NWTC partnership helps teen moms finish high school
March 17, 2014
GREEN BAY- Green Bay Area School District and NWTC are working together to make sure teen moms graduate high school.
It’s an effort that may benefit the entire community.
Nineteen-year-old Augustina Medina says she wants to give her 18-month-old daughter Isabella the best life possible.
“When you get pregnant, you’re put in as you’re not going to graduate,” Medina said. “You’re not going to get far in life. And that always bugged me.”
Medina says she was supported by family and school counselors after giving birth.
But she still needed to step up her efforts to graduate from Green Bay Southwest High School.
In Wisconsin, nearly half of high school aged mothers do not graduate.
School social workers say one of the biggest barriers to not graduating high school as a teen parent is not know where to go for help. But two new grants are aimed at helping teen parents get their diplomas and go on to higher education.
The first grant: 200 thousand dollars from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
It will provide additional academic support, career counseling, and parenting classes.
“We know that a really strong predictor of whether or not a child will grow up in poverty is if they are born to a mother who is a teen and one of the amazing things of the opportunity of this project is by getting more of our teen parents to the post-secondary level, we can potentially take two generations out of poverty,” said Green Bay West High School Social Worker Kim Schanock.
The second grant is from the Greater Green Bay Community Foundation Women’s Fund.
The organization won’t say how much it’s for.
The money will go toward a two year program which will directly connect NWTC counselors with pregnant high school students.
“How can you develop study skills and really learning about how to apply for financial aid, and how to fill out a college application,” said Amber Michaels, the students services manager for NWTC.
Medina now attends NWTC, studying business management.
She hopes other teen mothers will use the new resources in high school to find their own motivation, and provide a better life for their children.
Madison College to receive workplace excellence award
March 17, 2014
By Mike Ivey – Young professionals in the Madison area, along with some of their mentors, will be recognized March 29 at the first Emerge Gala hosted by the Urban League of Greater Madison Young Professionals chapter.
The event is billed as bringing together diverse young professionals for an evening of celebration at the Concourse Hotel.
The “Emerging Leader of the Year Award” will be announced at the event.
Nominees are Althea René Miller, GED instructor at Omega School, Corinn Ploessl, marketing coordinator at Wegner CPAs, and Lauren Rock, 2-1-1 volunteer coordinator for United Way of Dane County.
“Trailblazer Awards” go to young professionals who have shown leadership within their company and industry. Recipients are Tawsif Anam, managed care policy analyst at Wisconsin Department of Health Services, Joe Maldonado, college continuation manager for the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County, and Ald. Scott Resnick, downtown Madison city council member.
“Impact Awards” go to community leaders who have established a record of consistent outreach to young professionals in the greater Madison area. Recipients are Judge Paul Higginbotham, Wisconsin Court of Appeals, and Oscar Mireles, executive director of Omega School, Inc.
The “Workplace Excellence Award” is going to Madison College for its demonstrated record of commitment to the development of young professionals.
In honor of the event, Madison Mayor Paul Soglin has designated March 29 as “Young Professionals Day in Greater Madison.”
Tickets for the semi-formal event, including dinner, are $40 with proceeds supporting the Young Professionals chapter of the Urban League along with its youth education programs including the Scholars Academy, Schools of Hope and Martin Luther King Day of Service.
— Lakeshore Technical College presented its second annual Top Tech Awards to recognize the top influencers in career and technical education in Manitowoc and Sheboygan counties. The five awards were presented at a reception at the Lakeshore Culinary Institute on Feb. 20.
Educators from Manitowoc County were recognized with three of the awards.
• Rick Conrad of Manitowoc Lincoln High School serves as the school’s youth apprenticeship liaison, transition specialist, work experience teacher and tech ed teacher. Conrad was nominated for his role in the approximately 30 students a year from Manitowoc Lincoln High School participating in Youth Apprenticeship.
Conrad sets up job shadows for all Lincoln students, transitions special needs students into the workforce through a fundamental work experience program and coordinates more than 50 students in Lincoln’s work experience programs. He has worked with all departments on their career and technical education advisory committees, and is currently working with the tech ed department on its three-year plan and new course proposals.
• Marcy Kuhn and Amber Brewer, academic advisors and guidance counselors for Mishicot High School and Mishicot Middle School, respectively, also were presented with a Top Tech Award for their leadership, tenacity and passion for students’ post-secondary success. Their high school advisement period provides weekly lesson plans to each of the four grade levels to better prepare students after the end of high school.
Their Career Portfolio project implements student, parent, and school counselor meetings at key transition points in a student’s school career. During these meetings, the student’s strengths and areas of improvement, future plans, and goal setting are discussed with assessments aiding students and parents in their course choices and development of their four-year plans. This duo is sought after as a resource by other organizations and districts to replicate this success.
CVTC Junkyard Battle brings out student creativity
March 13, 2014
Lincoln High School students are too creative to weld a sculpture of just any old fish out of scrap metal for the Chippewa Valley Technical College Manufacturing Show’s Junkyard Battle welding contest.
“I came up with the idea of the fish body,” said senior Nicki Danielson. “I just thought an angler fish would be awesome.”
But that wasn’t all. They had it in a tank of water, set up a system by which it could be raised from the tank by turning a wheel, had a spout of water coming out of its mouth through use of a pump system and integrated a little game with prizes. The effort was good enough to win second place, with another angler fish sculpture from Fall Creek taking first. The Lincoln team took first place at last year’s show.
Lincoln High School had a strong showing at the manufacturing show, with over 40 students coming in attendance. The students and other participants and visitors to the show experienced just how interesting and fun manufacturing can be. Area high school students were heavily involved in this year’s show. Besides the Junkyard Battle, students created complicated mazes in the machine tooling technics contest, and in electromechanical technology, students built robots to navigate a simple maze as fast as possible.
Visitors were able to don masks and try their hands at welding under the watch and with assistance from a CVTC student or instructor. People saw automated machines that could play guitar, set up bowling pins and make a golf putt – all designed and created by CVTC students. The chair on the flight simulator moved with the banking of the plane on the screen. In the nano engineering technology area, students demonstrated the properties of liquid nitrogen.
Nearly 40 companies from around the Chippewa Valley set up displays to show their company’s role in area manufacturing, and to recruit future employees.
“In the Chippewa Valley, close to 40,000 people make their living in manufacturing,” said CVTC President Bruce Barker in opening the show along with Gov. Scott Walker. “Ninety-one percent of our graduates have jobs within six months, 89 percent are right in the state of Wisconsin, and 70 percent are in northwest Wisconsin.”
A major purpose of the show was to present the modern face of manufacturing.
“If you go in our shops, they’re bright, they’re clean, they’re automated, and it takes a high skill level to operate the equipment,” said associate dean of manufacturing Jeff Sullivan.
To many of the young people attending, there was just a lot of fun stuff to do, like race robots and show off their junkyard fish sculptures.
The Lincoln team’s sculpture incorporated concepts of metal working, making it an educational piece as well. The tank of water, for example, can serve as a common welding shop tool.
“You can put a piece of metal you just welded in the fish’s mouth and lower it down to cool it. It’s called a quench tank,” Danielson said.
“We made a prototype of the sculpture out of cardboard,” said team member Edwin Ramos. “Nicki was the lead welder in putting her dream together.”
Team member Daniel Brown brought a lot of the junk used to make the sculpture.
“I got a lot of used junk trucks sitting around. I had an old fuel pump from a Chevy truck and an old fuel line, and wired it all up,” he said, explaining how he made the pump system for the spout of water.
Ramos explained another part of the process.
“We used an old water boiler, band saw blades, a weight bench, and a chain for the hook,” he said.
Many students in Scot Kelly’s principles of engineering class helped on the sculpture.
While many high school students took part in competitions, many students and members of the public came to learn more about opportunities in manufacturing. Jonathan Hurd, 23, of Fall Creek was eyeing up a new career by visiting the various program areas.
“I’m interested in electromechanical technology, but I’d love to learn it all,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons I came, to get a feel for it all.”
Becky Larson of Eau Claire came with her husband and their son, Nick, who is in eighth grade. “I wanted to see what opportunities are out there for a job, and so many of the jobs that are coming up are going to be in manufacturing,” she said.
Larson, a middle school counselor, was also picking up information for her students who are beginning to think about careers.
“Electromechanical technology was fun with all the projects they do, like the ‘Smoke on the Water,’ one that played guitar by itself,” said Nick Larson.
Approximately 2,000 people attended the show, including Walker, who noted in opening remarks to an audience mostly of high school students that the Wisconsin flag displays the tools of manufacturing.
“It’s part of our heritage and our history, and it’s part of our future,” Walker said. “Manufacturing is leading our state’s economic recovery, and we need to encourage the next generation of workers by educating everyone about the great, family-supporting jobs available. These students are the future of our workforce; and by providing quality, highly technical training, we are setting them up for success and securing Wisconsin’s place among the top manufacturers in the country.”
Skilled worker shortage drives partnerships between business, education
March 12, 2014
By Laurie Ritger – A local business leader is stressing the need for communication and collaboration between industry and educators — especially as a shortage of skilled workers looms.
“This is a heavy manufacturing area. We may be one of the heaviest in the state and maybe the nation. Let’s support that,” said Jim Wessing, president and co-founder of Kondex Corp. in Lomira. “There are great jobs and a great future in manufacturing.”
Wessing warned, however, of a looming shortage of skilled employees during an appearance Tuesday at Business, Industry and Education Day 2014 at Marian University’s Stayer Center. Approximately 150 educators and business people turned out for the event, a program of the Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce.
Projections show that there will be 17,000 to 19,000 unfilled jobs in the greater Fond du Lac area by 2025, according to Joe Reitemeier, president and CEO of the Association of Commerce.
Perception vs. reality
Wessing was part of a panel that included Lomira School District technology education teacher Jon Marx and Lomira High School Principal Deb Janke. They discussed a business and education partnership success story that began several years ago with a Project Grill competition that pairs businesses with a school.
Marx explained how the tech-ed program has grown in the past several years and how Kondex has helped with equipment and financial support. Marx, who once taught part-time and had 55 students, now is full-time and instructs more than 100 students at the middle and high school levels.
Some of his former students are working toward degrees at technical colleges and engineering schools.
Wessing said manufacturing has a reputation as a “dark and dirty and dangerous” profession. The reality, he said, is that it is very clean and high-tech with the advent of robotics, high-speed cameras and computers.
Wages can be very high. Wessing said educators and business leaders need to connect with parents of students who are considering their career paths to explain options and show them realities of the work world.
Reitemeier said nearly all parents of incoming high school sophomores expect their children to attend college, but a year later only half of the students will take a college entrance exam. That leaves half of a graduating class to make plans for technical college or immediate entry into the workforce.
Janke said a Career Fair was held at Kondex that exposed students to careers in many fields, including manufacturing, human resources and sales. She said the school also is trying to work with other key employers in the community, including Michels Corp. and Quad/Graphics. Staff are visiting employers so educators and counselors are aware of available businesses and career opportunities.
“We’re interested, at the school level, how can we (prepare) better employees for you?” Janke said about the partnership between business and schools. She said students need to be exposed to careers and the tools and equipment they may be using. Girls that have an interest in math and science need to enter engineering and manufacturing fields.
Wessing said 85 percent of his employees are from within a 35-mile radius of Fond du Lac. Kondex is a product design and manufacturing partner for agriculture, lawn and turf, and other areas, producing custom-designed metal components.
National speakers for BIE Day included Kimberly Green of Rockville, Md., who has worked the past 18 years on federal policy impacting career and technical education; and Patrick McGaughey, an international speaker from Idaho with a background in broadcasting and business association management who led a two-part workshop: “Business + Education = Education, Development: How Education Closes the Deal.”
The connections established between business representatives and educators during BIE Day are intended to help the partners develop solutions to economic and community issues — including the expected skilled labor shortage facing Fond du Lac.
Waukesha County Technical College, Lincoln Electric partner to create welding lab
March 12, 2014
By Denise Lockwood – Waukesha County Technical College and Lincoln Electric, which makes welding equipment, are partnering to create a welding demonstration and training facility at the college.
The lab features a 4,000-square-foot space that holds 55 Lincoln Electric welding stations, which brings the technical college’s total welding space to about 8,000 square feet with 93 welding stations. The Lincoln Electric Southeastern Wisconsin Training Center is owned by Waukesha County Technical College and sponsored by Lincoln Electric, a Cleveland-based company that’s providing welding, cutting, and fume control equipment and technology for the lab.
The partnership offers graduates the opportunity to learn on state-of-the-art equipment. The school currently has 250 students in its welding program.
“Partnering with Lincoln Electric allows WCTC to continue to grow and expand our welding programs and meet the needs of local industry,” said Mike Shiels, dean of the School of Applied Technologies.
Bob Dempsey, district sales manager for Lincoln Electric, said the training center benefits WCTC by providing updated equipment addressing every arc welding process as well as a comprehensive fume control system, and students become better prepared for employment in a number of industries.
The training center is located at the college’s Pewaukee campus, 800 Main St.
Dave Schrofer of Hill’s Wiring, Inc. took third place in the electrical category during the 2014 ABC of Wisconsin Skill Competition held Feb. 25 in Green Bay.
Schrofer, currently attending Madison College, was one of 25 ABC of Wisconsin apprentices from throughout the state who demonstrated their knowledge and craft skills in the competition, which included a four-hour practical and a two-hour written exam.
Apprentices worked on projects from specifications and blueprints; they focused on performing assigned tasks while employers, instructors, judges and others looked on. The competitors were scored on skill, workmanship, safety, and efficiency. The written, safety, and practical scores were then combined to determine the top three competitors in each trade.
Tech college students share their skills with community
March 11, 2014
Moraine Park Technical College students are given numerous opportunities to perform service learning projects. MPTC’s Meeting and Event Planning class, along with the Business Practicum class, offered assistance to Beaver Dam Area Community Theatre as it plans its 50th anniversary celebration.
Instructors Mary Vogl-Rauscher and Pam Zander met with Dave Saniter, managing director of BDACT, and Annette Kamps, board member and fundraising co-chair.
Zander’s Meeting and Event Planning class is assisting with the “Roots & Wings: A Golden Tribute to BDACT.” This celebration of talent will be showcased the weekends of April 25, 26 and 27 and May 2, 3 and 4. The students are working on website updates, posters, programs, themes and decorations for the event.
Performers who began their musical or theatrical careers at careers at BDACT will share their talents for this event.
Another service learning opportunity and collaboration activity is taking place with MPTC human resources student Priscilla Trevino. Trevino will coordinate numerous volunteers for theater projects. Trevino will secure volunteers to work the events, coordinate paperwork and information to orient the volunteers, and organize a fundraiser this year.
If interested in volunteering, help is needed with lights, sound, ushering, videography, photography, costumes, set building, set painting and decorating, house management, tickets, librarian, patron chair, afterglows and makeup. To volunteer contact Trevino at email@example.com
This collaboration gives students the opportunity to participate in a service learning project and to learn valuable skills that they will use in their careers — to provide an organization with assistance to meet organizational goals.
Veteran settles into his dream job after switching careers
March 10, 2014
Getting a job with nothing but a high school diploma can be difficult. Starting a career without a high school diploma can be nearly impossible. That’s the challenge many of our military members face when they leave the service — but one veteran was able to turn his Army experience into opportunity.
“Ever since I was 10 years old, my grandpa brought me to my uncle’s welding shop, and after seeing that atmosphere, you know, guys welding, grinding metal, flames — it just seemed like a really cool job to do and I was like ‘man, I want to do that,’” Jeremy Jurkiewicz said.
But life’s blueprint for Jurkiewicz put him on a different path out of high school. At the age of 19, he sought to wear the badge of a police officer. He started by joining the Army’s Military Police Corps.
“I enlisted to serve and deploy and just for a job,” Jurkiewicz said.
For the next three years, he experienced the life of a cop, including a year-long deployment to Afghanistan. It was during this time Jurkiewicz says he discovered policing wasn’t for him.
His love of welding was reignited when he left active service, but starting a new career from scratch is no easy task. Like many of his peers who are former military, Jurkiewicz faced a choice — jump into the job search with what experience and education he had — or retrain himself.
“If there`s something that you want to do, pursue it. Go to school or look online, see what classes they have to offer. Something sparks your interest, go for it. Pursue it,” Jurkiewicz said.
Jurkiewicz credits his motivation and mettle to his time in the Army. It’s that mettle which helped him to get into “Welding Boot Camp” at Gateway Technical College in Racine. He eventually graduated, and landed a job at Metalworld Incorporated.
“When they talk about a skills gap, it’s not so much the hard skills as far as finding guys that know how to weld, like to work with their hands. It’s really guys that are willing to do that five days a week on a week-to-week basis,” Metalworld Inc. President Gary Meier said.
“Anyone can get a job, but not everyone can get a career and a career that you want to do and you love doing every day. I don’t get up every day and be like ‘oh I gotta go to work.’ I’m excited to go to work, work, learn and progress in my skills and just become the best welder and fabricator I can become,” Jurkiewicz said.
Jurkiewicz is still serving as an Army Reservist. His welding career has progressed since he last spoke with FOX6 News. He no longer works at Metalworld in Racine — after taking a job with Compo Steel Products in Milwaukee.
BTC’s manufacturing facility takes shape quickly in Milton
March 10, 2014
By Shaun Zinck – MILTON — The new Blackhawk Technical College advanced manufacturing facility in Milton is on schedule and on budget, said college President Tom Eckert.
A year ago in February the college announced it had leased a building at 15 N. Plumb St. in Milton to house several of its advanced manufacturing programs.
Work began on half of the building in the fall with plans to move three programs by the 2014-15 academic year. Eckert said about 50,000 square feet of the 105,000-square-foot building is currently being remodeled.
“We are putting in general classroom in the front of the building for general education course. Also that is where the office complex will be located for staff,” he said. “Each of the labs will also have their own specialized classrooms.”
Once work is complete this summer, equipment will be transferred over to the building just in time for students in the welding, industrial maintenance and precision machining (CNC) to occupy that half of the building this fall. Work on the second half will continue during the academic year, Eckert said.
The other programs — heating, ventilation, air conditioning/refrigeration technician, mechanical design technology, industrial engineering technician and computer systems technology — will start holding classes in the 2015-16 academic year.
Gary Kohn, marketing and communications manager for the college, said the new space will bring all the programs closer together to allow for more collaborative projects between the students.
“So you might have a CNC student working with a welding student working with an industrial maintenance student,” he said.
Kohn said a lab station will be built as a connection between another building during the second phase of construction and renovation.
The entire renovation cost will be about $12 million, Eckert said. He said nothing unexpected has come up during the first phase of renovations.
“They did a really great job predicting exactly what it would take to do the job,” he said.
The welding program at BTC has been in high demand as of late. The college had to add a third welding section in order to increase the number of students it could admit into the program. The college currently has about 105 welding students in three different sections. The new facility will double the capacity for the programs, however, that doesn’t mean double the students just yet, Eckert said.
“We don’t know how many students (the building will hold),” he said. “We are still in decision-mode on what shifts we will have for each program.”
The college entered into a 10-year lease at the location, and can exercise two five-year renewals. Last year, the college said it would pay about $1.47 per square foot for the lease space or about $155,125 for the first year. The second year the rate increases to about $2.88 per square foot or about $302,688 per year.
Prior to choosing the Milton location the college looked into locating the facility at the Ironworks campus in Beloit. Funding the project proved too costly, Eckert said at the time.