, the Metropolitan Milwaukee Association of Commerce, technical colleges, government agencies and private foundations with the intent of solving the critical shortage of skilled welders in Wisconsin. Together, they have created a unique employer-approved education and training program, which addresses this shortage in a manner that benefits the underserved low to moderate income (LMI) workers who are often unemployed/underemployed and who are often constituents of the HCCW. This program is not exclusive to any ethnicity, and is open to any state resident.

This HCCW Training Initiative is an anti-poverty solution that connects unemployed and under employed workers with accredited welding skills development and training at no cost to trainees. This program offers a pathway to a higher paying career in welding at an accelerated pace. The median starting pay for skilled welding positions is $35,450 a year. This is a paid training program that takes up to 16 weeks to complete. The participants are immediately job eligible upon completion of the program. This is followed by ongoing on-the-job training to enhance their newly acquired skills.

This initiative differentiates itself by including essential life skills training for participants, including time management and punctuality, critical thinking and problem solving, financial education and communication skills. This program is designed to supply workforce-ready candidates who are able to step into entry-level welding positions. Participants will complete essential life skills training in a mentorship-based support group setting before advancing to the employer-approved welder training course provided by the tech colleges.

What makes this program different?

Solving the skilled welder shortage isn’t just providing technical training. A true solution involves addressing those issues (substance abuse and a lack of essential life skills) which ultimately disqualify someone from employment. This unique program has three primary components: a support system program with trainee mentorship, essential life skills training and technical skills training via technical college partners.

The HCCW provides employer-approved essential life skills training to each candidate including:

  • Time management and punctuality
  • Critical thinking and problem solving
  • First impressions/building relationships
  • Computer literacy
  • Maintaining a household budget
  • Communication skills (may include English language instruction)

Technical training is provided by area technical colleges via an employer-approved training curriculum. The 14 to 16 week curriculum includes basic welding, blueprint reading and weld symbols, math, and manufacturing techniques.

Projected results of the initiative

This initiative produces an individual that is responsible, punctual, accountable and reliable, with a strong work ethic and a drive to succeed. These candidates are ready to enter the job market with all the skills necessary for entry level welding positions. The technical college credentials earned in this program are transferable and can be used to attain further, more complex welding credentials. This initiative simplifies and eases the rigors of the traditional hiring process, which permits the employers to review a candidate’s metrics and a trainee’s video profile. Also, they can hire an employee with a proven track record, worthy of further training investment.

The HCCW Training Initiative is a real solution to the shortage of skilled welders. By providing essential life skills and technical training, candidates are able to obtain well-paying jobs. This initiative facilitates upward economic mobility for the LMI constituents served by the program. Once employed in an entry level position, these new employees have the opportunity for further employer training and tuition reimbursement programs. The result is they strengthen themselves and their employers through the adoption of life-long earning skills. The dual nature of this program will help the unemployed/underemployed while providing sorely needed skilled workers, keeping Wisconsin’s manufacturers strong. This training initiative recently received national recognition and substantial funding by the American Welding Society after their review of the program. The HCCW Training Initiative is now considered to be the top AWS skills development program in the nation.

The next step

If this pilot project proves successful, we as business communities should duplicate it across the board in our state. Closing the skillset gap in this and other vocational areas will strengthen our economy and bring new jobs to our communities, while reducing unemployment in areas where few opportunities exist. The resources, both educational and technical, exist in our community. We need to leverage these resources and provide the unemployed with new skills so they can rejoin the workforce and provide a better standard of living for themselves and their families.

The HCCW says its partners report that in the Racine-Kenosha manufacturing sector there are more than 1,000 skilled worker vacancies. Filling the local manufacturing sector’s jobs would contribute to the state and local economy year after year.

Companies interested in joining this program should contact the Hispanic Chamber at skillstraining@HCCW.org.

 

From jsonline.com: “Program brings classes to Granville Business Improvement District workers” —Manufacturers and other companies in the Granville Business Improvement District on Milwaukee’s northwest side were discussing their workforce needs last fall when the conversation moved beyond the jobs they wanted to fill.

They started talking about the workers they already had, and the skills they needed to become better employees and have a chance to advance in their companies.

One need was identified very quickly: computer skills.

“That was huge. People lack computer skills,” said Mary Hoehne, executive director of the business district. “Then another one was customer service. And another was entry-level supervision for first-time supervisors. And then basic manufacturing things, like manufacturing math, manufacturing blueprint reading — the kind of things you don’t learn if you’re a history major and you land a job with a manufacturer.”

Rather than just encourage employees to develop skills on their own or send them off to technical school, the business improvement district decided to bring the training to the workers.

The business improvement district and Milwaukee Area Technical College worked together to obtain a $15,000 Workforce Advancement Training grant. That allowed MATC and the district to set up a program in which MATC instructors would come out to the area to offer training in 2- to 21/2-hour sessions near the end of the workday.

The Incumbent Workforce Training Program classes, which are free to participants and companies, began at the end of April. Among the courses in the initial program:

■ Computer skills, which includes training in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Access.

■ Technical skills, including separate courses in blueprint reading, machine trades math, technical communications and metallurgy.

■ Customer services skills, intended to help employees better communicate and serve customers.

■ Supervision skills, a course designed for the employee who is almost ready to be promoted to a supervisory or management position or who recently received a promotion.

Two of the courses are being held in a conference room at Busch Precision Inc. at 8200 Faulkner Road, while other locations are the Milwaukee Job Corps offices at 6665 N. 60th St. and the business improvement district offices at 7817 W. Brown Deer Road.

Mike Mallwitz, president of Busch Precision, said he believes “education is lifelong” and important to maintaining a strong local workforce.

“A lot of money goes into education to help people get jobs. But how do you keep them in those jobs? Well, you give them a little education — not years of it, but doses of skills they’re lacking so they can keep ascending,” Mallwitz said.

As better-trained employees are promoted, it opens up entry-level jobs.

“This is a great way to keep the workforce going,” Mallwitz said.

Doug Smith, the manager of a Walgreens store in the Granville area, said some of his employees are enrolled in the customer service and supervisor classes.

“When I saw these classes, I thought this was just perfect for my employees,” Smith said. “It gives them the step up, especially if they are trying to move into that supervisor role. It lets them know ahead of time exactly what they need.”

Susan Paprcka, the director of marketing for Busch Precision, was among those attending the class on blueprint reading.

“To me, this is so valuable in terms of growing manufacturing and the ‘skills gap’ everybody talks about,” she said. “People like myself, who haven’t been in this industry, this makes me want to stay in the industry when they offer professional development and learning kinds of opportunities.”

The classes are held in the late afternoon on a workday once a week, typically 3 or 3:30 p.m. About 80 Granville-area workers are enrolled in the program’s inaugural sessions. Participants come from manufacturers, insurers, retailers and other companies that are members of the Granville Business Improvement District.

“We are hoping this does open doors for people to get promoted,” Hoehne said. “That’s the hope of the grant — that people will get promoted and it will open doors.”

From fdlreporter.com: “North Fond du Lac and Moraine Park team up to help adult students with disabilities” — Hunter Develice of Fond du Lac has a dream of someday working as an animator for Walt Disney Studios.

The 19-year-old is looking forward to a career, but at the same time he is among a growing number of young adults with disability who need help transitioning into college life. Every day he deals with both the positive and negative aspects of autism.

“I want people to know that living with autism is just different,” he said. “When my brain works differently I have a hard time understanding things like jokes. I can get frustrated when there is too much information at one time.”

His mother, Laurie Develice, is a member of Fond du Lac County Community on Transitions and decided to bring up the lack of programming in the area for students like her son.

“These kids want to go on to post-secondary training but they need to be able to do certain things like identify themselves with a disability and advocate for themselves,” she said.

She caught the ear of board member Jana Weigandt, who serves as special education teacher and transition coordinator for the North Fond du Lac School District. The two visited Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay to view a program run in cooperation with CESA 7. The program has grown significantly in seven years and serves 18- to 21-year-olds with intellectual or developmental disabilities.

“I instantly fell in love with the program and told our Superintendent Aaron Sadoff about it and he was all for it,” Weigandt said. “He said as a school district we will do whatever it takes to make this happen.”

Program start

Learning for Independence will be offered this fall at Moraine Park Technical College in conjunction with the North Fond du Lac School District. The program is designed for students who have completed four years of high school but need help bridging the gap from high school into the post-secondary educational setting or workforce.

The goal is to help students gain confidence and learn skills to better advocate for themselves, not only in a college setting but also in the community, said Laurie Develice. Very often students with disabilities end up with much higher unemployment rates.

“These kids need some help with social skills. This program acts as a bridge and gives kids an opportunity to be in that inclusive environment taught by adjunct professors” Laurie Develice said.

Bonnie Bauer, director of admissions at MPTC, said three non-credit classes will be offered each semester. The first courses will be self-determination, technology basics and personal safety. If enough students enroll, they can continue in the program the following year, she said.

“Students will benefit from being in an age-appropriate environment,” Bauer said. “I’m most excited that they will be able to participate in all student life activities and really get a feel for college.”

The North Fond du Lac School District will serve as the fiscal agent for the program.

School districts in Wisconsin are required to educate a student with disabilities until the age of 21, so the student’s school district will pay for the cost of the program, somewhere between $3,000 to $3,500. All students will receive a Chromebook. Between eight and 15 students are expected the first year.

Barb Zimmerman, retired transition coordinator for the Rosendale-Brandon School District, will serve as program director.

Looking forward

Hunter Develice has been taking independent study classes to learn Pro Cut X for video editing and computer classes. He completed an internship at Mercury Marine in the print shop and also works in the copy room at Fond du Lac High School. He works part time at Cartridge World.

“I hope to learn to get comfortable working at MPTC,” he said. “I look forward to learning more about animation and computers.”

Laurie Develice knows that new things can be a little scary for people with autism.

“It’s exciting to know that he will be in a supportive setting that will help him look forward to the future,” she said.

The Fond du Lac program is open to students in all Fond du Lac area school districts and is now accepting applications. Information is available through case managers at area school districts or from Debbie Ellingen, director of special education, or Jana Weigandt at the North Fond du Lac School District at (920) 929-3750.

From wxpr.org: Nicolet Career Expo Draws Hundreds” — More than 600 middle school students learned about career options today in Rhinelander.  Seventh graders from schools around the Northwoods attended the Nicolet College Career Expo.

Organizer and Career Coach Kelly Anunson says it’s the second time Nicolet has hosted the event…that tries to draw a variety of exhibitors.

 “Our knowledge of careers in middle school are pretty limited to the dentists office, the doctors and our teachers. And we wanted them to have a chance to not only learn about other career options out there but also to get a hands-on feel for what it’s really about to be in that career.”

Most of the seventh graders seemed to be having a good time roaming the exhibits hosted by more than 40 organizations and employers.  Here’s Logan from Rhinelander.

“I think it’s pretty fun.  And there’s prizes here to win.  I really like cars, so I like the fire extinguishers that are outside and the firemen and stuff.”

DNR Conservation Warden Jim Young brought a pile of animal pelts that he says helps start a conversation with the kids.

“Now, still fairly young I mean these kids are in seventh grade so they’re not really thinking longterm.  But if it sparks an interest, that it’s something maybe they’ll consider pursuing.”

Others hits included make-and-eat-your-own dessert from Holiday Acres Resort…and hold a Madagascar hissing cockroach with the Northwoods Wildlife Center.

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