Openings remain for Motorcycle Rider courses

by admin6. March 2008 19:00

It may still look like winter, but Moraine Park Technical College's Motorcycle Rider courses are under way at the Fond du Lac campus. While the classroom session has begun, openings remain and the riding portion begins in April.


The course provides beginning or returning riders with hands-on experience in the basic skills of motorcycling: straight-line riding, turning, shifting, braking and the mental skills needed for control.


Instructor Tom O’Meara was one of only nine instructors throughout the nation to receive the 2004 Outstanding Rider Coach for Wisconsin by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation (MSF). He has been with Moraine Park since 1993.


For a complete listing of dates and times, go to www., click on Course Schedule then Search for Courses, and enter Motorcycle Rider for the course title. For more information, call 920-924-3447. Enroll today and be ready to ride when those first warm days get here.


English Language Learning benefits both employers and employees

by admin4. March 2008 19:00

Learning one’s craft and advancing one’s career can present challenges for any of us. Imagine what it’s like when the very language your coworkers and work materials use is not the one you grew up with.


That is the situation for a group of Mid-States Aluminum Corp. employees who are Hmong. The five employees just completed an eight-week ELL course conducted at the Fond du Lac company. A third session will begin this spring. Bee Vang, a Mid-States employee and Moraine Park engineering technologist student, was chatting with Moraine Park Diversity Relations Associate Bill Green and mentioned the need for ELL training for his fellow Mid-States workers. Vang helps interpret at Mid-States when needed. He and Green discussed the idea with Sandra Huenink, Moraine Park dean of basic education, and Vang told his supervisor about the customized ELL training offered by the College.


After connecting with the leadership team at Mid-States, Moraine Park worked to customize a solution that would teach the employees the fundamentals of English language in a way that was relevant to their work. “Our goal was to develop a solution to close the communication gap that existed in the workplace, and prepare employees for advancement opportunities at Mid-States Aluminum,” said Kathy Schlieve, Moraine Park’s economic and workforce development business representative.


“We have partnered with Moraine Park many times over the years for our training needs, so whenever we are considering training, Moraine Park is one of our wonderful community resources,” said Joanne Schneider, associate involvement team leader at Mid-States.


Workplace training benefits both employers and employees. “The employees gain skills that enable them to progress; the company gains reliable, responsible and skilled employees,” said Huenink. Certain safety, quality control and cost issues are resolved as employees are better able to understand instructions. Moraine Park can tailor the instruction to the company’s needs, using their equipment, views of their computer screens, photographs of machines, etc.


“It is helping me to learn English better,” said Bruce Xiong, 35, of Fond du Lac, a CNC machine operator at Mid-States. “I can read the written instructions better. The class is good; it is very fun.”

 Moraine Park ELL instructor works with two Mid-State employees.

“We love the flexibility of Moraine Park's onsite training,” said Schneider. “This is not only a benefit to our company but to our associates as well. The excellent instructor we have works very hard helping the students be the best that they can be. It is a win-win situation. The associates taking the class are better able to understand and function at a higher level in their job. We take great pride in seeing our associates succeed and move up within the company.”


Moraine Park instructor Amy Jacobson covers a variety of topics related to the workers’ job tasks, including basic word recognition, basic math, creating written descriptions of different photos detailing their current jobs as well as future jobs, deciphering blueprints and using measuring tools like calipers and height gauges. Jacobson asserts that there are also benefits to the students’ personal lives as they become increasingly self-sufficient in everyday English.


“We worked with materials provided to us by Mid-States, as well as those brought to us by the students,” said Jacobson. “Our goal is to improve both conversational and written literacy so the students have a better chance for promotion opportunities. The class is wonderful – the students are eager to learn, and their attendance is fantastic. The students have a tremendous interest in the workings of their employer – they want to learn more English as well as the skills needed to apply for and receive a promotion.


“I am amazed at ELL learners’ tenacity,” she added. “English is a very difficult language to learn, and I am glad to have a hand in their success.”


Technician Pang Yang Vang, 40, works on the assembly line and is grateful to Mid-States for providing this training. “I need to understand the English language and read the work instructions on the floor,” she said. Vang also hopes that the training will help her advance within the company to a higher-paying job.


Vang enjoyed the one-on-one instruction with Jacobson. “Amy is teaching what I need to be learning,” she said.


Moraine Park Technical College recognizes the increased diversity within its district and addresses a need among those for whom English is not their first language by providing English Language Learning (ELL) classes. This service is offered free to Moraine Park students on the three campuses and at the Hartford Regional Center. In addition, for a fee Moraine Park provides customized on-site ELL training for any business in the Moraine Park district that would like to help its employees improve their English skills and have a better opportunity for advancement.


“The ELL training is a wonderful benefit that Mid-States is providing for its employees,” said Huenink. “The company has the wisdom and vision to value education, creating a better situation for everyone.”


In addition to ELL, Moraine Park offers basic education for the workplace, which includes upgrading basic reading, writing, comprehension and math skills, as well as working toward a GED/HSED. 


For more information about Moraine Park’s customized training for business and industry, call 920-924-3449 or e-mail



Ripon school district administrator joins Moraine Park board

by admin2. March 2008 19:00

Dr. Richard Zimman, superintendent of the Ripon Area School District, has joined the Moraine Park Technical College District Board. He began his duties at the Feb. 20 board meeting.


A Ripon resident, Dr. Zimman holds a bachelor of arts degree in history and English from Lawrence University, and a master of science and doctorate in educational administration from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Prior to becoming the Ripon schools administrator, he was principal of Brown Deer High School and also held associate principal and alcohol/drug program district director roles with Appleton schools. He has also taught history, English and social studies, and authored numerous articles and presentations. His accolades include the Outstanding AODA Program Newsletter Award and the Exemplary AODA Curriculum Award from the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction; the Best School Prevention Program Award from the Federal Office of Substance Abuse; and the Best U.S. Student Assistance Program Award from the National Organization of Student Assistance Programs and Partners.


“Moraine Park is fortunate to have Dr. Zimman on our board,” said Dr. Gayle Hytrek, Moraine Park president. “A strength of the technical college boards is board representation from the K-12 system as well as from business and industry. Dr. Zimman’s extensive knowledge of the K-12 system will be invaluable as we develop a truly seamless career pathway for students from the K-12 schools into the College and then into the workforce.”


“Wisconsin is fortunate to be a leader in the nation in preparing its workforce for a competitive marketplace through the Wisconsin Technical College System,” said Dr. Zimman. “Moraine Park is an outstanding resource for employers and workers in our area of the state. The link between our K-12 school districts and Moraine Park is one of the keys to a healthy economy in the future for our citizens and our state, and I'm pleased to be able to provide some assistance in strengthening this partnership between our high schools and our technical colleges.”


Since he is filling a seat vacated by John Mason, Dr. Zimman’s term will expire June 30, 2009.


Moraine Park Technical College has campuses in Beaver Dam, Fond du Lac and West Bend and regional sites in Ripon and Hartford. The College offers more than 100 associate degrees, technical diplomas and certificates as well as apprenticeship training and customized training for business and industry. To find out more, visit



Registration under way for Moraine Park's Tech Knowledge College

by admin2. March 2008 19:00

Registration is under way for Moraine Park Technical College’s annual Tech Knowledge College, which gives students entering grades 6-8 an opportunity to explore careers through 24 hands-on activities.


This year’s program takes place Aug. 5-7 at the Fond du Lac campus and includes two new activities:


Inside the World of Tour de France – Trek Bicycles: Take a walk down the Tour de France memory lane with actual Trek engineers. Learn about the bike frame Lance Armstrong rode to victory seven times in a row. Be part of hands-on activities while learning about the processes used to build the winning bikes called Trek Madones.


Rescue 911 – Be an EMT: Experience the hands-on activities of emergency medical technicians, who care for the sick or injured and transport them to medical facilities. Learn basic EMT skills such as CPR, splinting and bleeding control, and how to handle choking, burn care and more.


A few of the 22 other activities which are back by popular demand include:


Ancient Masks Around the World – Metal Sculpting: Using welding and fabrication techniques create a mask out of metal and organic materials. You’ll get ideas by visiting Web sites and making sketches, then it’s off to the welding lab.


Auto Techs – The MPTC Green Team: Work in an actual automobile service training lab where you’ll spend three days as an auto technician, servicing and maintaining an automobile.


Good Eats Bistro: Prepare and enjoy foods from other countries, including main dishes and desserts.


Kidz Care: Using life-size dolls, practice feeding, changing, safe bedtime practices and more. Get creative and make play dough, matching games, a Kidz Care bag and more.


Universal Video Productions: Create a video clip using a variety of tools and techniques, then put it all together – capture raw footage, add transitions, create titles, roll the credits and burn it to a DVD.


Cost is $75 before May 18 ($90 after) and includes two activities (8:45-11:15 a.m. and 12-2:30 p.m.), a T-shirt, and lunch. Busing is available from Moraine Park’s Beaver Dam and West Bend campuses to the Fond du Lac campus daily for students who live outside of the Fond du Lac area (included in the registration fee). Registration deadline is July 3. For registration information, go to For more information contact Sally Ruback, Moraine Park recruitment and retention associate, at 920-929-2126 or 1-800-472-4554, ext. 2126, or e-mail her at


Schwengels named national ABC Craft Instructor of the Year

by admin24. February 2008 19:00

Moraine Park Technical College carpentry instructor Jerry Schwengels of Fond du Lac received national recognition when Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) recently named him the 2008 National Craft Instructor of the Year. It’s an honor given to an instructor with outstanding teaching credentials and a commitment to preserving the high educational standards of the merit shop construction industry. 

Professional head shot of Jerry Schwengels
Schwengels, who was one of seven regional finalists, will be presented with the national award on March 8 during ABC’s National Craft Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He is also the only instructor to win ABC of Wisconsin’s Instructor of the Year award twice, in 1996 and 2007. In addition, the ABC of Wisconsin Apprentice of the Year Award recipients for the last three years were his students.


“It is truly a priceless honor for me,” said Schwengels. “I believe this accomplishment is a synergistic “team award.” He named the dedicated apprentices and employers, fellow Moraine Park instructors and staff, and ABC of Wisconsin as those without whom his achievement would not be possible.


As an instructor in ABC of Wisconsin’s Carpentry Apprenticeship program at Moraine Park since 1989, Schwengels has taught 15 of the 18 apprentices who have placed first in the carpentry contest at ABC of Wisconsin’s annual Apprenticeship and Training Trust Skill Competition. Additionally, 11 of Schwengels’ apprentices have placed first, second or third in ABC’s National Craft Championships. Fourth-year carpentry apprentice Nathan Potratz of Pickett will join Schwengels in Puerto Rico to compete for the national carpentry title.


“Jerry has had more ABC National Craft Championship winners than any other single instructor in the country,” said Wayne Belanger, director of education for ABC of Wisconsin, in his nomination of Schwengels for the national award. “Many of his apprentices have gone on to become leadmen, foremen, superintendents, or even to own their own businesses. A number of his graduates have also become instructors.”


A native of Clinton, Wis., Schwengels holds a bachelor’s of science in industrial education from Winona State University, Winona, Minn., and is a National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Certified Craft Instructor. Having invested in his own education and experience, Schwengels has a diverse background that enables him to teach residential and commercial remodelers, home builders, commercial builders, bridge builders and more. His instruction also includes guest speakers, field trips, presentations by fourth-year apprentices and hands-on theory projects that are done in small groups. According to Belanger, Schwengels was also one of the first instructors to fully embrace the new ABC of Wisconsin Personal Protective Equipment policy.


Apprentices are encouraged to use their skills in service to the community. Schwengels has volunteered his students’ assistance with building projects that include half-scale wood appliances for the Tiny Tech child development center at Moraine Park; an ornate playhouse for the West Bend Builders Association; a reading loft for a non-profit day care center; and a “carpet ball” game for the Fond du Lac Boys and Girls Club. Three of his classes spent a day volunteering for two ABC of Wisconsin projects for the Rawhide Boys Ranch.


“Jerry Schwengels’ dedication to craft excellence truly embodies the ideals of a merit shop construction craft instructor,” said Bill Fairchild, 2008 ABC national chairman. “It is an honor to recognize his efforts to train the next generation of construction craft professionals.”


Jon Waldhuetter, dean of apprenticeships at Moraine Park, added, “Recognition as National Craft Instructor of the Year is an achievement that identifies the best of the best. Knowledge of the industry, a desire to pass on that knowledge to the next generation and a commitment to apprenticeship training – these are the tools that Jerry brings to the classroom. An employer need look no further than the graduates of Jerry’s program to know that these apprentices are prepared to carry on the torch of the skilled trades person. We are proud to have Jerry as a member of our instructional team.”


Schwengels’ award includes the trophy, his trip to Puerto Rico for the national conference with expenses paid by the national ABC, a monetary stipend, a laptop computer and a leather jacket, compliments of the NCCER.


For more information about Moraine Park programs and apprenticeships, visit and click on Academics.


Get some lunch-hour laughs at Moraine Park

by admin17. February 2008 19:00

Forget about snow and dreary winter days for a while – stop by a comedy performance at one of Moraine Park Technical College’s campuses in March.


Beaver Dam campus: Canadian comedian Nigel Lawrence will perform in the commons on Tuesday, March 4, from       11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. He starred in his own CTV/Comedy Network special, and was the winner of Canada's Funniest New Comic and Western Canada's Funniest Comic. He’s also a regular performer at The Improv and the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, where he's relocated. The public may purchase lunch for $6 per meal. For more information, contact Lisa Manuell, Moraine Park Student Life, at 920-887-4462 or


West Bend campus: Matt Goldich will perform in the AMTC auditorium on the West Bend campus on Friday, March 7, at     7 p.m. He has appeared on Comedy Central's Premium Blend, and has written for Cash Cab and VH1’s World Series of Pop Culture. Tickets are $2, or $1 if a non-perishable food item is donated, and are available at the front office or the Student Life office. For more information, contact Bradley Mitchell, Moraine Park Student Life, at 262-335-5743 or


Fond du Lac campus: On Wednesday, March 12, Pete Holmes will perform from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the Cyber Center cafeteria. Holmes has appeared on VH1’s Best Week Ever and All Access, and on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and Honesty series. He is also an improviser, New Yorker cartoonist and writer for A St. Patrick’s Day lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at a cost of $5 for the general public. For more information, contact Adam Ninmann, Moraine Park Student Life, at 920-924-3101 or  


To learn more about Moraine Park, and to view our new program videos, visit


Toolin' It! gives teens hands-on experience in manufacturing technology

by admin13. February 2008 19:00

Moraine Park Technical College’s Toolin’ It!, a five-day manufacturing experience for young women and men ages 13-16, is being offered in two forms this June.


Toolin’ It! provides hands-on experience in using technology to design and produce a product from start to finish. From 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day, participants will explore 3D design, computer numerical control (CNC) programming, welding, machining and more, while emphasizing problem solving and team building. On the last day, visits to area manufacturers will provide an up-close and personal look at products being made.


The program is being held in conjunction with YMCA Camp Matawa’s week-long residential experience. For those who choose both the Toolin’ It! and Camp Matawa experience, which runs June 22-27, each morning camp attendees will travel to Moraine Park’s Applied Manufacturing Technology Center in West Bend. Later, they return to Camp Matawa for activities that include canoeing, archery, hiking, climbing, campfires and storytelling. The fee for this combined camping experience is $650; scholarships and financial assistance are available. YMCA Camp Matawa boasts an outdoor climbing wall, swimming pool and 50-foot waterslide, as well as cabins with bathrooms, showers and a common area. The camp is located 45 minutes north of Milwaukee, adjacent to Kettle Moraine State Forest.


For those interested in participating in the daily Toolin’ It! component only, June 23-27, the fee is $125, which includes all materials and daily lunch. To register or for more information, contact Marcia Arndt, dean of manufacturing technology, at 262-335-5725 or


For more information about the combined Toolin’ It!/Camp Matawa experience, contact Marcia Arndt. To register, visit or contact Camp Matawa at 262-626-2149.


Three seats open for Moraine Park District Board; applications due Feb. 29

by admin12. February 2008 19:00

Moraine Park Technical College is accepting applications through Feb. 29, 2008, for three positions on the Moraine Park District Board. Openings exist for the following positions: Additional Member (two openings) and Elected Official Member; each is a three-year term of office that expires June 30, 2011.


One of the Additional Member positions must be appointed from those counties of the District located west of the west shore of Lake Winnebago and the area west of the east boundary of the towns of Fond du Lac and Waupun in Fond du Lac County and west of the east boundary of the towns of Chester, Burnett, Oak Grove and Lowell in Dodge County. 


The other Additional Member position must be appointed from those counties of the District located east of the west shore of Lake Winnebago and the area east of the east boundary of the towns of Fond du Lac and Waupun in Fond du Lac County and east of the east boundary of the towns of Chester, Burnett, Oak Grove and Lowell in Dodge County. 


The Elected Official Member position may be appointed from anywhere within the District. 


Applicants must submit a completed application, including at least two written references supporting their nomination to the District Board, and must attend the public hearing of the District Board Appointment Committee tentatively scheduled for 4 p.m. on Monday, March 31, at Moraine Park. A legal notice announcing the exact date, time, and location of this meeting will be published sometime during the week of March 3 or 10. 


Application materials may be obtained from the County Board Chairperson of any of the following counties: Calumet, Columbia, Dodge, Fond du Lac, Green Lake, Marquette, Sheboygan, Washington, Waushara and Winnebago, or by contacting Valerie Krueger, Moraine Park Technical College, 235 N. National Ave., P. O. Box 1940, Fond du Lac, WI 54936-1940; telephone 920-929-2127. Completed applications will be accepted through 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 29. All completed applications should be addressed to Ms. Shirley Kitchen, Secretary, Moraine Park Technical College District Board, at the same address.   


Moraine Park staff honored by Career and Technical Education Association

by admin11. February 2008 19:00

The Moraine Park Association for Career and Technical Education (MPACTE) honored eight people for their dedication and professional excellence at Moraine Park Technical College during the annual awards banquet held at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Fond du Lac on Feb. 4.

 The winners of the 2008 MPACTE Excellence Award are shown with Moraine Park president Gayle Hytrek and MPACTE president Josh Bullock.

Five Moraine Park staff were the recipients of the 2008 MPACTE Professional Excellence Award. Pat Olson, dean of business, received the Administrator Award. Julie Lotto, student learning specialist, was presented with the Specialty Services Award while Brenda Nickel, instructional aide – office technologies, received the Associate Member Award. The Full-Time Teacher Award went to Mary Schneider, student success and high school alternative instructor, and the New Instructor Award went to Julie Dilling, accounting instructor.


Lotto also received the Rodney Pasch Leadership Award. This award, open to all Moraine Park employees, recognizes “an individual who personifies the principles of character, commitment and ethics in the daily performance of their work.” 


Apache Stainless Equipment Corp. and its division, Mepaco, were awarded the C.L. Greiber Award of Merit in the Business category. Also receiving this award in the Individual category was Jon August of Grande Cheese. The C.L. Greiber Award acknowledges companies and individuals outside of the Wisconsin Technical College System that help promote and improve career and technical education in Wisconsin.


Kathleen VanDemark received the George P. Hambrecht Award, given to individuals who have been employed in career and technical education for more than 25 years and who are members of the Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education (WACTE).


Moraine Park and MPACTE are observing national Career and Technical Education Month in February. This year’s theme is Superstars of Education: Lighting the Way to Your Future. “It is wonderful to have a venue such as National Career and Technical Education month for recognizing and promoting the important role that technical college education plays in our communities,” said Josh Bullock, president of MPACTE and Moraine Park institutional research and quality improvement partner.


A variety of events have been planned throughout the month including Discover Moraine Park, a free event on Feb. 12, 13 and 14 at the West Bend, Fond du Lac and Beaver Dam campuses, respectively. MPACTE held an awards banquet Feb. 4 to recognize individuals and business for their dedication and excellence. Also planned were a MPACTE membership drive and chili/soup cook-off for Moraine Park staff, and hosting the Feb. 19 Fond du Lac Area Association of Commerce Business Connection at the Fond du Lac campus.


Moraine Park recognizes its Advisory Committees, whose members volunteer their time and expertise to the College. Their efforts help support the growth of the College’s educational programs, ensuring they meet the employment needs of business and industry in the Moraine Park community and Wisconsin.


MPACTE comprises 96 members, bringing together educational support professionals, faculty and administration. It is the local chapter of WACTE, which unites individuals involved in career and technical education, provides professional development, encourages leadership in the professional arena and promotes innovative change to enhance lifelong learning. 


According to the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE), career and technical education prepares both youth and adults for a wide range of careers, from registered nurse to computer technician, which require various levels of education from high school to postsecondary certificates to two- and four-year college degrees. A recently released report from the Washington D.C. based Workforce Alliance, estimated that jobs requiring vocational and technical education will account for roughly 45 percent of all job openings between 2004 and 2014.


For more information about Moraine Park, visit or call 1-800-472-4554.


Moraine Park carpentry apprentices sweep Skill Competition

by admin3. February 2008 19:00

Three Moraine Park Technical College carpentry apprentices swept the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Skill Competition’s carpentry contest, taking first through third place in the state event that was held at Park Plaza Hotel and Convention Center in Oshkosh on Jan. 18.

 ABC Skill Competition carpentry winner Nate Potratz is shown with Moraine Park instructor Jerry Schwengels and carpentry apprentice Nick Gassner, who came in second.

Nathan Potratz of Fond du Lac, a fourth-year apprentice employed at J.J. Geffers Construction, Inc. in Oshkosh, placed first in the carpentry competition and will head to the ABC National Craft Championships in San Juan, Puerto Rico, March 5-9, where he will represent ABC of Wisconsin in the national carpentry event. At the nationals, young men and women compete in one of 14 competitions, representing 13 trades.


Potratz came in third place in the state competition in 2007. “Competing in last year’s competition definitely helped me this year,” he said. “I’m looking forward to going to the national competition to see how other carpenters throughout the country perform.”


“Nate is a very strong competitor, an excellent test writer and a very skilled craftsman,” said Jerry Schwengels, Moraine Park carpentry instructor. “We’ve continued our string of MPTC carpenters going to nationals; this year is the ninth year in a row.”

 Moraine Park carpentry instructor Jerry Schwengels and apprentice Scott Poklasny, who took third place at the ABC Skill Competition.

Taking second place was Nick Gassner of Campbellsport, also a fourth-year carpentry apprentice, who is employed by Northcentral Construction Corp. in Fond du Lac. Third place went to Scott Poklasny of Hartford, a third-year apprentice who works for Ollman Construction Corp. in Jackson.


Potratz, Gassner and Poklasny are in the ABC Carpentry Apprenticeship program at Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus.


Thirty-five apprentices from throughout the state participated in the ABC Skill Competition to demonstrate their skills and knowledge in carpentry, electrical, plumbing, HVAC and sheet metal, undergoing a two-hour written exam and a four-hour practical, hands-on project. Moraine Park plumbing apprentice Paul Laudolff of Appleton placed third in the plumbing competition. He is employed by J.D. Ogden Plumbing & Heating, Inc. of Neenah.


Other Moraine Park apprentices who competed at state this year were Michael Frier of Waldo, Richard Gehrke of Omro and Allen Snyder of Fond du Lac, carpentry; and Anthony Kaufmann of Cleveland and Ryan Will of Fond du Lac, electrical.


For more information about Moraine Park’s apprenticeship programs, visit