From “Counselors live what students will experience” — EAU CLAIRE – At McDonell Central High School in Chippewa Falls, it’s part of Jerry Van Dyke’s job to advise students on college and career selections and keep their high school experiences on track so they can reach their goals. He just got a little better at it.

Now Van Dyke will be able to tell his students from firsthand experience what they’re going to need in some of Chippewa Valley Technical College’s (CVTC’s) most popular programs.

“I’m here to learn about what young students in the program are experiencing right out of high school. It’s learning about it through practical experience,” Van Dyke said. He was one of dozens of high school counselors attending a recent conference at CVTC in which they were updated on requirements and expectations in the FireMedic, Paramedic/EMT, Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement and Paralegal programs.

However, the CVTC students who acted as instructors for the session did not just talk to the counselors about the credits required. They had them dressing in firefighter’s gear, holding a spraying fire hose, climbing ladders, tearing apart a wrecked car, checking vitals on a simulated patient, and many other activities that students in the programs face.

“I can advise kids so much better after today,” said Aaron Hass, the counselor at Mondovi High School. “I will have the practical experience to say, ‘I was in on that session, and you need (Advanced Placement) one and two.’”

Counselors from the area meet at CVTC once a year. “The purpose is to give them an overview of admission requirements and programs and update them on changes,” said Gayle Ostermann of Menomonie, an enrollment specialist at CVTC who works closely with the counselors. “This year was different because we decided to target one of our career clusters.” A survey of the counselors led to selection of the Law, Public Safety and Security cluster.

The CVTC staff planning the event decided to make it a hands-on experience, and to have students, who were so recently high school students themselves, conduct the sessions.

“The level of maturity of the students now in college was displayed to the counselors, who can talk about that with their high school students too,” Ostermann said.

Van Dyke sees the opportunity to take what he’s learned back to McDonell, where he can quickly dispel some of the misconceptions of students who think they don’t need this-or-that class to pursue a chosen career.

“One of the (Criminal Justice program) students pointed out the need for communication skills. That’s something 17-year-olds don’t realize,” Van Dyke said.

“The kids would be surprised by the amount of academics,” Hass said. “A lot of them want to skid through high school and think tech school will just be easy. (In Paramedic/EMT) they have to take anatomy and physiology.”

“In firefighting, they have to know physics, and do math right in the truck,” Van Dyke added.

“Math is so incredibly important. Kids need math skills and need to continue them because of the safety factor,” said Linda Mikunda, counselor at Barron High School.

Barb Van Doorn of Lake Holcombe High School had a different perspective. Academic requirements can be found in publications. “But we saw firsthand exactly what you need for FireMedic. You get a better idea of what students are going through. We are always so concerned about cognitive abilities, but with this program we learned what is physically needed, and what is emotionally needed.”

“We thought the sessions would energize them” said Ostermann. “There were a lot of smiles today.”


From “FVTC crime program earns honors” — Brad Russ, director of Fox Valley Technical College’s National Criminal Justice Training Center, accepted the Leadership Award from the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center at the national Crime Against Children Conference on behalf of FVTC.

The award recognizes Russ’s leadership at the NCJTC in providing training to more than 3,000 law enforcement investigators, prosecutors, child protection specialists and medical, mental health and victim service professionals. In addition, FVTC’s Phil Keith, program administrator of the AMBER Alert and Technical Assistance program, offered workshops at the conference on best practices in bringing home missing and abducted children.


From “Today’s TMJ4 goes inside elite arson investigator training” — WAUKESHA – It happens time and time again right here in southeast Wisconsin.  Intentionally set fires destroying homes and businesses, putting firefighters in danger and neighborhoods at risk.

TODAY’S TMJ4’s cameras were invited for an exclusive look at an elite training program for arson investigators. Instructors carefully, deliberately set multiple fires in an old Hartford farmhouse before students arrived, turning it into a hands-on classroom.

“It’s a two-week, National Fire Academy course, a very prestigious course,” said Brian Dorow, Dean of Criminal Justice at Waukesha County Technical College.  “What we’re setting is seven different crime scenes.  The students come through during the course.  They have to determine the motive, the origin.”

This is all done under the careful supervision of the Hartford Fire and Rescue Department.  Chief Paul Stephens had a message for those who see arson as a way out.

“It puts firefighters’ lives at risk,” Stephens said.  “It puts citizens at risk and fire kills people.”

We first met the students as they watched a demonstration at the technical college campus.  A living room scene had been set up inside a garage. The students watched the instructor spray a trail of lighter fluid along the floor, up to a couch cushion.

The instructor started the fire with a single match.  It took less than two minutes for the fire to rage.

“We can talk about it through PowerPoint and lecture,” the instructor said.  “We can show video of it.  But, we want the students to be able come out and actually see how it evolves.”

Back at the old farmhouse, the students put that classroom arson training to the test. Instructors posed as witnesses, like the fire chief and the homeowner. One of the instructors is Wisconsin State Fire Marshal Michael Rindt.

“Every fire is a challenging scene,” Rindt said.  “We try not to make these scenes as challenging as you’d see in the real world because we want these to be a learning experience for them.”

There are seven different fire mysteries within this house.  Some are set up as accidental fires and others as arson fires.  Students take their notes back to the classroom and try to determine the cause.

Students will take these skills back to their communities, better equipped to catch the criminals who start fires.  The students are firefighters, sheriff’s deputies and police officers.

“I don’t know if we have a shortage of adequately trained fire investigators, but it certainly is a profession where you need to have continued training,” Rindt said.

WCTC said every one of the students passed the course and that the students correctly solved each of the seven mock cases.

The college did not allow TODAY’S TMJ4 to interview the students because of their active roles in law enforcement.

From “WCTC’s Career Quest designed for middle school students” — Waukesha County Technical College will host Career Quest, an opportunity for sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students to get a closer look at what skills and qualifications are needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

The three-day summer exploration will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, Aug. 6, 7 and 8, at WCTC’s main campus in Pewaukee.

Middle school students will be introduced to a variety of careers – including those in Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, Metal Fabrication/Welding, Cosmetology and many more — and learn about the education and training needed for those jobs. Cost of the event is $100 per student. Sessions run from at 8:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; lunch and snacks will be provided. Registration ends June 28, and the sessions will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis. Space is limited!

From the options below, students can choose two career sessions to explore: • Future of Nursing (Nursing) • What’s Up, Doc? (Medical Assistant) • Authorized Personnel Only! (Surgical Technology) • To Protect and Serve — CSI style (Criminal Justice) • Emergency! (Firefighting/EMT) • Fuse it Together (Metal Fabrication/Welding) • Precision Parts (CNC Manufacturing) • Explore Robotics (Automation Systems Technology) • Baking Quest (Baking/Pastry) • Culinary Quest (Culinary Management) • The Art of Play (Early Childhood) • Spa Day (Cosmetology)

For details on career sessions, to learn more about Career Quest and to register, visit For questions, contact John Pritchett, Career Quest coordinator, at 262.695.7847 or


From “WCTC’s Criminal Justice Dean Brian Dorow on Boston bombings” — Brian Dorow is the Dean of Criminal Justice at Waukesha County Technical College.

Dorow appeared on FOX6 News following the explosions at the Boston Marathon to talk about law enforcement’s response to a mass tragedy.

View video from


From “Fighting Internet crime at Fox Valley Technical College” — GRAND CHUTE – The fight against Internet crimes involving children is getting a renewed boost from the federal government.

It keeps up to $25 million over four years flowing into a program at Fox Valley Technical College.

Each dot on this map represents someone logged on to a child pornography site. Brad Russ says there are hundreds nationwide and beyond.

“You can see the magnitude of the problem,” said Brad Russ, director of the Criminal Justice Training Center at FVTC.

The program is called “Round-up.” It’s part of the ongoing effort to stay ahead of would-be offenders.

“Now, they can access material anywhere in the world very rapidly. Everybody’s got web cams now. It’s a lot more prevalent problem I think than it ever used to be,” said Russ.

Russ runs the National Criminal Justice Training Center at Fox Valley Technical College in Grand Chute. A federal grant from the Child Protection Act of 2012 pays for the program, and training for officers.

During a recent training session, Appleton Police Department Sergeant Polly Olson went undercover, posing as a mother of two young girls.

Olson said it didn’t take long to get a response.

“He was approaching me. He wanted to travel, to meet my kids in exchange for some sex with my kids,” said Sgt. Olson.

Olson tracked the number to a sex offender in Wyoming.

“They were able to pick him up, and are actually prosecuting him for that offense,” said Olson.

In the last two years, the Internet Task Force has made 4,000 arrests, executed more than 6,000 search warrants, and saved 84 children from abusive situations.

Congressmen Reid Ribble voted for the initiative.

“As a parent, and grand parent, protecting children matters to every single family,” said Rep. Reid Ribble, R-8th District.

“That’s the thing that we’re all working towards, is how to interdict these crimes before they happen, or help children who have been victimized.”

In the task force’s 15 years, it has assisted in 33,000 arrests for suspected computer crimes against children.

That’s on average half a dozen a day.

From “WITC-New Richmond students tour Maricopa County Jail” — The Criminal Justice Club from Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College-New Richmond campus recently attended the annual American Correctional Association Conference in Phoenix.

Among the many events, they toured the notorious Maricopa County Jail or “Tent City.”

Tent City, with a neon “vacancy” sign above it, is run by Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Up to 2,000 inmates live in tents, wear old-fashioned prison stripes and pink underwear; and the camp prohibits cigarettes, adult magazines, hot lunches and TV.

The students agreed the trip provided an excellent learning experience.

WITC serves the educational and career needs of more than 25,000 residents of Northwestern Wisconsin each year. With multiple campuses, WITC offers career-focused associate degree programs, technical diplomas, short-term certificates, customized training, and a wide array of courses for personal or career enrichment.

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