Great Opportunity for Entrepreneurial Veterans

It was great to welcome to campus Governor Evers and Secretary Mary Kolar of the Wisconsin Department of Veterans Affairs last week for a check presentation to the FVTC Foundation.  Thanks to the generous support of the WI DVA, almost $100,000 will fund new cohorts of veterans in an “Innovation Accelerator” program offered by our Venture Center.  This program is designed to provide entrepreneurial training and technical support, networking opportunities, one-to-one mentoring and seed funding for start-up/growth expenses for veteran-owned businesses.

We are very pleased to be able to continue our partnership with the WI DVA this year in offering Innovation Accelerator to more veterans.  Over the last two years, 37 veterans have completed this customized entrepreneurship training, a group that has gone on to launch 25 successful new businesses and expand 8 existing businesses.

Recently, I crossed paths with one of those businesses – Iron Alliance – which focuses on all aspects of personal health and well-being, including organizational cultures and how leadership factors into a work culture.  Iron Alliance is owned and operated by a couple of very impressive young men trying to make a real difference in people’s lives.  They asked me to be part of their podcast series.  Check out their website at https://www.teamironalliance.com.

And if you’re interested in listing to my Iron Alliance podcast, here’s a link:  https://www.fvtc.edu/news/Story/college-president-on-leadership

 

New Salon & Spa Fills Timely Need

The closing of some area cosmetology schools created an opportunity for FVTC to expand its learning lab and accommodate industry needs for skilled beauticians, estheticians and massage therapists. The new and spacious Trilogy Salon & Spa on the Appleton campus prepares students for careers in this field while welcoming the public to receive services in hairstyling, skin and nail care, massage therapy and more.

As recently noted by Kim Olson, our dean of the college’s Service Division, “Despite closures to salon schools like Gill-Tech and Paul Mitchell, the demand for these services has only increased.  Our program offers real-world training at a very affordable price.”

When making an appointment for salon services at Trilogy however, it is important to understand that this is a learning lab for our students.  Everyone has to start somewhere in acquiring skills, and actual experience in working with people is as real as it gets!

For a complete list of services and hours open to the public, visit www.fvtc.edu/Trilogy.

All Hands on Deck: Fight for missing persons and child protection reaches extraordinary milestone

This fall has me reminiscing about the College landing its first multi-million dollar federal grant from the Federal Department of Justice in 1993, thanks to the great work of now retiree, Ed Krueger.  And for 25 years now, FVTC’s National Criminal Justice Training Center (NCJTC) has engaged the law enforcement, nonprofit, education and human service sectors to provide best practices in issues related to missing persons, child protection, and tribal justice.

The NCJTC’s role in delivering training and technical assistance strategies for experts administering the AMBER Alert, Internet Crimes Against Children, human trafficking, tribal policing, school safety, and more is vital due to growing national and international activity concerning human exploitation.

“From that first grant program, we realized that the best way to address these emerging national needs was to create strategic teams within NCJTC to support priority efforts,” says NCJTC Director Brad Russ.

NCJTC in the USA

  • Offers 150+ training programs in 13 different categories to address national criminal justice priorities
  • Trained over 250,000 participants across all 50 states
  • Utilizes subject matter expertise from over 200 child protection practitioners nationwide
  • As of May 1, 2019 the AMBER Alert program has assisted in the recovery of 957 children
  • Supports the work of 61 Internet Crimes Against Children Task Forces nationwide
  • Provided training or technical assistance to over 220 Native American Tribal Communities in North America

Latest Collaboration Supports Health Care Partner

Recently I had the pleasure of welcoming Lieutenant Governor Mandela Barnes and Department of Workforce Development (DWD) Secretary Caleb Frostman to our Health Simulation Technology Center to highlight how one of our health care partners is filling a critical skill shortage.

ThedaCare needs more medical assistants to serve at its many clinical sites, and thanks to a DWD Fast Forward grant, the organization is developing a talent pipeline by training its incumbent workforce. The training includes both classroom and hands-on practicum provided by FVTC instructors, and completers will receive a Medical Assistant Technical Diploma.

This partnership exemplifies an innovative way to utilize the talents of an existing workforce to meet other emerging needs with an organization. Congratulations to everyone involved in making this initiative a reality.

 

Impact of Technical Colleges

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Last month I had the opportunity to once again participate in a WHBY radio interview, share information about the technical college system, and discuss some of FVTC’s work here in the region.  It was great to join Hayley Tenpas as part of her Focus Fox Valley program.  I’ve linked the segment here if you’d like to listen! https://www.whby.com/2019/06/27/83532/

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.