A Regional Vision with Life – Changing Impact

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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>>>.

 

Helping Address Worker Shortages in the Aviation Industry

The current aviation job market is at an historical high.  A recent study conducted by Boeing indicates that over the next 20 years, North America alone will need more than 200,000 new pilots and almost as many aircraft maintenance technicians.  As a local example, one of our College partners, Air Wisconsin Airlines, is looking to hire approximately 250 pilots per year for the foreseeable future.  Graduates from our Aeronautics Pilot and Airframe and Powerplant Mechanics programs offered in Oshkosh typically enjoy 100% employment rates within the aviation industry.

In recent years, we have doubled enrollment in the Airframe and Powerplant program by adding an evening option.  And two years ago our staff made several key systemic changes to our Aeronautics programs and Flight Department operations.  These changes, combined with growing industry demands, have yielded significant increases in student retention and new student enrollment, both of which have led to tripling our student pilot enrollments and quadrupling the number of graduates.

Our Board recently approved a strategic investment to support continued capacity expansion and do what we can to help address this industry need.  I’m very proud of how proactive our staff has been in identifying and addressing a challenge, and proud of our Board for supporting this investment.

 

New Opportunities Await

It’s so great to celebrate the accomplishments of our students at the mid-year commencement program each year at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center.  In this beautiful holiday venue family members and friends of our students gather to share their love, pride, and support.  And our graduates eagerly await the new career opportunities that will come their way in the years ahead.  It’s a wonderful time of year!

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!

Student Leaders Make a Difference

 

This morning I had the pleasure of welcoming to FVTC the Wisconsin Student Government, made up of elected student leaders from each of the 16 technical colleges in our State.  Serving in these roles, students hold a great responsibility to effectively represent the student bodies at their respective colleges, as well as have the tremendous honor and privilege to do so.

In my remarks I shared some thoughts about advocacy and how to be successful advocates, focusing on four key elements:

  • Building positive relationships
  • Having credibility
  • Effectively conveying a message
  • Following through and keeping promises or commitments

It’s always great to interact with such impressive student leaders.  Their work does make a difference both for their colleges and for the Wisconsin Technical College System.  My hats are off to them!

 

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.