From weau.com: “Walker signs bills encouraging more technical education” — Governor Scott Walker visited the Chippewa Valley Technical College to sign bipartisan bills SB 334 and SB331 into law today.

The first one provides scholarships to promising students who are looking go in technical education fields. The second sets up a grant program to help high schools provide more students with advanced technical educational opportunities.

He says there is a tremendous need in our state to train workers for the jobs that are available. Many of those open jobs are in technical fields like IT, health care and manufacturing.

“We want our best and our brightest not only in our four year colleges and universities; we want them in our technical colleges as well” Walker said.

Walker added, “The earlier we start people thinking about those career paths, the earlier we will see what they are good at and plug them that, the more likely they are going to be to fill those positions in the future.”

But we all know education and training is expensive, and that’s where Walker says these grants and scholarship will help bridge the gap.

“That’s not only good for education it’s good for the economy,” said Walker.

SB331 sets up an incentive grant program to have career and technical education programs in high schools. It says schools will get $1000 for each student enrolled in an advanced technical program.

Chippewa Valley President Bruce Barker says he hopes the legislation will also help build more partnerships between high schools and tech colleges across the state.

“The entire technical college system was created to meet the employment and training needs our business and industry that was specific design so programs like this again highlight that partnership,” said Barker.

 

From kenoshanews.com: “Albrecht testifies before education committee in Washington” — A Congressional hearing on technical education included testimony from Gateway Technical College’s president.

Bryan Albrecht joined three other speakers at the session, hosted by the House Committee on Education and the Workforce, on Wednesday in Washington, D.C.

The hearing was titled “Preparing Today’s Students for Tomorrow’s Jobs: Improving the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.”

The hearing was part of Congressional discussions on renewing the act and its school funding to help with technical and career education.

The committee wanted to explore ways to improve the education programs given that students ages 16 to 19 have a 22 percent unemployment rate nationwide.

Wisconsin’s 16 technical colleges and 423 secondary school districts had to split the roughly $20 million in Perkins funds given to the state for fiscal year 2013, Albrecht told the committee.

He said Gateway has used the funds to speed up help for dislocated workers and employees seeking new skills.

Businesses and schools also must work together to improve career and technical education in and after high school, he added. Gateway has joined with Snap-on Inc. and Trane to develop curriculum, training and industry certifications matching those companies’ skill needs, Albrecht said.

He also mentioned Gateway and SC Johnson have developed curriculum based on industry standards as the basis for the college’s boot camp manufacturing program. The boot camp, started at Gateway in fall 2006, is an accelerated program teaching skills in various fields.

He said Perkins money has been used so Gateway instructors could teach their curriculum in advanced engineering, manufacturing and information technology to LakeView Advanced Technology Academy juniors at that academy in the Kenosha Unified School District. Those students can earn between 18 and 40 college credits, giving them a post-secondary head start.

The college also has credit transfer agreements with the 14 high schools in Gateway’s jurisdiction, he added.

Albrecht said there’s been a decline in manufacturing jobs in southeastern Wisconsin, leading parents to encourage their children to study other fields.

A program called “Dream It. Do It.” attempts to explain modern manufacturing jobs to youngsters, he said.

“Numerical control is not standing in front of a lathe all day,” he said. “We have to use new ways of thinking about manufacturing.”

 

From news.thomasnet.com: “Miller Electric Mfg. Co. President Mike Weller recognized for commitment to technical education” — APPLETON  — Miller Electric Mfg. Co. President Mike Weller received the Technical Education Champion Award from the Wisconsin Technical College District Boards Association at its summer meeting, recently held in Rice Lake, Wis.

The annual award, granted for outstanding service to a member institution of the Wisconsin Technical College System, recognizes business leaders for their support of area technical schools and partnership in addressing key industry issues. Weller is being recognized for his work with local institution Fox Valley Technical College (FVTC), which has its main campus in Appleton, Wis.

“Mike Weller is more than deserving of this award,” said Dr. Susan May, president of Fox Valley Technical College. “His vision and leadership have contributed toward the economic vitality of our region. Miller represents a business model that is committed to building a world-class workforce, as well as providing quality products that allow other enterprises to thrive.

“More than ever, employers like Miller rely on us for talent development, and working in close partnership allows us to provide extremely relevant programs and services,” said May. “The Wisconsin Technical College System District Boards Association clearly recognizes Mike’s incredible contribution to career and technical education through this prestigious award.”

Among other initiatives, Weller recently served as treasurer and team leader for Friends of FVTC, an advocacy group spearheading support for FVTC’s successful $66.5 million public referendum in 2012. Weller recruited and chaired the 39-member steering committee for the referendum’s proposal to build more than 240,000 square feet of new facilities. The new facilities, located in Appleton, will help meet the school’s growing program enrollment needs.

Weller has led the 30-year Miller-FVTC partnership, including coordination of several million dollars’ worth of welding equipment since 2000. Recent equipment contributed as part of the partnership has been used to establish the school’s Advanced Manufacturing Technical Center, which opened in 2011. The Center enabled FVTC to expand its core welding training programs.

Weller has also served as an adjunct instructor at FVTC, is active in the school’s K-12 engagement programs and is an advocate for Wisconsin technical institutions with the governor’s office.

“Our longstanding partnership with Fox Valley Technical College is a strategic one that I’m very proud of, and I’m honored to accept the Technical Education Champion award,” said Mike Weller, president of Miller. “We understand the labor challenges the industry is facing and we’ve always believed that this kind of direct partnership with a leading technical school can serve as a model for addressing the needs of regional and national manufacturers and other businesses.” 

 

From fvtcsusan.wordpress.com: “A Technical Education Champion in our midst” — By Susan May, president of Fox Valley Technical CollegeLast Friday evening I attended a very special awards program in Rice Lake, WI.  It was the summer meeting of the trustees from all 16 technical colleges in the state, the District Boards Association.  This association presented its annual TECh Award (technical education champion) to one of our outstanding local partners and good friend of FVTC, Mr. Mike Weller.

It was a pleasure to nominate Mike for this prestigious award.  Mike serves as the President of Miller Electric Manufacturing Co. and ITW North America.  I shared with the audience that evening that I’ve known Mike for 30 years, having first crossed paths with him when he was teaching an evening course for FVTC as an adjunct instructor and I was managing our evening school operations.  So, 30 years ago he was already heavily involved with the College and giving back to his community by sharing his knowledge and experience with students.

Mike’s contributions to technical education and our college have only grown over the years and we greatly value the wonderful working relationship between our organizations.  He is without question a champion for technical education, the career opportunities it offers young people, and the essential role that high-quality post-secondary education and training plays in growing our economy.

Let me share one other really wonderful glimpse into who Mike Weller is.  Mike wasn’t able to attend this awards presentation as he had made a commitment to attend his 3-year old grandson’s birthday party.  Now here’s a leader who has his priorities straight and I’m delighted that he kept his commitment to his grandson.  We were pleased to have Mike’s colleague, Tim Swanson, attend and accept this award on Mike’s behalf.  It was a great opportunity to share this occasion with Tim as he serves on the FVTC Foundation Board of Directors.

On a final note, the TECh Award can be made to an individual or an organization.  In 1997 Miller Electric Mfg. Co. was the recipient of this award.  Now, its leader Mike Weller has been honored by our System’s district boards with this award in 2013.  Both have clearly been technical education champions, our champions, for many years.

From lacrossetribune.com: “State officials pitch apprenticeship program” — What do you want to be when you grow up? It’s a question asked of every child, and the answers aren’t encouraging for manufacturers.

“Wisconsin is facing a skilled workers gap,” said Jonathan Barry, deputy secretary of the state Department of Workforce Development. “We constantly run into business owners that are having trouble filling skilled positions.”

Barry visited Trane’s Engineering Technology Center in La Crosse on Wednesday to promote the state’s apprenticeship program, a state-school-employer partnership that aims to increase the pool of skilled workers.

“Employers want to hire people who have experience,” Western Technical College President Lee Rasch said, which leaves applicants wondering, “If you don’t have experience, how do you get experience?”

The apprenticeship program allows employers to target promising candidates and offer their own on-the-job training combined with classroom study. Workers get trained while earning wages; the average apprentice made $161,000 during their tenure, which lasts between two and six years.

Here’s how the program works:

The DWD lays out core training and job experience standards for several industries and then customizes the process for each employer. Employees spend about 80 percent of their time on the job and 20 percent in theoretical classroom training, usually provided by the Wisconsin Technical College System.

But sometimes there’s just not interest.

“There’s a mantra that manufacturing is dumb, dirty,” Barry said. “It’s simply not the case. It’s not just bending metal all the time.”

Begun in 1911, the program is nothing new in Wisconsin, but it’s taking on new urgency as more companies lament a skilled worker shortage.

Enrollment dipped by about a third, down to about 10,000, in the past decade, a slide that mirrored general economic trends.

A Georgetown University study found that the skills gap will leave almost a million jobs vacant, most of which already exist and would need refilling after retirements.

A recent La Crosse School District survey cited by Rasch found that only 2 percent of students planned to pursue manufacturing careers.

“Everyone has a dream of going to college,” the district’s Career and Technical Education Coordinator Annette O’Hern said. “And when you have a dream of going to college you don’t think about manufacturing.”

Much of Wednesday’s event focused on finding ways to introduce manufacturing to students in middle school and high school.

“I really believe that’s where it’s at,” Trane’s La Crosse plant manager Brad Tacheny said.

Barry emphasized that the program isn’t trying to squelch four-year colleges but offer a realistic, necessary alternative to the “college paradigm.”

“We need to expose young people to the full range of their choices as early as possible,” he said.

The La Crosse School District is hoping to ramp up that exposure. They plan to introduce an Engineering Academy — also covering manufacturing and architecture — next year. The academy will partner with Trane to provide real-life context and expose kids to manufacturing plants.

The district already offers classes in welding and manufacturing, but they’re not always popular.

“We can’t always get a lot of students interested,” O’Hern said. “We’d like that number to be bigger.”

Parents worry about job security and have encouraged children to pursue white-collar studies and a traditional four-year education.

Karen Morgan, director of the Bureau of Apprentice Standards, called on businesses to take initiative.

“We don’t have enough employers that are actually using the apprenticeship programs to train,” she said.

Barry said schools and state programs shouldn’t be the only ones reaching out to students.

“We in the business community need to be doing some of that,” he said.

The apprenticeship program isn’t just for manufacturing. It offers three trade sectors — construction, industrial/manufacturing, and service, which cover careers from plumbing to cosmetology.

The continuing education helps reinforce that such careers have advancement options, Morgan said.

“It’s only the beginning of their career,” she said. “It’s not a dead end.”

 

From newrichmondnews.com: “WITC president honored by group” — Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College President Bob Meyer was recently selected to receive a Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education’s 2013 President’s Award. This award is presented each year to outstanding professionals in career and technical education.

“I’m humbled and appreciative to have received this recognition because of the high regard I have for the Wisconsin Association of Career and Technical Education,” Meyer said.

The Wisconsin Association of Career and Technical Education combines the efforts of more than 800 professionals from all levels of education in Wisconsin, as well as business and industry partners, to promote Career and Technical Education. WACTE’s focus is on professional development of its members and development of CTE leadership statewide.

“As we consider the vital role CTE plays in our economy preparing ‘job ready’ individuals, I am grateful for WACTE’s role in advocating for the importance of CTE across Wisconsin,” Meyer said.

“Bob set aside funding for WITC employees to attend CTE events at a time of unprecedented budget cuts,” said Leslie Bleskachek, WACTE’s president, who also serves as WITC academic dean, Business Division. “He also attended and participated in many of the organized events during the year. The fact that he set aside time in his very busy calendar demonstrates his commitment to CTE, its stakeholders and students. In addition, he clearly places a priority on these supportive events, which serves a model for our other members, who might claim it is difficult to find time in their schedules for CTE support. If a president can find the time and resources, others can as well.”

Meyer received his award April 11 during the annual Professional Development Conference in Middleton, Wis.

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College serves the educational and career needs of more than 25,000 residents.

From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Column: Career, tech education a real-world way to learn” — Career and technical education is a cooperative effort between technical colleges and employers. Students receive instruction and training in the classroom and also with local employers through internships, externships and clinical rotations. These real-world skills and experiences help graduates be better prepared to enter or re-enter the world of work.

Mid-State Technical College offers certificates, technical diplomas and associate degrees in more than 100 areas.

MSTC graduates enjoy careers in many industries and service areas in all of our communities. Some examples include law enforcement and corrections officers, surgical technologists, manufacturing and electronic technicians, welders, registered nurses, automotive technicians, accountants, cosmetologists, urban foresters, business managers, supervisors, marketing professionals, computer programmers, medical assistants, respiratory therapists and much more. As we look around at the businesses and industries in our community, it is easy to see the impact of career and technical education.

A technical college education is the training that is sought after and needed by employers in the 21st century. In fact, 93 percent of employers are satisfied or very satisfied with the education and training and would hire technical college graduates again.

The preparation provided at a technical college includes the necessary academic and technical skills to be highly productive employees in their field of choice.

The required technical skills are changing each and every year; many of these skills were unheard of a generation ago. We work with employers in our communities to stay abreast of changes and advances in technology so that these new tools and skills are incorporated into our programs.

In addition to offering programs of study to meet the workforce needs of tomorrow, technical colleges are well suited to offer just-in-time training and training aimed at upgrading employees’ skills.

Mid-State Technical College is your community’s college. Turn to us when you are ready to develop employee training or enter a program of study to earn your associate degree or technical diploma. MSTC’s Marshfield Campus is at 2600 W.Fifth St. in Marshfield. You may reach us at 715-387-2538 or visit our website at mstc.edu. Let us know how we can be of service to you.

Brenda Dillenburg is dean of the Mid-State Technical College campus in Marshfield.

From stevenspointjournal.com: “Education fair to promote technical jobs” — GRAND RAPIDS — For Scott Stanczyk, losing his job at the Whiting paper mill when the facility closed its doors in 2010 provided the incentive he needed to pursue a new career path.

Now in his last semester of the renewable thermal energy technician program at Mid-State Technical College, Stanczyk said his love for the outdoors and the environment gave him the opportunity to reinvent himself.

“The economy was terrible when they first shut the doors, and the job outlook was pretty tough, so I needed to do something,” he said. “I was glad to have the opportunity to take this course and have some support from our government as a dislocated worker. It’s been a great experience here at Mid-State.”

It’s experiences like Stanczyk’s that workforce development leaders hope to share with a new generation of students in a world of changing perceptions about the relevance and role of the technical and industrial sector. It’s for that reason that Mid-State Technical College is hosting its second annual Technical and Industrial Education Fair from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. today at its Wisconsin Rapids campus.

“This is a great opportunity to explore technical educational and apprenticeship programs that lead to great careers with excellent pay,” said Gary Kilgas, associate dean for the college’s Technical and Industrial Division, which is organizing the event.

Designed to benefit high school students seeking to advance their education, individuals looking to expand their skill set or retrain for a new career, as well as parents and friends, the event will provide them with an opportunity to tour facilities and engage in a variety of individual technical program demonstrations, according to an MSTC news release.

There are opportunities in south Wood County for people who want to work in fields such as industrial mechanics, instrumentation and controls, engineering technology and welding, said Rick Merdan, a manufacturing facilitator for Workforce Central, a grassroots initiative to help match local employers with the skilled workers they need.

“All of those are very high-demand fields, with people in very good positions, very good jobs coming out of those programs,” Merdan said.

A key part of promoting jobs in the technical and industrial sectors is to change what have become outdated perceptions, especially with an expected increase in the number of such jobs available due to looming retirements, said Bruce Trimble, employer services director for the North Central Wisconsin Workforce Development Board.

“The perception (of technical jobs) has been dumb, dirty and dark, but they’re anything but that,” Trimble said. “If you go into a welding shop, the air is just like if you would walk into an office building.

“It’s about getting people to realize what’s needed and what those actual jobs are like and that those positions pay very good, family-sustaining entry-level wages.”

At Corenso North America, for example, the core board manufacturer has had a couple positions open for a while that company officials have not been able to fill, President Tom Janke said.

“There’s really an immediate need in some areas,” said Janke, who also serves as board chairman for the Heart of Wisconsin Chamber of Commerce. “This isn’t something that’s necessarily three, four, five, seven years down the road; there’s opportunities for it right now.”

Janke also encouraged those who are thinking about getting into a technical field to seek out the many opportunities available right in south Wood County.

“You don’t have to relocate,” he said. “You don’t have to go to a large city; there are opportunities right here.”

From lacrossetribune.com: “Morna Foy: Program lets students explore careers” — There was a time when a high school diploma was the ticket to many family-sustaining careers, allowing access to more than 70 percent of all jobs in 1973 according to Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce.

That is no longer the case, with the Center reporting that by 2020, 65 percent of jobs will require at least some education or skills training beyond high school.

That dramatic shift makes robust Career and Technical Education (CTE) partnerships all the more critical. These increasingly innovative collaborations allow high school students to explore career opportunities, experience the rigorous education needed to access them after high school and understand career progression potential.

CTE students often earn college credits and gain personal enrichment at the same time. Just as importantly, some students identify career fields in which they find they are not interested, saving significant time and investment after high school.

Throughout February, as part of CTE month, I had the chance to see first-hand impressive collaborations that Wisconsin’s technical colleges have with high schools throughout the state. I’m proud to support these partnerships. They consistently open doors to promising futures in agriculture, business, manufacturing, health care, marketing, information technology and engineering careers.

Wisconsin’s technical colleges provide education — and a graduate placement rate that consistently averages about 90 percent — in these and many other fields, preparing individuals for high-skill, high-wage careers.

Unfortunately, many high school students — and those they rely upon for guidance — often are unfamiliar with these opportunities.

All of us — parents, educators and employers — share responsibility for furthering career awareness and exploration. It can be as simple as helping students identify areas of ability and interest, with the help of online resources such as the Wisconsin Career Pathways website, or the Career Interest Questionnaire on the Wisconsin Technical College System website. You also might consider creating or supporting job shadowing opportunities or career days.

Perhaps most importantly, you can find a way to get involved with delivering, supporting or taking advantage of the many CTE options that exist for students, or that could exist with your vision or assistance.

For more than 20 years, Wisconsin’s technical colleges have been energetically engaged in middle and high school CTE programs, with more than 90,000 students participating. But there is a need to accomplish much more. We can do that, together, by promoting career awareness and college credit options every month of the year.

From marshfieldnews.com: “Column: Career, tech education a real-world way to learn” — By Brenda Dillenburg, dean of the Mid-State Technical College Marshfield campus – Career and technical education is a cooperative effort between technical colleges and employers. Students receive instruction and training in the classroom and also with local employers through internships, externships and clinical rotations. These real-world skills and experiences help graduates be better prepared to enter or re-enter the world of work.

 

Mid-State Technical College offers certificates, technical diplomas and associate degrees in more than 100 areas.

MSTC graduates enjoy careers in many industries and service areas in all of our communities. Some examples include law enforcement and corrections officers, surgical technologists, manufacturing and electronic technicians, welders, registered nurses, automotive technicians, accountants, cosmetologists, urban foresters, business managers, supervisors, marketing professionals, computer programmers, medical assistants, respiratory therapists and much more. As we look around at the businesses and industries in our community, it is easy to see the impact of career and technical education.

A technical college education is the training that is sought after and needed by employers in the 21st century. In fact, 93 percent of employers are satisfied or very satisfied with the education and training and would hire technical college graduates again.

The preparation provided at a technical college includes the necessary academic and technical skills to be highly productive employees in their field of choice.

The required technical skills are changing each and every year; many of these skills were unheard of a generation ago. We work with employers in our communities to stay abreast of changes and advances in technology so that these new tools and skills are incorporated into our programs.

In addition to offering programs of study to meet the workforce needs of tomorrow, technical colleges are well suited to offer just-in-time training and training aimed at upgrading employees’ skills.

Mid-State Technical College is your community’s college. Turn to us when you are ready to develop employee training or enter a program of study to earn your associate degree or technical diploma. MSTC’s Marshfield Campus is at 2600 W.Fifth St. in Marshfield. You may reach us at 715-387-2538 or visit our website at mstc.edu. Let us know how we can be of service to you.

From wiscnews.com: “MPTC recognizes staff, partner” — Moraine Park Technical College found many ways to honor career and technical education month, celebrated throughout the nation in February.

One of the ways was through the annual Moraine Park Association of CTE awards banquet, held Feb. 21 at Beaver Dam Country Club.

The banquet recognized individuals and organizations for their dedication to and excellence in career and technical education. The following individuals were honored with awards: Stephanie Lueck of Campbellsport for outstanding support professional; Kathy Vandemark of Kewaskum for outstanding CTE leader; Terri Wilkens of Mayville for outstanding instructor; Amy Patterson of Beaver Dam for new instructor and Bonnie Baerwald of Fond du Lac for community involvement. The Business Awards of Merit went to Kondex Corporation for supporting Moraine Park.

Throughout the year, MPACTE supports student achievement by awarding eight $300 scholarships to full-time Moraine Park students and five $200 scholarships to part-time Moraine Park students. Scholarships are cosponsored by both the Moraine Park Federation of Teachers and the MPACTE organization.

For more information about Moraine Park visit morainepark.edu. For more information on statewide CTE month activities visit witechcolleges.org.

From beloitdailynews.com: “Technical education programs revamped” —There is progress on a variety of initiatives to prepare students for employment after high school, including new career path tracks, upgraded programming and equipment as well as a completely renovated space.

In an interview on Thursday, Beloit Memorial High School technology educator Eric Wheeler gave some updates on all facets of changes to technical education in the district.

Starting next fall Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) students will be able to chose from four technical education career paths — machining, building construction, manufacturing, and a new career path of computer repair and information technology (CISCO). After completing four to five classes in each area, students should be ready to be employed immediately after graduation or could apply their course work toward a degree at a school such as Blackhawk Technical College.

There are also a series of engineering courses for students who are interested in pursuing an engineering related career path.

In the past the school has offered machining, building construction which includes a focus on carpentry and cabinets, manufacturing which includes machining and welding as well as engineering classes for students. However, when they graduated they weren’t skilled enough to find work.

Under the new plan, students considering a technical education would be able to take some exploratory courses in their freshman and sophomore years, and then settle on a career path. The newest offering is computer repair and software development which would begin next fall.

The final step in the career paths would be half-day internships with local companies for a semester or year before graduation.

And the career pathways are just one of many changes to the high school’s technical education program.

After some concerns were raised that vocational arts classrooms had outdated equipment and students weren’t being prepared for today’s industry, the district formed committees composed of manufacturers and other local business people provide input to the Career Technical Education program. There was representation from the following trades: Building, cabinetry and millwork, welding, machining, graphic communications and digital media.

Since the involvement of the advisory committees, Wheeler said what’s being taught has completely changed. Staff with the help of business representatives will be writing curriculum to be finalized before next fall.

Currently BMHS offers all Project Lead the Way courses, a group of science, technology mathematics and engineering courses. And there is discussion about having six new technology courses for middle schoolers next fall, digital media arts, Web 2.0, Spanish for Spanish speakers, 21st century communications, forensic science and financial literacy.

Wheeler said implementation of the courses will help introduce students to potential career paths at an earlier age. The district is also considering other outreach programs to get students to consider technical careers, such as high school students visiting the middle schools to do activities.

Contractors began revamping the school’s Technical Education Programming space in the school’s lower level in December with the goal of cleaning, brightening and modernizing facilities. After the metals shop is complete by this spring, the two wood shops will be renovated in time for classes next fall.

Historically BMHS has offered 13 to 16 different classes in various areas each year in technical education. It has roughly 2,000 students enrolled at the high school level each year, and 1,100 to 1,500 of the students are enrolled in its technical education courses each year.

 

From wisbusiness.com: “Career and Technical Education a viable pathway to college and career readiness” — MADISON— February is Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month, and Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) and Technical College System (WTCS) are encouraging students, schools, parents and educators to discover the great CTE programs available in our state.

“One of the surest pathways to growing a more prosperous middle class in Wisconsin is through career and technical education, or CTE,” said State Superintendent Tony Evers. “To be pro-business, you have to be pro-education, and that is why I’m working with business and education leaders across the state to reinvigorate CTE programs. It is also why I’ve requested support for new investments in STEM, CTE, and industry certifications in my budget request.”

“As our economic transformation continues, existing careers are changing and new opportunities are being created,” said Morna Foy, president of the Wisconsin Technical College System. “CTE Month is a great time for parents and students to explore the many education and career opportunities that are open to them.”

The DPI and WTCS are using February to observe and emphasize the value of CTE to Wisconsin’s economy. The DPI supports increased opportunities for career and technical education in high school. CTE programs can help students follow a viable route to a rewarding career. Many CTE programs provide multiple pathways for students to become college and career ready while still in high school, and Wisconsin’s technical colleges can play an important role in expanding CTE opportunities for students.

“Last year during CTE Month, I visited robust CTE programs in the Sun Prairie, Superior, Milwaukee, Beloit and Hartford Union school districts,” added Evers. “I look forward to touring many more this year. Thanks to programs like these, students participating in Wisconsin’s CTE programs graduate at a rate of more than 95 percent. That is good for students and for Wisconsin.”

More than 90,000 Wisconsin high school students are taking career and technical education courses in fields like agriculture, business, family and consumer science, health occupations, marketing, technology and engineering. Schools form partnerships with local businesses to provide opportunities for students to explore various career options, while developing academic and career plans students are given direction to post-secondary options.

 

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Guest column: NWTC turns 100, continues key educational mission” — Happy 100th birthday, Northeast Wisconsin Technical College.

A century ago, NWTC was born upon the creation of local boards of industrial education overseeing continuation and trade schools.

In 1912, it was the exception to have graduated from high school. Yet, the country was in the beginning of massive industrialization that begged for higher and more complex skills.

In a 1927 publication of the Green Bay Board of Vocational Education, it was noted that: “A rapidly changing world forces the American citizen — to face the constantly changing problems and difficulties of an almost kaleidoscopic environment. Even the individual himself is in a ceaseless process of change in his employment, his attitudes and ambitions, his social contacts, his interests and opportunities.”

This phrase is as relevant today as it was almost 85 years ago. The difference is that now most people have a high school diploma, and the minimum requirement for gaining a career with a living wage is education beyond high school.

I am struck, when looking at pictures of students in classes in the beginning decades of NWTC’s history, how many men came to school wearing ties. Wearing a tie spoke of a relatively high status. Attending the Green Bay Vocational School increased your social status. In fact, in the late 1920s a Green Bay Vocational School publication was subtitled The University of the Adult.

Sadly, today, too many times we have heard a graduating high school student say when asked about post-high school plans, “I am just going to the tech.” How many times have we watched community college students demeaned on television comedies, by stand-up comics, or in popular music? What happened?

The importance and status of a higher education technical degree was overtaken by the assumption that the only way to achieve the American Dream is to have a four-year college degree. Don’t get me wrong, achieving a bachelor’s degree or higher is a worthy endeavor and we encourage students to aspire to these degrees. But the vast majority of careers do not require more than a two-year technical associate degree. In fact:

• Two-thirds of students who have an associate degree in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) field will earn more than someone with a bachelor’s degree. The overlap of lifetime wages between all associate degree and bachelor degree holders is in the range of 80 percent.

• Many CEOs and business leaders started their careers with an associate degree. Associate degree holders are excellent problem-solvers, have outstanding team and people skills, and have a clear understanding of the world around them.

• Associate degree students graduate with new learning skills and practices that they will use throughout their lives as they keep pace with rapid business and industry changes.

Some think that the rigor and complexity of the education is somehow less than that learned at a four-year college. Actually, hundreds of adults with bachelor’s degrees come to NWTC each year to train for new careers, and they often comment that the intensity and difficulty of the course work is greater than what they experienced while pursuing the bachelor’s degree.

Rapid technological and business process changes require ever higher levels of competency that can only be obtained through applied learning techniques — and applied learning has always been the specialty of Wisconsin’s Technical Colleges. How many of us can design and program a machine that operates on four or five axes? Do you know what to do when a person has a heart attack or is bleeding profusely? I cannot develop a website that will attract someone to a new product, can you? Successfully de-escalating a domestic violence situation is beyond my capability. Never mind fixing a car, installing an electrical system, or repairing infrastructure after a catastrophic event.

We are surrounded each day by highly educated NWTC graduates. We bring them our illnesses, our design challenges, our security needs and our ambitious plans, and they return skilled solutions. They are the firefighters, EMTs, child care providers, network analysts and other specialists who make nearly every area of our economy — and our personal lives — run more efficiently. An education like that is something to be proud of, to celebrate and honor. Join me as we salute our students and celebrate our widespread community support.

Happy birthday, NWTC. Thank you for remaining committed to preparing all people to lead fulfilling lives, earning a living wage. You will achieve your vision of being a cutting-edge, life-long learning college that transforms, strengthens, and inspires our people, our families, our businesses, and our communities for another 100 years.

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “State proposal would let high-schoolers study vocations” — A state proposal that would allow high school seniors to receive vocational degrees instead of traditional high school diplomas has educators concerned, but others say it could help graduates succeed in the work force.

A bill before the state Legislature would allow students to skip requirements in math, science and English and instead earn vocational credits to graduate. The vocational program’s makeup would be decided by school boards, and the state Department of Public Instruction would approve any curriculum changes.

The measure, proposed by state Rep. Mark Radcliffe, D-Black River Falls, is being considered as part of special session on job creation called for by Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

“I would be very excited about something like this,” said James Golembeski, executive director of the Bay Area Workforce Development Board, which serves 10 counties in Northeastern Wisconsin, including Brown. “Our school system is very much geared to college preparation, but only about a quarter of people in Wisconsin have a bachelor’s degree and only about a quarter of the jobs need that, so we’re giving them a lot of stuff they don’t need.”

 

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