Last week we were honored to host a very interesting lunch event at the College that was coordinated by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition (USGLC) featuring a terrific panel discussing America’s Role in the World: Why Leading Globally Matters for Wisconsin. Panelists and featured speakers included Rep. Mike Gallagher from Wisconsin’s 8th Congressional District; John Ellenberger, Sr. VP for International Development at Land O’ Lakes; retired U.S. Army Lt. General William Troy; and Liz Schrayer, President/CEO of USGLC. About 150 business, government, education, and community leaders were in attendance.
Baby boomers (individuals born between 1946 and 1964) have been a significant presence in our workforce for many decades. As growing numbers of this generation retire, one of the biggest concerns we hear from employers relates to the level of experience, skill, and expertise potentially walking out the door with them.
A few years back a number of employers independently (and somewhat coincidentally) reached out to FVTC to assist with addressing their need to find skilled industrial maintenance employees. Even though we were graduating a significant number of manufacturing students, there were simply not enough to fill all the open positions in the region.
Last Saturday was a beautiful Wisconsin day for February, the day we held a groundbreaking and controlled burn at the site of what will be FVTC’s newest regional center in Wautoma. Controlled burn? Well, the Wautoma Area School District generously sold the parcel of land for this facility to the College for $1 and an old house that previously served as the District’s administrative office needed to be cleared from the site. Enter FVTC’s Fire Protection students, staff, and the Waushara County Fire Chiefs Association to take care of that.
Every conversation I have with employers focuses on the concern about worker shortages and the difficulty they have in finding individuals with the skills needed to fill their open positions. The most recent economic survey conducted by Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce (WMC) indicates that 80% of employers are having trouble finding workers. Given Wisconsin’s demographics, this problem will, no doubt, only continue to worsen in the years ahead.
Last week we celebrated a long-standing partnership with Service Motor Company and Case IH. Many great things have resulted from this partnership, including our students’ access to the latest equipment and technology, and the development of a Precision Agriculture program, to name a few.
It was an opportunity to celebrate successes of the last decade and look ahead to new possibilities at a time when Ag equipment dealers and service centers are facing a critical shortage of skilled technicians, not unlike many other industries right now.
We were so pleased to welcome Dr. David Black, President of Lakeland University, and several of his staff to FVTC this week to spend a few minutes celebrating what has been a 40-year partnership between our organizations. We commemorated the occasion by signing a new Memorandum of Understanding as a launch pad for the opportunities we will be working on together in the coming years. For 40 years the people of this region have been served well by this partnership, particularly the thousands of individuals who have completed their associate degree from FVTC and went on to earn a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree through Lakeland University’s Kellett Center in Neenah. Happy 40th Lakeland and FVTC!