From “Portage High grad takes 4th in nation in precision machining” — By Jen McCoy – Nate Schmudlach broke the mold, which is a good thing considering he’s highly skilled at precision machining.

The 20-year-old has an easy-going personality yet an intense drive toward an apprenticeship this fall in plastic injection molding. He’s being courted by a couple of machine shops and with his credentials more are likely to show interest.

In April, the 2012 Portage High School graduate took gold at the state’s post-secondary SkillsUSA championship in precision machining. Last month, he placed fourth in the same category at the national SkillsUSA Competition in Kansas City. The previous year, he placed seventh.

“My goal was I wanted to be in the top three, but getting fourth will go on my resume,” Schmudlach said. It’s not bad for his ego either, he said with a laugh.

Three vans from Madison College took students and instructors to the five-day competition. Schmudlach was accompanied by J.R. Colvin, a metrology instructor who worked closely with him to prepare, but at competition it’s all about the student’s skills without guidance.

The skilled trades convention and competition take the top state qualifiers and have them pit their abilities against each other in a best of the best test. The skilled areas range from aviation maintenance technology and welding to technical drafting and cabinetmaking.

Earlier this year, Schmudlach graduated from Madison College-Truax for machine tool and is employed/mentored at Isthmus Engineering & Manufacturing in Madison.

“I’m a jack-of-all-trades there, that’s what I want to be (in this profession),” Schmudlach said. “I have a desire to learn machining like no other. Sure, I may not know the most at the beginning, but by the end I’ll be better than anybody that’s initially better than me.”

At nationals, precision machining had 23 contestants demonstrate manual machining skills and knowledge areas including operation of manual milling machines, lathes, drill presses, and surface grinders. Contestants needed to demonstrate knowledge in hands-on testing with a lathe and mill, take two written tests, be versed in technical math and the ability to communicate verbally using proper industry terminology during an interview.

This was Schmudlach’s last year at the competition since he graduated unless he returns to school for a different trade, like carpentry. His family lives in Endeavor and Schmudlach is eager to be employed this fall when he’s done with his apprenticeship at Isthmus.

“You always need the drive and strive to do more, which I’ve had my whole life,” he said.

From “LTC a vital part of local educational mix” — The Lakeshore area features many unique educational opportunities. There are public and parochial schools, specialty schools, charter schools, two-year colleges and four-year universities.

Between now and June 8, hundreds of students of all ages will graduate from these institutions of learning, or at least advance to the next grade level. Many already have done so and have either begun searching for a job or are enjoying summer vacation — or both.

One area school is so unique that it required three separate graduation ceremonies to accommodate its students. Lakeshore Technical College in Cleveland held — on three separate dates — a “regular” college graduation ceremony, one for about 60 GED/HSED students and a banquet recognizing 29 students in the school’s apprenticeship program.

In apprenticeship programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC’s registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.

LTC also offers unique programs unavailable at other schools in the area, including hazardous materials training, dairy herd management, nuclear technology and many others.

Studies have shown Lakeshore area schools are doing a good job in training young people for the next steps along their way. Test results are generally good at the grade school and high school levels, and opportunities for quality higher education abound.

LTC is an option more families are turning to as the costs of higher education skyrocket. The school has a solid track record of placing graduates in jobs, often exceeding 90 percent in certain fields. About 87 percent of the 550 graduates this year will find jobs in the Lakeshore area, a not insignificant number when many local employers complain of “brain drain” and a lack of skilled workers to fill their open positions.

Yet LTC often is overlooked during graduation season because its students don’t receive “real,” four-year degrees or gain the academic accolades other institutions often bestow. That is a mistake.

Hundreds of local employers and employees make solid contributions to the local economy because of past and present ties to LTC. Many of the school’s graduates are working in local jobs that likely would go unfilled without the influence of LTC and its programs.

We are thankful for all of the quality educational opportunities our area has to offer — from preschool to graduate school. It takes variety to provide this kind of quality, and we hope that Lakeshore Technical College is recognized as a vital player in that mix.

From “Labor shortage looming” — We’ve advocated in this space for greater support from the Legislature for Wisconsin’s technical college system. Technical colleges are uniquely positioned to address the persistently high unemployment in the state’s urban areas, including Racine; they can address the shortage of qualified workers for manufacturing jobs, aka the skills gap. They also provide opportunity for people who want a job, or a better job, and know that a four-year college isn’t the right choice for them.

A May 5 report by the Gannett Wisconsin Media Investigative Team underlines this point: There is a looming labor shortage in the Badger State, meaning we need to get moving on increasing the number of young, skilled workers.

One of the biggest reasons is the retirement of the baby boomers, those born between 1945 and the mid-1960s. State demographers say the number of residents age 65 or older will more than double by 2040, rising from 14 percent of the state population to 24 percent.

In that time, the state’s population will increase 14 percent to about 6.5 million, but the working-age population (ages 20-64) will be essentially unchanged, dropping a quarter of a percent. This means that for every retiring worker, there is less than one young person entering the labor force. In other words, a labor shortage.

Job numbers have historically mirrored changes in the working-age population, so a stagnant pool of workers means Wisconsin is expected to see virtually no job growth through 2040, according to a report from the Wisconsin Taxpayers Alliance.

“Employers really haven’t experienced labor shortages to the degree that we’re expecting,” said Jeff Sachse, an economist with the state Department of Workforce Development. “The labor force is essentially going to be flat, and basically what we’re going to see is an employer base that’s going to struggle to find a sufficient amount of workers to remain in operation, much less to expand.”

This is unlike the Great Recession and its aftermath, during which employers weren’t hiring at all, or saw far more applicants than job openings. What Sachse is describing is lengthy periods of Help Wanted signs in windows because employers have openings but not qualified applicants.

The jobs are going to be out there. But they’re also going to require people willing to help themselves to a better life, people like Tykia Norris.

As detailed in an April 27 Journal Times report, Norris, 33, wanted to do better for herself than the $9.50 an hour she was making as a certified nursing assistant.

“They say money brings problems, but not having any brings more,” said Norris, who has a 14-year-old son.

She entered a construction training program through Racine’s Human Capital Development Corp., which runs First Choice Pre-Apprenticeship. The nonprofit trains people for construction jobs such as preparing them to work on the Interstate 94 project.

About 122 of the program’s 475 graduates have reported getting jobs in construction. Norris is one of them, and she’s now making more than $25 an hour.

Tykia Norris learned that it takes a desire to do better, to help yourself — individual initiative, in other words — to address your personal skills gap. But the combination of the skills gap and Wisconsin’s looming labor shortage is about to become everybody’s problem. Let’s get to work on that.

From “Apprenticeship program numbers increase in Wisconsin” — MADISON – As companies and workers realize the value of apprenticeship program, the involvement in them is increasing, reports Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson.

“Wisconsin’s economy is improving, employers are hiring and increasingly taking advantage of our Wisconsin Apprenticeship program so that workers have the right skills,” Newson said in a statement. “The unemployed and underemployed also see this proven on-the-job training program as one way to get a good job. The numbers last year show it. We saw growth in all three major trade sectors, construction, manufacturing and services, the best we’ve growth we’ve seen in three years.”

According to the DWD, new apprentice contracts in 2013 increased by 31 percent compared to 2012 and by 56 percent compared to three years ago. The increases by trade sectors were:

•Construction – new apprentices, 1,570, the biggest increase, 51 percent compared to 2012 new contracts and 73 percent compared to new contracts three years ago.
•Industrial/manufacturing – new apprentices, 581, a 9 percent increase compared to the 2012 new contracts and 75 percent compared to new contracts in 2010.
•Service – new apprentices, 1,199, a 22 percent increase compared to the 2012 new contracts and a 29 percent increase compared to 2010 figure.

The 26th Biennial Apprenticeship Conference, The Apprenticeship Solution: Meeting the Workforce Challenge will be held Jan. 26 to Jan. 28 in Wisconsin Dells and will include a special Apprentice Expo for high school students. The conference program includes nationally recognized speakers Anirban Basu, president and CEO of SAGE Policy Group and Mark Breslin, founder and CEO of Breslin Strategies. Dan Ariens, president and CEO of the Ariens Company will also speak at the conference, co-sponsored by DWD and the Wisconsin Apprenticeship Advisory Council.

From “Gov. Walker signs Youth Apprenticeship bill in Rhinelander” — Governor Scott Walker has signed a bill in Rhinelander that he says will help employers get more skilled workers to companies. Youth Apprenticeship integrates high school-based and work-based learning to instruct students in skills defined by Wisconsin industries. It works with local school districts and the area technical colleges.

Stopping at Nicolet College to sign the Youth Apprenticeship Walker says the bill passed both legislative chambers with just one “no” vote, showing broad bi-partisan support. The program is already in action, but the new funding enlarges the program. 1900 students went through the program last year Walker says…

“….we were able to put a half-million(more) in each year…for a total of $4.6 million dollars that will be invested in this program. And in doing so, we’ll be able to place 550 more individuals into this youth apprenticeship program….”
Walker says manufacturing, agriculture, architecture, information technology and healthcare are targeted for apprenticeships. Walker says the business community needs skilled workers in these areas now…

 “….many of our employers across the state, particularly our small and mid-sized employers would add more work but they’re a little bit resistant to do that right now until they know they can fill the positions they have for things like high-skilled welders, CNC operators, machinists, tool-and-dye operators….”

Walker says manufacturing jobs pay more, have more benefits and workers stay longer than many other jobs.


From “Youth Apprenticeship builds workforce of the future” — Mosinee High School has participated in Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship, or YA, program since 1995. During that time, over 350 students participated in this unique work-based learning program. YA allows juniors and seniors to work part-time in a field they are considering for their future, while taking high school courses that support that career direction.

As the School to Career coordinator, one of my responsibilities is to supervise students in this program. From my perspective, this program has literally changed the lives of some of our students. They have learned to “walk the walk” and gain those skills necessary for success in the world of work while finding out if that career direction is right for them. I asked students to share their thoughts on participating in this program.

“I applied for youth apprenticeship so I could gain work experience in a professional environment. What I like most about my position is the face-to-face contact I have with customers. I learned I am very interested in the business field and would enjoy a career in it. After high school, I will be attending UW-Whitewater for business management with a minor in finance/insurance.”

— Kevin Zimmerman, BMO Harris Bank, Mosinee

“I work at the desk taking calls, doing health history updates and confirming appointments. I also help clean work stations, assist with sterilization, X-rays, charting, restocking and sealants. I applied for an apprenticeship because I was thinking about going into dental hygiene. I like that I am learning more about the field, and I like working with people. I’ve learned I can work really hard if I put my all into it, and that I work really well with people and as a team. After graduation, I plan to attend NTC to become a dental hygienist.”

— Rachel Schulte, Family Dental, Mosinee

“I help manage the school’s website and assist with technology problems throughout the district. I applied for YA so I could work in the field I want, as well as for the recognition that comes with YA. I enjoy working in a field that I am very knowledgeable about, and I can use my knowledge to efficiently do whatever task is at hand. I’ve learned how to manage and handle multiple projects at once, completing them efficiently and to the best of my ability. After high school, I plan to attend college for a degree in computer science.”

— Noah Warren, Mosinee High School

“I am a CNA on the Surgical/Orthopedics floor. I was interested in a job in healthcare and thought work experience now would help me gain an insight into what my future career might entail. At Saint Clare’s, witnessing the strength of people pushing through less-than-desirable circumstances to overcome obstacles has become the most inspirational thing in my life. I enjoy the interactions I have with people much more than I ever dreamed possible. I proved to myself that my communication skills are critical in the medical field. I plan to attend UW-Madison to pursue a degree in genetics and continue on to medical school with my ultimate goal to become a physician.”

— Halee Nieuwenhuis, Saint Clare’s Hospital, Weston

“I help design processing systems for many big name companies. I applied for YA because I wanted to learn first-hand what the work environment would be like in my selected field. My favorite aspect of my job is working with Auto-Cad. The most important thing I’ve learned during my YA experience is that I insist on being perfect at a lot of what I do. Once I graduate from high school, I plan on going to a four-year college to become a mechanical engineer.”

— Andrew Hilgemann, A&B Process Systems, Stratford

“I help prep food on Saturdays, and during the week I work up front helping customers. I applied for YA because I thought it would be a good experience, and it looks good on college and job applications. I like working with people and working “hands on” rather than just sitting behind a desk. I’ve learned that I work well with others in stressful times and what teamwork really is. After high school I plan on working until I find out what I would like to do with my life.”

— Morgan Plautz, Culver’s, Cedar Creek, Rothschild

As you can see, Youth Apprenticeship provides students with experiences that will benefit them throughout their lives, but YA also benefits every business involved with the program. Employers get direct access to a pipeline of motivated workers interested in building a career in their industry, and they have the opportunity to shape their future workforce. YA covers a variety of areas from agriculture to welding.

Employers interested in connecting with a student looking for an apprenticeship should contact their local high school YA coordinator or Donna Schulz at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau.

From “Bridging the Skills Gap” — New Richmond, WI—A new partnership has been forged between industry and education, with Bosch Packaging Technology, Inc., and Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC), both in New Richmond, Wisconsin forming a joint apprenticeship venture.

“We’ve been working together on this project since last spring,” says Nancy Cerritos, WITC academic dean of trade and technology. “Bosch is very proactive and realizes it will lose a significant portion of its skilled work force in New Richmond and Shell Lake over the next five to seven years. They wanted to create apprenticeships – which we have available and can develop — to create a better skilled work force for the future.”

Adds Mark Hanson, manager, continuous improvement coordination and technical functions at Bosch Packaging Technology: “We tried to hire local workers, but it’s not a densely populated area, and we have a need for highly skilled workers, so we had to come up with a new approach.

“By utilizing our strong relationship with WITC and the state we were able to custom-design a program that gives us the skilled workers we need.”

The program includes electro-mechanical technician and machinist apprentices. The electro-mechanic apprenticeship—the combination of an electrician and mechanic—is the first of its kind in the state and is now considered a new trade in Wisconsin.

Two WITC programs participate in this flagship effort: the Automated Packaging Systems program and theMachine Tooling Technics program, as these two WITC programs are best represented in the work at Packaging Technology.

The opportunity to become an apprentice was opened to Bosch employees, and four stepped up. Machinist apprentices are Josh Marquand and Brant Couch. Electro mechanical technician apprentices enrolled in the Automated Packaging Systems program are Philip Taylor and Paul Petty. These four apprentices will complete their respective program over a four or five year time span, while also working at Bosch.

What makes the program unique is what the participant receives at the completion of the apprenticeship – five years for an electro-mechanical technician and four years for a machinist – an Associate’s degree in technical studies, a technical diploma and a State of Wisconsin Certificate of Apprenticeship, commonly known as a journeyman card. A traditional apprenticeship usually results in only the journeyman card.

Upon acceptance in the program, the apprentice signs a contract with the State of Wisconsin that they will meet the obligations required for a journeyman card. During the apprenticeship, Bosch is responsible for ensuring the apprentices meet the minimum requirements, as well as assigning a shop-floor trainer and mentor to each apprentice.

The apprenticeship program works very closely with Wisconsin’s Workforce Development Department through Travis Ludvigson, Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards, who produced the contract the apprentices signed. At WITC, Randy Deli, divisional dean of trade and technology, coordinates the college’s apprenticeship opportunities.

Once accepted in the program, apprentices receive a salary and benefits for their 40-hour-a-week schedule, during which they split time between on-the-job-training and classroom work. In addition, the program covers the cost for tuition and tools needed for coursework. Outside of the program, the normal curriculum requires classroom attendance for 30 hours a week, leaving little time for job training.

“This was a great opportunity for me,” says Taylor, one of the new apprentices. “It’s a perfect scenario, I get to continue working at Bosch, and in five years I’ll have a degree, diploma and journeyman card that will benefit my career and family.”


From “Amerequip earns regional youth award” — Amerequip,  a manufacturer of custom equipment for the lawn, landscape, agricultural and construction markets, will receive the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturing Alliance’s Youth Apprenticeship Award at the Excellence in Manufacturing Partnership Awards on Wednesday, Oct. 30 at the KI Convention Center in Green Bay.

The award is one of several to be given out at the event, which will spotlight best practices of manufacturing/education partnerships throughout the New North region.

Amerequip has a long standing commitment to ongoing educational programs. in particular, Amerequip has been an active participant in several  innovative internship and apprenticeship programs offered through the State of Wisconsin and several of Wisconsin’s technical colleges.

Lakeshore Technical College nominated Amerequip for the award for its partnershp with the Sheboygan Youth Apprenticeship program, which provides training and job skills while students are in high school. The firm currently has five high school apprentice students training with them in the areas of welding, quality assurance, engineering, assembly and machining, with the goal of growing the program to 10 students  annually going through the Amerequip program. As a result of Amerequip’s lead in the YA program, other small local manufacturers have joined the effort, with 65 students now participating in the program.

From “New MATC scholarship targets construction trades apprentices” — Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. is investing $200,000 over 10 years in scholarships for Milwaukee Area Technical College apprenticeships in the construction trades, according to a Thursday press release.

The “Jim Elliott Apprentice Scholarship for the Construction Trades” will award an initial group of 20 MATC apprenticeship students with up to $1,000 to help cover expenses for equipment, clothes and tools.

The scholarship honors Jim Elliott for his service to the construction trades in Milwaukee and to the Wisconsin Technical College System and the Great Lakes Higher Education Corp. & Affiliates board of directors.

“Wisconsin has a long and proud history of valuing apprenticeships,” said Richard George, Great Lakes Higher Education’s president and CEO. “By helping hard-working students complete an apprenticeship, this scholarship will help them build good careers for themselves and their families, and stronger communities for us all.”

Applications will be provided to eligible MATC students and are due Dec. 2.

“Construction apprenticeships are a valuable opportunity for those seeking to improve their skills and have a great career,” said WTCS president Morna Foy. “We appreciate the ongoing partnership with Great Lakes that makes this sort of opportunity possible for our students.”

From “Wisconsin manufacturing apprentices increase” — By Jeff Engel – A wide-ranging marketing campaign by the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development aimed at drumming up interest in manufacturing apprenticeships has apparently shown results.

In April, DWD began promoting apprenticeships through billboards, public service announcements on TV, videos on its website, flyers and brochures for workers and advertisements on the Packers Radio Network, the state agency said. It worked with ad agency Laughlin Constable to develop the outreach effort.

Through the first half of the year, new apprentices increased 30 percent year-over-year to 1,383, according to the DWD Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. From April 1 through June 30, the number of manufacturers participating in the state program increased by 67 companies compared with the same period last year, DWD said.

One of those additions to the program is Ocean Spray Cranberries Inc., now a registered apprenticeship employer. DWD Secretary Reggie Newson visited Ocean Spray’s Kenosha plant on Monday.

With the agreement, Ocean Spray will start by sponsoring three apprentices in maintenance technician apprenticeship training. The Lakeville-Middleboro, Mass.-based company produces canned and bottled juices and juice drinks.

“Ocean Spray’s ability to expand our markets and products is directly tied to our ability to find employees with the right skills,” said Tim Peoples, Ocean Spray’s Kenosha plant director. “We chose to start an apprenticeship program at our Kenosha plant to develop our work force while providing growth opportunities.”

The program combines on-the-job training with a journey worker and classroom learning, often at a technical college. Apprentices are enrolled for four to five years, with wages increasing along the way. They graduate from the program with a nationally recognized certification.

The average annual wage in manufacturing is about $51,400, more than $10,000 above the average annual wage for all occupations in Wisconsin, DWD said.

More photos from this event

From “Former FVTC student earns honor” — Ryan Huss, Appleton, journeyman electrician with Faith Technologies Inc., earned the 2013 Associated Builders and Contractors of Wisconsin Apprentice of the Year award and was recognized for his exemplary performance in apprenticeship training during the organization’s annual recognition banquet in Wisconsin Dells. Huss, a military veteran with two tours of duty, completed his ABC of Wisconsin electrical construction apprenticeship training at Fox Valley Technical College this past May.

FVTC is the state’s largest provider of apprenticeship training. The award is one of three annual forms of recognition on behalf of ABC of Wisconsin made to individuals who demonstrate a high-level commitment to continuous education through apprenticeship.


From “MPS, GPS Education Partners receive Wisconsin youth apprenticeship grants” — Gov. Scott Walker on Friday announced $1.86 million in Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship grant awards to train high school juniors and seniors in the upcoming school year, including students across the Milwaukee area.

The North Central WI School-to-Career Partnership received the largest grant: $225,599. Grants also include $139,871 for Waukesha County STW Partnership, $132,351 for GPS Education Partners and $40,608 for Milwaukee Public Schools.

Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development administered $1.6 million in grants last year for the skills training program, which trained about 1,900 students at more than 1,300 employers. More than 75 percent of those who finished a two-year youth apprenticeship scored a job with the employer that provided their training, Walker’s office said.

“Wisconsin Youth Apprenticeship helps students train for in-demand careers,” Walker said. “The program is a key part of our goal to equip workers with the skills employers need and to help workers succeed in those jobs. I am pleased that we will build on the success of this program by serving hundreds of additional students this year through strengthened collaborations and innovation among local partners.”

This year’s grants will go to 31 regional consortia across Wisconsin. The number of student participants is still being finalized.

Those groups include school districts and alternative education programs, such as GPS Education Partners, formerly known as Second Chance Partners for Education, which has been rapidly expanding.

Wisconsin’s Youth Apprenticeship program began in 1991 and includes 40 occupations. Students complete on-the-job training with the employer and receive technical college-level instruction at their local high schools. At the end, they have earned a program completion certificate, potential technical college credit and the skills necessary to be hired into an entry-level job.


From “FVTC students learn tools of trade” — By Larry Avila – GRAND CHUTE — Mark Gedamke left his mark on Fox Valley Technical College.

When he was enrolled in the college’s apprenticeship program, he and some of his classmates assembled a working cascading timer circuit, which is used as a hands-on learning tool and resembles a device used for controlling industrial machinery.

“It was an opportunity to make something that other people could use and get some hands-on learning,” said Gedamke of Waupun, an industrial electrician at International Paper in Fond du Lac. He and his classmates were inspired to make the device when other students suggested it would be helpful to learn how to use and troubleshoot problems on real-world equipment if they had a functioning learning tool.

Apprenticeship programs in Wisconsin received $1.8 million in funds after the Gov. Scott Walker signed the 2013-15 budget into law. The programs have been used by people through the years to learn an assortment of skilled trades from construction to manufacturing, an effort the state wants to continue, said Reggie Newson, secretary of the state Department of Workforce Development, who visited FVTC on Thursday and toured the college’s apprenticeship training areas.

“When we looked at options and policies to train workers in Wisconsin, apprenticeships were one of those tools we wanted to focus on,” Newson said. “It’s a tried and true training program to get on-the-job practical experience and help employers get the workers with the skills they need.”

Newson said the state’s apprenticeship programs had received federal funding, but those dollars were dwindling, which is why the state devoted funds to it.

There are more than 7,000 active apprentices in the state now, including 3,545 in construction and 1,286 in manufacturing. Newson said partnerships between businesses and technical colleges make those programs effective.

“It’s a great way to earn while you learn,” he said. “Apprentices are learning in the classroom but getting real-world experience at the same time.”

Gedamke said his apprenticeship lasted four years but it was time well spent.

“The time was well worth it because I learned so many things through it that I use in my daily work,” he said.

Mike Cattelino, associate dean of FVTC’s manufacturing division, said apprentices spend about 10 percent of their time in the classroom and 90 percent in the field.

That relationship is helpful so the college can adjust training programs based on input from students and employers to ensure skills needed are taught.

“We just play a part in this cycle,” Cattelino said. “As apprentices spend time in the field, it helps us (shape) our education here.”


From “Wisconsin’s first Diesel Technician intern” — With summer vacation finally upon us, some local students are looking to work rather than relax in the sun.

The Youth Apprenticeship program has run through the Department of Workforce Development to help Eau Claire Area School District students for a little more than a decade. But one local high school student at North High School is getting an opportunity that no one else in Wisconsin can say they’ve done.

“I rather be doing this then something else, better than sitting at home,” said Kohl Lamke, North High School student.

Getting dirty and working on heavy equipment is what Kohl Lamke calls summer vacation.

“Grew up liking trucks and anything that can move dirt worked for a couple farms, just wanted to work on something I like to do,” said Lamke.

Now Kohl can say he’s the only one in the state working as a Diesel Technician as a high school student.

“I was surprised when they told me that I was the first one to go through because I thought more people would be into this,” Lamke.

“He himself made the first contact out here at Nortrax,” said Kristan Motszko, ECASD School to Careers Coordinator.

Eric Hutchins the Service Manager at Nortrax in Chippewa Falls says he wishes he had this opportunity because his first semester in college he worked toward being a teacher.

“Give them an opportunity if that’s something they want to do, versus going to school spending the money, getting into the mainstream and deciding it isn’t what they wanted to do,” said Hutchins.

Kohl even gets the chance to work on equipment like a 70,000 pound articulated dump truck during his year long internship.

Kristan says each student completes around 450 hours of hands on experience over the course of a year.

“He’ll do coursework. He’ll do hands on work. He’ll travel with a field technician out to job sites. He’ll work with skilled people, anything from cleaning to services to adjustments on equipment,” said Hutchins.

It’s more than just work that students like Kohl get to learn.

“Showing up on time, doing what you’re asked, taking initiative to do something. Don’t just stand around and wait to be told what to do,” said Motszko.

“Industry wide has a shortage of people and to have students and people interested in the career is exciting,” said Hutchins.

“You just gotta try it, if you don’t like it you’ll find out right away nothing hurts to try it,” said Lamke.

View video from


LTC honors apprentices

June 4, 2013

From “Lakeshore Technical College honors apprentices” — Thirty apprentices were honored recently at Lakeshore Technical College’s annual Apprenticeship Completion Banquet at Millhome Supper Club in Kiel.

The banquet recognized the completion of the paid-related classroom instruction for individuals in LTC’s apprenticeship programs, according to a news release. In those programs, workers earn while they learn the practical and theoretical aspects of highly skilled occupations. LTC’s registered apprentices are sponsored by employers and paid hourly wages to attend LTC in their specific trades.

Keynote speaker Reggie Newson, secretary of the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, recognized the apprenticeship completers and relayed his own personal experience as his mother works as a machinist and his father as a welder.

“Without apprentices, we wouldn’t have many of the modern conveniences we have today,” Newson said. “Apprentices have made things simple, convenient and have been driving innovation for years.”

Apprentices from Manitowoc County who were recognized at the banquet, including their apprenticeship area and sponsoring employer, are:

Francis Creek – Marshall Marquardt, carpenter (construction), Hamann Construction Co.;

Manitowoc – Russell Buretta, tool and die maker, LDI Industries; Eric Chase, machinist, KNM; Jason Hastreiter, machinist, HG Weber & Co.; Bruce Heimerman, maintenance mechanic, Federal Mogul Corp.; Matthew Heinzen, tool and die maker, Manitowoc Tool & Manufacturing; Brian Hetue, maintenance mechanic, PolyOne Corp.; Adam Korte, industrial electrician, Parker Hannifin Corp.; Daniel Luckow, machinist, Stecker Machine Co.; Jarek Ordiway, machinist, LDI Industries; Hayden Schmidt, machinist, Jagemann Stamping Co.; Paul Senn, maintenance mechanic, LDI Industries; Ryan Tollefson, sheet metal worker, Aldag Honold Mechanical; and

Whitelaw – Dennis Bratz, maintenance mechanic, Nemak.

From “Apprentices begin new manufacturing program” — Students at Milwaukee Area Technical College in Oak Creek begin the first apprenticeships today in the new Industrial Manufacturing Technician program.

There are seven students enrolled in the course from a range of area manufacturing companies. They will receive intensive instruction in the apprenticeship, which was added to help train workers for jobs with area manufacturers who need industrial manufacturing technicians.

It was developed by the DWD’s Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards and MATC, and is partially funded by a federal Sectors Alliance for the Green Economy grant.

From “Student learns multiple job skills in YA program” — More than 60 Merrill High School juniors and seniors are currently working in the community as youth apprentices in a variety of program areas, including agriculture, finance, health, hospitality, lodging and tourism, information technology, manufacturing, and transportation, distribution and logistics.

One of those students, Allison Sabatke, agreed to share her thoughts about her YA experience for this article. Ali, a senior at Merrill High School, is the daughter of Mark and Becky Sabatke. She has been working at Allied Health Silverman Chiropractic in Merrill since June 2011.

“Joining the youth apprenticeship program was one of the best decisions I made in high school. I actually got the job my junior year before I learned about the program, but going through the apprenticeship program I get credits and an awesome work experience. I work at Allied Health Silverman Chiropractic here in Merrill. Besides the fact that I do get out of school early, get paid for my time at work, and get credits at school, I’ve learned so much at the office.

“First of all, I used to be a very shy person, and working at the chiropractor sort of brought me out of my shell because I had to answer the phones, and I had to interact with the patients who came into the office. I’ve learned how to manage my time as well because it’s very important to keep Dr. Silverman on his schedule and to keep the patients happy, too. Multi-tasking is also another big thing at work. There’s always something to be doing, whether it’s filing, scheduling, preparing for the next day, answering phones, or even cleaning: It all has to be done. My multi-tasking skills have, without doubt, improved since I’ve been working at Silverman’s.

“My parents love the fact that I joined the youth apprenticeship program. They think it’s a great opportunity and that the program teaches great responsibility to the students who are in it. My mom thinks that the program is as awesome as do I. I would definitely recommend this program to other students. It’s more than just having a job; it teaches and helps improve students’ everyday skills such as priorities and time management.

“After graduation, which is creeping up on me, I want to go to Northcentral Technical College in the radiography associates degree program offered there. There are just so many opportunities in this field that would be really cool to learn about. X-rays can show so much; I even get to see them at work every now and again.”

If you are interested in learning more about the Youth Apprenticeship program, contact Marla Konkol at Merrill High School at 715-536-4594, ext. 18037, or email her at

From “Teachable fit: Generation Y” — By Aleta Norris of Impact Consulting Group — Jeff Karlson, a supervisor at Allis-Roller in Franklin, had much to share about his two-and-a-half-year timeframe with the company when we spoke recently. A member of Generation Y, Jeff is an exciting representation of what we see in so many organizations – members of the emerging workforce who are on fire for what they do.

As I talked with Jeff about his role – overseeing a team of employees in a newly-added location for the company – he was clearly excited about what he is doing. Contributing to his excitement? He has been selected as the candidate from his organization to begin an 18-month manufacturing apprenticeship program at MATC in January.

As a part of this program, Jeff will attend a weekly one-day class at MATC (for one year) and then receive significant guidance and mentorship back at his work environment. The program, designed through a collaborative effort involving educators and industry leaders (and provided through a partnership of the state Department of Workforce Development and MATC), is designed to last 18 months and provides a framework for participating companies to support the process.

“We need more interest from companies in our business community to support programs like this one,” said Dave Dull, president of Allis-Roller. Both Dave and Julie Zaja, manufacturing manager at Allis-Roller, spoke enthusiastically about their commitment to doing their part to help close the skills gap. Along with their support of MATCs new Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program, they have been involved in and exploring additional avenues to recruit young machinists and welders, then investing in their development and success.

“We are fully aware that young workers today are looking for an advancement pathway,” said Julie Zaja. “They are interested in variety and change. We all need workers, and we’ve decided we’re better off looking for the type of person we want … then grooming them and supporting them. We need an education component right in the workplace.”

Julie went on to share that one of the things that has supported Jeff’s success, as well as the success of other employees at Allis-Roller, is the commitment of their key supervisors.

“Jeff’s supervisor gets along really well with people and wants to help them,” she said.

This is critical. I’ve said this before – employees join companies and leave bosses. Part of Jeff’s success is the availability of his leadership.

“One of my biggest challenges coming into the company was that I knew nothing about steel or welding,” Karlson said. “I just kept going to the proper people who could answer my questions. My supervisors spent a lot of time with me to train me.”

Before I continue, let me reiterate, as I have before, that while I am a fierce advocate of Generation Y, I am not advocating that organizations have the sole responsibility of catering to the preferences of the Gen Y workforce, the answer will lie in the middle.

So, what IS the compromise? The leaders of Allis-Roller have sent a clear message to Jeff Karlson: “You make a difference.” That is, without question, contributing to his passion for what he does and his productivity.

According to Julie, however, he brought a bunch to the table.

“Jeff is quality minded, conscientious, gives suggestions, is leadership minded and is responding well to the added responsibility we’ve given him,” she said.

Organizations today, more and more, are beginning to build their models and approaches around their need to attract and, more importantly, retain talent. As Julie mentioned, Allis-Roller has tried to be in tune with what young people are looking for. Along these same lines, I had an opportunity to talk with Kathleen Hohl, director of communications and events at Milwaukee Area Technical College (MATC).

Reinforcing the same type of interest in understanding the emerging workforce, Kathleen said, “As we try to recruit emerging workers to our manufacturing apprenticeship program, we know there has to be some kind of cool factor. We’re focused on how we can make manufacturing look cool, because young people, in particular, are swept up by what’s new and viral. We’re also focusing on renewable and sustainable, because we see young people focusing on Earth-friendly habits. We know we have to tap into where they are if we want to capture their attention.”

Yes, to a large degree today, the individual rules. It’s great to see organizations stepping back to explore their part in the equation. It inspires the Jeff Karlsons of the world to step forward and do theirs.

From “An effort to foster the next generation of entrepreneurs” — In 2006, Mark Anderson and Steven Horvath started MASTEQ, a machine shop in suburban Milwaukee that designs and manufactures tooling for foundries. Anderson was 28 at the time. Before starting the company, Anderson received instruction as part of a registered apprenticeship program at Milwaukee Area Technical College.

He worked his way up through the ranks as a computer-based designer, where he met Horvath, who served as his boss and a mentor. The two decided to go into business together, and today they employ six people and have plans to expand in 2012.

We need to encourage more young people in Wisconsin and throughout the country to follow in Anderson’s and Horvath’s footsteps by learning a trade and becoming entrepreneurs.

I am in Milwaukee on Thursday for an event in the Small Business Administration’s Young Entrepreneurs Series. At events across the country, young entrepreneurs and Obama administration officials have engaged in a discussion about how and why the Obama administration is supporting the next generation of entrepreneurs.

To further support young entrepreneurship, the SBA and the Department of Labor are announcing the Start Young Initiative, a new partnership to bring entrepreneurship education to the young people enrolled in the Labor Department’s Job Corps. Start Young will run as a pilot program in three cities; Milwaukee is being considered as a potential site.

As part of the Start Young Initiative, the SBA will work with our network of resource partners on a specialized entrepreneurship training curriculum. Job Corps students receive academic and technical training that helps them transition into the workforce, higher education or the military. Now, they will be able to make the transition into entrepreneurship as well.

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