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.
Visitors to our annual open house always create an electric atmosphere.
… 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.
Congratulations 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.
The Appleton Even Start Family Literacy program celebrated a remarkable milestone last week – 25 years of serving parents and children through a terrific partnership between the Appleton Area School District and Fox Valley Technical College. Adults come to this program to learn English and earn a high school credential, as well as employability skills. Parenting skills are also a significant component of this program.
At the same time, the young children of these adults ranging in ages from 6 months to 5 years are served at the center through early childhood education experiences. Having parents and their children participating in interactive literacy activities has proven to be very effective in supporting the growth and development of both child and adult together. Today this program is located at the Community Early Learning Center in Appleton.
Parents and children are also exposed to many aspects of the community including field trips to the Appleton Public Library, the Building for Kids, local farms, and others. Special events such as Octoberfest and the Appleton Christmas Parade, as well as families participating in swimming lessons, are also among the many experiences involved in this program.
Hundreds of families in our community have been served by the Even Start program over the years, having been strengthened by their experiences, advancing their education as parents and adults, and ensuring that children get off to the best start possible very early in life. Congratulations to our partners at the Appleton Area School District and to our FVTC faculty and staff who have been so dedicated to the success of participants over the years. It’s always a joy to visit this program!
Program instructor, Susan Hunsader, reflecting on this milestone shared the following: “Our community is blessed to have a program that educates the whole family and allows for parents to not only gain an education for themselves, but to learn that they are their child’s first and most important teacher.”
Five Fox Valley Technical College students took home first place in the 2018 American Culinary Federation Student Team National Championship in New Orleans this summer. More than 1,500 chefs, cooks, students and foodservice professionals attended the event. Other teams that vied for the national accolade included Orange Coast College, Alamance Community College, the Culinary Institute of New York at Monroe College, and the Joint Center of Excellence – U.S. Military. Congratulations to both our students and terrific instructors. In a highly competitive ACF national championship, what a wonderful milestone for our college, community, and state!
IN PHOTO (from left): Students Morgan VandenLangenberg, Kirk Reilly, Grace Claussen, Regina Hueckman, Gage Dawiedczyk and Instructors Julia Steinhiser, Richard Williams, RC Schroeder
I recently came across an article in an Oshkosh West High School publication that noted “19% of its graduates are going to Fox Valley Technical College in fall of 2018.” We were humbled to be the number-one post-secondary choice for these graduates to find what’s next in their lives.
Perhaps what’s next is here because our latest Graduate Employment Research Report cites a 17-year high 95% graduate employment within six months for our alumni. The same study reveals an impressive average annual salary of more than $52,000 for FVTC graduates in the workforce after just five years. The time couldn’t be better to find what’s next for you or someone you may know in the shape of a great career.
I had the opportunity to attend last week’s open house for our latest home project that engaged the hands and minds of at least 60 students. Each year through property owned by the FVTC Foundation, students build a home with partial proceeds from its sale used to support related student projects. While primarily built by students in our Residential Building Construction program, other programs involved included Electricity, Wood Manufacturing Technology, Horticulture and Interior Design.
There is tremendous demand for skilled workers in the construction industry right now, so these students will have remarkable opportunities. Kudos to all involved in building such a quality, beautiful home in north Appleton