Innovation on the Road to Success

Between our technical certification program and contract training partnerships with area over-the-road carriers, our College’s Truck Driving program graduates around 800 professional drivers each year. Although the number is impressive and certainly makes an important dent in an ongoing driver shortage, it takes innovative program design and more efficient paths to completion in order to meet the needs of both individuals and regional employers.

Our faculty and staff in the Truck Driving program are always front and center when it comes to innovation. They’ve ushered in better access to training with extended evening and summer courses while bringing the latest technologies to our state-of-the-art J. J. Keller Transportation Center to attract students. Now, I’m delighted they’re bringing an even greater sense of urgency to growing the skilled labor pool for employers.

Students can now earn their Class A License in as little as eight weeks for around $2,300. What used to take 10 weeks to complete, drivers-in-training can finish sooner and save nearly $700 as well—all part of a fresh approach toward filling the demands of local companies. Most newly-hired drivers are making around $45,000 in their first year with bonuses, and drivers in the field for five years are earning more than $60,000. Family-friendly routes and spacious, high-tech tractors add to the allure of getting behind the wheel and making a good living.

With about 8,000 truck driving jobs available in Wisconsin, now is a great time to see the country while working independently on the road to success.

WBAY Channel 2 news coverage – Fox Valley Tech looking to close the truck driving gap

 

Global Connections

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Last week I had the wonderful opportunity to spend some time with a group of visiting students and faculty from Argentina.  The group is engaged in a grant-funded program called 100,000 Strong in the Americas and consists of student entrepreneurs.  Also in our discussion and this program were FVTC students from a variety of programs interested in entrepreneurship.  These students and several of our staff will travel to Argentina for this program’s exchange experience in the coming months.

I always enjoy meeting and talking with visitors to FVTC from around the globe where we can share perspectives and explore topics from such an expanded view.  These young guests were just terrific – so eager to learn, engage, and experience all they could as part of this international learning opportunity.  And what an incredible experience for our own students!

Having met and interacted with thousands of international students and visitors over many years, I can certainly attest to the fact that we have far more in common with others in the world than differences.

Building on a Great Foundation

FVTC - CU Articulation 2Last week it was a pleasure to host a little signing ceremony at our S.J. Spanbauer Center in Oshkosh to celebrate a new 2 + 2 program partnership with Concordia University Wisconsin.  By 2 + 2 program, I’m referring to the combination of a 2-year associate in applied science (AAS) degree paired with 2 years of baccalaureate studies resulting in a bachelor of science (BS) degree.

In this case, the foundation for this new educational opportunity is our AAS degree program in Construction Management Technology.  Graduates from this very successful program will be able to transfer seamlessly into Concordia University’s newly developed bachelor’s degree in Construction and Trades Management.  And if an appropriate size cohort of students comes together, Concordia is positioned to offer their coursework right at the Spanbauer facility where the FVTC graduates completed their AAS degree.  What a great opportunity for those who wish to continue on to the bachelor’s level and for former graduates working in the area who may also take that next step.

The construction industry is in great need of skilled tradespeople in all areas including electrical, plumbing, framing, sheetmetal, etc., as well as project leaders, estimators, and construction managers.  Having educational programming at all levels available locally will go a long way in supporting the burgeoning needs of this industry.  We’re very pleased to partner with Concordia University in expanding these offerings.

If you know of anyone – a young person exploring career options, adults who want to enhance their skills, or an adult who is considering a career change, we have an upcoming opportunity to explore a wide range of trades and occupations in the construction industry – a Construction Trades Expo taking place on April 11th at the Appleton Campus.  Stop by to check this out!

 

A Degree Closer to Home

On Monday I had a chance to visit with our staff at the Clintonville Regional Center.  That group of staff has led the way on a project of the last year or so to identify all of the College’s degree programs that could be undertaken at that location through a combination of in-person or online courses, making access to our degree programs as convenient as possible for the residents of the Clintonville area.  In that region as of today, 13 programs can be fully completed without leaving the community.

Their work has paved the way for this type of analysis and development at each of our regional locations – in addition to Clintonville, it has expanded to Chilton, Waupaca, Wautoma, and to Oshkosh.  Not only have staff begun to promote these available options to students and the respective communities, but our website has also been enhanced to include a location search function to include these degree completion options on the “Explore All Programs” page.

With essentially full employment, today’s working adults have little time to spare.  Making higher education opportunities as convenient, accessible, affordable, and doable while working full time is just essential.  My hope is these “close to home” options for many people in our District communities will be helpful to their pursuit of continuing education.  If you know of anyone who could benefit from a new or enhanced career direction, please let us know – we’d love to help open that world of possibilities!

 

Entrepreneurs – An Economic Force

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This is National Entrepreneurship Week, an annual designation that was congressionally chartered in 2006.  At that time, our congressional leaders recognized entrepreneurs as a key source of economic innovation throughout the history of our nation.  I certainly tip my hat to all of the entrepreneurs and small business owners across our region for all that they bring to the vitality of our communities!

I’m also very pleased to serve as the Board Chair for the National Association of Community Colleges for Entrepreneurship (NACCE – https://www.nacce.com).  Our member colleges all across North America are very committed to supporting both students and community members in exploring, launching or growing businesses in the communities we serve.  And as important, we are deeply engaged in continuing to develop as entrepreneurial colleges to maximize the programs, services and support we can offer our constituents.

Here’s to the entrepreneurial spirit in both business and education!  Is there an outstanding local entrepreneur you’d like to acknowledge this week?  Would love to hear about them.

Strong Lineup of Job Fairs Ahead

I see that we have a remarkable lineup of job fairs planned for the coming months.  Having stopped by many of these events over the years, I find they offer great connection points for participating employers, as well as the students and community members who attend.

You will find most of the job fairs to be industry-specific, yet many of the employers represented typically have a wide range of positions available.  I would urge students, recent graduates and any members of our community interested in new employment opportunities to attend.  Everyone is welcome!

Job Fairs

https://www.fvtc.edu/training-services/employer-resources/career-job-fairs