March 11, 2014
From wiscnews.com: “Schrofer earns third in apprentice competition” — Dave Schrofer of Hill’s Wiring, Inc. took third place in the electrical category during the 2014 ABC of Wisconsin Skill Competition held Feb. 25 in Green Bay.
Schrofer, currently attending Madison College, was one of 25 ABC of Wisconsin apprentices from throughout the state who demonstrated their knowledge and craft skills in the competition, which included a four-hour practical and a two-hour written exam.
Apprentices worked on projects from specifications and blueprints; they focused on performing assigned tasks while employers, instructors, judges and others looked on. The competitors were scored on skill, workmanship, safety, and efficiency. The written, safety, and practical scores were then combined to determine the top three competitors in each trade.
March 10, 2014
From fox6now.com: “Veteran settles into his dream job after switching careers” – Getting a job with nothing but a high school diploma can be difficult. Starting a career without a high school diploma can be nearly impossible. That’s the challenge many of our military members face when they leave the service — but one veteran was able to turn his Army experience into opportunity.
“Ever since I was 10 years old, my grandpa brought me to my uncle’s welding shop, and after seeing that atmosphere, you know, guys welding, grinding metal, flames — it just seemed like a really cool job to do and I was like ‘man, I want to do that,’” Jeremy Jurkiewicz said.
But life’s blueprint for Jurkiewicz put him on a different path out of high school. At the age of 19, he sought to wear the badge of a police officer. He started by joining the Army’s Military Police Corps.
“I enlisted to serve and deploy and just for a job,” Jurkiewicz said.
For the next three years, he experienced the life of a cop, including a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. It was during this time Jurkiewicz says he discovered policing wasn’t for him.
His love of welding was reignited when he left active service, but starting a new career from scratch is no easy task. Like many of his peers who are former military, Jurkiewicz faced a choice — jump into the job search with what experience and education he had — or retrain himself.
“If there`s something that you want to do, pursue it. Go to school or look online, see what classes they have to offer. Something sparks your interest, go for it. Pursue it,” Jurkiewicz said.
Jurkiewicz credits his motivation and mettle to his time in the Army. It’s that mettle which helped him to get into “Welding Boot Camp” at Gateway Technical College in Racine. He eventually graduated, and landed a job at Metalworld Incorporated.
“When they talk about a skills gap, it’s not so much the hard skills as far as finding guys that know how to weld, like to work with their hands. It’s really guys that are willing to do that five days a week on a week-to-week basis,” Metalworld Inc. President Gary Meier said.
“Anyone can get a job, but not everyone can get a career and a career that you want to do and you love doing every day. I don’t get up every day and be like ‘oh I gotta go to work.’ I’m excited to go to work, work, learn and progress in my skills and just become the best welder and fabricator I can become,” Jurkiewicz said.
Jurkiewicz is still serving as an Army Reservist. His welding career has progressed since he last spoke with FOX6 News. He no longer works at Metalworld in Racine — after taking a job with Compo Steel Products in Milwaukee.
From pricecountydaily.com: “School Board learns of transcripted credit classes for CHS students” — At its regular meeting in Glidden on February 25, the Chequamegon School Board heard a report from Bobbi Damrow, Regional Dean of Northcentral Technical College (NTC). Damrow gave background on the relationship that has developed between the NTC Phillips campus and Chequamegon School District over the last few years giving CHS students the opportunity to take classes that are recognized both by NTC for their degree programs and by CHS toward their high school diploma.
Currently junior and senior students are offered courses in the Industrial Electronics and Maintenance Technician Academy. This program is intended to provide a pathway or career for students in the industrial electronics maintenance field. The classes, taken at CHS, are taught by CHS teachers utilizing curriculum provided by NTC. Students have the potential of obtaining 12 college credits and applying those credits toward an associate’s degree at NTC after high school. Students also have the option of transferring the credits earned in high school to other four-year college or university’s toward completing their bachelor’s degree.
Damrow thanked the school board for approving and supporting this cooperative venture that benefits both the school district and NTC. She pointed out, “Last year Chequamegon students earned the equivalent of 153 college-level credits and the families of those students saved $20,574 in tuition costs that they would otherwise have paid to NTC for the courses.” This year students, and their families, are on track to save over $46,000 in tuition costs. In addition to the Academy, courses taught for transcripted credit include Introduction to Business, Marketing Principles, Desktop Publishing, and Employment Skills for Technicians, to name a few. Next year and new Health Academy will be introduced to CHS students who have an interest in pursuing a career in the health field. This will build on the Medical Terminology and Body Structure courses already offered and include a possible summer field experience at Flambeau Hospital.
Damrow indicated that an Information Technology Academy is currently being developed to be introduced in the not too distant future. Board president Adam Hoffman stated, “This partnership with NTC is an example of how two schools working together can provide great opportunities for our students and their families.”
March 10, 2014
From sheboyganpress.com: “Traffic safety courses planned at LTC” — Lakeshore Technical College is offering two Tractor Safety for Youth courses that will address both tractor/farm implement safety and farm-related safety practices. The first session will be held on Saturdays, March 29 through April 26; the second session will be held May 17, June 9, June 11 and June 13. The class will be held at LTC’s Cleveland campus in the Agriculture and Energy Building.
The course is intended for youth ages 13 and older. It will prepare participants for successfully completing the Wisconsin written exam and tractor driving demonstration toward certification that permits 14-year-olds to drive on public roads and work for non-family farm operations.
The course meets child labor requirements in agriculture under the Fair Labor Standards Act pertaining to employment of youth ages 14 and older on farms not operated by their parents or guardians.
A parent or legal guardian must accompany the student for the first two hours of the first class. The fee is $139, which includes the book.
The registration deadline is 10 days prior to the first day of class. Class size is limited to 20 students, and early registration is encouraged. To register, call 1-888-468-6582, ext. 1366.
March 7, 2014
From weau.com: “Tax cuts could change tech school funding” – A proposed tax cut could affect the way area technical colleges are funded.
Earlier this week, the state senate approved Governor Scott Walker’s plan to use the state surplus to cover $504-million in tax cuts.
Under the changes technical colleges would get more than $400-million from the state’s budget surplus- meaning homeowners would pay less toward funding schools like Chippewa Valley Technical College.
“From our point of view as a system it really brings us some balance in the system in terms of where our funds come from,” Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy said.
Foy says the changes to buy down homeowners property taxes using the state’s surplus would mean more balance when it comes to funding schools.
“With this change happening in 2015 we would go back we would have greater balance state aid would account for 45-percent of our operating costs as opposed to 10-percent,” Foy explained.
What the cuts would mean for the average home owner and tax payers is more money in their pocket.
“For a typical working family in the state it means their property taxes will be down more than 100 dollars and it means there withholding the amount they see in their paycheck will actually go up by over 500 dollars through the end of the year,” Governor Scott Walker said.
Governor Walker says in addition to the shift in funding due to the budget surplus, the state will also give a one-time payment of $35-million to technical colleges to help cut down on the amount of time it takes to enroll in classes.
“There was $35-million available in the Wisconsin Economic Development budget and we shifted that into helping our technical colleges buying down our wait list,” Walker said.
Despite the increased money to technical colleges, area Democrats say it still doesn’t make up for the deep cuts that were made in the past year.
“It doesn’t address a few things. The first is it doesn’t address the fact that there was $72-million cut last year,” State Representative Dana Wachs said.
The tax cut bill now heads to the state assembly for a vote on March 18th. If approved it would head to the governor’s desk for his signature.
March 7, 2014
From beloitdailynews.com: “Police recruits aim to improve community relations” – By Geoff Bruce – The most recent recruits of Blackhawk Technical College’s Police Recruit Academy are stretching their legs and building some bridges.
The first ever “Miles for a Message” campaign is the brainchild of the most recently graduated class of academy recruits, Class 13-64.
“The recruits decided that they wanted to do something. These people want to become law enforcement officers, not just study about it,” Blackhawk Technical College Recruit Academy Coordinator Doug Anderson said.
Miles for a Message will take place April 5 and consist of two halves. The first will be a relay run beginning at 8 a.m. consisting of many runners teaming up to conquer the 26.2-mile course. The morning jaunt will start from Blackhawk Technical College’s Central Campus, 6004 S. County Road G, between Beloit and Janesville, and will head south to Beloit before winding through the city to pass by nearly all of its schools. The run will conclude at the Rotary River Center in Riverside Park in Beloit.
Following the morning run will be an afternoon organization fair. The fair will run from approximately 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the Rotary River Center. The purpose of the fair is to introduce citizens to all of the organizations in the area that may be able to help in difficult times. Police academy graduate Bryanne Tudor says that one ultimate goal of the event is to promote good relations between citizens and law enforcement.
“(My class) all talked about it and we realized a lot of underprivileged people don’t really know the resources available to them,” Tudor said. “As law enforcement, it’s important to us for people to know their resources.”
There is no charge for organizations wishing to take part in the event. For more information on either portion of the event, interested parties can contact Tudor at 608-436-6869.
So far, a handful of organizations have signed up to participate in the organization fair following the run including the City of Beloit, Town of Beloit, and Town of Turtle Police Departments, as well as the Rock County Sheriff’s Department.
“I think that each generation of police officers will see this grow in importance. There can no longer be that disconnection of guys just riding around in squad cars and only connecting when someone’s in need or in trouble,” Anderson said. “We need to get officers out of the car and taking the time to interact with people.”
The event’s first half will also raise money for two Stateline Area organizations via pledges. Runners who sign up to run a leg of the 26.2-mile relay will collect at least $75 in pledges and will be able to sign up to run as much, or as little, as they want.
Benefiting from the funds raised by the pledges will be Project 16:49 and the Merrill Community Center.
“Project 16:49 has really taken off, especially with the opening of their new house. I think that they tackle an issue we all need to be aware of,” Tudor said. “As for Merrill, it’s just been a great organization for so long and we really wanted to show support for it.”
Project 16:49 opened its first house to provide long-term residence for homeless teens last month. Executive Director Tammy DeGarmo says that things with the Robin House are going well so far.
“We’ve had almost everything we need for the house donated to us. We’ve had so many people want to volunteer and help out,” DeGarmo said. “We’re excited for this because it’s not easy to take the time to organize an event and right now we’re very busy with the Robin House and helping our other kids. So to have them put this on for us is wonderful.”
Merrill Community Center Executive Director Regina Dunkin recently participated in a panel at Beloit College regarding the incarceration problem in Wisconsin. Prior to that forum, she made points echoing Tudor’s desires to build bridges between law enforcement and citizens. She stood by those remarks Monday.
“I think it’s another opportunity to show the humanity of police officers,” Dunkin said. “Often we hear from kids that they have negative ideas about police because they’ve gotten in trouble or their parents have gotten in trouble. This is a way to change that perception and show that police officers are people too.”
Like DeGarmo, Dunkin was flattered by the decision by the recruits’ to make Merrill Community Center one of the beneficiaries.
“It’s just wonderful. We don’t always have people in the community willing to take the initiative on things like this for us,” Dunkin said. “It’s really going to help us in continuing to serve the children and families of the center.”
Participants who wish to have a running buddy can sign up together. Runners are not responsible for finding and fielding an entire team to run the 26.2 miles.
“Once we have all the sign-ups, we’ll sort people into teams to make sure that the distances that people want to run add up to 26.2 miles,” Tudor said. “If you have someone you want to run with you can write that down and we’ll make sure you get to.”
The run will pass by over a dozen schools in the Beloit area including Turner High School, Rock County Christian High School, and Beloit Memorial High School.
Throughout the morning, teams will go over the Rock River a couple of times. But whether it be at White, Henry, or Grand Avenue, if Tudor and her colleagues have their way, there will be plenty more crossings on a lot more bridges in the days to come.
March 7, 2014
From weau.com: “Walker attends Manufacturing Show at Chippewa Valley Technical College” – How technology is used in manufacturing was the major focus of a show at CVTC Thursday.
The manufacturing show featured more than 20 companies and a number of programs at the college. It also included a junkyard battle competition where area high school students showcased their talents.
Governor Scott Walker was at the event to see all the college had to offer. He said it’s great to have the connection between the technical college and area high schools to show younger students the opportunities available after graduation.
“It’s amazing to see the things they make, really incredible work, and its great to see all the high schoolers coming by to see the oppourtunities in manufacturing,” said Governor Scott Walker.
More than 40 regional manufacturing businesses were also at the event to talk to guests about career opportunities.
March 6, 2014
From ccdaily.com: “Making success part of college culture” – Editor’s note: This article continues a series profiling nominees of the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) 2014 Awards of Excellence. Featured this week are the four finalists in the category of student success. Winners in each of the six categories will be announced at the AACC Annual Convention next month.
At Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC), student success is more than a concept – it’s a part of the culture. The college’s Dream…Learn It. Live It initiative ensures that student success is woven into every facet of the student experience.
Every employee at NWTC is responsible for finding ways to help students master their courses, remain in college and complete some kind of credential.
“For people who are willing to work and earn that credential, helping them succeed is both a smart policy and the right choice,” said NWTC President H. Jeffrey Rafn.
Program advisors work with students from application through graduation. Four-week courses allow students to concentrate on one subject at a time while maintaining full-time status. Supplemental learning with academic coaches and tutors is available for the most difficult courses. Struggling students are identified earlier and directed to the appropriate student services.
To help students struggling financially, college employees created a food pantry, a second-hand clothing store and an employee giving campaign on campus.
What the data show
The college also improved the quality of its data, allowing for more informed decision-making.
This transformation at NWTC wasn’t always easy or comfortable — systems and assumptions had to be changed — but college leaders, faculty and staff have found ways to turn challenges into triumphs.
“The business intelligence available to us has been significantly redesigned so that we can see what helps students succeed and where they may fall through the cracks,” said Matthew Petersen, associate dean for general studies at the college.
March 6, 2014
From lacrosstribune.com: “Southwest Tech, PdC Memorial open Fennimore Clinic” – Prairie du Chien Memorial Health Clinic-Fennimore opened Monday in the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College campus’ Health Sciences building.
Nurse practitioner Peggy Barton will serve as the clinic’s primary provider. Barton has worked 32 years in nursing and has 19 years of experience as a nurse practitioner, certified in women’s health and family care, with an interest in diabetes.
Primary care services offered at the new clinic include annual health and wellness visits, health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, general consultation and referral.
Dental services and behavioral health services will be added later this year.
March 5, 2014
From journaltimes.com: “Gateway president showcases programs at U.S. conference” – By Aaron Knapp – RACINE — Gateway Technical College President Bryan Albrecht spoke alongside Chelsea Clinton and Melanne Verveer, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues, at a United Nations-sponsored conference in New York City on Tuesday about how to expand women’s access to education.
In this and another conference on Monday, Albrecht discussed Gateway’s programs and efforts to get women educated for careers, especially in fields typically dominated by men.
“I was proud to be able to showcase some of our programs and at least acknowledge the fact that in any community around the world, whether it’s right here in Racine or if it’s overseas somewhere, there’s more that we can do to help young girls find opportunities and create greater points of access,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday evening.
Albrecht was the primary speaker in the IDEAGEN Summit on Monday and led a discussion of about 60 industry CEOs on broadening opportunities for women to be educated.
The U.N. summit on Tuesday, “Turning Inspiration into Action: Next Steps for the Private Sector to Empower Women Globally,” gathered political, business and educational leaders to discuss how to give women greater access to eduction around the world, said
Albrecht, who represented the American Association of Community Colleges.
Although Gateway has more women enrolled than men, Albrecht said school programs are focused on getting women into historically masculine career fields.
“Recognition by being invited to different events like this one I think help validate that we’re doing some positive things for our community and for our students,” he said.
March 5, 2014
From jsonline.com: “Scott Walker’s tax cut plan passes Senate, likely to become law” –Madison — Senate Republicans Tuesday narrowly passed Gov. Scott Walker’s $541 million tax cut proposal in a vote that guaranteed the cuts will become law.
The tax decreases — the third round of cuts by Republicans in less than a year — passed 17-15 with GOP Sen. Dale Schultz of Richland Center joining all Democrats in voting against the proposal. The proposal now goes to the Assembly, which passed a different version of the tax cuts last month with two Democrats joining all Republicans in supporting it.
With growing tax collections now expected to give the state a $1billion budget surplus in June 2015, Walker’s bill will cut property and income taxes for families and businesses, and zero out all income taxes for manufacturers in the state.
Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau) said his party was delivering on a promise to hold down taxes for the people of the state.
“The bottom line is what a great day for the state of Wisconsin — to finally be out of what was a dark time for Wisconsin,” Fitzgerald said, referring to the recent recession.
GOP lawmakers and Walker will use the unexpected windfall for the state as an occasion to trim overall state spending slightly for the next three years rather than increase it.
The votes on the tax cuts, which have split almost entirely along partisan lines in the Legislature, highlight the growing split between the two parties’ visions for the state.
Walker’s initial tax cut proposal would have drawn down the expected surplus and left the state budget in somewhat worse financial position in the future as measured by one commonly used method. To win over a holdout GOP senator concerned about the state’s finances, Walker agreed last month to cut state spending by $38 million to help offset the tax cuts.
Also Tuesday, the Senate voted unanimously to pass a second bill to increase spending on worker training by $35.4 million through June 2015.
Walker’s plan for the surplus prioritizes the tax cuts and a roughly $320 million overhaul of income tax withholding over calls from Democrats to decrease more than $1 billion in borrowing, strengthen the state budget and offset past cuts to schools. Democrats said that was a better approach to running state government and boosting the state’s economy.
“The property tax burden absolutely weighs down the citizens of our state,” Sen. Jennifer Shilling (D-La Crosse) said. “But you know what else weighs down the citizens of this state? Not having a job.”
Under Walker’s bill, the average income tax filer would receive a tax cut of $46 in April 2015 and the typical homeowner would save $131 over the existing law on this December’s bills, according to the Legislature’s nonpartisan budget office.
Also, the governor has separately had his administration alter income tax withholding rates so workers have less taken out of each paycheck — about $520 a year for a married couple making a total of $80,000 a year — starting in April.
“The more money that we give back to the taxpayers, the more money they can spend or save as they wish and the more our economy will grow,” said Sen. Alberta Darling (R-River Hills), co-chairwoman of the Legislature’s budget committee.
The bill would also lower income taxes for factory and farm owners by $36.8 million over the current two-year budget and $91.3 million over the following two years.
GOP supporters of this manufacturing tax cut in the bill see it as fuel for one of the state’s main economic engines.
Democratic opponents see it as a giveaway with a dubious payback to some of the richest people in the state, averaging about $800 for roughly 30,000 tax filers in 2015.
The deal between Walker and GOP senators would also use what is essentially an accounting maneuver to keep a chunk of the surplus — more than $100 million — in the state’s main account rather than shifting it to a rainy day fund.
Mary Burke, a former state commerce secretary and bicycle company executive running against Walker, has said the state should use about half of the surplus to set aside more money in the rainy day fund and reduce the state’s $2billion in new borrowing through June 2015. She would use the remainder for property tax relief and worker training programs.
Burke’s plan for property tax relief and separate plans put forward by Assembly and Senate Democrats would all funnel more money toward a state credit for parcels with a home or business on them. That would ensure low- and middle-income homeowners see bigger tax cuts than they would under Walker’s plan.
Republicans have said this so-called first dollar tax credit provides no relief to those who own undeveloped land and could draw a legal challenge to the credit if it is increased again.
Senate Democrats Tuesday offered their own plan for the budget surplus that would:
■ Provide a one-time property tax cut of $500 million through the first dollar credit. That means homeowners wouldn’t get the tax decrease in future years.
■ Double the transfer of money to the state’s rainy day fund by adding $228.7 million.
■ Provide $100 million more to the Wisconsin Technical College System and additional funding for rural K-12 schools and special needs students to offset past cuts to those areas.
■ Not provide the tax cut to manufacturers and not cut down on the amount of extra income taxes that the state is withholding.
The proposal would cut the state’s budget deficit in the next two-year budget to zero, according to the Legislative Fiscal Bureau.
“It’s hard to look past the next election toward the long-term interests of the state,” Senate Minority Leader Chris Larson (D-Milwaukee) said. “Let’s transcend the politics.”
March 5, 2014
From wisfarmer.com: “Elkhorn farmer outlines opportunities for new farmers” – For a German city boy who wanted to farm, the yearning was fed by internships in Germany, Canada and Wisconsin.
The dream of farming came true for Altfrid Krusenbaum, who now has his own grass-based dairy farm near Elkhorn. He’s been in Wisconsin for 28 years. Today, one of his passions is helping other people who have that same passion to farm.
His 300-acre farm includes a herd of 140 dairy cows that calve seasonally in the spring so they can go out on the grass. He also grass-finishes 35 dairy steers for beef.
Krusenbaum, who spoke at a recent Columbia/Dodge winter grazing conference in Randolph, has been active in supporting the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers at the University of Wisconsin and the state’s Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program.
But he’s begun his own approach to fostering the next generation of dairy farmers — share milking. It’s a way for young couples to get into farming if they are willing to learn and work on another’s dairy farm.
Krusenbaum stresses that these share milkers should be couples because he feels there’s just too much work for one person alone.
More and more entrants, in the many programs to help beginning farmers in the state, are from non-farm backgrounds and need to acquire hands-on skills, he said.
Many young people don’t have the capital to begin farming, they’re bound in a traditional outlook on farming or they lack a positive outlook. He sees the state’s programs, including his own share milking program, as a way to potentially cure some of those ills.
The UW’s School for Beginning Dairy Farmers (before the “Livestock” was added) was begun by grass-based dairy farmers who saw the need for a formalized program to get new farmers started in the state. They approached the Center for Integrated Agricultural Systems (CIAS) to get it started.
The first students were from the UW Farm and Industry Short Course as well as students from the four-year farming programs at the university.
“This is really the only thing like it offered anywhere in the nation,” he said.
The course is expanding from its Madison location via the use of distance learning where students can follow seminars live on the internet and interact with the moderator.
Krusenbaum said that the students in Madison right now range in age from 19-55 years old. They study a winter curriculum, go on farm tours, attend conferences and can take advantage of internships. Their course of study includes business planning and all are encouraged to write a formal plan for their future farm so they can set and achieve goals into the future.
Speakers and mentors include successful farmers, UW specialists, ag lenders, veterinarians and successful business leaders.
The program has been going for 19 years and 440 students have gone through it. “More than three-quarters of them are farming and 50 percent of those have their own farms.”
The school has been supported by cooperatives and association who see the need to add new farmers to the agricultural economy in Wisconsin. Grass-based livestock production methods were chosen because the need for capital is less with these kinds of systems.
With the UW program up and running, many in the industry felt that there was a need for an accredited career path for the people who wanted to get their own farm started. Grassworks, a state grazing organization helped create the Dairy Grazing Apprenticeship program to help create a pathway to farm ownership for these future farmers.
The program includes 4,000 hours of paid training over two years — 3,712 hours of on-the-job training and instruction by the master grazer as well as 288 hours of related classroom instruction in collaboration with the state’s Technical College System.
Randy Zogbaum, the agriculture instructor with Madison Area Technical College noted that it is the first registered farm apprenticeship program in the United States. “It’s a huge accomplishment.”
The program allows the beginning farmer to develop skills and network with the dairy industry in the state.
For the master grazer, the program provides a “quality, ambitious, driven individual” who becomes a skilled worker by the end of two years, says Krusenbaum. The program also opens up the potential for a farm transfer from the mentor to the beginning farmer.
There are currently 28 approved Master Grazers who can take apprentices — but he says the program always needs more. The program has generated seven graduates. Three of them have their own farms, three are in equity-earning positions and one is a farm manager.
Over 60 candidates are waiting placement.
The program is helpful, says Krusenbaum, for traditional entrants who need management skills and for non-traditional entrants who need experience.
What students in so many of these programs have in common, he said, is the “dream to farm.”
New Zealand model
Krusenbaum has trained interns on his farm for 20 years but was really dissatisfied with how many ended up on working farms. They were lacking in business skills and had no equity.
In 1996 he learned of the share milking model in New Zealand, a country where milking cows is the number-one desired job among its citizens.
“With share milking they earn equity and hone their management skills. At the end they have a profitable tax record and equity. The risk is taken away from them.”
Krusenbaum has created a share milking program on his own farm because he feels it’s a great opportunity to pass on knowledge, assets and a legacy to a new generation.
For the mentor, it’s also a way to slow down a bit while still earning income from the farm. “There’s a great satisfaction to getting another farmer started.”
Like any social contract there has to be negotiation between the two parties. Share milkers provide most of the labor and management related to livestock and pastures.
The farm business owner provides all the forage that can be produced in an average year, an existing land base and all the necessary machinery and facilities.
At his farm Krusenbaum uses a three-year contract with the first six months being probationary.
The share milker gets 18 percent of the milk (they get their own Organic Valley producer number) and 18 percent of all the steers sold. In addition the share milker gets every fifth heifer calf born alive from March through May.
Income and animals
The beginning farmers also get the ability to raise their heifers on the farm and Krusenbaum provides them with the farm house to live in.
He said in general this provides about $45,000 in net farm income for the share milking couple and about 55 head of cattle after three years.
In New Zealand, he said, these kinds of arrangements have evolved into strictly cash models but he wanted to incorporate cattle ownership into the program because he felt it would give the beginning farmer more “buy-in” and get them involved on a higher level.
In addition to the income stream, share milkers are responsible for 18 percent of most variable expenses and the utilities at the house, he said.
Krusenbaum has been using this model since 2006 and admits it has had its ups and downs. “The biggest drawback is that very few people want to do it. It’s amazing how few applicants we get. I don’t know why it’s not more attractive to more people.”
For this kind of program to work, he said it is important to have on-farm housing for the share milking couple. “I really feel it’s important for the share milker to live on the farm.”
He recommends a trial period so both parties can feel comfortable with each other and the arrangement. “Anything can be fixed unless the personalities don’t work out.”
Krusenbaum feels that beginning farmers need a firm foundation under them, like the one they could gain from share milking or the apprenticeship program. He noted that of the dairy herds being sold through the Richland Center sale barn this year, one-third are those that started up in the last three years.
The state’s programs are a way for new dairy farmers to forge a career path.
Krusenbaum urged his grazing listeners to apply to become master grazers in the apprenticeship program and to consider share milking as an option.
For share milking, the farm needs to be a certain size and the farm needs to be a mature operation. “It needs to have low debt and the farm paid for. It can’t be something that started in the last few years.”
For more on Krusenbaum’s farm: http://www.KrusenGrassFarms.com
Other programs: http://www.Grassworks.org
Dairy grazing apprenticeship: http://www.Dairygrazingapprenticeship.org
From starjournalnow.com: “Nicolet College students participate in state legislative seminar” — Nicolet College student Ryan Raschke saw it as his personal responsibility to travel to the Wisconsin State Capitol to advocate for the students and the colleges in the Wisconsin Technical College System.
“It’s all about being an engaged citizen,” Raschke said. “It’s important to stand up for the great education we have in Wisconsin. For me, I wanted to do my part, to talk to legislators, to make sure the technical college system remains strong and intact so future students can benefit from it as much as I have.”
Raschke, who is studying natural resources in Nicolet’s University Transfer program, was joined by Nicolet Accounting student Craig Collins on the recent trip to Madison to participate in the Wisconsin Student Government Legislative Seminar. The annual event brings together student leaders from across the technical college system to learn first-hand about the legislative process and how to advocate for issues they deem important.
During their time at the three-day legislative seminar, the two attended numerous workshops and presentations that covered proposed legislation affecting the WTCS, tips for meeting with legislators, strategic partnerships and external relations, along with other topics.
Raschke and Collins were joined on their trip to Madison by six other Nicolet students who participated in a companion event, the student showcase. Held in the Capitol Rotunda, the showcase spotlighted service learning and classroom projects. The six who participated in the student showcase included:
- Business Management student LaceyLyn Statezny on a project her class completed to generate awareness and raise funds for multiple sclerosis;
- Graphic Design students Karli Radeka, Charolette Fohner and Ashley Pieper on their efforts to inspire high school juniors and seniors to pursue the arts;
- and Culinary Arts students Sean Craven and Kenneth Golden on their capstone class project where they catered an employee appreciation day event at a local business.
In all, more than 130 student leaders from all 16 state technical colleges participated in the legislative seminar and student showcase.
From wxpr.com: “Governor: Tech schools to benefit from surplus” – The state’s budget surplus is likely to be used to help reduce local property taxes by more fully funding Wisconsin’s Technical College system.
During a stop Friday in Rhinelander, Governor Scott Walker says the plan would give direct property tax relief by picking up the majority of technical college costs from the local levy. Walker says the action would not affect local governance. “So it leaves governance up to the way it is so locally it’s determined but we have four school districts where the (levy) will be completely gone…Nicolet(Area Technical College in Rhinelander), Indianhead, Northeast, and Waukesha County Technical. We think that’s a good thing.”
Walker says the most rural technical colleges have unique concerns. “We look to the future, not only to invest in our technical schools to draw down the levy, we’ll be doing more for our schools in rural and high expansion and low density population district to try and of set property taxes as well.”
Officials say the average savings will be around $100 for a home worth $100,000.
March 3, 2014
From leadertelegram.com: “Manufacturing in the spotlight” — A group of high school students stood wide-eyed as a Chippewa Valley Technical College student dropped a metal ball that seemed to defy gravity as it fell through a simple copper tube. It fell slowly through the tube as if moving in molasses, never touching the sides.
The demonstration of electromagnetic forces took place in the Nano Engineering Technology area of CVTC’s Manufacturing Education Center last March at the annual Manufacturing Show, which returns for a third year Thursday.
That simple ball-and-tube trick will have to take a distant back seat to other high-end demonstrations this year. For instance, CVTC now has equipment that uses streams of water under extremely high pressure to cut metal in precise detail, without the harmful effects heat-based metal cutting can leave behind.
Manufacturing Show demonstrations also will include a three-dimensional printer that doesn’t use ink. Instead, it produces, layer after layer, at high speed, a 3-D plastic model of items drawn up with paper and numbers.
“It gives us an ability to replicate a concept or design, showing the working parts,” said CVTC Associate Dean of Manufacturing Jeff Sullivan. “The printers are being used a lot in the medical field.”
New machine tool program equipment that will be on display is capable of speeds up to 12,000 rpm. “The purpose of the high speed is higher accuracy and tighter tolerances,” Sullivan said.
And the purpose of students working on such a machine is to prepare them for the kind of equipment being used in the industry today, important given the prevalence of the machine tool industry in the Eau Claire area.
Welcome to the world of modern manufacturing. People who still picture manufacturing as taking place in dark, dingy places with low-skilled workers doing simple repetitive work will have their minds changed by attending the show, people affiliated with the event said.
“The entire show will present a good overview of manufacturing careers in western Wisconsin,” said Roger Stanford, CVTC vice president of instruction. “We have a great diversity of manufacturing companies in this area, many of them producing products that are getting attention worldwide. Attendees can learn more about these companies at the Manufacturing Show and how CVTC prepares workers for lucrative careers in manufacturing.”
About 20 manufacturing companies will have displays about their role in their industries and in the Chippewa Valley economy. They will use the show to recruit new workers as well.
Joining those companies will be representatives of CVTC’s manufacturing programs: electromechanical technology, industrial mechanic, industrial mechanical technician, machine tooling technics, welding and welding fabrication. Some of the physical science programs, such as nano engineering technology, manufacturing engineering technologist and industrial engineering technician also will be involved.
Students play a vital role in the show. As part of regular course work, they have constructed and programmed robotic equipment that performs such tasks as playing a guitar, making a golf putt or resetting bowling pins.
Area high school students also will be heavily involved in this year’s show. Back again will be the Junkyard Battle, in which high school welding students will compete with their creations made of scrap metal. Last year the contest featured student-made sculptures of their school mascots. This year’s show will feature several more competitions.
Machine tool students will compete in the Amazing Maze event, creating complicated mazes in competition for the best design. Engineering students will use computer-aided design programs to draw up plans for devices. The top design will be reproduced on the 3D printer.
In the electromechanical area, students will create robots that work through a maze without human intervention. The industrial mechanics program is working on a competition involving development of miniature cannons.
“We are reaching out to our K-12 school district partners to develop agreements and programs that expose younger students to manufacturing and prepare high school students for entry into CVTC’s manufacturing programs,” Sullivan said.
The event has been well-attended by the general public since its inception, and area school districts take advantage by using it as an educational experience for students. Some parents bring their children who are starting to think about careers.
The show offers plenty for attendees to do, such as trying out simulators, watching robotic welders, learning what local manufacturers are producing and witnessing student creativity.
March 3, 2014
From journaltimes.com: “County hires help to trim expenses” — RACINE COUNTY — For any organization that’s been around a while, it can be difficult to change its way of doing things, no matter how burdensome or tedious its operations become.
Racine County government is no different. Only in its case, outdated and time-consuming processes can mean wasting public money or government employees’ time.
About two years ago, Racine County Executive Jim Ladwig created a “lean government” initiative to trim waste out of county government. The effort isn’t about reducing the workforce, he said, but delivering services in a better way and possibly saving money along the way.
Now, the county is ramping up its efforts. About 50 staffers and department heads packed a courthouse conference room last week to hear from Pat Dolan, a Waukesha County Technical College instructor who works with governments across the state on making operations more efficient.
A smaller group of about 20 employees will get more extensive training from WCTC to facilitate projects throughout county government. The county is paying WCTC just less than $11,000 out of its training budget.
“What I love about it is it’s not a top-down type system,” Ladwig said. “We have people on the front line, we have supervisors, we have department heads. All of them are involved in this … we have a ton of talent throughout the county and they have a lot of good ideas. It’s important that we cultivate that.”
Principles of WCTC’s “lean” instruction originated in Toyota’s manufacturing operations and have been applied to workplaces of all kinds, Dolan said.
His goal is to train employees to develop a “set of glasses” that will help them identify and get rid of waste. Ideally, it’s a mindset that becomes part of the job and not extra work, Dolan said.
The county has already benefited, Ladwig said. Its biggest success was a project that reduced employees’ purchasing requests by 3,500 and saved the county between $50,000 and $100,000, Ladwig said.
Other projects, like improving the laundry process and supply room at Ridgewood Care Center, are smaller. But even those types of changes free up employees’ time and make them more productive, Ladwig said.
That reflects the incentive employees have to buy into the initiative — it’s designed to make their lives easier. Lean government isn’t solely about cost savings, Ladwig said.
“It’s really just about improving the process and improving the service we provide,” Ladwig said. “It’s empowering (employees) to change the way we do business.”
March 3, 2014
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Employers do their part in apprenticeships” — By Donna Schultz, regional coordinator for the Youth Apprenticeship Program at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau –Many local employers are actively working to develop our future workforce by participating in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, program.
YA allows high school juniors and seniors to work part-time in a career field they are considering for their future, while taking courses that support that career direction. Students learn from experts in the field and gain skills necessary for success in the world of work. The employers who hire these students benefit because they get direct access to a pipeline of motivated workers interested in building a career in their industry.
Several employers in our area who support YA agreed to share their thoughts on the program:
“It is our pleasure at Bell Tower Residence to work in partnership with the Merrill Senior High School’s Apprenticeship Program,” said Sister Mary Anne Rose, director of resident services. “Mentoring the youth has been a win-win process for Bell Tower Residence and our residents for many years. Many students are interested in pursuing some type of career in health care. Getting experience working at an assisted living community helps the students make some important decisions regarding their future.
“The program helps youths develop people skills, responsibility and dependability. Witnessing the students become members of the Bell Tower team is very rewarding. Our residents enjoy meeting the students and often get to know them very well.
“It has been a learning experience for the youths in the program as well as for the Bell Tower employees who mentor and minister with them. These students are our future caregivers. It is a privilege to observe the growth in the students as they participate in the program,” Sister Mary Ann said.
“Peoples State Bank has mentored over 20 YA students in the past six years. Six students are working as apprentices currently, and four students who successfully completed the program continue to be employed at Peoples,” reported Dawn Borchardt, Operations/CSR Systems specialist. “Peoples is a community-owned bank that strongly believes in giving back to the community that has helped make us successful. In 2013, Peoples and its employees supported 400-plus organizations in north-central Wisconsin with over 6,900 volunteer hours and monetary donations exceeding $100,000. Our belief in seeing the potential also extends to the Youth Apprenticeship program. (It) is a fantastic way to help our youth discover a career path that is right for them, while giving them hands-on training, support, and tools they can take with them as they develop into young professionals.”
Mona Kraft, director of human resources at AROW Global Corporation in Mosinee agrees. “We’ve had great success with the youth apprentice program here at AROW Global in Mosinee for two years now. The students who work here seamlessly keep pace with their peers. They do equal work for equal pay, and it’s a great introduction into the workforce. AROW’s vice president and general manager, Scott Firer, understands that not all graduates have the option or desire to go on to college. He feels that working at AROW is an excellent alternative to learn a trade in a clean, fun environment that offers a competitive wage and benefit package.
“AROW Global is the leading manufacturer of windows for the North American transportation market. The students who work here are coming in at an exciting time as AROW’s present and future growth means nothing but opportunity for them. It’s a win-win situation for both the company and the students. As an employer, AROW benefits from hiring bright, engaged apprentices, and the students gain work experience along with obtaining school credit.
“When asked what our Mosinee students like about the program, Clinton Goethlich said he appreciates the ‘real world experience, and the way that the program allows us to tap into and broaden our interests.’ Jacob Schildt was most appreciative of the employer interest and involvement, stating, ‘It’s not every company that will go ahead and hire a bunch of kids.’ That’s true Jacob, but here at AROW, we think they should,” Kraft said.
The YA program covers a variety of areas from agriculture to welding. Employers interested in connecting with a student looking for an apprenticeship or learning more about the YA program, should contact their local high school YA coordinator or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.
From thedailypage.com: “Madison College and the Literacy Network team up to help a wide range of students with ESL” — They are Syrian immigrants and Bhutanese refugees. Spouses of visiting professors from Pakistan and au pairs from Ecuador. Studious mothers of 12 from Somalia whose turn it is, finally, to attend class.
Some, highly educated in their home country, arrive with advanced degrees. Others have never set foot inside a school and struggle to read and write in their native language.
Step into an English as a Second Language classroom at Madison College’s downtown campus, and you’ll find learners from 10 or 15 countries, and as many stations in life, practicing together.
“The clock is on the wall.” “Epiphane is Akugbe’s brother.” Or in higher levels, “Had I known you like reggae, I would have invited you.”
One of these students is Gilson Batista, who in just over a year has progressed from ESL level 1 to 5 (out of 6). Batista is here thanks to his wife, Sara, who found out about Madison College’s tuition-free, non-credit ESL courses and suggested he attend.
The two met in Batista’s hometown of Belo Horizonte, Brazil, four years ago. A longtime Madison resident, Sara was there studying Capoeira and improving her Portuguese. He had just begun studying philosophy at universidade and was working as a book binder and Capoeira teacher.
After marrying, the young couple settled in Madison. It was Batista’s first time in the U.S. He spoke a little English and Spanish, having taken several semesters of each in middle and high school, but not enough to resume life where he had left off.
Madison College’s School of Academic Advancement, where a third of the course offerings are ESL classes (others cater to GED/HSED students), is a major resource for new residents like Batista.
Another is the Literacy Network of Dane County, which provides small-group and one-on-one support to adult learners working toward their literacy goals.
For some, the goal is understanding their child’s teacher or pediatrician. Others want to find work to feed their families. Many just want to shake the paralyzing feeling of isolation and be a part of a community again. And then there are learners like Batista, who long to go back to school and earn a degree.
A partnership arose between the two agencies in 2011. In the pilot program, Literacy Network placed a tutor in the ESL classes of two Madison College instructors, Judy Emmrich and Ryan Roling.
The idea was for the classroom tutors, or CRTs as they are known, to play the role of teacher’s aide, giving learners the kind of individualized attention not usually available in most technical college settings. They might lead half the class in a speaking exercise, float the room to field questions, or give feedback to each student on completed homework.
Emmrich and Roling became strong advocates for the Classroom Tutor Program, and it quickly expanded. In its second year, 50 volunteers served 911 hours.
Emmrich, a teacher here for 12 years, praises the individual attention that students gain. “The tutoring has increased the retention in my classes and has helped to strengthen the strong sense of community.” Further, she notes, the CRTs “bring many rich and varied experiences into the room.”
Last year, 27 tutors from Literacy Network served 1,112 hours in Madison College’s ESL classes. Many are UW-Madison students, who find they get as much out of the experience by learning about other cultures and developing skills for their future.
Amy Krill, an AmeriCorps member and former classroom tutor who works with both agencies, manages the program. Literacy Network supports her in tutor recruitment, training and coordination. Both agencies provide office space, phones and supplies.
While Madison College would like to see more ESL students advance into credit courses, national statistics show the odds are against them. According to the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education, only about 10% of non-credit ESL students make the transition to credit ESL and even fewer continue on to vocational or academic programs.
But to gauge the success of an ESL program by looking solely at college engagement would be a mistake, says Chris Vandall, dean of the School of Academic Advancement.
“You have to look at the goal of the student,” he says. It may not be to get into an occupational program or earn a degree. Even if it were, for many that’s impossible financially.
“We lose a lot of our students because they have to go and get a job just to pay the bills,” says Vandall.
But then there are more resource-rich students like Batista, who have a fighting chance of college success. Now that he is in ESL 5, Batista is eligible to take the COMPASS, the college entrance exam used by Madison College to test readiness.
Eventually, he’d like to take credit courses through Madison College, then transfer to a UW-Madison humanities program. He’s nothing if not motivated, taking summer courses, showing up before class for help and practicing conversation in the downtown campus’ Learning Center. Batista takes basic reading, writing and math classes here too, also offered tuition-free.
“You have to work hard,” he says, but if you do, “you get what you want to get.”
Or, as an adage often recited in language classes goes, “One language sets you in a corridor for life. Two languages open every door along the way.”
February 28, 2014
From woodworkingnetwork.com: “Fox Valley Technical College Approved as NKBA Accredited Provider“– The National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) recently announced that Fox Valley Technical College has met all requirements to become an NKBA Accredited Program provider of AAS Interior Design – Kitchen and Bath Design, and Kitchen and Bath Certificate.
NKBA Accreditation serves the professional needs of the industry and ensures consistent, quality education for students who want to become kitchen or bathroom design professionals. The NKBA currently recognizes over 40 schools in North America whose kitchen and bath curriculum meet the educational standards established by the association.
These established standards include the knowledge and skills necessary for competent practice in the profession, divided into four categories: Planning and Design, Construction/Mechanical Systems, Business Management, and Products/Materials. Each school seeking accreditation must adequately meet stringent NKBA standards in each of these areas.
These schools submit a self-study and an analysis of competencies as related to these areas of study. An onsite evaluation is conducted, consisting of classroom observations; a curriculum-review meeting with faculty; a presentation of projects; and interviews with students, faculty and administration. The educational institution must have accreditation recognized by the U.S. Department of Education or a provincial ministry of education in Canada.
NKBA Accredited Programs are evaluated with respect to mission, administration, curriculum, faculty, and resources to determine eligibility and the students’ aptitude toward fulfilling the Association’s required competencies. Industry professionals evaluate student work samples as a subjective measure of the program. Programs that meet the qualifications for accreditation or a preliminary status of supported are published in print and on the NKBA website.
Each year, the Association monitors the progress of these schools with the submission of student work samples, based on the NKBA Student Design Competition. This process provides an outcome-based assessment to the schools. Accredited Programs have a reevaluation period of seven years.
Fox Valley Technical College earned NKBA Accreditation by demonstrating that it meets these requirements, which represent the basis of a program the NKBA considers essential for quality education. Each student must complete classroom work as well as internships that enhance and extend the classroom experiences. These internships are monitored by the educational institution, which makes certain that they meet the NKBA’s required student competencies. Programs accredited by the National Kitchen & Bath Association must have an NKBA Certified advisor or faculty member.
From news8000.com: “Could be a shortage of manufacturing workers in Wisconsin” — Skilled workers may be hard to come by in the state of Wisconsin over the next 20 years. The Wisconsin Manufacturing Commerce Foundation was in La Crosse Tuesday to highlight its 20-year plan to combat the issue.
Western Technical College is one of 16 stops the Manufacturing Commerce Foundation is making in Wisconsin. Technical colleges play a big role in giving students the education needed to become skilled employees in manufacturing.
With the baby-boomer generation coming to retirement age, there could be a higher number of job openings in Wisconsin.
“Well this is an aging state. We expect about 800,000 additional people in this state over the next 30 years but 95 percent of those are going to be over the age of 65,” Wisconsin Manufacturing Commerce Foundation President, Jim Morgan said.
According to the Wisconsin Manufacturing Commerce Foundation, skilled laborers are a dying breed.
“We’ve got some challenges coming down the road around talent attraction, around business competitiveness, that we’ve really got to start that conversation right now,” Morgan said.
The WMC Foundation wants to establish a 20-year plan called Future Wisconsin.
“The things that were outlined here today are trying to get people to think more about manufacturing careers as viable options,” Western Technical College President Lee Rasch said.
Schools like Western Technical College are big contributors to the plan.
“We’re key players because we do a couple things. We work very closely with area manufacturers, we have an existing network, we provide a lot of education and training for the next generation of the workforce in manufacturing and we also represent this region,” Rasch said.
Training the next generation may be tough. The WMC Foundation says keeping that age group in Wisconsin is not easy.
“Unless we do something to keep our young people here and figure out a way to attract more people here we’re not going to have the people available for the jobs that we’re going to have,” Morgan said.
The president of Western said he was glad that the foundation stopped in La Crosse. It allowed for more of the manufacturers in our area to take part in the discussion.
The Wisconsin Manufacturing Commerce Foundation will be working with colleges and universities throughout the year.
From wausaudailyherald.com: “Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, other state leaders visit Wausau West student inventors” –WAUSAU — A Wausau West High School student project to build a remote-controlled snowblower has drawn attention from state officials who are promoting technical education and related careers.
Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch, Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson and Wisconsin Technical College System President Morna Foy met the Wausau West students Wednesday during a tour to mark Career and Technical Education Month.
“Their enthusiasm for learning is evident as soon as you enter their lab,” Kleefisch said in a statement released afterward. “These students were so engaged in the project that they worked on it until 9 p.m. one night. Their teacher had to send them home. They built what we all hope will be a winner when they and teams from schools across the country travel to Boston in June for an invention expo.”
Wausau West is one of 15 schools nationally to receive $10,000 grants from the Lemelson-MIT Program in Boston. Teams can use the money to tackle real-world problems with technology and invent solutions; in Wausau West’s case, it’s the “Autonomous snow removal device.”
Kleefisch, Newson and Foy also stopped at CTECH Manufacturing in Weston to learn about its youth apprentice partnership with Wausau West. The state last year awarded $1.86 million in Youth Apprenticeship grants, including $225,599 to the North Central Wisconsin School-to-Career Partnership, a consortium that includes the Wausau School District.
February 26, 2014
From wxow.com: “WMC Foundation looks into 20-year strategic plan for Wis.” – LA CROSSE – With the baby boomers retiring, Wisconsin will soon lose it’s largest group of workers.
The Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Foundation is looking for ways to replace them.
WMC Foundation President Jim Morgan traveled to Western Technical College Tuesday to find out where there is a job shortage in La Crosse, and discuss ways to train students to fill those positions.
The foundation will use that information to create a 20-year strategic plan for the state, called “Future Wisconsin.”
“And we’re trying to look at a couple of key areas like talent attraction, business competitiveness, globalization, entrepreneurship. The types of things that I think if we’re going to be successful in 20 years, we’ve got to start planning for now,” Morgan said.
There’s already a need for welders and machinists, he added.
The WMC Foundation will be meeting with 16 technical colleges, along with other schools, businesses and commerce associations for input.
February 25, 2014
From fox6now.com: “Increasing demand for apprenticeships as aging workers retire” – Want to get paid to go to school? With an apprenticeship — you can do just that! Through an apprenticeship, an individual has access to on-the-job training and related classroom instruction. A participating employer teaches the skills of the trade on the job. The classroom instruction is theoretical and practical knowledge pertaining to the given trade. It’s an option more and more students in Wisconsin are taking — with the growing need for skilled manufacturing workers in the state.
“The student works 32 hours a week and goes to class eight hours a week, but they’re paid for 40 hours a week,” Debbie Davidson with Gateway Technical College said.
In a nutshell, that’s how an apprenticeship works. Students get hands-on and in-classroom training in a service, construction or industrial field. Typically, the programs run anywhere from three to five years.
“Apprenticeship is really unique in that you start with an employer with a need and match them with an individual to go through the training,” Davidson said.
Officials with Gateway Technical College say the demand for apprenticeship opportunities has grown, as has the number of students enrolling in programs at the school.
“In 2012, we had a total of 49 apprentices. Then, a year later, we had 80 apprentices. Now we have 140,” Davidson said.
“We’ve already started plans on four brand new programs coming up and we know that we’re going to be doubling our numbers within a very short time,” Wisconsin Apprentice Training Representative Sandy Briezman said.
So what’s driving the renewed interest in apprenticeships? We’re told it’s a skills gap, fueled at least in part by soon-to-retire workers.
“The skills gap that we’re seeing now is what was projected even before the downturn in 2009 because people were planning to retire at that point. They stayed a little bit longer, but they kept aging, so now we’re seeing people are actually at that point of retirement and companies are seeing that we need to fill that gap — and before our people leave and retire how can we utilize them to train that next generation of worker?” Davidson said.
Davidson says the late 90s were really kind of the high point for apprenticeship programs.
The Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards says statewide, there were more than 15,000 apprentices in 2001. By 2012, they had dropped to about 9,700.
February 25, 2014
From wnflam.com: “Shortage of qualified manufacturing, construction workers” – As the economy improves, many parts of Wisconsin are in need of qualified builders and skilled manufacturing employees. Those companies often look to the state’s apprenticeship program to fill their needs — but the apprenticeship pool has gotten smaller. State officials said there were almost 9,800 apprenticeships in the various building trades last year — down from almost 16,000 in 2001.
The Wisconsin State Journal said it has become more of a challenge to get young people to consider apprenticeships, despite the need for skilled workers. Madison electrical contractor Mike Pohlman said his company does a lot of outreach to schools — and some schools don’t seem to want to direct students to the building trades. Madison College apprenticeship manager Jim Cook the situation has improved in Dane County because of a recent construction boom. He says the demand for apprentice services has not been this strong since World War Two.