Jerry Schwengels of Fond du Lac, a carpentry instructor at Moraine Park Technical College since 1989, has mentored countless students through the College’s rigorous Carpentry Apprenticeship program, encouraging them to deliver excellence in their trade and urging them to compete in state and national skill competitions.
Since 1990, 12 of Schwengels’ students have competed at the annual Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) National Craft Championships with eight placing in the top three (two gold, two silver, four bronze). And their mentor himself recently became the only ABC instructor in the state to claim two ABC Instructor of the Year awards, in 1996 and May 2007.
During their tenure at Moraine Park, Schwengels’ students gain the skills they need to perform excellently on the job. Many have been named Wisconsin Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Apprentices of the Year, like the May 2007 recognition of Jacob Ruiz of West Allis, who is employed by Quality Remodeling Specialists of Pewaukee, or placed at the ABC National Craft Championships, like Matt Bohn of Waupun who is employed by R.A. Pinno Construction Inc. of Rosendale and took home the gold in carpentry this past spring.
There’s no doubt carpentry apprentices are learning from a master, according to Jon Waldhuetter, Moraine Park dean of trades and apprenticeship. “Jerry has had a constant record of well-trained, award-winning apprentices during his years at Moraine Park,” he said. “He is a dedicated instructor.”
Schwengels holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial education from Winona State University and has more than 35 years of combined teaching and construction experience.
“We serve students from the entire eastern side of Wisconsin from as far north as Keshena and as far south as Racine,” said Schwengels of Moraine Park’s Carpentry Apprenticeship program. The four-year program typically graduates 9-12 students per year. During the academic semester, students work with employers nine out of 10 days. On the 10th day they attend class for eight hours at Moraine Park. Many companies send employees to become part of the program.
For more information about Moraine Park’s Carpentry Apprenticeship program, call Jon Waldhuetter at 262-335-5841 or visit www.morainepark.edu.