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

Community Intersects with Commencement

L to R: Patty VanRyzin, Tony Gonzalez, Stephen Kohler, Justin Krueger, Bruce Albrecht, Tammie DeVooght Blaney, Dawn Rosicky, Chris VanderHeyden, John Weyenberg
Lisa Malak, producer and host of the Local Five Live morning show for the WFRV television network, served as the FVTC commencement speaker.

It’s always moving to see the members of our Board of Trustees participate in our commencement program. On Saturday, they once again represented the various communities of our District to honor our mid-year graduates. The ceremony was once again held at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center, a terrific community venue. We were so pleased to welcome Lisa Malak, producer and host of the Local Five Live morning show for the WFRV television network, the local CBS affiliate in Green Bay. Certainly a familiar face and voice in the region, Lisa represented the community as our commencement speaker. She did a wonderful job inspiring our graduates with an energetic message about their emerging futures.

Exploring Career Opportunities

The college held its annual open house on October 2, and once again the event welcomed nearly 3,000 visitors at all of our campus locations in the area.  I always look forward to this fall event to witness the connections our faculty and staff make with prospective students and their families to not only build promising futures, but also lifelong relationships.

The energy at this year’s open house was electric. Our strong economy has ushered in a great opportunity for both career starters and career changers to find a rewarding career path, while we continue to work toward addressing the critical workforce needs of our region’s employers.   

Technical skills and technical careers are clearly the focus of this growing economy and it was terrific to see so many people exploring these tremendous career opportunities.    

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Visitors to our annual open house always create an electric atmosphere. 

Wautoma — a New College Town?

 

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Wautoma Regional Center

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… L to R: Tom Rheinheimer (Wautoma Area School District Superintendent), Tony Gonzalez (Board Chair), Jackie Weber (Foundation Board Chair), Chris Brown (Wautoma Regional Manager)

On September 18 a large gathering of community leaders, school district representatives, elected officials, and other partners joined us for a special dedication ceremony of the college’s new Wautoma Regional Center. This welcoming facility located adjacent to Wautoma High School brings fresh technologies and innovative learning spaces to a part of our district that we’ve been serving for 40 years; however, facility upgrades and expanded services to meet regional workforce demands and employment opportunities were needed.

A new industrial bay and health care lab, along with an expanded welding lab, were big hits by those who toured the center before and after a formal ribbon-cutting ceremony. The faculty and staff were literally gleaming when showing off their regional center, which also houses the Wautoma Area School District administrative office and a regional office for the Fox Valley Workforce Development Center.

I couldn’t be more grateful for the support for this project by the FVTC Foundation.  Fully half of the funding to make this center a reality came from the Foundation.  It was great to see Foundation Board Chair, Jackie Weber, side by side and cutting the ribbon with the Chair of our Board of Trustees, Tony Gonzalez.

What really struck me during the dedication ceremony of the 12,000-sqaure-foot facility was observing the enthusiasm on the faces of our speakers and those in attendance. It felt like a college town had emerged from the commitment of the people in attendance—one that is poised to support and complement the unique educational needs of the greater Waushara County area.

State Board Recognizes Oshkosh Corporation

Oskosh Corp - Futuremaker 091118Congratulations to Oshkosh Corporation on receiving the 2018 Futuremaker Partner Award from the Wisconsin Technical System Board for its longstanding partnership and collaboration with Fox Valley Technical College. I had the pleasure of joining members of our State Board, along with other System and college leaders from across the state, in honoring this exceptional company from our region during a dinner program this week.  The award was presented by State Board Chair, Mark Tyler, to Oshkosh Corporation President and CEO, Wilson Jones. Several other key leaders from Oshkosh Corporation were also in attendance.   

The College’s work with Oshkosh Corporation extends decades in areas such as workplace training initiatives to build a stronger regional workforce and the development of key training programs related to the use of Oshkosh Corporation and Pierce Manufacturing equipment at our Public Safety Training Center.  We’ve also worked together for many years in developing resources for Pierce University, an extensive learning management system of digital training modules.  The company’s support of the FVTC Foundation with equipment donations and scholarships to make college affordable for everyone has been terrific.

Pictured next to me are Wilson Jones, Mark Tyler, and Dr. Morna Foy, System President.