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.
January 27, 2014
From jsonline.com: “MATC revamps south side Milwaukee building for worker” — Milwaukee Area Technical College’s failed enterprise center and business incubator on the south side has been converted into an education center that will provide academic and training programs in the largely Latino community.
For many years the MATC enterprise centers — one on the north side and one on the south side — provided low-cost rent designed to help launch new businesses and create jobs.
But a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel investigation in 2008 and 2009 showed many problems with the tax-supported business incubators. Tenants were behind in rent, expenses for the incubators exceeded revenue and there was little or no tracking to determine if the incubators created jobs.
The Milwaukee Enterprise Center North at 2821 N. 4th St. started in 1985 and was sold by MATC in 2011.
But MATC retained the Milwaukee Enterprise Center South, 816 W. National Ave., which opened in 1994.
For a time, the dislocated worker program run by the HIRE Center, in partnership with the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, was housed in the building to train workers who had lost their jobs.
But the investment board and the HIRE Center consolidated their operations at the investment board offices at N. 27th St. and W. North Ave. in October, said Dorothy Walker, interim dean of MATC’s School of Technical and Applied Sciences.
At the same time, MATC’s F building on N. 4th St., which housed some training programs, was sold to the BMO Harris Bradley Center next door, she said.
Some of the businesses in the incubator didn’t seem to grow well and the economic downturn contributed to the failure of the enterprise center, Walker said.
“As we looked at using space more efficiently and looking at new programs and new areas to best serve the community, we decided to re-purpose the MEC south with a focus on building more educational and training programs there,” she said.
“What we’re doing there now focuses on our core mission and meets the needs of the community.”
So the 127,000-square-foot south side building has undergone $2.3 million in renovations to accommodate the many training programs once located in the F building.
The MATC Office of Workforce and Economic Development, which works with businesses and industry to provide corporations with customized programs, has been moved to the south side.
The college is focusing on locating construction and trade-related training programs there because there are a lot of small contractors on the south side, Walker said.
Now called the MATC Education Center at Walker’s Square, it’s also close to Bradley Tech High School, which has a technical focus on construction. The college will look for ways to connect with the high school, she said.
Bay View High School also has some focus on construction and links there will be sought, she said.
The plumbing program has been moved from the F building to the south campus. The one-year program leads to a technical diploma, and it’s the only plumbing program offered at a technical college in the state, instructor and master plumber Mike Geiger said.
The training program also leads to apprenticeships in three unions — plumbers, steamfitter and sprinkler fitters, he said. Last week students were busy moving washers, dryers and water heaters into the new spaces to begin the plumbing lessons required.
The brick and masonry program also has been moved. The one-semester technical diploma program serves as a pre-apprentice program, said Dragomir Marinkovich, the associate dean for engineering and construction.
Next year the school plans to move its appliance technician program from the downtown campus to the south side, he said.
He said the trade programs are critical because it’s estimated that in the spring construction jobs will start picking up again and “these guys will be ready.”
Continuing education classes also are offered in upholstery and sewing.
Alfredo Luna, associate dean of the office of workforce and economic development, said he’s working with the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Wisconsin, the Walker’s Point Association and other nonprofits and businesses in the area to determine the needs of the community and how the center can help.
Walker said that in addition to construction, there will be a focus around energy, solar and water services.
The south center is not far from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee’s School of Fresh Water Sciences that’s being constructed on the south side and MATC will look for training areas related to water, she said.
Ald. José Pérez, who represents the area, said he’s excited about the new education center and the possibilities for developing training and jobs for so many who live within walking distance.
“With time, I think there will be so many services, such as registering for classes, filling out financial aid forms, taking classes and specialized training in the trades,” he said.
He’s especially interested in sustainability and water programs. He said that seems to be a natural progression for the area with the new fresh water sciences school, the water council and the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewage District, all located on the south side.
From wpr.org: “La Crosse college will building homes with advanced energy efficiency” — Western Technical College will soon be building three “passive homes”: buildings with a rare design that significantly reduces the amount of energy use.
A La Crosse neighborhood filled with quaint, single-family houses will become the home for three new, three-bedroom passive houses. In a passive house, heating energy usage can be reduced up to 90 percent. The wall insulation is much thicker than what’s found in a standard home.
Western Technical College architectural technology instructor Mike Poellinger says the air tight windows play a key role in the design.
“The windows actually become part of the heat source. We have a great amount of window glazing on the southern exposure as we’re collecting that heat. It’s minimized on the northern exposure; usually it’s there for lighting a stairwell or secondary lighting, and we minimize on the east and west.”
Poellinger says passive homes are quieter since they don’t have active heaters.
Western is hiring a contractor to start building the first passive home this summer. Western building system technology instructor Josh VandeBerg says students and instructors will be able to study the home as it’s built.
“We’re on this lesson here, talking about air tightness. Ding! Let’s go to the passive house and take a look at it in action. Not only is this house bringing my students to the passive house and the community to the passive house, but it’s also an opportunity to for my students to learn some of the very principles we’re talking about in the classroom.”
The Western Technical College Foundation will sell the homes. There are two other certified passive homes in Wisconsin.
January 8, 2013
From Madison.com: “MATC [Madison College] students work to revive homes in New Orleans” — The two-story farmhouse was built a century ago on a plantation in Plaquemines Parish, near New Orleans. This week, a student crew from Madison Area Technical College is reviving the hurricane-battered structure so a single mother and her three boys can move back home.
“They have had no luck,” said Brenden Palormo, one of five volunteers from MATC spending the week down south and blogging about it here.
About 15 years ago, a young couple bought the house and dreamed of reviving it. In late 2003, the father and oldest son died in a car wreck, leaving a single mother and school counselor, Robin Leslie, to raise three boys. The reality television show “Extreme Makeover” granted the couple’s wish in early 2005, repairing the house to some of its former glory.
Later that year, Hurricane Katrina came and undid most of the renovation, requiring another extensive makeover. Then came Hurricane Isaac last August, doing even worse damage to the interior. Since then, according to the St. Jude Community Center in New Orleans, the mold-infested house has sat empty; Robin and her sons have rented elsewhere; insurance checks to repair the house have been slow to arrive; rental assistance from FEMA isn’t going very far.
“They’re in limbo,” Palormo said.
The crew from MATC arrived Sunday and will work every day this week before leaving Saturday. They’ll focus on mold remediation on the second floor of Robin’s house with a goal of making it livable again. They’re also working at another house nearby that’s damaged even worse. There, the goal is just to clear the mess, he said.
Sandy Thistle, a carpenter who teaches construction and remodeling courses at MATC, is leading the trip. Each year, the college’s service team sponsors alternative break trips. A contact from past MATC trips to New Orleans told them about the houses in need of repair.
August 28, 2012
From morainepark.edu: “Moraine Park students place in national electricity competition” — Max Paulus of Fredonia and Istvan Biro of West Bend had a powerful performance in the SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held June 23-27 in Kansas City, Mo. Each competing with about 25 other students, Paulus placed 8th and Istvan placed 12th in the Electrical Construction Wiring and Industrial Motor Control competitions, respectively.
“The students spent time preparing prior to the competition and both seemed very confident going into the competition,” said Mark Wamsley, electricity instructor at Moraine Park. “After experiencing the national competition, we all have ideas on how to improve for next time.”