March 3, 2014
From leadertelegram.com: “Manufacturing in the spotlight” — A group of high school students stood wide-eyed as a Chippewa Valley Technical College student dropped a metal ball that seemed to defy gravity as it fell through a simple copper tube. It fell slowly through the tube as if moving in molasses, never touching the sides.
The demonstration of electromagnetic forces took place in the Nano Engineering Technology area of CVTC’s Manufacturing Education Center last March at the annual Manufacturing Show, which returns for a third year Thursday.
That simple ball-and-tube trick will have to take a distant back seat to other high-end demonstrations this year. For instance, CVTC now has equipment that uses streams of water under extremely high pressure to cut metal in precise detail, without the harmful effects heat-based metal cutting can leave behind.
Manufacturing Show demonstrations also will include a three-dimensional printer that doesn’t use ink. Instead, it produces, layer after layer, at high speed, a 3-D plastic model of items drawn up with paper and numbers.
“It gives us an ability to replicate a concept or design, showing the working parts,” said CVTC Associate Dean of Manufacturing Jeff Sullivan. “The printers are being used a lot in the medical field.”
New machine tool program equipment that will be on display is capable of speeds up to 12,000 rpm. “The purpose of the high speed is higher accuracy and tighter tolerances,” Sullivan said.
And the purpose of students working on such a machine is to prepare them for the kind of equipment being used in the industry today, important given the prevalence of the machine tool industry in the Eau Claire area.
Welcome to the world of modern manufacturing. People who still picture manufacturing as taking place in dark, dingy places with low-skilled workers doing simple repetitive work will have their minds changed by attending the show, people affiliated with the event said.
“The entire show will present a good overview of manufacturing careers in western Wisconsin,” said Roger Stanford, CVTC vice president of instruction. “We have a great diversity of manufacturing companies in this area, many of them producing products that are getting attention worldwide. Attendees can learn more about these companies at the Manufacturing Show and how CVTC prepares workers for lucrative careers in manufacturing.”
About 20 manufacturing companies will have displays about their role in their industries and in the Chippewa Valley economy. They will use the show to recruit new workers as well.
Joining those companies will be representatives of CVTC’s manufacturing programs: electromechanical technology, industrial mechanic, industrial mechanical technician, machine tooling technics, welding and welding fabrication. Some of the physical science programs, such as nano engineering technology, manufacturing engineering technologist and industrial engineering technician also will be involved.
Students play a vital role in the show. As part of regular course work, they have constructed and programmed robotic equipment that performs such tasks as playing a guitar, making a golf putt or resetting bowling pins.
Area high school students also will be heavily involved in this year’s show. Back again will be the Junkyard Battle, in which high school welding students will compete with their creations made of scrap metal. Last year the contest featured student-made sculptures of their school mascots. This year’s show will feature several more competitions.
Machine tool students will compete in the Amazing Maze event, creating complicated mazes in competition for the best design. Engineering students will use computer-aided design programs to draw up plans for devices. The top design will be reproduced on the 3D printer.
In the electromechanical area, students will create robots that work through a maze without human intervention. The industrial mechanics program is working on a competition involving development of miniature cannons.
“We are reaching out to our K-12 school district partners to develop agreements and programs that expose younger students to manufacturing and prepare high school students for entry into CVTC’s manufacturing programs,” Sullivan said.
The event has been well-attended by the general public since its inception, and area school districts take advantage by using it as an educational experience for students. Some parents bring their children who are starting to think about careers.
The show offers plenty for attendees to do, such as trying out simulators, watching robotic welders, learning what local manufacturers are producing and witnessing student creativity.
February 24, 2014
From riverfallsjournal.com: “For tech college students, simulation lab brings medical reality” — When nursing students at Chippewa Valley Technical College in River Falls work on a training scenario with one of the school’s high-tech simulation mannequins, they can rely only on their own knowledge and instincts.
There’s no glancing over at an instructor in search of a nod of approval for a chosen course of action.
The instructor watches from a separate room, behind glass that students cannot see through. She listens, observes, and controls the simulator to react accordingly to what the students do — good or bad.
“This is more realistic than it was before,” said student Anna Hinde, originally from Barron. “We are able to have some hands-on, real-life experiences.”
Added Colin McConville of Hudson: “We have a lot more space, there are more mannequins, and we’ve got a new teaching lab.”
Use of computerized simulation mannequins — that breathe, react, and have vital signs like real patients — have been part of the CVTC Nursing program at River Falls for years. However, the new simulation lab, which opened in January, seems to be a vast improvement.
“Our environment here is more representative of an actual hospital room,” said Simulation Technician Cynthia Anderson, registered nurse. “The old lab was about half the size of one room in the new lab, and had a noisy air compressor in the room to run the mannequins. Our air compressor is now in another room.”
The mannequins were used to be placed on something like old hospital gurneys. Now there are real hospital beds for the mannequins and sometimes live people playing patients.
“We’re not tripping on cords anymore,” said Bethany Geske, a nursing student who lives in Menomonie, in reference to power cords to the equipment that used to be taped down but are now under the floor.
The lighting is far better, and includes a large window to provide natural light, but set high enough to prevent outside distractions and watchers.
Even small details, like the addition of an in-lab telephone, are important. Students sometimes have to call a doctor or pharmacist (played by an instructor) from the simulator bedside.
“They get the experience of calling the physician, and learning how to speak with the physician,” said Anderson, a registered nurse since 1990 with years of experience at St. Mary’s Hospital in Rochester, Minn.
An adjacent Learning Resource Center (LRC) for the nursing program is also an important addition.
The center is equipped with smaller artificial body parts like arms, hands and heads. Students practice skills such as making injections and inserting intravenous needles.
For CVTC Nursing students, doing homework involves more than reading a textbook.
“I’ve used it on occasion to practice skills like suctions and inserting catheters,” McConville said.
Another major addition to the program this term is “Noel,” a birth mother simulator. The mannequin actually simulates the birth of a little rubber baby newborn, with realistic vital signs and potential problems for the mother.
“The baby can be born breach, with a stuck shoulder, or with respiratory difficulty,” Anderson said, mentioning a few of the complications.
A newborn infant simulator, separate from the rubber birth baby, is also new. It shows vital signs and reacts like the adult models.
A newborn baby can have a bluish hue, which is normal and soon fades. The simulator is sophisticated enough for instructors to prolong the bluish tint and observe when students notice it as a matter of concern.
“We didn’t have the baby mannequin before this year,” said Natalie Miranda, a student from Lakeland, Minn. “We would have to drive to Eau Claire to do that.”
January 28, 2014
From weau.com: “Cold weather brings diesel dangers” — Semi-trucks, plows and school buses are all in danger when the temperatures drop below zero.
Mechanics say the proper fuel and care by truck drivers could save valuable time and money, especially on days when we don’t see temperatures above zero.
“The biggest thing is the filters get plugged. Once the filter’s plugged, then we run out of fuel,” Chippewa Valley Technical College diesel mechanic instructor Rusty Naylor said.
“The diesel fuel will start gelling when it gets down around 0 degrees. Anything below that, additives have to be put in to keep the fuel from getting thick,” Mid State International Trucks service manager Tom Behling said.
“Drivers in this area, what we have most problem with, is people coming from the south. They’re coming up from Florida, Texas, they fuel up in Missouri, and then when they hit here, our climates 20 below (zero), plus. They don’t think about the fuel gelling. They don’t have a problem down south,” Naylor said.
Behling said his Eau Claire shop has seen more than 100 trucks come because of cold weather problems, twice what it saw last year.
“If they can drive the truck here, they can easily get out of here for a couple hundred dollars. You get towed in; you’re probably looking at $1,000 or more because towing gets expensive.”
He along with Naylor said there are things drivers can do to avoid diesel from gelling up.
“You need a blended fuel, that will drop the temperature at which this wax will develop … Also to that you have to put additives in,” Naylor said.
“This is a trial and error time. I’m looking at tomorrow morning myself, got good fuel, blended fuel; we’ll see what happens at 25 below zero.”
Naylor said if a truck starts, but power drops while driving, that could be a sign that diesel is gelling.
From hudsonstarobserver.com: “Hudson students explore healthcare careers” — Camryn Letcher placed the stethoscope on the rubbery surface and listened. “I heard a heartbeat,” the Hudson High School freshman said. “It was really weird because it felt like it was alive, like I was listening to a real person.”
The patient simulators at Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) in River Falls bring to life realistic vital signs and symptoms. For Letcher, the experience was closer than she had ever been to real patient care in a clinical setting. “I’m thinking of being a pediatric nurse,” she said.
The trip to CVTC was part of the Hudson High School Healthcare Discovery Day, which also included visits to Hudson Hospital and Catalyst Sports Medicine in Hudson.
Forty-one Hudson freshmen took part in the day-long event. At CVTC, in addition to checking out vital signs on the adult and infant patient simulators, the students learned how to use a hypodermic needle by practicing on an orange, tried on neck braces, tried out various medical testing devices and talked with faculty about careers in healthcare.
“They seemed very engaged,” said CVTC Nursing Instructor Renee Christensen, R.N. “Simulation is very exciting for this age group, and they asked good questions.”
“The purpose of the event is to provide students with the opportunity to explore healthcare careers, to understand what career ladders are, and to see how they can bring value to the community,” said Melisa Hansen, school-to-careers coordinator at Hudson High School.
Healthcare Discovery Day was made possible by a $2,500 grant from the nonprofit Northwest Area Health Education Sector. Students registered for the event.
“They were asked why they wanted to come, and a lot of them already had their eyes on high-level health care careers,” said Hansen. Others just wanted to explore. They got a good taste of it during the three on-site visits.
Christensen showed the students a video of a full-scale emergency room scenario in which students interacted with professionals in a mock response to victims from an auto accident coming in for treatment. Patient simulators and even live actors were used to depict various conditions in the fast-paced environment.
“That is really good experience for students,” Christensen said of the video scenario. “Sometimes they make mistakes, and sometimes we allow them to make mistakes, because it’s not going to hurt anyone. They’ll probably never make that mistake again.
“I’ve had students get really involved in the simulations, and cry when a (simulated) baby comes in,” Christensen continued.
The students found their experiences with the simulators and the information on the training involved in healthcare careers much more interesting than what they usually experience in a high school classroom.
“I’m thinking about being a physical therapist,” said Braxton Belt. “I really liked the simulators. We listened to the heart and lungs.”
“It’s really interesting to see how it’s done in the real world,” said Logan Nelson, who is considering a career in sports medicine.
Students like Nelson and Kyla Schewe, who is also considering a sports medicine career, had the opportunity to see the profession up close in a visit to Catalyst Sports Medicine that afternoon, where they viewed the treatment of a simulated injury.
At Hudson Hospital, ninth-graders learned about an array of healthcare careers with educational and hands-on learning opportunities. Sarah Stockman, manager, laboratory, Hudson Hospital & Clinics, is the hospital representative on the healthcare advisory council. Her role is to partner with the council to offer educational experiences for students that are leaning towards a career in healthcare.
“It’s great to get a chance to help our high school students discover all the career options that are available to them in the healthcare field. We hope to inspire them to continue their education and become healthcare professionals,” said Stockman.
Students learned about various healthcare careers from hospital staff including lab, dietary, Birth Center and Surgery & Procedure Center. They also toured the Emergency Center, Imaging Center and Rehabilitation Center Physical Therapy.
At the hospital, they also watched the simulated resuscitation of a choking baby, met with a dietician and observed lab work, among other activities.
“We wanted them to see that healthcare is a profession in which they need 21st century skills, like problem solving, team building and critical thinking,” Hansen said. “This experience provided relevance. They follow the routine at school, and they didn’t have an understanding of what goes on outside of school.”
Hansen added that the Healthcare Discovery Day was a teambuilding exercise for the students. “They were learning together today. There’s power in that.”
In planning the day, Hudson High School staff worked with a community advisory council of professionals in healthcare and education. Hansen said they are very appreciative of the help of the council members, as well as the cooperation of Catalyst Sports Medicine, Hudson Hospital and CVTC.
“The people here are absolutely amazing and I applaud them,” she said.
The grant was only able to fund this year’s event, with any leftover funds being used for healthcare career exploration. To continue the program on an annual basis, either additional grants or school district funding will be needed, Hansen said.
December 20, 2013
From piercecountyherald.com: “Double Duty: CVTC grad is EMT trainer” — Jessica Brickner was not out of her element at all as the student speaker at the Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) River Falls campus graduation Dec. 16 at Meyer Middle School.
Brickner has had a dual role in the healthcare field for the past few years. While she has been a student in the CVTC Nursing Associate Degree program, she’s also been active as a health educator.
She is a member of the Ellsworth Area Ambulance Service as a volunteer EMT and was elected as the service’s training coordinator. In that capacity, she speaks to groups frequently, teaching refresher courses to fellow EMTs.
“I’ve been at it four years last August,” she said of her work as an EMT. “I did a ride-a-long and loved it!”
Of the 39 graduates receiving degrees at the CVTC River Falls campus at the end of the fall term, 32 were nursing students, with the others completing Administrative Professional, Accounting, Business Management and Criminal Justice-Law Enforcement programs. In addition, four students received certificates of General Education Development (GED).
At the Eau Claire campus, 373 graduated in 33 different programs, with 70 nursing graduates being the largest program.
Brickner had long focused on a healthcare career. She started at a university with some required courses, but with difficulty getting into a highly competitive nursing program, switched majors and earned a degree in health promotion with an emphasis on community health. But she didn’t give up the dream of becoming a nurse. She entered the CVTC Nursing program and her background in health education made her a natural to become a peer tutor for her fellow students.
“I have numerous memories of working with students as they overcame struggles with a subject matter,” Brickner said. “Seeing the ‘light bulb come on’ and hearing students say, ‘I finally get it!’ are true reminders of why I like tutoring and being an educator/mentor.”
Brickner also works as an EMS instructor at the Oakdale (Minn.) office of Regions Hospital. She sees a future for herself in nursing education after she passes her boards to become an RN.
“My experience tutoring and helping other students has definitely given me encouragement and a sense of reassurance that a future as a nursing educator would likely be a good fit,” Brickner said. She hopes to work soon in a hospital setting, but adds, “long term, I would like to get my master’s degree in nursing and become an instructor of future nursing students.”
Brickner urged her fellow graduates to go beyond their professions.
“Demonstrate your strengths and strive to be the outstanding individual you have become,” she said. “When you are satisfied, challenge yourself a little more. Become a member of the community in which you live. Use what you have learned at CVTC to better the world around you.”
One of the current nursing instructors, Jennifer Buekema, was the faculty speaker at the ceremony.
“Many of you want to continue your education in your chosen field, and for that I say, ‘good for you.’ If I had given up whenever something was hard, well then I would not be standing here, and I know many of you graduates can say the same thing,” Buekema said.
The guest speaker was Deb Callow, the director of nursing services at Spring Valley Senior Living and Health Care Campus, who told a story to encourage graduates to listen to the stories of others. She told how her first patient as a nurse was an elderly lady, for whom she was to perform a head-to-toe assessment.
“I noticed numbers tattooed on her inner wrists,” Callow said. “I questioned her about them and she told me her story, a story of a young Jewish girl in Nazi Germany. Her parents took her to France and then sent her with nuns to relatives she never met in New York City. She never saw her parents again.
“I learned that day to cherish the life experiences of others and learn from them. I can never imagine what she went through and I will never experience in my life what she did. But what I really learned that day was to listen to the story others have to share, and learn from them,” Callow said.
November 14, 2013
From chippewa.com: “Latest equipment helps prepare students for job market” — Instructor assistant Corey Wegner proudly shows off a steel cutout in the shape of an elk, done in such fine detail that the texture of the hairs on the elk’s neck is apparent. The metal was cut on the latest piece of equipment in the welding shop at Chippewa Valley Technical College.
Amazingly, the metal was cut without applying any heat, and in fact, it is specifically because no heat was used that the detail was so fine.
A Flow waterjet cutter did the job, and students enrolled for the fall term will be learning how to use it. It’s another example of how CVTC continues to stay on the “cutting edge” of manufacturing equipment. It’s rare indeed for the graduate of a CVTC manufacturing program to enter the workforce and be baffled by the technology. The college is generally ahead of the curve.
“We are constantly talking to companies, and they are very good about telling us what the new trends are. The college is very good at keeping up with that,” says Jeff Sullivan, associate dean of manufacturing.
A case in point is the waterjet cutter, which uses a high pressure fine stream of water to cut metal in fine detail.
“It’s cutting using the erosion process instead of heat, so you don’t get the heat-affected areas you do from heat cutting,” says Walter Quaschnick, head of the welding program. Intense heat can affect the properties of the metal being cut.
“And because we use water, we can cut through other things like ceramic, wood and rubber,” Quaschnick continues. “It’s a unique type of cutting process.”
One of the biggest applications is in cutting stainless steel, which is susceptible to rusting if cut with a torch. One local company, Midwest Stainless in Menomonie, uses a waterjet and appreciates that CVTC manufacturing graduates are familiar with this technology.
CVTC’s strategy works two ways. Students are better prepared to enter the workforce by having training on the latest equipment, and the fact that trained workers are available encourages industry to modernize. It’s how education can drive economic development.
Also new at CVTC this year is a Haas VM-2 unit in the machine tool area. Sullivan notes it is capable of a 1,000-rpm spindle speed. “If you make an analogy, it would be like a standard computer compared to a high-speed computer,” Sullivan said.
Examples of such high-technology capability at CVTC’s Manufacturing Education Center area abound:
- The welding program has a computer interface so students can evaluate their techniques with a computer program.
- The machine tool program has the capability of micro-machining.
- The industrial mechanic program has an assembly line simulator in which students can troubleshoot problems.
- The nanoengineering technology program has a Class 100 cleanroom, unique in the state.
CVTC’s manufacturing technology is so sophisticated that the college receives requests from private industry to use it, which is possible through the college’s Equipment Access Program.
Chippewa Valley Technical College campuses are located in Chippewa Falls, Eau Claire, Menomonie, Neillsville and River Falls. CVTC serves an 11-county area in west-central Wisconsin. It is part of the Wisconsin Technical College System and is one of 16 WTCS colleges located throughout the state.
November 7, 2013
From weau.com: “As new GED test rollout approaches, rush is on” — Americans who want to finish the GED test are at the 11th hour, before a new version rolls out in January.
The GED tests are changing in January 2014. The new high school equivalency exam will wipe out all incomplete GED test scores from the 2002 version of the exam.
The Chippewa Valley Technical College says if you’ve already passed a portion of the five tests, you must take the writing test by December 5th and everything else by December 13th.
“Any student who hasn’t finished their GED, needs to get into their nearest CVTC Learning Center as soon as possible and complete the remaining tests that they have,” said instructor in Adult Education Services and department chair Jill Mayer.
Mayer said the January 2014 tests are completely different and based on the Common Core Standards. There would be five exams instead of four in the subjects of language arts, social studies, science and math.
“And they’ll be computer based,” said Mayer. “We’ll be dealing with a lot of teaching students computer skills and keyboarding and writing their essays online.”
In the math portion, she said there will be heavier focus on algebra which wasn’t the case before.
The price will also go up.
The current class for the 2002 GED testing series is $90 and that includes all five tests and the credentialing fee,” said Mayer. “And for the 2014 test, it will probably cost about $124.”
Mayer said there are still hundreds of students in the area that have to finish the test. Before the fall semester, she said CVTC had a marketing plan, sending out hundreds of postcards to student who partially took the tests, reminding them to come back and finish it.
And because of the rush, CVTC had to extend hours and double up on instructors for the GED.
One student who wants to beat the deadline is Alan Robertson who wants a change in career.
“I have all of them done except for math and writing, so two left,” said Robertson who began taking the test two years ago. “Earlier this summer I did my science one and the other two was a couple years ago so I procrastinated a little but this year I’m cracking down,” he said.
Robertson said once he gets his GED completed, he wants to continue going to school at CVTC and enroll for classes in welding.
“Something where I don’t have to worry about sitting at a desk all day, kind of a mixture of both, you’re kind of using your head and being physical (as a welder),” said Roberston.