One Graduate Walks Two Stages in Same Year

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I really enjoy the smiles, hugs, and cheers that bring life to our commencement ceremonies each year. It’s hard to capture in words the energy that fills the air as we celebrate the success of our graduates. Our mid-year ceremony coming up on December 20 will be no exception. One of our graduates will walk the stage with an Associate Degree in Business Management just six months after graduating from high school.

Thanks to taking dual credit classes while attending Chilton High School, Macey Pingel was able to finish her college degree at FVTC just a semester later. Her great start in high school is a testament to the value of career pathway planning and dual enrollment – in both time and money. Here is a young woman well on her way to continuing her education and career opportunities with little or no debt six months after finishing high school. It’s quite remarkable for someone to attain both a high school diploma and college degree in the same year. Congratulations and all the best in 2020, Macey!

A Closer Look at Agriculture Today

I’m always amazed when our college forges new partnerships with various businesses and organizations to help advance economic development and the awareness of career opportunities for prospective students. Our latest collaboration ushers in a bit of a new twist when it comes to partnerships in the form of video segments. Since August, Fox Valley Tech has been working with WFRV, local CBS affiliate, to raise awareness of both the challenges and opportunities Wisconsin farmers face, and at the same time highlighting their unique operations.  

Led by one of our experienced Ag Instructors, Jeremy Hansen, is contributing to the “Life on the Farm” series which airs weekly as part of WFRV’s Midwest Farm Weekly. Channel 5 looked to our team of Ag experts to keep a strong tradition of farm news front and center after the retirement of journalist Mike Austin, who told stories about the heartland with the station for more than 35 years.

We are grateful for the opportunity to work with Millaine Wells and her team at WFRV to provide a voice for agriculture throughout the region. You can learn more HERE>>>.

 

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.

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

 

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!