From “New UW engineering transfer agreements get OK” — Future engineers can start three new bachelor’s degrees at NWTC and 12 other sites throughout Northeast Wisconsin starting today.

The University of Wisconsin System Board of Regents approved a trio of new and collaborative engineering technology degrees July 12 designed to make a high-demand field more easily accessible to students in the New North region while also addressing manufacturers’ demands for new infusions of well-prepared engineering graduates.

Students entering the new Leadership in Engineering Technology program and pursuing any of its three degrees are able to begin their academic studies at any one of 13 Northeastern Wisconsin Educational Resource Alliance (NEW ERA) colleges, finishing the program and earning their degrees at either UW-Green Bay or UW Oshkosh. The innovative program breaks new ground in providing easy access for northeastern Wisconsin students to pursue and obtain engineering knowledge and skill regional manufacturers say they are ready to put to work.

At its meeting on July 12, the Board of Regents approved the collaborative, interdisciplinary program, scheduled to launch in the 2013-14 academic year. The program offers Bachelor of Science degrees in Electrical Engineering Technology, Mechanical Engineering Technology, and Environmental Engineering Technology through collaboration between the NEW ERA institutions, colleges and an array of business partners.

“With these collaborative degree programs, our institutions will be better able to respond to changing educational and workforce needs here in Northeastern Wisconsin,” said UW-Green Bay Chancellor Tom Harden. “There are some logistical details we have yet to finalize, but the Board of Regents’ approval is a major step in the important process of implementing these engineering degree programs. Together, we look forward to better serving the students of our region, and ultimately boosting economic development in the New North.”

“This program is critical for manufacturers to remain competitive, as it provides a very well rounded engineering degree that can be used in multiple areas of our businesses,” said Mark Kaiser, president and CEO of Lindquist Machine Corporation of Green Bay and chairman of the NEW Manufacturing Alliance. “This allows us to offer maximum flexibility and speed to market, as well as helping keep our costs at competitive levels.”

NEW ERA institutions plan to effectively and efficiently deliver the Engineering Technology program based on the breadth of faculty expertise, both conceptual and hands-on application, combined with the state-of-the art laboratory equipment, technology and facilities at the region’s four technical colleges, the five two-year UW Colleges, UW-Green Bay, UW-Oshkosh and the College of Menominee Nation.

Dr. H. Jeffrey Rafn, president of Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, called development of the new degrees “a very creative, innovative way to build much-needed technical expertise in one of the strongest manufacturing regions in the country.”

“We’re sharing resources, improving credit transfer between institutions and providing access to the basic classes all over Northeast Wisconsin,” Rafn said. “That makes this the best solution not only for our business community, but for taxpayers and students as well. Many details, such as standard practices, are still being worked out, but we are able to do that because of our work with NEW ERA and that commitment to building the economy of the New North.”

UW Oshkosh Chancellor Richard Wells said the program’s development and approval represents the NEW ERA’s most significant accomplishment to date.

“Like never before, NEW ERA institutions and colleges and New North manufacturing and workforce leaders came together,” Wells said. “They identified a regional challenge, developed a nationally-distinctive educational solution and relied on the knowledge and talent of faculty and staff from our regional array of higher education communities to collaboratively design and develop high-quality, high-demand programs,” Wells said.

UW Oshkosh Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Lane Earns said he expects the response by students to the new programs will be tremendous.

“We expect this program will hit the ground running, benefitting from a surge of strong enrollment from students throughout the New North,” Earns said. “They will be students eager to dive into a high-quality and high-tech program never before offered in our region. These degrees are built upon an education that is accessible and develops career-propelling, quality-of-life-enhancing knowledge and leadership in high demand by regional employers.”

The degrees’ approval is a positive step for the institutions and businesses involved, said Martin Rudd, Campus Executive Officer, Dean, and Professor of Chemistry at UW-Fox Valley.

“These exciting new bachelor of science collaborative degrees in three completion major areas of engineering technology represent a tremendous commitment from the institutions of NEW ERA and regional manufacturers to serve the needs of business in the New North area,” Rudd said. “I am delighted to continue to



From “Gateway opens expanded iMET Center” — RACINE, Wis., Feb. 12, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — Gateway Technical College celebrated the grand opening of its expanded SC Johnson integrated Manufacturing and Engineering Technology (iMET) Center in Sturtevant, Wis., today. The region’s first flexible manufacturing training center-Tarnowski Hall- includes training in computer numerical control (CNC) machining, welding, metal fabrication, automated manufacturing systems, and industrial robotics.

SC Johnson, a 127-year-old family-owned company in Racine, has a nearly 20-year partnership with Gateway and is a major contributor to the project. Over the past 10 months, SC Johnson has contributed $1.7 million to support Gateway programming, including the iMET Center expansion and programming, such as Gateway’s high-impact manufacturing-related boot camp.

“We are proud to support organizations like Gateway that are doing such good work within our community,” said Fisk Johnson, Chairman and CEO of SC Johnson. “Through their programming and hands-on learning approach, Gateway brings much needed, well-prepared graduates to the local workforce, strengthening the overall quality of life and economy of the area.”

Johnson, who joined in the grand opening festivities, discussed Gateway’s commitment to helping students reach their potential by creating opportunities to progress in the manufacturing field.  He said these efforts also help address the area’s skills gap-the dichotomy of high, unmet demand for skilled workers by manufacturers during times of equally high unemployment.

“Gateway Technical College values its partnership with SC Johnson to accelerate our efforts to close the employment skills gap in our region,” said Dr. Bryan Albrecht, president and CEO of Gateway Technical College.

“The continued commitment to community demonstrated by the SC Johnson contribution is remarkable. We are excited about creating the region’s first flexible manufacturing lab at the SC Johnson iMET Center and honored by SC Johnson’s trust in Gateway’s ability to deliver results to our communities and its employers.”

To date, Gateway stands on a record of accomplishment.  Its CNC boot camp is one of Gateway’s most successful programs with Racine Workforce Development, reporting an employment placement rate of 95 percent since the program began in 2006. The sixteenth CNC boot camp was completed in January, 2013.

The nearly 18,000-square-foot addition, which brings the facility to 61,000 square feet, features the College’s first Fab Lab, focused on industrial design and rapid prototyping, Gateway’s engineering technology educational programs and CNC and welding and fabrication boot camp accelerated training.

For more information about the SC Johnson iMET Center or the training offered there, contact: Debbie Davidson, Gateway vice president Workforce and Economic Development at; (262)564-3422.

From “Moraine Park holds first annual Distance Challenge” —  Ballistas, slingshots and trebuchets filled Moraine Park Technical College’s courtyard at the first annual Distance Challenge at the Fond du Lac campus.

Students from Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School, the Fond du Lac Home School Association, West Bend East and West High Schools and Slinger High School formed teams and built contraptions with the goal of launching a rubber ball the greatest distance.

“We wanted a competition that required students to design, build and troubleshoot,” said Tom Roehl, Moraine Park Process Engineering Technology instructor. “We’re hoping to grow this in the future because local employers are very concerned about the skilled labor shortage, and it’s young people like this that are the future of manufacturing.”

The Fond du Lac Home School Association had a team of two sets of brothers: Isaiah and Sam LaVanway and Noah and Josiah Poss. Their giraffe-like contraption used a counterweight and two hockey sticks to make a trebuchet design. The giraffe ended up launching the rubber ball 88 feet and 2 inches.

Dawn Poss, mother of Noah and Josiah, said it was an excellent learning experience for the team.

“Through the building process, they learned endurance and patience. They had to see what wasn’t working, analyze it and learn from it,” Poss said.

Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah High School came in first by launching their object 184 feet and 2 inches. Students Ethan Hau and Jordan Kissinger’s winning device was a slingshot design. The duo used surgical tubes, two-by-fours and canvas to create “Slingshot 5,000.”

Slinger High School’s Zach Rueckl came in second at 111 feet and 4 inches. Rueckl’s “Proto II” contraption used a ballista design. Rueckl’s distance goal was to break 100 feet, which he accomplished.

Coming in third at 111 feet was a team from West Bend East and West High Schools consisting of students Nathan Groth, Austin Pelzman, Isaac Theis and Samuel Nagrocki. Their “Second Chance” resistance slingshot got its name because they scrapped their first machine when they weren’t happy with the results.

Rob Bauer, who works at Waukesha Metal Products in the tool and die area, said the competition sparked both excitement and creativity.

“We are always looking for skilled workers, and this is a great way to get students thinking about careers early. If they have an interest in this type of field, we can get them to the right career path early on,” he said.

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