College degree? Check. Real-world experience? Check!

by admin1. April 2009 19:00

While a college degree shows prospective employers you’ve got the education, getting some real-world, hands-on experience to go with that diploma is a smart investment in your career.


At a technical college like Moraine Park, you’re taught by instructors who know from firsthand experience what’s expected on the job. Many of Moraine Park Technical College’s programs provide opportunities for students to get valuable, instructor-supervised practice with actual clients before they graduate.


At Techniques Salon and Spa on Moraine Park’s Fond du Lac campus, Barber/Cosmetologist and Nail Technician students practice haircutting, hairstyling, haircoloring, permanent waving, facials, waxing, manicuring/pedicuring, artificial nail enhancements and many other services on mannequins and fellow students, then progress to fine-tuning their skills on actual clients in the form of Moraine Park staff, students and community members, under the supervision of their instructors. In addition, students run the reception area where they practice answering the phones, booking and scheduling appointments and handling the cash drawer.


“It is so important for students to obtain firsthand experience dealing with clients in our salon,” said Danielle Domenosky, Moraine Park Barber/Cosmetologist instructor. “Not only are they able to practice and master the skills they are taught, but they also learn the customer service skills that are needed to be successful in the beauty industry.”


To make an appointment at Techniques during the academic year, call 920-929-2106.


Information Technology (IT) – Technical Support/Networking students run a Computer Clinic to assist Moraine Park staff and students, as well as members of the community, with concerns regarding their home computers. Services include system cleanup, diagnosis and repair, and software and hardware installation. The students also gain experience in working with customers.


“The Computer Clinic was started to give students real problems to work with,” said Moraine Park IT instructor Lisa Pollard.


"As a student, being able to get the day-to-day experience of dealing with clients before being in the work field gives me the knowledge I need on how to handle different situations," said Julie Gillen of Fond du Lac.


To contact the Computer Clinic during the academic year, call 920-924-6346 or e-mail


Culinary Arts students get to hone their restaurant skills right on campus. A small teaching restaurant that seats up to 50, Park Terrace enables students to practice chef, maître d’ and waitstaff roles. Restaurant patrons include Moraine Park staff, who get together on their lunch break for fun or meet colleagues for a business lunch. The general public also is welcome to enjoy a gourmet lunch.


“Not only does Park Terrace afford our students an opportunity to practice their skills, it also gives them a chance to show off their terrific talents to the staff and community,” said James Simmers, one of Moraine Park’s Culinary Arts instructors.


For reservations or further information regarding hours and menus, please e-mail Simmers at


Automotive Technician students work on most makes and models of cars and light-duty trucks that are less than 15 years old. They service vehicles that are owned by Moraine Park staff, students and the general public. The work must apply to topics being taught in a given course. For example, students work on engine repairs, oil leaks, coolant leaks, radiators, hoses and thermostats August through mid October, and on alignment, struts, tie rods, ball joints, shocks, power steering, steering racks and tires October through mid December.


“The most important benefit to working on customer vehicles is the interaction the students get by dealing with a customer concern,” said Tim Moy, Auto Technician instructor. “A student, or technician for that matter, can’t begin diagnosis without some customer interaction and a concern. We rely heavily on customer work so the students get the experience of what it will be like in the real world. We mimic the automotive repair industry as closely as possible.”


“Working on live work allows people to work on things that a technician would see out at his or her job,” said student Cody Edgren of Fond du Lac. “If we didn’t have live work and only had cars that someone bugged, we really wouldn’t be getting the experience we need to do our jobs right.”


Another student, Jonathan Easterhoff of Plymouth, agreed, adding that “it also prepares us for communicating clearly to customers over the phone and in person.”


To view the list of concerns that are worked on throughout the year at specific times, visit Navigate to the Automotive Technician program page and click on Vehicle Repair Guidelines. Or call 920-924-3154 or 924-3159 to inquire about repairs.


When a fee is charged for the students’ services, the money helps pay for student supplies, test fees, educational trips and club activities.


Moraine Park students in other programs also receive hands-on, real-world opportunities. For example, Carpentry and Electricity students and their instructors assist Habitat for Humanity with home builds. Emergency Medical Technician students go on ambulance ride-alongs. Nursing students learn to diagnose and treat conditions through the help of SimMan, an electronic mannequin programmed to mimic human functions and illnesses, as well as through supervised work in medical and long-term care facilities. It’s all designed to prepare new graduates to hit the ground running. 


For more information about Moraine Park programs and services, visit