From “Job fair in Wisconsin Rapids full of employers” — Hundreds of job seekers headed to Mid State Technical College in Wisconsin Rapids.

The school held its annual job fair Thursday and coordinators say the turnout was better than expected.

According to the latest jobs report, businesses across the country continued to hire new workers in August.

Employers from all over Wisconsin attended the job fair.

From Madison to Green Bay, employers were looking for workers.

The job seekers included students and people of all ages.

57 employers set up booths in the gymnasium on Mid State Tech’s campus.

Organizers tell Newsline 9 that it’s the most booths they’ve had for the fall fair in several years.

“This past spring we had 58, this time we have 57, which is very encouraging and I’ve done this for a number of years and in the fall it’s usually pretty small, but this is our best fall in over seven years,” said Stephany Hartman, Career Services employee with Mid State Technical College.

Mid State Technical College holds two job fairs per year.

School leaders say the next one is in April of 2014.



From “Job training program moving forward in Wisconsin” — The state is moving forward with a new job training program.

Leaders from the Department of Workforce Development, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the Wisconsin Technical College System signed an agreement to team up for the “Wisconsin Fast Forward” initiative.

It’s a $15 million grant program designed to help workers with job training.

“The Wisconsin Fast Forward initiative is quickly moving forward to provide workers with the training they need for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Governor Walker said.  “These grants will be used help Wisconsin workers gain new skills, connect workers with jobs, and foster job creation and expansion by offering innovative training solutions that match employers’ current needs.”

Officials hope to get it off the ground by the end of the year.


From “Findind success after college rooted in the practical” — By Kyle Jones – We understand that college degrees are a necessity when venturing into today’s job market. Though, all degrees are not made equal. The phrase, “a college degree shows employers that you have the ability and capacity to learn,” may be obsolete in the trying times of our troubled economy. It may not be about what you can learn, but what you already know and what you can do.

The Ashland area is surrounded by institutions of higher learning such as Northland College, Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College, The University of Wisconsin-Superior and Michigan Tech University. The question is, when planning for your educational future, what schools and what fields of study are going to be the most prosperous?

Annual placement and graduate follow up reports are in for students who graduated between 2011-2012.

At Michigan Tech, of 1,220 graduates contacted, 896 responded, 662 of them have full-time employment, with students who graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree accounting for 564 of those who have full-time jobs. Now, take into account others, a total of 126 people, went on to pursue higher education and are attending a graduate school full-time.

By industry, graduates are reporting that they are finding work in manufacturing and energy/utilities/minerals, with automotive and consulting being tied for third. The lowest being the entertainment industry and contracting.

This type of focus in primary areas of work and industry is to be expected from a technological university, but how are others fairing at different institutes of higher learning?

Over at UW-Superior a total of 500 2011-2012 graduates were contacted, with 370 of them responding. UW-Superior’s numbers show that 75-percent of those contacted are employed and 20-percent are continuing their education. Some of the highest average salaries based on department come from business and economics ($42,401), Math and Computer Science ($40,654) and Natural Sciences ($34,000). Other career paths that fall into the category of arts make a considerably lower average salary – just over $20,000 in some cases.

This theme is not unique to large traditional four-year colleges. What does an associate or technical degree get you?

The Ashland campus of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) surveyed 187 graduates, with 164 responding, 116 are employed and 85 of them are working in fields relative to their training.

On average, graduates from the Ashland campus make $33,408, note that those with an associate degree make considerably more than those with a one-year degree or short-term training. The highest paid fields are those who work in trade and technical professions, allied health and business, with these fields all making at least the campus annual salary average.

At this moment Northland College could not submit their placement reports.

What we’re finding is that it seems, to no surprise, those students studying hard sciences or practical fields of study are graduating and going on to find financially rewarding careers compared to their colleagues who studied disciplines in liberal arts or fine arts.

UW-Superior’s data also shows that 61.3-percent of students are finding jobs in Minnesota, 54-percent in the Duluth/Superior area and 34-percent throughout Wisconsin.

Collectively, this data leads us to believe that students looking for work in the Great Lakes area should focus in areas such as manufacturing, industry, business and healthcare.

From “Secretary of Workforce Development calls for more state businesses to partner with schools” — WAUSAU – Department of Workforce Development Secretary Reggie Newson traveled to Wausau’s North Central Technical College. Newson called on more state businesses to get involved in apprenticeship programs to bridge a skills gap and meet employers needs.

Wisconsin was the first state in the nation to have an apprenticeship program. It dates back to 1911. As  the business climate has changed, Newson says business and schools must partner to meet changing workforce needs.

He says technical schools provide the training programs business leaders need and employers can provide high paying jobs that can move workers into the middle class.

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From “Manpower survey says manufacturing expected to see boost in hiring” — A Manpower survey released Tuesday, March 12th named Wisconsin one of the best states to find a career with growth — particularly in the Milwaukee area.

The jobs report was encouraging for Lawrence Heyn, who was excited to hear manufacturing is one of the few industries expected to see a boost in hiring. It is one of several trades named in the Manpower Group Employment Outlook Survey.

Jorge Perez is the Senior Vice President of Manpower. The organization asks companies about their hiring intentions. The latest survey found companies intend to hire.

“It`s going to be in construction, transportation and logistics, so those are some of the industries are going up. Second quarter of 2013 has a positive trend across the U.S. 11% of the companies net number based on the survey they say they will increase their workforce in the next three months,” Perez said.

Perez says the numbers are much better than the first quarter and second quarter of last year, which hopefully means a steady upswing since the recession.

“Against the nation number the hiring intentions are 18% for the state of Wisconsin and same for the city of Milwaukee which are pretty positive,” Perez said.

The challenge may be finding the right talent for the openings. Kathleen Hohl says that’s where Milwaukee Area Technical College comes in.

“One of the most important things we do is work with representatives of manufacturing and construction companies in the area to learn what careers are going to have openings so we can appropriately educate and train our students so they are job ready when they graduate from MATC,” Hohl said.

The students learn manufacturing skills, combined with the latest skills in technology.

The poll of 18,000 employers was done before sequestration took effect. Perez believes the upward trend will continue, but of course, he’s not sure how sequestration will have an impact.

That will be reflected in the third quarter report, which comes out in June.


From “Paul Freiberg: We need all sorts of workers” — Several years ago, after my car skidded into a ditch during a snowstorm, I called the auto club for roadside assistance. After a short wait, a mechanic drove out in a wrecker. He knew his trade and he pulled my car from the side of the road.

I reminded myself never to take people for granted. I also reminded myself that not everyone needs to go to college. A four-year college degree wouldn’t necessarily provide the skills to that young man who pulled my car from the ditch.

We often read about the importance of a college degree. We read about the skills gap — the relative scarcity of experienced workers despite a relatively high unemployment rate. There’s little doubt that we need employees with the requisite skills and education for the competitive arena.

However, we should think about what are appropriate goals for people. We live in a diverse economy and need workers with the appropriate experience to service their respective clients. Some of those skills are best learned in college; some skills are taught elsewhere.

For instance, we need workers who have the ability to solve problems with their customers, the demanding consumer. For others, a two-year technical degree would be beneficial and indeed preferable to accommodate the requirements of local businesses and trades. For some people, working one’s way up the organization makes sense. We should never forget that everyone who works contributes to the economy.

The trick is to match the skills with the job. We need baristas who can multitask during the morning rush. We need wait staff, probably one of the more demanding jobs, to serve our food in a pleasant manner. These are the valued workers who serve me coffee and food as I travel throughout the Fox Valley.

We need retail workers who understand the merchandise and help us make good decisions. We appreciate those who can tell us what style tie goes with what color shirt. We need advice from the home improvement workers and recommendations from the associates at the book store. In the same manner, we rely on those who provide other advice, such as where the fish are biting and what bait to use. Some of us may need help on what type of wine goes with a Wisconsin brat.

Moreover, we need employees who understand how to repair the computers that operate modern equipment. We need auto mechanics who can troubleshoot and diagnose our automobiles and keep our families safe. We need truck drivers who can handle 40,000-pound loads on our crowded highways.

Again, we need the varied skills necessary for our diverse economy. As such, some workers will build their respective skills working their way up through the organization. Some people will be better off taking routes such as trade schools or two-year technical colleges. Not everyone needs to go to college and, let’s face the facts — we don’t have the capacity to accommodate everyone anyway.

Let’s also agree that the experience gained in these service jobs has provided many people with the foundation for other roles in their lives. The communication and interpersonal skills we learn while serving customers are invaluable as we progress through our respective organizations.

We depend on all of these employees such as restaurant staff, store associates, shuttle drivers and so on. Despite the occasional poor service, I see many of these employees work with urgency and pride.

In short, we’re dealing with paradox. We need employees with college educations, we need skilled workers with technical expertise and we need employees with the wherewithal to provide the necessary services, such as those individuals who serve burgers, wash cars and stock shelves.

These employees are important. Let’s not take anyone for granted.

From “Column: Student achievement high at MSTC” — By Sue Budjac, president of Mid-State Technical College —  As Mid-State Technical College nears the midpoint of spring semester, I pause to reflect on 100 years of student achievement in the Wisconsin Technical College System, or WTCS.

After all of these years, the basic premise remains the same: MSTC provides our students with the hands-on skills and real-world knowledge they need to be successful in central Wisconsin business and industry. All 16 colleges of the WTCS stand united in this commitment to student success.

The technical college model responds and evolves as employer needs and local economics change. That’s why MSTC graduates are in such high demand year after year. Nine out of 10 (88 percent) WTCS graduates are employed within six months of graduation. And not just any job — more than seven in 10 graduates are employed in a field related to their education and training. Who else can measure up to that?

While it’s important that our graduates attain employment, it is also vital that graduates employ their newly acquired skills here in Wisconsin. In fact, 86 percent of WTCS graduates remain in Wisconsin, and two-thirds don’t even leave their technical college district. Community and state appropriations for Wisconsin’s technical colleges are solid investments in our local and state economy.

Family sustaining wages are also a vital ingredient in a healthy local economy. WTCS associate degree graduates working full-time in a field related to their training earn an average of $36,000 within six months of graduation. A recent study showed this median salary increases to $44,000 within five years of graduation.

Student success is an integral part of everything we do at MSTC, because our graduates are central Wisconsin’s workforce of today and tomorrow. We measure our success in many ways. For example, 95 percent of graduates are satisfied with the education and training they receive at MSTC. A ready supply of employers want to hire MSTC graduates: 95 percent of surveyed employers said the education MSTC graduates receive meets or exceeds their expectations.

While I can go on about the many great benefits of a technical college education, seeing is believing. I invite you to attend the second annual Technical & Industrial Division Education Fair from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. March 12 where you will encounter hands-on activities and learn more about some of MSTC’s educational programs that lead to great careers with excellent pay in organizations seeking skilled employees.

Enjoy free pizza, enter a drawing for great prizes, visit with faculty, ask about scholarships and learn about financial aid. During this free event, you can preview all of our Technical & Industrial Division programs, including Industrial Mechanical Technician, Civil Engineering Technology-Highway Technician, Diesel & Heavy Equipment Technician, Urban Forestry Technician, Electrical Power Engineering Technology, Welding, our unique renewable energy programs, and many more. For more information or to register, call Mary at 715-422-5400.


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