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Moraine Park Tech College breaks ground for addition in Fond du Lac

Moraine Park Technical College officials donned hard hats and picked up shovels in Fond du Lac this week for the ceremony beginning construction of an addition and remodeling project. Capelle Brothers & Diedrich Construction, general contractor for the project expect to be finished at the start of the 2015 winter/spring semester.

Read more: Moraine Park breaks ground for $1.5 million addition in Fond du Lac

MSTC celebrates centennial and new campus

Mid-State Technical College celebrated 100 years in existence at the opening of its new Stevens Point campus. City and campus officials expressed enthusiasm for the future.

Read more: Mid-State Technical College debuts new Stevens Point campus

FVTC to provide training for Plexus through grant program

A collaborative effort between the Fox Valley Workforce Development Board, Fox Valley Technical College and Plexus Corp. will establish a soldering lab at the college and provide skilled workers to the Neenah company.

Read more: Fast Forward grant to provide training for 70 Plexus Corp. workers

MSTC to host Return2Learn sessions

Mid-State Technical College will host events in Marshfield, Stevens Point and Wisconsin Rapids in June. Participants will learn about the affordability and convenience of technical college, as well as employer demand for MSTC graduates.

Read more: Advance your current career or start a new one

Dual credit classes give high school students head start on college

Hundreds of students in western Wisconsin are benefiting from college-level classes through Chippewa Valley Technical College's dual credit program. River Falls High School was recently recognized by CVTC for outstanding participation in the program.

Read more: River Falls students get jump on college credits

Madison College hosts police training for Alzheimer’s disease patients

Of all the types of emergencies police officers, fire fighters and EMT’s respond to on a daily basis, Alzheimer’s Disease isn’t one that most people think about. The disease is typically associated with senior care centers and retirement communities, but law enforcement officers say the issue is becoming a bigger part of their daily lives.

“We’ve seen a startling increase in calls in recent years,” Alzheimer’s response trainer Hank Levenson says.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, a person is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s once every 68 seconds. There’s a 60% chance that they will wander off or get lost at least once in their lifetime. That is where local law enforcement agencies come in. Officers say they’re being called out to an increasing amount Alzheimer’s related situations.

“Not knowing how to recognize that it may be Alzheimer’s, you look at it as possibly someone who is just being uncooperative, somebody that might have been drinking,” Levenson says.

The issue has prompted the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) to organize a nationwide training initiative. A team of trainers is currently traveling to several cities across the country to teach officers the signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s. On Monday they held a training session at Madison College for nearly a hundred police officers and first responders from across the state of Wisconsin.

“Wandering is a huge issue with Alzheimer’s patients. If someone is out in the weather, on the street, inappropriately dressed, officers and first responders need to understand that is not a deliberate act that they’re doing,” trainer Deborah Thompson says.

One of the most important lessons that instructors are teaching first responders and officers is that if they come across someone who might have Dementia or Alzheimer’s is to not run the sirens or the lights on their vehicles. They say the patient may become confused or violent in that situation. Trainers say violent behavior is already a major concern in Alzheimer’s situations. Law enforcement agencies receive numerous domestic violence calls every year. By knowing how to deal with these patients, officers are hoping to not only protect the patients and their families, but other people in their community as well.

“It’s a huge issue and it’s only going to increase in magnitude. It’s not going to reverse,” Thompson says. “It’s not just people who are 65 and older anymore. It’s people who are in their 30′s and 40′s. It’s really becoming a big issue.”

Read more: "Law enforcement agencies say Alzheimer's is becoming a growing problem"

Western hosts Health Summit

Coulee Region health officials are pressing their quest to improve residents’ overall well-being by diagnosing the impact of factors such as socioeconomic conditions.

The evolving concept of health equity “includes health care, but it’s a lot more,” said Jordan Bingham, who will address the topic as keynote speaker Friday at the annual Health Summit of the La Crosse Medical Health Science Consortium.

“Having access to health care is only about 20 percent of it,” said Bingham, health equity coordinator for public health in Madison and Dane County. “Other things include the environment — and I don’t mean just clean air and water. Those play a part, but it also includes healthy housing, healthy food and healthy activities.”

Some people don’t have access to such advantages, she said, adding, “Where people live, their education, their income, race and social class are significant health predictors.

“Over the years, we’ve educated people on how to be healthy but not addressed the environmental factors,” Bingham said.

The theme of the summit from 8:30 a.m. to noon at the Lunda Center at Western Technical College is “Health Equity: The Opportunity for Health Begins in Our Families, Neighborhoods, Schools and Jobs.”

It piggybacks on the outcome of the summit last year, when participants resolved to examine factors such as income, poverty and education, consortium executive director Catherine Kolkmeier said.

“I hear more and more in the community about how health is tied to people’s circumstances — how we live, where we work,” Kolkmeier said.

“There is a lot of momentum in the community about neighborhood revitalization, and that is tied into health,” Kolkmeier said.

Previously, health considerations often were split into clinical care at hospitals, the physical environment in the city and county and socioeconomic conditions that various public agencies addressed, she said.

“It’s become more obvious now that you can’t separate the health and the socioeconomic conditions,” she said.

Although data exist on the federal and state levels, it’s harder to discern statistics locally, so the consortium is working on that, Kolkmeier said.

The consortium, which covers 20 counties in the tri-state area, and other local agencies have developed a reputation for taking health initiatives seriously, said Bingham, who previously was the state’s Healthy Communities coordinator.

“A lot of places around the state see La Crosse as a leader,” she said. “Folks there are doing great work with smoke-free living … and increasing access to healthy foods and activities.”

Avoiding the political rabbit hole of the Affordable Care Act, Bingham said Obamacare at least is creating access to health care for people who didn’t have it before.

Beyond that, though, she said, “What is our responsibility to create opportunities for people to live, work, learn and play?”

Bingham acknowledged differences between urban and rural areas.

“Urban communities traditionally are more walkable, more dense and have more resources,” such as being able to get to a park to exercise, she said.

“In rural settings, which are a huge challenge in Wisconsin, people may have a lot of physical activity. But in reality, most who live in rural areas traditionally drive to their jobs,” she said.

“When it comes down to it, the reality is we don’t all have the same opportunities,” she said. “I live close to two grocery stores. I can ride, walk, bus or drive to work.

“I can provide the basic needs, but people on limited income or with disabilities or who live in apartment where the only place to play is the parking lot cannot,” she said.

“All of us need to understand that our community isn’t healthy until all have the opportunities to close the health gap,” Bingham said.

“It may be obvious — but maybe not — it’s a sad state of affairs when where people live or their ZIP codes determine how healthy they are or how long they live.”

Read more: From lacrossetribune.com: "La Crosse summit seeks Rx for health gap for disadvantaged"

Brothers receive Western Tech College Distinguished Alumni Award

Two La Crescent brothers are this year’s Western Technical College Distinguished Alumni.

Jeff and Brian Wieser graduated from Western in 1983 and 1986, respectively, completing the Wood Tech Program.

The brothers are now the owners of Wieser Brothers General Contractors in La Crescent.

The business has grown from two employees to 85, with annual sales exceeding $30 million dollars.

The Wiesers have stayed connected with the college over the years; they have established a scholarship fund and serve on the foundation board.

 

Read more: From wxow.com: "La Crescent men receive WTC Distinguished Alumni Award"

Milwaukee mayor describes ‘ladder of opportunity’

By Tom Barrett – Too many Milwaukee workers are either unemployed or underemployed, and too many local businesses assert they cannot find the skilled workers they need. City government is committed to doing what it can to connect workers with jobs. The federal government is stepping up, too.

The Obama administration with its American Job Training Investments: Skills and Jobs to Build a Stronger Middle Class announcement earlier this month is making a priority of job training, apprenticeships and partnerships between community colleges and businesses.

Several years ago, I attended a community meeting and listened to frustrated residents say they could not find jobs. On the same day across town, at an event at an employer, I listened as company executives said they had a shortage of qualified workers. This experience led to the development of Milwaukee’s proactive, employer-driven training initiative, the Mayor’s Manufacturing Partnership. Since the launch of the initiative, more than 100 area employers have hired or advanced the skills of more than 800 individuals in the manufacturing industry.

President Barack Obama has highlighted the Milwaukee area’s innovative workforce partnerships in his visits here, and he has engaged in discussions about replenishing the workforce as baby boomers retire. We have a real need to expose more young people to skilled labor trades. The federal investments outlined in the American Job Training Investments announcement will be responsive to these issues and support the current efforts.

In Milwaukee, we are ahead of the curve. Milwaukee’s workforce system, coordinated by the Milwaukee Area Workforce Investment Board, fosters strong relationships among industry, businesses, the technical college system and training organizations to train workers for current job openings. Milwaukee area manufacturers work closely with the technical college system and workforce partners such as the Wisconsin Regional Training Partnership to develop employer-driven customized training. As a result, technical college graduates, from schools such as the Milwaukee Area Technical College, are being hired by local manufacturers, many of them with industry certifications, such as Manufacturing Skills Standards Council certification.

Our regional economy is growing and needs skilled workers, from entry-level workers to higher-level workers with specific skills. The commitment outlined in the announcement supports workers who face challenges in upgrading and certifying their skills, as well as middle- and lower-income city residents who have been particularly hard hit by the economy. The investment the White House is making in technical college education and apprenticeships will deliver newly skilled workers and build the pipeline needed for the growing economy, enhancing the efforts of Milwaukee’s forward-thinking business community.

And the timing couldn’t be better.

The City of Milwaukee has developed plans for an advanced manufacturing center at Century City, at the site of the old A.O. Smith industrial site. The center will be operated by a coalition including our technical college, workforce investment board and businesses to train and connect workers with real jobs in modern manufacturing. The Century City location puts this innovative center close to new and existing manufacturers in the 30th Street Industrial Corridor. It will be close to potential workers who are unemployed or underemployed.

Another added benefit is the investment to be made in modern equipment to train advanced manufacturing workers also will be available to companies for prototyping and testing operational improvements. Manufacturing provides a large number of well-paying jobs, with wages 31% higher than the regional average for all workers. Manufacturing is the very heart of our region’s “ladder of opportunity.”

Our goals are aligned. The City of Milwaukee and the business community are working collaboratively with workforce partners to close the mismatch between jobs and workers and to connect the public and private sectors to research and innovation.

Read more: From jsonline.com: "Building a 'ladder of opportunity'"

BTC instructor earns national award

Dan Harrigan, a lab tech assistant instructor at Blackhawk Technical College’s Monroe Campus, is one of three college instructors from across the nation to be named a Faculty Enhancement Travel Award winner by the American Society of Microbiology.

In bestowing the honor, the organization described Harrigan as a “stellar example of commitment to teaching undergraduate microbiology and biology.’’

Harrigan will receive a one-year society membership and funding to the ASM national convention for undergraduate educators from May 15th to May 18th in Danvers, Mass.

The Faculty Enhancement Program Travel Award recognizes leaders in biology education and provides them with opportunities to learn research and pedagogy developments, practice new technologies and techniques, and connect with other educators and researchers by attending ASM national convention. Awardees are educators who teach microbiology at two- or four-year institutions with large percentages of historically excluded and underrepresented students selected based on their leadership capacity, commitment to improving teaching, and dedication to participating in education and outreach programs, among other criteria.

The other two awardees are Nastassia Jones of Philander Smith College, Little Rock, Ark., and Carol Stiles, Georgia Military College, Valdosta, Ga.

Sponsored by the ASM Committee on Undergraduate Education, a committee of the ASM Education Board, ASM convention is an interactive, four-day conference where educators learn and share the latest information about microbiology and biology as well as their most effective teaching strategies. The conference program includes poster presentations and plenary, concurrent, and exhibit sessions. Participants engage in formal and informal small group discussions among colleagues who are all focused on the same goal— improving teaching and learning in the biological sciences.

Read more: From wispolitics.com: "Instructor earns American Society of Microbiology Faculty Enhancement Travel Award"

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