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 “Madison College instructors use 3-D printers as part of curriculum” — It’s cutting-edge technology at our fingertips. 3-D printers are being used to create everything from cell phone covers to cars to prosthetic limbs. Now, instructors at Madison Area Technical College are implementing the machines into their curriculum.

The printers have been around for decades, but like most technology, over the years the price has dropped and they’re now much more accessible. Come fall, there will be one in dozens of classrooms at Madison College. Now, envisioning an idea, like the architectural plans for a building, will no longer be confined to a computer screen.

“The way is to create the 3-D model in the software,” Jim Grenzow said. “It needs to be translated and sent to this machine. And when we build the model, basically what we do is take sections and 3-4 thousandths of an inch thick and printing them out on this machine.”

Grenzow helps architecture students at Madison College bring their designs to life using a 3-D printer.

“The machine that we have works basically on the principal that if I draw an object, and cut out this object with a razor blade knife,” Grenzow said. “And then transferred that onto each of these sheets of paper, and then cut them out and stacked them all on top of each other, I would have a 3-D object. ”

The process is a layering effect and takes hours to complete. The printer Grenzow works with uses a white flour-like material, but others can use anything from plastic to metal to even sugar or syrup to make food.

“So there are multiple ways to actually create a 3-D product using different materials,” said Ken Starkman, Dean of Applied Science, Engineering and Technology at Madison College. “And I think that’s where we’re going to see these tremendous leaps and bounds in technology here in the coming years and months.”

Starkman says the industry is currently going two ways: One toward the high-end multi-material 3-D printer that major companies and schools may use, and the other toward the less expensive, less complex ones that people can buy for their homes.

“3-D technology will find its way into our kitchens, it will find its way into our home offices,” Starkman said. “It may find its way into shopping malls. When you start thinking in 3-D, the possibilities really become endless.”

But many fear there is also a downside to the printers. The government has been concerned recently about people’s capacity to build their own guns that are made of non-metal based materials, and can easily get through a metal detector.

There is also the concern that manufacturing jobs may soon go away if people are able to use 3-D printers to replace things like car parts all on their own. Starkman says while the face of manufacturing will certainly change, technology will create new demands and therefore new jobs.


From “Trash to Treasure” — Can one person’s trash be another person’s treasure? That’s the annual challenge for architecture students at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

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