Tech College News Archives

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"

Nicolet College, UW-Stevens Point partner for education program

A new program at Nicolet College, Rhinelander, will provide a smooth transition for students interested in completing a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at UW-Stevens Point. It begins in June 2014. 

The associate of science elementary education emphasis program will allow Nicolet College graduates to transition into the School of Education at UW-Stevens Point. 

Nicolet students who transfer to UW-Stevens Point after completing an associate degree will have satisfied all UW-Stevens Point general education program requirements plus 48 required credits toward a bachelor of science in elementary education. They will be on schedule to graduate with students who started their elementary education major at UW-Stevens Point. 

“We’re committed to providing our students seamless pathways to earning a bachelor’s degree that ultimately lead to multiple career options,” said Teresa Rose, Nicolet College transfer coordinator. “This collaboration is a perfect example.” 

“Both partners value the collaboration and thrive on enabling our students to be successful future educators,” said Patty Caro, head of UW-Stevens Point’s School of Education. 

Nicolet students will now be able to transfer to UW-Stevens Point and pursue a bachelor’s degree to teach middle childhood through early adolescence level, ages 6-13. A program for students to teach early childhood level, ages 0-8, regular education and early childhood special education has been in place between Nicolet and UW-Stevens Point since 2006. 

For more information, visit nicoletcollege.edu or call the Nicolet College Welcome Center at (715) 365-4493, or visit the UW-Stevens Point School of Education at www.uwsp.edu.

Read more: From postcrescent.com: "Nicolet College, UW-Stevens Point partner for education program"

Survey finds more applicants lying on resumes

Have you ever lied on a job application?

According to a recent survey by careerbuilder.com 18% of people say they’ve done it and 38% say they’ve stretched the truth on their job responsibilities.

Local hiring managers want to remind people that honesty is always the best policy when it comes to trying to get a new job, and they say technology is making it easier to make sure a resume is telling the truth.

“I have two weeks left and I’ll graduate from CVTC,” Luke Monson said.

Monson had his resume in hand as he talked with employers at the Chippewa Valley Employment Expo Thursday afternoon. Monson says he is ready to launch his career in information technology, landing that job though is a lot easier said than done.

“I think if you don’t stand out you’ll just be tossed to the side,” Monson added.

Kelly Services in Eau Claire says when it comes to hiring, businesses are expecting more from job applicants.

“It’s rare to find a position in manufacturing or other opportunities where you don’t need to use a computer to do your job,” Katie Reid with Kelly Services said.

The high expectations coupled with a more competitive job market are just one of the reasons why carreerbuilder.com says more applicants are turning to lies on resumes. The Eau Claire Job Center says these days employers have a number of tools they can use to make sure what they see on a resume is what they get in an employee.

“Employers are doing more background checks. They are looking on CCAP and they are doing a background check and looking at Facebook and social media,” Eau Claire Job Center employment and training specialist Amber Hoffman said.

The Job Center in Eau Claire says lying on a resume can get you fired. In the long run, Kelly Services says misrepresenting your skills on an application won’t end up benefitting you or your prospective employer.

“You want to be honest and you also want to find the best fit for you and if an employer isn’t aware of everything you have to offer,” Reid said.

The Eau Claire Job Center does offer regular workshops for resume writing at its office. You can also get one on one help on resume writing with an employment specialist at the Job Center during regular business hours.

Read more: From weau.com: "Survey finds more applicants lying on resumes"

Madison College instructor advises protect data before selling device

As phones become more sophisticated, we store more and more data on them, use them for more and more tasks, and put personal information more and more at risk.

With smartphones, you’ve got probably photos, videos, your entire phone list, even credit card information stored on there. And if you don’t take the proper precautions, you become vulnerable to identity theft, fraud and blackmail.

These days folks are always trying to keep up on the latest technology; trading up for the newest and best on the market. And it’s so easy to ditch your old devices and make some green in the process. You can sell online, at places like gazelle.com, Amazon, EBay, and Craigslist. You can also sell devices in person, back to your phone carrier or at a pawn shop

But, before you fork over your phone, listen up! If you have an SD card, take it out. The same thing goes for any memory cards.

Most newer phones, like the iPhone, have a factory reset button under Settings. But, if you have an older model, you’ll want to double check your work.

“On some of the older phones, you can go in, go through and pull data it off” says Mike Massino, an Information Security instructor at Madison College.

If that leaves you a bit hesitant, you have to ask yourself: “is the value of my personal data worth more than the phone I’m trying to sell?”

Nick Koshollek, owner of Tech Heroes in Madison, says companies have taken great strides, in recent years, to help consumers protect personal information.

“We’re actually required by law to wipe all the devices and to remove all user data before we resell the devices again” says Koshollek.

Seeing personal information left on devices isn’t shocking for Koshollek. He says folks come in all the time with data still on their phone…a scammer’s dream come true

Does this mean you shouldn’t sell your old devices? No. But when in doubt, take your phone to an expert like Koshollek, before shipping it off to a new owner.

Read more: From nbc15.com: "Protecting your data when selling device"

Walker signs bill to boost worker training partnerships

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker signed bills introduced by area legislators into law Wednesday.

Senate Bill 648, written in the Assembly by Rep. Jill Billings, D-La Crosse, will reduce jail expenses by allowing localities to transfer inmates to less expensive facilities in neighboring counties.

La Crosse County had identified Houston County, Minn., as a potential cost-saving destination, but state law previously barred such transfers. The new law allows transfers to neighboring counties, in or out of state, if the savings is 25 percent or greater.

Assembly Bill 226, co-written by Rep. Steve Doyle, D-Onalaska, allows more businesses to benefit from worker training partnerships with Wisconsin Technical College by expanding the eligibility for Workforce Advancement Training grants to businesses with up to 250 employees (up from 100). This bill also allows the Wisconsin Technical College System Board to award a grant to a district board to provide assistance with market expansion or business diversification.

Read more: From lacrossetribune.com: "Walker signs jail transfer, training bills"

Students tour new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton

Milton — “This is going to be a state of the art facility,” said Gary Kohn with Blackhawk Technical College.

Right now, it’s hard to see with all of the construction. But you can call it a sneak peek for nearly 230 high school students in Rock County.

Kohn is Wednesday’s tour guide. He’s showing off the college’s new Advanced Manufacturing Training Center in Milton.

“We want them to understand the programs a little bit better, so they see what kind of possibilities there are for their education,” said Kohn.

Cory Thomson, is a senior in high school, and among the 230 students, checking out the new construction.

“I can just imagine all the machines around there and all of the cool equipment that’s going to be there for kids to use and learn on,” said Thomson.

In six weeks, Thomson is graduating, and will pursue a career in manufacturing.

“You could make upwards of $75,000 to $100,000 a year,” said Kohn.

A booming business, and one in-demand. That’s the message Kohn is trying to hammer home to the future job seekers.

“All of the manufacturing programs would tell you they are fast growing, and there are many many jobs in need,” said Kohn.

Phase I of the building will be done, and open, by August. Making next school year the first that anyone can sign up.

View video from nbc15.com

Read more: From nbc15.com: "New advanced manufacturing training center in Milton"

Careers may finally separate twins

EAU CLAIRE — Charles and Sam Welbourn are finally facing the moment when they will likely be going their separate ways, but they are OK with it. They each have their sights on a career in law enforcement, and now that they have their certification after graduation from the Chippewa Valley Technical College Law Enforcement Academy last Thursday, it’s time to look for jobs.

“We are both very close, but we’ll go wherever we get hired. We know we’re not going to be together,” said Sam.

Charles and Sam have been nearly as inseparable as they are indistinguishable from one another. In 2008, the identical twins graduated together from Chippewa Falls Senior High School, where they played both soccer and basketball. They attended UW-Stout together for two years, then both transferred to UW-Eau Claire, where they took up majors in criminal justice. They graduated together in May 2013.

Then came the 14-week CVTC Law Enforcement Academy, which consists of a series of classes held five days a week, eight hours a day, leading up to the granting of the certificate needed for employment as a public law enforcement officer in Wisconsin. A major requirement for admission is a minimum of 60 college-level credits, according to Eric Anderson, associate dean of the Emergency Services programs at CVTC. CVTC’s program is highly regarded, and Academy students can come from all over the state. The Welbourns were among 17 graduates in this spring’s class.

Back at Stout, Charles was listed as an engineering major, but Sam was undecided. They talked together about their next move before choosing law enforcement.

“We like the legal aspect of it,” Charles said. “And we liked the problem-solving aspect of it, and you get to work with your community through many different angles.”

“We like the unpredictability of the job. Every day is something new,” Sam added.

Yes, law enforcement can be a dangerous job, but that did not deter the Welbournes.

“It never crossed our minds,” Charles said. “It’s there, but it doesn’t affect us one bit.”

That’s because they will rely on the training they received at the Academy that taught them how to be conscious of the dangers, and how to look out for their own safety while serving the public.

“We had really good instructors here,” Sam said. “Passing on their life experiences was really valuable to us.”

One of the Welbourns’ fellow graduates, Joshua Pettis, spoke of safety in his remarks as the class speaker.

“Each day on duty, remember officer safety. You want to go home feeling as well as you did when you started,” Pettis said.

Pettis also advised the graduates to use their heads in every situation. “Your mind is your greatest weapon. Be sure to use it,” he said.

The guest speaker was Dallas Neville, the United States marshal for the western district of Wisconsin, who remarked on what he learned at each stage of his career, which included six years as Clark County sheriff. He advised the graduates to maintain high standards of integrity.

“You have all the control over your integrity, but if you ever lose it, it’s very difficult to get back,” Neville said. He added that they should remember that as patrol officers, they will represent not just the departments they work for, but all of law enforcement.

Read more: From chippewa.com: "Careers may finally separate twins"

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