From “Boscobel High School offers course options for college-bound students” — By Tricia Hill – Boscobel High School faculty have been working on helping their students in grades 9-12 prepare for college by giving students the opportunity to participate in transcripted, articulated and Advance Placement (AP) courses. Currently, they are offering 14 credits of transcripted courses, which means they can be added to their college transcripts; six credits of college board-certified courses and three credits of articulated courses.

“We encourage our students to take these courses,” said guidance counselor Rhonda Scallon.

The transcripted courses include Accounting, Computer Applications, Speech, Vocational English, and Theme Writing. This is the first year that Theme Writing and Speech have been an option for seniors to take as transcripted courses. The students are encouraged to take these courses not only by the faculty, but also by some of the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College faculty.

“When a student decides to take the course, faculty from Southwest Tech come and talk to the students so they have an idea on what to expect,” Scallon said.

Once a student enters into the transcripted courses, they will be taking a course that they can add to their college transcripts. However, if a student starts taking a transcripted course and their grade seems to be dropping, they have the opportunity to not continue it as a transcripted course, but they must remain taking the course at the high school.

There is currently only one option available to students interested in taking an articulated course, which is a Southwest Tech math course. Students can only use the credits earned by taking this class if they plan to attend Southwest Tech. When taking an articulated course, the student earns a certificate of completion instead of credits added to their college transcript. However, in order to earn the certificate, the student has to earn a B or higher at the completion of the course.

Boscobel also offers some AP courses to their students, such as AP Biology and Advanced Urban History. Boscobel hopes to some day add AP Psychology to the list. Come this May, Boscobel will have nine of their students partaking in the AP exam so see what they have learned.

“The students in AP classes are working during the summer on course work,” Scallon said.

Having these options for Boscobel High School students is a great asset if students take advantage of the situation, according to Scallon. If the students participate and work hard in these programs, they will be given a head start at courses that will be expected of them in college, get a taste of college AP work, see how rigorous the class work can be, and best of all, the classes are free for the students if they take them while in high school.

“As of right now there are no disadvantages to the programs,” Scallon said. “I feel we are setting up the ground work with other colleges by having our students take part in these programs.”

Some students may have concerns if the college they plan to attend will accept credits from Southwest Tech. So the teachers have introduced them to a website called Transfer Wizard, where the students are able to go and see if their college accepts credits from Southwest Tech.

From “Southwest Tech, PdC Memorial open Fennimore Clinic” — Prairie du Chien Memorial Health Clinic-Fennimore opened Monday in the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College campus’ Health Sciences building.

Nurse practitioner Peggy Barton will serve as the clinic’s primary provider. Barton has worked 32 years in nursing and has 19 years of experience as a nurse practitioner, certified in women’s health and family care, with an interest in diabetes.

Primary care services offered at the new clinic include annual health and wellness visits, health promotion and maintenance, disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment, general consultation and referral.

Dental services and behavioral health services will be added later this year.

From “SWTC to study…The Future” — FENNIMORE — Southwest Wisconsin Technical College has contracted a future studies consultant, to develop a business plan to assess the need and feasibility of offering online courses and continuing education seminars focused on Future Studies.

The courses and seminars will equip individuals and organizations with field-tested concepts and techniques from the new field of Future Studies to take charge of their professional and personal futures.

Dr. Paul Rux will be conducting a market analysis, reviewing the need for specific academic courses and seminars, determining how to market future studies courses, and working up financial projections. Rux will meet with business and industry leaders, district stakeholders, and Southwest Tech staff to collect data for the business plan. Once the business plan is complete, Southwest Tech will determine the feasibility of establishing a Future Studies Institute.

Students of future studies explore how focused insights and techniques can synergize with strategic planning, change management, market research, decision making, and product and service innovation. Students apply classic tools and techniques to identify and prepare for multiple possible and probable futures in various areas and learn to analyze the driving forces. Social responsibility and ethical actions are also included.


From “Walker: ‘Manufacturing Matters'” — Wisconsin is open for business. Manufacturers are welcome.

Southwest Wisconsin Technical College hosted over 150 people, including Gov. Scott Walker, during a Manufacturing Month event Monday morning, Oct. 21.

“I think manufacturing matters,” Walker told his receptive audience, which included area dignitaries and high school students. “I think it has been a proud part of our state’s history, but more importantly I think it is going to be an even more dynamic part of our state’s future.

“We just got to make sure we have people ready to fill those positions.”

The event was made possible in part due to the efforts of the Southwest Wisconsin Chamber Alliance, a new collaboration of six Chamber of Commerce groups (Dodgeville, Fennimore, Lancaster, Mineral Point, Platteville and Prairie du Chien).

“As an advocate for all of our businesses and communities, we endorse southwest Wisconsin as an economically feasible region to start or relocate a business,” said Southwest Wisconsin Chamber Alliance co-chair Robert Moses. “Our goal for today is to bring a higher level of awareness for the manufacturing opportunities in southwest Wisconsin.”

In his opening remarks, Southwest Tech President Dr. Duane Ford noted several successes the College has enjoyed relating to manufacturing since 2011.

Southwest Tech has increased the number of workers it trains per year by more than 63 percent since 2009. In addition, the College has developed two new programs.

One program assists maintenance technicians to understand how the machines they utilize network with computer systems. The second helps electricians work in specialized environments of dairy and food manufacturing plants.

Ford noted Southwest Tech has benefited from more than $3.93 million in support from 27 different private, state and federal grants.

“What ensures our success is when employers, economies and state governments work in partnership,” he said. “So thank you, manufacturers, and thank you Governor Walker and Secretary [Reggie] Newson, as well as members of the legislature.”

Howard Marklein (R-Spring Green) of the 51st Assembly District and Lee Nersion (R-Westby) of the 96th Assembly District were among those in attendance. Jeff Curry attended on behalf of Rep. Travis Tranel, who is currently traveling abroad in Taiwan.

Walker has toured other Wisconsin Technical College System schools this month, where Ford believes the governor has heard similar success stories.

“Southwest Tech’s story is not at all unique,” he said. “All 16 of Wisconsin’s technical colleges are at the heart of workforce, economic and community development within their local districts.

“All 16 listen and respond. All 16 succeed via productive partnerships with numerous private and public stakeholders. And all 16 are this month celebrating successes similar to what you see in southwest Wisconsin.”

Walker proclaimed October as Manufacturing Month to recognize the contributions of the state’s manufacturing employers and workers and to highlight manufacturing as a valuable career pathway.

“Our focus in October is on manufacturing, but really our focus needs to be all year around,” he said Monday morning.

“There are two key industries that drive this state’s economy: one is manufacturing and the other is agriculture.
“There are some great opportunities to grow and expand in that regard.”

Wisconsin’s manufacturing sector contributes nearly $50 billion a year to Wisconsin’s economy and ranks second in the country in the relative size of its manufacturing sector, which employed more than 450,000 workers as of July 2013.

Walker told the audience when it comes to manufacturing in Wisconsin, there are many key areas the state government can help.

“One is lowering the cost of doing business in Wisconsin,” he said. “More often than not, it is just getting out of the way.

Walker noted he signed into law Sunday a property tax relief bill. The two-year, $100 million increase in state school aid is projected to save $13 for the typical homeowner this December.

He also mentioned the Manufacturing and Agriculture Credit, which is available for income derived from manufacturing or agricultural property in the state. It will offset a share of Wisconsin income taxes.

In 2016, the credit will increase to 7.5 percent.

“When you lower the cost of doing business, you put money into the hands of people, as consumers, and into the hands of employers,” Walker said. “That makes tremendous business.

“The time is right for us for us, particularly when it comes to manufacturing, to make a case that we have a pretty compelling argument to be in the state of Wisconsin.”

Walker also explained the state aims to become a better partner in the role of education.

“When it comes to manufacturing, one of the things we did, in particular in this budget, is we put funding in so we in the future can start as early as sixth grade, doing academic and career planning,” he said.

The state’s technical colleges will also be counted on to play a role.

“We want to stress when it comes to manufacturing, how important it is to have good technical colleges focused on advanced manufacturing, healthcare and IT, those are the areas with the biggest work shortages in Wisconsin,” he said. “We think filling those positions, and putting more resources in our technical colleges and worker training programs are key to economic growth and ultimately more jobs in the state.”

Walker said some members of his generation are in need of a “wake up call” in regards to the changes in manufacturing.

“If you look in the state of Wisconsin, the average manufacturing job will pay $52,000 a year,” he said. “That’s 25 percent higher than all jobs out there.

“It’s not just a higher salary, 87 percent of all manufacturing jobs have benefits, compared to 72 percent of jobs statewide.”

The turnover rate in manufacturing careers is 4.7 percent, compared to 8.1 percent across all jobs, Walker pointed out.

“Manufacturing is the place, and we need to do a better job of selling that, particularly to schools,” he said. “There is a tremendous need and opportunity out there, and it is only going to get bigger.”

The third and final area Walker indicated the state could assist manufacturing is in infrastructure.

“You need a good transportation system to get product from market,” he said. “That is why we invested $6.4 billion in the state’s transportation system this year.

“Whether you are a manufacturer, whether you are a cheese maker, or a dairy farmer, or anything else, you have got to have a good transportation system. And it has to be in all parts of the state of Wisconsin, not just around the big cities.”

In closing, Walker referenced a voluntary portal for employers to list job openings. Many of the 30,000 to 40,000 jobs listed weekly are manufacturing jobs.

“Consistently, we hear from manufacturers that one of the challenges is not that they don’t have jobs open, they do, the challenge is not having enough training to fill those jobs,” Walker said. “So we got people looking for work over here, and we got jobs over here.

“We need to do more to connect the dots, to make that connection.”

Following his remarks, Walker told the media gathered it is an exciting time to be a young person in Wisconsin, but also an exciting time as Governor, as he tours the state and learns success stories.

“Today is a good example, you have a great crowd here. You have some young people, you have some businesses,” he said. “It is similar to when I was earlier in the year was over at Cabela’s and we saw some of the students involved in the Gold Collar program, and saw the partnerships not just with Cabela’s but other businesses that were partnering with that as well.

“What I like about what you see at Southwest Tech, and you see it at other great technical colleges around the state, is a very real connection between the technical college and employers in that region. And I think that is the key to success.

“We can’t just have people going through courses, whether it is in our technical colleges or for that matter our University of Wisconsin system. We have got to have a focus on, what are the needs, what kind of perspective employees are employers looking for and how do we help make sure there are more?”

From “IT grant to aid Southwest Tech” — FENNIMORE, Wis. – Southwest Wisconsin Technical College is sharing part of a $23.1 million grant by the U.S. Department of Labor designed to address the emerging needs in the information technology sector.

Southwest Tech is one of 16 technical colleges in the state to benefit. It will receive $797,805 total for the next four years.

The $23.1 million applies to the third installment of a multi- year, nearly $2 billion federal initiative designed to increase community college credential attainment in high-priority economic sectors.

According to Barb Tucker, Southwest Tech’s director of institutional advancement, the grant is significant because it will enable all the technical colleges to cohesively establish common core computer literacy competencies for college success.

“This grant is also important because it enables the development of IT-related training along a career pathway,” she said. “Meaning that the training provided will be offered in training segments aligned with jobs within an IT-related industry, from entry level to advanced.”

Basic computer skill training will be offered within the technical college outreach sites, including Platteville, as well as the job center locations. It will allow potential students, Trade Adjustment Assistance recipients, Workforce Investment Act recipients, veterans and the general public to increase computer literacy.

Southwest Tech plans to develop career pathway training in supply chain management that will include a short-term logistics certificate and a two-year associate degree in supply chain management.

Tucker said that such training does not exist in southwest Wisconsin. Supply chain management is the management of the flow of goods. It includes the movement and storage of raw materials, work- in-process inventory and finished goods from point of origin to point of consumption.

Drew Petersen, Wisconsin Technical College System Board president, said this latest grant will allow the technical colleges to enhance and expand career pathways not only within “cutting- edge” information technology programs but also within other crucial sectors, including health care and manufacturing, that increasingly require workers with advanced information technology competencies.

“Our programs are uniquely industry-driven, and these funds will allow us to scale innovation in response to needs identified by our employer partners in the information technology space,” Petersen said.

From “Spireon Cuts Platteville Workforce” — The Southwest Wisconsin Workforce Development Board will hold a Rapid Response session for laid-off workers from Spireon at the Southwest Wisconsin Technical College location in Platteville (the former O.E. Gray School), 110 W. Adams St., Thursday, Oct. 10 at 10 a.m.

Information will be available relating to Unemployment Insurance and other benefits, programs, and retraining options. Representatives from Job Service, Workforce Investment Act, and Southwest Tech will be available to answer questions.

Spireon eliminated 11 of its Platteville positions Thursday, leaving about 10 in the facility at 500 E. Business 151, according to published reports.

The company sells Mobile Resource Management services for companies with vehicle fleets.

The Platteville facility is one of six Spireon sales, service and support locations. The closest is in Dyersville, Iowa, with others in Knoxville, Tenn.; Layton, Utah; Woodstock, Ga.; and Scottsdale, Ariz. Spireon’s corporate headquarters and distribution center are in Irvine, Calif. The company has more than 400 employees nationwide.


From  “Community Corner: SWTC and Manufacturing” — By Duane Ford, president Southwest Wisconsin Technical College – As our economy rebounded the last few years, regional manufacturers requested help addressing workforce shortages and skills gaps.

In celebration of October being Manufacturing Month, I am reporting Southwest Tech’s response since 2011. The accomplishments that follow were made possible by numerous conversations and partnerships with area manufacturers as well as more than $3.93 million in total support from 27 different private, state, and federal grants.

Manufacturers reported a shortage of people with the interest and skills needed for manufacturing jobs. In response, Southwest Tech beefed up marketing, student recruitment, and youth programming; developed a Business and Manufacturing Bridge Program to help adult students lacking basic literacy skills to prepare for admission into one of our manufacturing related diploma or degree programs; and developed Gold Collar Certification, a short program that provides entry-level manufacturing competencies to unskilled and low-skilled people.

Manufacturers reported a shortage of maintenance technicians, welders, and CNC setup/operators. In response, Southwest Tech is increasing the number of students we can serve in our electromechanical technology program from 24 to 48 per year and in welding from 40 to 60; growing student numbers in CNC setup/operator; developing “flex-degree-like” learning systems for our supervisory management, welding, and CNC setup/operator programs; and creating new programs in logistics and supply chain management.

Manufacturers reported a need for more customized, incumbent worker training. In response, Southwest Tech increased the number of workers we train per year by more than 63% since 2009 and developed two new programs. One is helping maintenance technicians understand how the machines they work on network with computer systems. The other is helping electricians work in the specialized environments of dairy and food manufacturing plants.

Southwest Tech appreciates this region’s manufacturers and their workers. We are proud of our service to this sector. Manufacturing offers fantastic career opportunities. Happy Manufacturing Month!

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