From “Finding a path: Area students take part in Career Expo” — CLEVELAND — Although the halls of Lakeshore Technical College are bare of college students this week, the classrooms are alive with the sound of high school students as sophomores forge paths toward careers after graduation.

Approximately 1,000 sophomores from highs schools across the county participated in a two-day Career Expo at Lakeshore Technical College. The career exploration program, which also continues today, was separated into three sections aimed at helping students find a career path suited to their interests.

“Today is a day that opens their horizons to look at many different facets of possible career choices,” Karen Szyman, executive director of The Chamber of Manitowoc County, said. “Hopefully it will get them on the path of thinking and choosing classes that are associated with those careers.”

The first section, a traditional career expo, allowed students to interact with 22 different business leaders in the community to discuss employment opportunities. Business leaders discussed skills needed for specific jobs and highlighted lesser-known careers students might be interested in.

“I think they look at a nursing home and think, ‘I’d have to be a nurse,’” said Tracy Miller, human resources director at Shady Lane Nursing Care Center. “I have to convince them there are many other areas. There are more things happening behind the scenes than just caring for the residents.”

Variety of ambitions

The approximately 500 sophomores at LTC on Thursday were mixed on their career ambitions. Some, such as sophomore Vanessa Bautista of Two Rivers, focused on a career, such as health care, while others, such as Autumn Conjurski, were not so sure.

“I would like to help people. I just have an interest in that,” Bautista said. “I’d always wanted to be a doctor to help people who were injured.”

Conjurski, also of Two Rivers, said she was considering a career in graphic design, but was looking at other options, too.

“I plan to help other people with my disability, autism, or be an animator or video game designer,” she said. “My brother plays a lot of video games and always asks me to make something. I always say, ‘sure, whenever I get the right skills to do it.’”

Her friend, Sheryl VanGinkel, was set on pursuing a career in the psychology field.

“I love the human brain and how people react with certain things,” she said.

The career fair provides benefits to both types of students, Heidi Soodsma, the finance and program manager for the Chamber, noted.

“The importance is career exploration for students,” she said. “For some, it is there first exposure to different career opportunities. A lot of schools do career planning, but this is an opportunity for students to talk directly to the experts in their field.”

Job interviews

In addition to the traditional career fair, human resource professionals were on-hand to educate students on employability skills, such as creating resumes or going to job interviews.

“Present a winning impression,” RaeAnn Thomas of Seek Careers Staffing in Manitowoc, told a classroom of students. “You are not the only one for a job interview, and you want to stand out.”

In other classrooms throughout LTC, students met with, and asked questions of, employees within their desired field. In total, 90 volunteers from local businesses attended the fair.

Eric Haban, a machinist at LDI Industries in Manitowoc, said the discussions provided students with valuable career information, but also allowed businesses direct access to potential future employees.

“We get a big pipeline of potential candidates into the welding and manufacturing field from this program,” Haban said. “I got a call out of the blue last year from a parent who said their kid watched our presentation and wanted to know more about industrial maintenance.”

Haban, who said he found his calling at the Career Fair years ago, returns every year to talk with students.

“I think what attracts me to come back every year is I remember sitting out here in 10th grade and thinking about the career options that were out here,” he said. “I want the students to know that manufacturing is thriving and is not a dying career. There are good opportunities to make a decent living in the skills area.”

Haban met with students, such as sophomore Sam Oswald, who said he was looking into a career in electrical engineering

“My dad works at Manitowoc Company, so I was checking that out,” Oswald said.

Organizers said they hoped the program inspired students to begin thinking now about their future career plans.

“Apply yourself now,” Jon Shambeau, an engineer at Wisconsin Aluminum Foundry, told a group of students. “Now is the time to do it, because other things will come at you way to fast. Today is the day.”


From “Students will explore career interests” — Career Expo, hosted at Lakeshore Technical College, will be assisting more than 1,000 Manitowoc County high school sophomores in exploring future career interests while promoting the development of our future workforce.

This event is held in cooperation with the Manitowoc County public and private high schools, University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc, Lakeshore Technical College, Lakeland College and Silver Lake College of the Holy Family.

The high school sophomores will be involved in the following events:

• Career Exploration in 16 various Career Clusters

• Career Fair representing area Manitowoc County businesses

• Employability Skills Session

• Career Mapping Session

• Career Activities with their high school guidance counselors

Over 95 volunteers from across Manitowoc County will speak to students about their respective careers and opportunities for the future. The day program includes career presentations, employability workshops and a Career Fair.

At the Career Fair the students will be instructed to interview three representatives from the 22 businesses showcasing their career opportunities. The students will discuss potential careers, skills required in the field and the advantages and disadvantages of the careers.

The third workshop entitled “You, You, You” will focus on employability skills.

2014 Career Expo is being held Thursday and Friday beginning each day at 9 a.m. and concluding at 11:30 a.m.

It will be held at Lakeshore Technical College, 1290 North Ave., Cleveland. Career Expo will host Two Rivers, McKinley, Reedsville, Brillion, Kiel, Lutheran and Valders students on Thursday and Lincoln, Hilbert and Mishicot students on Friday.

From “FVTC Culinary Theater officially opens” — GRAND CHUTE — The new Culinary Theater at Fox Valley Technical College in Grand Chute is officially open.

The college held a ribbon cutting ceremony tonight for the new state of the art facility. The 8500-square-foot space features panoramic vantage points for cooking demos and food preparation narrations.

Culinary Arts Department Chair Chef Jeff Igel says, “This is awesome. Having this facility puts us as a cutting edge culinary program, it’s a wonderful facility to teach in. It’s like going to teach in Disneyland.”

The new theater allows 120 people to see the demos clearly and highlights the latest in high-teach kitchen equipment.

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From “Nursing student saves drowning child” — After just one semester of nursing courses at Western Technical College, Megan Barbian figured she was at least a year and a half away from saving lives. However, that all changed Wednesday night, when a 20-month-old girl was pulled from the water at Pettibone Beach.

“When I started she had no pulse, no respirations, she was really really pale, her lips were a blackish purple color,” Barbian said.

Lifeguards were not on duty at the time and Megan was the only one on the beach who knew CPR.

“The little girl reminded me so much of my niece, and I was like ok, this is her, ” Barbian said. “You need to do, what you need to do to save her. Did it cross my mind that yeah she might not make it? Yeah, and I was scared. But I started compressions, and after a few minutes she took her first breath. And I was like, we’re getting somewhere.”

The child’s family wishes to remain anonymous, but did contact Western to tell them about Megan’s heroic actions.

“To me, Megan is an angel,” the girl’s grandmother said. “I mean, my granddaughter wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Megan. And I hope she’ll always be part of our family. It’s just remarkable that a stranger can do that.”

Gundersen Lutheran also took notice of Megan’s actions and offered her a job as a pediatric nurse when she finishes school.

“Just thank you, from the bottom of my heart Megan,” the grandmother said. “My family thanks you. You are going to be the best nurse in the world. And words cannot express how grateful we are.”

The child is now home and her family says she’s back to her normal self.

Both Megan and the girl’s grandmother say the incident highlights the importance of knowing CPR.

From “Fox Valley colleges team up for aviation” — OSHKOSH – Through UW-Oshkosh, Fox Valley Technical College aviation graduates like Kodye Shier now have the opportunity to fly higher in their careers.

“First time I ever saw a plane I was bit by the aviation bug,” said Shier who is now an intern flight instructor at FVTC.

Starting this fall, Shier and other technical school graduates will be able to take an online aviation management program through UW Oshkosh.

“It is so convenient the fact that I can be working, building my hours and still be able to go to school at the same time,” said Shier

“The four-year program opens up more doors and it gives the graduates a leadership background so they can move up and advance in their companies and become the next generation of leaders in aviation,” said Jared Huss, an aeronautics instructor at FVTC.

With most of the hands on work done at the technical college level, instructors say it works for the new program to be done online.

“Our graduates really find themselves all over the world and that’s the nice thing about this offering is while they are out there in the industry working, gaining experience and providing for their families, they are able to continue their education 100% online from anywhere in the world,” said Huss.

The offering might be taking off at just the right time. An industry forecast shows nearly 500,000 pilots will be needed through the year 2030 worldwide.

“We’re at the front end right now that spike is forecast to start this year to next year,” said Huss.

While FVTC aviation graduates could fill those jobs immediately, the new UW-Oshkosh program has potential to open better opportunities.

“The best jobs are for commercial airlines and commercial airlines will not even look at a candidate until they have a bachelor’s degree,” said Sarah Smith, the outreach program manager at UW-Oshkosh.

It is partly the reason Shier is on board.

“I don’t want to sell myself short and close a door when I can just open more doors,” said Shier.

The program is the first of its kind in Wisconsin.

From “Do Wisconsin high schools pass the career test?” — A wide-ranging group of lawmakers, business leaders and educators begins work Monday to answer a central question: Does Wisconsin’s education system do enough to develop the career skills of high-schoolers?

Rep. Paul Farrow (R-Pewaukee) launched the group, officially known as the Special Committee on Improving Educational Opportunities in High School, to focus on opportunities offered to high-schoolers entering a challenging economy. Its first meeting is Monday in Madison.

“Right now, I want to get the conversation going,” he said.

The committee will look into three areas relating to high school education:

Current options available to high school students for ca reer and technical education and postsecondary enrollment, including the Youth Options program, which allows certain high school juniors and seniors to take college classes and also receive high school credit.

How those options compare with other states.

Ways that high schools, technical colleges, universities and employers can work together to meet the state’s workforce needs.

Committee member Mark Tyler said he would like to see the committee highlight the best practices already existing in the state.

“Because people don’t know about these opportunities, they expect that they are not there, and that’s just not the case,” said Tyler, a University of Wisconsin System regent and president of the Wisconsin Technical College System Board.

New London schools Superintendent Bill Fitzpatrick is already making changes at New London High School, which is in the process of shifting to a new model in which students are grouped into academies focused on particular career groups.

The change isn’t aimed at forcing students to make career choices early, but to put academic studies into a more real-world context.

Fitzpatrick said he is looking forward to the group’s discussion and said it is time to think futuristically about education.

“It’s time that we go back and take a look at a system that was set up for another time,” Fitzpatrick said.

Sen. Luther Olsen (R-Ripon), chair of the committee, and Farrow circulated a letter to the other members in advance of Monday’s meeting asking them to consider what issues are the most important in determining whether high school graduates have the skill sets to make their next steps.

“Just asking those questions is really important,” said committee member Bill Hughes, director of leadership development at Schools That Can Milwaukee, a nonprofit geared toward networking schools and improving school quality in impoverished areas.

Diverse group

Hughes, former superintendent of the Greendale School District, said he is optimistic about what the committee can accomplish, particularly because of the people involved. He said the members are a good mix of rural, urban and suburban voices. More important, Hughes said, the members will bring a reform perspective, rather than just trying to work around the edges of the system.

“At least we’re going to hear different perspectives,” Hughes said.

Hughes said he is interested in finding out how many students return to technical colleges after getting a four-year degree. The committee should look for ways to help those students get the right skills earlier so they don’t have to go back to school, he said.

On the agenda for Monday’s meeting are speakers from the state Department of Workforce Development, Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce and ManpowerGroup. Tim Sullivan, special consultant for business and workforce development to Gov. Scott Walker, will also speak.

Stronger connections

More needs to be done to build stronger connections between schools and employers, said Suzanne Kelley, a committee member and president of the Waukesha County Business Alliance.

Kelley hopes to bring an employer perspective to the committee. She said the needs of employers, particularly in manufacturing, have evolved, noting the industry has become more high-tech. Kelley is hopeful the committee can work to find ways to reintroduce technical arts classes into high schools.

Helping more students earn college credit while in high school is an area UW-Waukesha Dean Harry Muir said he would like the committee to consider.

“It’s like having a scholarship, if you think about it,” Muir said.

He said colleges and universities should collaborate with the K-12 system to help students discover their interests earlier, perhaps even shifting some general education and liberal arts classes into high school.

About the committee

The Special Committee on Improving Educational Opportunities in High School is one of seven study committees taking on issues during the period between legislative sessions. Early in 2012, the staff of the Joint Legislative Council asks legislators to submit topics for possible study. Once the ideas are collected, the co-chairs of the Joint Legislative Council – currently Sen. Mary Lazich (R- New Berlin) and Rep. Joan Ballweg (R-Markesan) – select topics to study.

From Reedsburg Times-Press: “MATC’s Reedsburg expansion impresses” — A stamp, the Titanic and Gladys.

Addressing about 80 people Monday during the unveiling of the new expansion at the Reedsburg branch of Madison Area Technical College, State Sen. Dale Schultz told the audience to think of those three things.

While it seemed a somewhat odd analogy to MATC’s 100th year of existence, Schultz, R-Richland Center, certainly had the crowd’s attention.

“In 1912, people literally put in their two cents because that’s how much a stamp cost,” Schultz said. “Today, people are paying more for a stamp, but they’re still putting in their two cents at the ballot box.

“I’m proud of (the people of) this community and others like it who passed the referendum to grant MATC the funds for these renovations. The community is giving back by investing what we know will pay back dividends to help create jobs.”

Schultz was referring to the successful passage of MATC’s $133.8 building referendum in November 2010, of which $2.4 million went to fund the 16,000-square-foot expansion and renovation of the Reedsburg campus.

His comparison to the shared anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic was an illustration of people doing the right thing, even when it was believed to be negligent behavior from the ship’s captain and crew.

“Back in 1912, people put a lot less thought into preparations,” Schultz said. “If they would have been more prepared for evacuation, many more lives would have been saved. In MATC’s case, the renovations are a plan for the future.”

Finally, Schultz’s admonition to MATC officials was taken from Gladys Hardy, an 88-year-old Texas native who frequently calls into “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to share her hilarious opinions.

“Gladys always ends her phone calls with Ellen by saying, ‘keep on keeping on,’” Schultz said. “We all know these times aren’t easy, but I know better times are ahead. MATC of Reedsburg is leading the way.”

The guests for the unveiling and ribbon-cutting Monday included students, staff members, MATC trustees and executives, and local, county and state officials.

It was as though Gladys’ words were a focal point throughout the planning of the Reedsburg campus expansion. The advances in teaching technology have, at minimum, “kept keeping on” with the use of state-of-the-art teleconferencing that provides more resources and more courses that might not otherwise have been available at the Reedsburg campus.

The star of all of the technological advancements is the “telepresence” room that fundamentally changes the traditional classroom setting.

“Through the telepresence room, the whole Madison College can become a resource to students here in Reedsburg,” said project architect Dave Cameron, of Cameron Aslaksen Architects LLC in Reedsburg. “This can help with programming and scheduling.”

The telepresence room brings dramatic changes to teaching. The instructor sits in the gallery, along with the students, and is teleconferenced to the Reedsburg campus on three large screens. Students can view the entire lecture room of the other campus, hear the questions those students ask and clearly see who is asking the question.

For the open house Monday, developmental mathematics teacher Julie Steiner was in Portage, being teleconferenced to Reedsburg as a demonstration of the technology.

“Summer classes are pretty small,” Steiner said during the demonstration. “This gives us the opportunity to increase enrollment of these small classes. It’s especially nice for courses they can’t offer at the regional campuses because the (low) enrollment wouldn’t allow it.

“Students really get to know each other from other campuses (via telepresence). It’s so interesting to see how they develop relationships.”

Cameron said the same technology is used in smaller rooms for remote tutoring and counseling from Madison and other campuses for students in Reedsburg.

“We were some of the first to explore the idea of telepresence,” said MATC executive director of economic and workforce development John Alt. “But we called it ‘distance education.’

“We weren’t going to be able to grow our enrollment simply by being standalone campuses. So we started to collaborate. We took advantage of every technology that was out there. We’ve now added 30 new sections of courses,” Alt said.

“We’ve tried to be as innovative as possible in order to provide a wide diversity of courses to people in the area,” MATC operational director Scott Beard said. “The Portage campus has 25 percent greater enrollment than it did last fall, simply because we added two science classrooms and a small telepresence room.”

Along with the boost in technology came a new thrust to increase energy efficiency with the design.

The increases came partially in the form of energy-saving lighting, an increased use of natural lighting during daylight hours, water-conserving bathroom fixtures and energy-conserving, high-velocity blowers to replace paper towels for use in hand drying.

Cameron said that while the building design did not strive for a certification in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the design strives to follow LEED standards by being as “green” (environmentally compatible) as possible. Some of the LEED requirements include using recycled construction materials and energy-efficient appliances.

“We exceeded the LEED requirements,” Cameron said. “If you want to get LEED certified, a certain amount of money goes to professional services and the certification process itself.

“We want to be designed as a LEED Silver certification, but we really don’t have to have that plaque on the wall and go through all the calculation,” Cameron added. “Now, we’re able to reallocate the funding that would have gone to that red-tape process to purchase more efficient building materials.

“At MATC, there’s an advantage to being LEED certified, because you’re setting a community example,” Cameron said.

Cameron said the expansion wing was built with future growth in mind, hopefully saving more construction dollars down the road.

“There is glazing you can pop out and extend the corridor,” Cameron said. “You can add four more classrooms without adding any new corridors.”

Cameron said there had been a wish list for classrooms that would incorporate massage therapy or sleep disorder programs. However, he said, those had to be placed on a wish list for the future.

“Every square inch (of the building expansion) was carefully designed to maximize the learning experience of our students and the return on investment for our area taxpayers,” MATC Provost Terrance Webb said. “It is a new century of promise that excites us the most.

“The new construction here at Reedsburg — and eight other projects that are part of our smart future building plans — will enable us to provide our students with the tools and advance training that 21st century employers seek.”

State Assemblyman Ed Brooks, R-Reedsburg, said: “John (Alt) shows the pride of a new parent and the community shares that with you, John. Make sure as we go down the road, it isn’t one-size-fits-all.”

Reedsburg Mayor Dave Estes, once an MATC student, said he was “absolutely amazed” at the changes and technology on display.

“We’re all very proud of this campus,” Estes said. “The future of the Reedsburg area shines brighter with the partnership that’s been built with Madison College.”

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