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First Seven Graduate with Advanced Industrial Process Control Certificate

Seven students completed the Advanced Industrial Process Control certificate on December 18, 2016, becoming the first group from Mid-State Technical College to complete the grant-funded certificate. Sara Altmann, Joshua Dhein, Jordan Djumadi, Austin Lewandowski, Christopher Panko, Sean Schanes and Nicholas Tomsyck were all honored at a recognition luncheon at Mid-State Technical College’s Wisconsin Rapids Campus. The 12-credit certificate program ran from January 2015 to December 2015.

Mid-State Technical College Advanced Industrial Process Control certificate student checks a machine. (Photo courtesy/property of MSTC.)

Mid-State Technical College Advanced Industrial Process Control certificate student checks a machine. (Photo courtesy/property of MSTC.)

Instructors with significant experience in the field use hands-on training on state-of-the-art equipment to teach about automation processes common to food, chemical, paper and other industries. Students learn how to reduce time on maintenance and troubleshooting, strengthen computer network and proprietary control system skills, increase production and decrease downtime. The certificate offers course times that are
employer-friendly, and students complete it in one year or less.

Development of this certificate was 100% funded by a Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration in the amount of $894,000.

Individuals and companies wishing to learn more about the Advanced Industrial Process Control certificate should contact Jessica Planer, Grant & Project Coordinator, at 715.422.5405.

 

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College Holds Internship Fair

Northeast Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC) held its first ever Information Technology (IT) Internship Fair on November 2, 2015 in the Corporate Conference Center on the Green Bay Campus. Seventeen employers and over 55 IT students and instructors participated in the event.

The goal of the IT Internship Fair was to develop IT internship opportunities that will provide relevant work experience and potentially lead to full time, permanent positions upon graduation. The event was sponsored by the INTERFACE Project, a Department of Labor TAACCCT grant funded program.

Internships are an important way to enhance classroom learning and gain real world experience. They also allow students the opportunity to beef up their portfolio or resume and make valuable industry contacts that can be essential to landing the ideal job upon graduation.

Three men in a business meeting.

Camera Corner staff interview NWTC student

Our NWTC students were very pleased with the employers and the quality of internships they are offering. One student had this to say, “Congratulations on the really nice IT internship fair. It was very helpful to get to know the employers in the region, some of which are doing really exciting work.”

People chatting at internship fair booths.

Prima Data staff talking to NWTC student

Companies were eager to meet with our NWTC students, commenting that they were well-prepared and professional. The Internship Fair provided an opportunity for students to learn more about employers in Northeast Wisconsin who are seeking well-qualified IT professionals, while showcasing NWTC’s talented students. As a result of the IT Internship Fair, 10 students had internship leads to pursue and three have already been hired!

NWTC plans to continue hosting the IT Internship Fair as a yearly event and expects employer and student participation to continue to grow.

Northcentral Technical College Computer Club Connects Students with Employers and Alumni

Northcentral Technical College (NTC) currently has ten different Information Technology (IT) associate degrees in specialized fields. To give students firsthand information about the job market and help connect them with potential hiring sources, the NTC Computer Club frequently invites local IT employers to share information about their companies and areas of IT in which they may have future openings. The employers also often offer advice for students looking for job placement after graduation.

The club recently invited representatives from D.C. Everest School District to present on employment and internship opportunities for students in the IT field. One of the presenters was William Mead, an NTC IT-Network Specialist program graduate. It was a nice tie-in for the 31 student attendees to hear from a successful NTC alumnus.

SAY IT IN ENGLISH, PLEASE! Written Communication Contextualized for Information Technology (Help Desk)

 

In an employment setting, Help Desk students are asked daily by managers, staff and customers how to solve information technology problems. “Written Communication Contextualized for Information Technology” provides students with multiple opportunities to write about those very problems, practicing and perfecting their English writing skills while completing 16 assignments and exercises that reflect the “how to” questions and challenges they will encounter on the job.

Writing assignments in “Written Communication Contextualized for Information Technology” are designed to help IT students analyze a document’s audience and purpose and craft the same technical content for those multiple audiences. They focus on how to “Say it in English” for the technical or non-technical reader. For example, assignments challenge students with current real life examples and students learn to describe and explain technical definitions (“What is the cloud?”) or write detailed instructions on how to use a multi-function printer. Students practice adjusting the content of their work for their varied readers, which may include technical staff, customers, website readers, general newsletter readers or administrators.

Madison Technical College Help Desk program

Madison Technical College students work to solve a Help Desk problem. (Photo courtesy/property of Madison Area Technical College.)

Some of the projects the students tackle include ticket writing (when they receive a customer call that has to be recorded and documented and handed off to the proper staff to fix the problem), technical definition writing, summarizing, developing technical instructions and drafting, documenting and editing copy suitable for website postings.

One assignment that students had great fun with was defining and describing a current technology (we tackled both Twitter and Netflix) and everyone aced this one with their technical understanding of these widely used media. However, instructing the assigned audience (the president of a college or your grandparents for example) in step-by-step instructions on how to use the technology proved more challenging. In small groups the students critiqued each other’s work. One student, whose results were indeed clear and easy to follow, even tried out her instructions on her young children. Whatever it took, the class focusing on expanding the definition of a technology to a set of instructions that included illustrated guides ended with fine sets of instructions. Next time the class may tackle that elusive remote control or, as one student suggested, the class could rewrite those “some assembly required” instructions that make young parents put those computer toys and devices right back on the shelf.

After the definition and instruction assignments, students had this to say about writing for different audiences:

“The most valuable assignments to me were the technical definitions. These assignments gave me an opportunity to write the same thing but two different ways. The assignment allowed me a chance to see how words had to be different/changed for the specific audience at hand.”

Another student added, “I did find the technical definitions along with writing instructions and procedures to be the most valuable. This was because the assignments helped me focus on who my audience was and at what level I needed to write.”

Last semester we piloted the “upgrade” method for all assignments. Students worked on making mechanical and grammatical changes on their initial submissions, but more importantly, they adjusted and refined the message for our varied technical and non-technical audiences. Students were given multiple opportunities to rewrite assignments until all of the readability, English grammar or composition “bugs” were out of their papers. This aspect of the course also gave everyone more practice with group collaboration, peer review and revision practice. The “upgrade” method was successful and well received; it will be an important part of the next class!

Last semester we piloted the “upgrade” method for all assignments. Students worked on making mechanical and grammatical changes on their initial submissions, but more importantly, they adjusted and refined the message for our varied technical and non-technical audiences. Students were given multiple opportunities to rewrite assignments until all of the readability, English grammar or composition “bugs” were out of their papers. This aspect of the course also gave everyone more practice with group collaboration, peer review and revision practice. The “upgrade” method was successful and well received; it will be an important part of the next class!

Wisconsin Career Pathways Website

Fox Valley Technical College’s Learning Innovations Center, the same innovative team that brought us the statewide WICareerPathways.org website, is turning its attention to expanding the adult portion of the site as part of FVTC’s work on the INTERFACE project.

From the current homepage, adult career explorers can easily create an account and jump right into taking the Career Cluster Interest Inventory. The survey helps individuals identify which career areas (clusters) might be the best fit based on activities, personal qualities and school subjects. Once adult users complete the survey, they land in a cyber space known as “My Locker.” From this secure portal, users can view their survey results in rank order and explore careers and college programs within the National Career Clusters© framework.

Adults can explore career clusters through WICareerPathways.org/Adults.

Adults can explore career clusters through WICareerPathways.org/Adults.

Technical college counselors, WIA case managers, representatives from the Fox Valley and Bay Area Workforce Development Boards, the Fox Cities Chamber of Commerce, and Scott DuBenske, Wisconsin Technical College System Education Director-Career Transition, Workforce Development, comprise the WICareerPathways/Adults Steering Committee, which is led by Jay Stulo, FVTC Director-Learning Innovations Center, and Marge Rubin, FVTC Director-College and Career Pathways.

The collaborative efforts of Steering Committee members will drive the design and development of a dynamic, data-driven portal built specifically for technical college and workforce counselors, advisors and case managers who reach out to the career explorers they serve. Stay tuned for the launch of these exciting new features and functions on WICareerPathways.org/Adults.

Veteran Makes a Career Change to IT at Blackhawk Technical College

When Terry Williams decided to attend Blackhawk Technical College for training as an IT-Network Specialist last fall, he went “all in” and registered as a full time student. Terry wanted a change both personally and professionally, and looked forward to the options and opportunities available in IT. While taking courses such as Information Security Principles and Desktop & Server Hardware, he soon faced challenges both academic and personal that made him reconsider his plan to graduate in two years with an associate degree.

Fortunately, the INTERFACE project at Blackhawk Technical College employs IT Lab Assistants who provide instructional assistance during and outside of class, and an IT Outreach Specialist who helps current and potential students navigate the services available to them on campus and in the community.

Terry, a U.S. Navy veteran who previously worked in construction, contacted Carissa Johnson, the IT Outreach Specialist. She had visited each class in the fall to introduce herself, and Terry met with her regularly over the semester to plan his next steps. This was Terry’s first educational experience in 25 years, and he decided to follow the IT program’s three-year plan instead of graduating in two years, in part because of family and scheduling issues. Carissa also connected him with a number of veterans’ services in the area.

Student works with IT Lab Assistant at Blackhawk Technical College.

Terry Williams (left) with Scott Wallace in Blackhawk Technical College computer lab. (Photo courtesy/property of Blackhawk Technical College.)

Terry also worked with the IT Lab Assistant in his classes, Scott Wallace. Scott is a current IT student at Blackhawk Technical College and will graduate in the spring. He understands the difficulties of juggling home, family, work and school that many technical college students face. Scott and his fellow lab assistants are present in the classroom during instruction, and they hold open labs outside of class time that students attend as needed. Regarding the lab assistants, Terry says, “With a lab assistant, I didn’t have to wait to have my questions answered. And the open labs aren’t just equipment sitting in a room; there is a person there to help us with assignments. Students have lots of questions.” Scott also helped him with assignments when Terry missed class, which he found very helpful.

Terry says, “I could have bailed, but I got past the matter of pride and the extra help was great. It was good to have someone to go to.”

The INTERFACE project employs seven part-time IT Lab Assistants in four programs: IT-Network Specialist, IT-Web Software Developer, Computer Service Technician and Manufacturing Information Technology Specialist. The IT Outreach Specialist is a full-time position that assists students in all IT programs, and also recruits potential students. These eight staff members are available to assist all students who participate in the INTERFACE grant project at Blackhawk Technical College.

Two Brothers and a Shared Love of Information Technology

For those of us who grew up battling our siblings, being around brothers David and Lee Teddy is fascinating. Even after spending nearly all of their time together – eight hours a day training to become IT professionals as part of Gateway’s INTERFACE project, working at McDonald’s on evenings and weekends and living at home with their grandmother – the brothers get along so well they share an iPod in shifts.

IT, Teddy, brothers

Lee (left) and David Teddy share a love of IT.

(Photo courtesy/property of Gateway Technical College.)

Lee (left) and David Teddy work side by side in a Gateway Technical College IT classroom. Photo courtesy/property of Gateway Technical College.

Lee (left) and David Teddy work side by side in a Gateway Technical College IT classroom. Photos courtesy/property of Gateway Technical College.

Lee, the younger brother, explains: “Our relationship is more like a friendship than just brothers. Supposedly, my mom said, the moment I was born David smiled at me. Which I assume was an evil smile because we give each other a hard time all the time. But we also work together on our projects. And we’re interested in different things: he can figure out things I can’t, and I can do things for him he can’t.”

Their passion for figuring out how things work began in elementary school. “The things that seemed to come naturally to us were computers,” said Lee. “It was also the fact that our grandma didn’t like them very much which made it seem like a forbidden thing.”

But the brothers have had to be more resourceful than most tech enthusiasts. Despite being without internet access at home, David has become a software developer; one of his free apps for jailbroken iOS devices has already been downloaded nearly 30,000 times. Lee, on the other hand, loves hardware. In high school, he pieced together several laptops found at the town dump to build the personal computer he still uses today.

This camaraderie and collaboration is exactly what we hoped to achieve when Gateway decided to offer a new IT Junior SharePoint Developer technical diploma, developed with TAACCCT 3 funds, in an intensive cohort learning model: full-time, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. for 15 months. “I know that Microsoft designed the SharePoint software to help teams of people in businesses work together,” said Lee. “So it makes sense that we’re students learning SharePoint as a team, too.”

Even if they won’t be spending so much time together in the future, both of them are looking forward to using the credentials they earn at Gateway to get good jobs in IT. “We would still be working at McDonald’s trying to save for an education if this grant hadn’t come along, so I think we know what a big deal this is,” said David. “It’s good to know there are companies who need us once we’re done with this program.”

And Lee agrees, “I want to be independent. I want to create things and not have to worry about money. I think I can use what I already know and like doing and add the stuff we’re learning now to have a stable rest of my life.”

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College Career Pathways Article

Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College recently ran this article about Career Pathways in their Career Impact magazine. Click on the image to enlarge and read on.

New Pathways to IT Careers

New Pathways to IT Careers (Article and images courtesy/property of Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College)

 

 

Mai Lee, Northcentral Technical College

Mai Lee is enrolled in the IT-Software Developer Associate Degree Program at NTC.I wil

Mai Lee and fellow student Ivan Mitchell work on a class project. Photo Courtesy/property of NTC.

Mai Lee describes, in her own words, how her technical college education was good decision.

Mai Lee was looking for a career change – and a challenge. So she chose to enroll in Northcentral Technical College’s IT – Software Developer Associate Degree program. Now in her third semester, she’s glad she did.

“One thing I like about this program is the instructors,” said Lee. “They are super helpful and always willing to help. They respond back to email and Skype quickly. Even after hours they’re still helping students from home.”

Northcentral Technical College (NTC) offers several programs for students interested in pursuing a career in software development including an IT – Database Software Developer Associate Degree, IT – Mobile Software Developer (Advanced Technical Certificate and Associate Degree options) and IT – Software Developer Associate Degree.

Lee stated that coding has always been interesting to her. She’d like to start out as a .Net developer or client-side web programmer and ultimately work her way up to project manager. And the combination of great instructors and robust curriculum in the IT – Software Developer program, along with NTC’s outstanding relationships with local employers, sets her up for success.

“NTC works really hard on building relationships with our local businesses to secure internships for students,” Lee said. “Watching my peers getting IT jobs after graduation is very reassuring. NTC really does care for their students and puts our education first.”

 

Virtual Welder Allows Individuals to Try New Skill

MPTC virtual welder at grocery store

The general public was able to try their hand at welding with a virtual welder. Photo courtesy of Moraine Park Technical College.

Moraine Park Technical College (MPTC) was a supporting partner of Project Grill, a program of the Fond du Lac Association of Commerce that pairs students with area manufacturers to introduce them to the field. While high school students were highlighting their finished grills outside a local grocery store, MPTC staff encouraged students, parents, local employer representatives and the general public to try the virtual welder. It was a fantastic opportunity to talk more about the industry and the job demand for more skilled welders in the area. Individuals not only had some fun, but they also walked away with important information on how they, or someone they know, can engage in a 15-week program that will lead them to a promising career in welding.

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