Up to the Challenge, Together

It feels like the world has turned upside down this week. The escalating outbreak of the COVID-19, or coronavirus, has ushered in an unprecedented situation for our world, our nation, and our college. Despite uncertainties surrounding this global pandemic, Fox Valley Technical College is up to the challenge. We have been a powerful force in this region for well over 100 years, and while that foundation of support and experience offers tremendous stability, this situation will call for exceptional agility, creativity, and ingenuity on our part.Credit Eppstein Uhen Architects

Photographed by C&N Photography Continue reading “Up to the Challenge, Together”

Time Capsule Opened

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Board Chair Patty Van Ryzin (seated) and I watched Sharron Huss (front) retrieve items from the 1989 time capsule.  

At this week’s Board of Trustees meeting we had an unusual agenda item – the opening of a 30-year-old time capsule designated by the Board of 1989 to be opened in the year 2020.  This time capsule was prepared as part of some remodeling on campus that was completed in 1989.  Sharron Huss, former trustee from that time and someone who participated in the capsule’s placement,  attended our meeting and enjoyed the honor of opening the capsule to share its contents with those present. It was great to see some of the artifacts from that time including several community newspapers, course catalogs, handprints from children in the Parent/Child Center, a number of photos and more.  A group of our younger student leaders also attended and were very interested in the contents of the time capsule that was created before they were born.

A Regional Vision with Life – Changing Impact

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Stara Gleash with instructors Kory Anderson (left) and Rob Behnke

Great anticipation came with the opening of our new Wautoma Regional Center in 2018. Located adjacent to Wautoma High School, the relocated and expanded facility offers several dual credit options for high school students and other programs unique to the needs of that region, including manufacturing, business, construction, and health care.

After meeting with local officials to discuss ways to tackle unemployment in the region, the transportation sector came into play. In 2019, we brought our truck driver training to the greater Wautoma area as a way to offer opportunities for a rewarding career in just 10 weeks to more people. That investment and vision have helped several students hit the road with a new direction, including Stara Gleash—the only woman to complete the program in Wautoma thus far. This single mother was able to take her classes locally while working full-time.

Stara recently visited the College’s Appleton campus with her son, Isaac, to thank instructors and share her passion for driving around the country and getting paid for doing so. Her pathway is a reminder that listening to the distinct needs of our communities often changes a life or two along the way.

Learn more about Stara’s story HERE>>>.

 

Helping Address Worker Shortages in the Aviation Industry

The current aviation job market is at an historical high.  A recent study conducted by Boeing indicates that over the next 20 years, North America alone will need more than 200,000 new pilots and almost as many aircraft maintenance technicians.  As a local example, one of our College partners, Air Wisconsin Airlines, is looking to hire approximately 250 pilots per year for the foreseeable future.  Graduates from our Aeronautics Pilot and Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics programs offered in Oshkosh typically enjoy 100% employment rates within the aviation industry.

In recent years, we have doubled enrollment in the Airframe and Powerplant program by adding an evening option.  And two years ago our staff made several key systemic changes to our Aeronautics programs and Flight Department operations.  These changes, combined with growing industry demands, have yielded significant increases in student retention and new student enrollment, both of which have led to tripling our student pilot enrollments and quadrupling the number of graduates.

Our Board recently approved a strategic investment to support continued capacity expansion and do what we can to help address this industry need.  I’m very proud of how proactive our staff has been in identifying and addressing a challenge, and proud of our Board for supporting this investment.

 

Excited to Dedicate and Open a Campus Partnership Facility

I am truly looking forward to January 22, a day that’s been in the making for several years.  In partnership with Junior Achievement Wisconsin, we will dedicate and open the Community First Career Exploration and Financial Literacy Center adjacent to our Appleton Campus.  This facility has become a reality thanks to the donations and sponsorships of 35 terrific companies, foundations, families and individuals.  We are delighted to name this facility to recognize Community First Credit Union as the project’s lead sponsor.

The interior of this center is set up as a town square with all the “storefronts” sponsored by various organizations and then built out with a wide range of hands-on activities for student engagement and learning. This will serve as a capstone facility for several Junior Achievement and FVTC programs:

  • Biztown – Grade 5
  • Career Exploration – Grades 6-8
  • Finance Park – Grades 8-10
  • STEM – K-12 Teacher Education

Our goal is to serve 15,000 young people each year in this center – where they can gain awareness and understanding of a wide range of career options, of personal finance, and how communities work.  We hope to serve students from school districts all across the 18 county New North region with this unique engagement experience.

Each of the almost day-long capstone experiences will require a team of volunteers to support the activities of the students. If you as an individual or your company/organization is interested in providing a volunteer crew for the day, what a great team building activity and community service opportunity!

You’re invited to a public open house at this facility on January 22, 2020 from 2:00-6:00 PM.  Parking and shuttle service will be available across the street at FVTC’s D.J. Bordini Center for that entire time.  We hope you can stop by to see this wonderful new asset for our region and for our kids!

 

 

Life as a Grandparent

Well, this is certainly a new perspective! Our first grandchild (a girl) was born in August and I’ve now had just over 4 months to try out this new role. All I can say is that it’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. Unlike the rather hectic and stressful nature of becoming a new parent, a grandparent can truly relax, enjoy, and appreciate all that a new little life brings…the remarkable transformation that occurs within the first months. I enjoy every moment I have with this precious little one and the personality that emerges more each week. OK, OK, I’ll share a few photos.