A Regional Vision with Life – Changing Impact

Logo_Copy
Stara Gleash with instructors Kory Anderson (left) and Rob Behnke

Great anticipation came with the opening of our new Wautoma Regional Center in 2018. Located adjacent to Wautoma High School, the relocated and expanded facility offers several dual credit options for high school students and other programs unique to the needs of that region, including manufacturing, business, construction, and health care.

After meeting with local officials to discuss ways to tackle unemployment in the region, the transportation sector came into play. In 2019, we brought our truck driver training to the greater Wautoma area as a way to offer opportunities for a rewarding career in just 10 weeks to more people. That investment and vision have helped several students hit the road with a new direction, including Stara Gleash—the only woman to complete the program in Wautoma thus far. This single mother was able to take her classes locally while working full-time.

Stara recently visited the College’s Appleton campus with her son, Isaac, to thank instructors and share her passion for driving around the country and getting paid for doing so. Her pathway is a reminder that listening to the distinct needs of our communities often changes a life or two along the way.

Learn more about Stara’s story HERE>>>.

 

Excited to Dedicate and Open a Campus Partnership Facility

I am truly looking forward to January 22, a day that’s been in the making for several years.  In partnership with Junior Achievement Wisconsin, we will dedicate and open the Community First Career Exploration and Financial Literacy Center adjacent to our Appleton Campus.  This facility has become a reality thanks to the donations and sponsorships of 35 terrific companies, foundations, families and individuals.  We are delighted to name this facility to recognize Community First Credit Union as the project’s lead sponsor.

The interior of this center is set up as a town square with all the “storefronts” sponsored by various organizations and then built out with a wide range of hands-on activities for student engagement and learning. This will serve as a capstone facility for several Junior Achievement and FVTC programs:

  • Biztown – Grade 5
  • Career Exploration – Grades 6-8
  • Finance Park – Grades 8-10
  • STEM – K-12 Teacher Education

Our goal is to serve 15,000 young people each year in this center – where they can gain awareness and understanding of a wide range of career options, of personal finance, and how communities work.  We hope to serve students from school districts all across the 18 county New North region with this unique engagement experience.

Each of the almost day-long capstone experiences will require a team of volunteers to support the activities of the students. If you as an individual or your company/organization is interested in providing a volunteer crew for the day, what a great team building activity and community service opportunity!

You’re invited to a public open house at this facility on January 22, 2020 from 2:00-6:00 PM.  Parking and shuttle service will be available across the street at FVTC’s D.J. Bordini Center for that entire time.  We hope you can stop by to see this wonderful new asset for our region and for our kids!

 

 

Happy Holidays as We Close Out Another Decade

As 2019 comes to a close and the holiday season is upon us, I just wanted to take a moment to thank you, my readers, for taking the time to read these posts over the years.  I contributed my first blog post in 2010 and this is post number 175! I appreciate your interest and am grateful for the opportunity to share some perspectives with you.

With all the issues and turmoil in our country and in the world right now, this holiday season please find some small way to make a positive impact on others, show compassion, or give back to your community in some way. Little acts of kindness can really make a difference – we can each make a difference. Happy holidays and all the best in 2020!

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.

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.