Tag Archives: education

De Pere High School Transition Program Partnering with Local Businesses

Here at the Chamber we have many issues we are concerned with and we are constantly on the look for potential solutions.  Two of the things on that list are the current & future workforce as well our educational systems.  Recently, Christopher Guilette, Special Education Transition Coordinator at De Pere High School stopped by to tell us about a program he is coordinating and it is innovative and exciting!

At my request, he has written the following article about the program and how it is helping with today’s issues of note.  I hope you find it as interesting and informative as I did and, even more, I hope the program information finds its way to employers in our community where it will have benefit for both the business and the students.

De Pere High School Transition Program Partnering with Local Businesses


As a responsible partner with our families and the community, De Pere High School provides an educational edge that prepares all learners to be successful and contributing members in society. As part of that edge, the high school is striving to offer authentic learning opportunities for all students to prepare them for the world of work.


The school’s Transition Program is set up to give students with disabilities the opportunity to showcase their abilities and develop employability skills. Through the combined efforts of families, school staff members and business partners, we can truly make a difference in the lives of these young students who will become productive members of our community.


How can we be of service to your business? Opportunities that are mutually beneficial for employers and students are needed. For our students, it is developing necessary employability skills in an authentic learning environment. For the employer, this would be the chance to hire a deserving student who desires to learn employment soft skills as well as while meeting the needs of your business. In addition, opportunities for a school-sponsored job coach, support from parents and special funding from various resources may be possible.


If you are interested in working with a student employee who will appreciate the opportunity to learn under your guidance, hiring a student from the DPHS Transition Program may be just the opportunity for your business. To discuss the possibilities for partnership, please contact:


Chris Guilette

Transition Program Coordinator and Special Education Teacher

De Pere High School

(920) 337-1020 ext. 4621


1700 Chicago Street, De Pere, WI 54115

Path to Leadership Begins: Your Leadership Philosophy

As I mentioned yesterday, today was the first session of our summer leadership series Path to Leadership sponsored by Wisconsin Public Service.

Today’s session focused on crafting our Personal Leadership Philosophy and Personal Leadership Brand.   This blog entry is a write-up from my notes on Personal Leadership Philosophy and the next will be on Personal Leadership Brand.  Both will fall short compared to the fabulous educational & engaging presentations — all y’all should attend these sessions!!  I’m not a good note-taker because I get caught up in listening and processing what I’m hearing to take detailed notes!  *mea culpa*

Personal Leadership Philosophy – presented by Anna Steinfest, US Bank and AFF Research

Anna started us off by saying it all starts with values.  Know your values.  From those values craft your mission statement and turn that into your philosophy.  Make sure to align your leadership philosophy with your values so as to avoid conflict and frustration within your life.  Then, live it and breath it.

As you write your leadership mission statement know your uniqueness then highlight those traits.  Your own personal ethics are a huge contributing factor to this equation.  Take the time to define those for yourself.

Your mission and philosophy should be 15 words long. Simplify what you stand for – this is not meant to be complex.  If you can’t recite it, you can’t live it.  (an aside … that reminded me of an old story, click here to read it!)

Ask your customers why they do business with you; ask your friends what they think of when they think of you. If those answers are surprising or at odds with what you want or believe them to be perceive you as – stop. Reassess.  Go back to your values and get yourself and your life in line with them. However, if they tell you something that you didn’t realize and you like it – incorporate it!

As a business/company leader, make sure when you hire people that your values are part of the interviewing process.  Write the questions to elicit information to tell you if the potential staffer will fit the culture your philosophy engenders. If you hire someone based on skills but who doesn’t align with your values you can end up with a values deficit in your organization.  A values deficit will lead very quickly to frustration and distrust within the company.  By the same token, if your current staff doesn’t align with those values, philosophy and mission statement – coach them up or out.

For an organization to have a value-based culture and ethic, the values must be consistent then lived & breathed by leadership.

From the other side of the equation, when you are working for a company, know for yourself what values you absolutely have to possess and exemplify from your employer  and which are “would be nice to have.”

Anna reminded us that generational diversity is important yet can cause conflict.  Typically millennials (aka Gen Y) don’t have the same corporate loyalty as Baby Boomers, so it very important for the business’s values to incorporate what the values of the millennials.   The Pew Research Center study on the Millennials is linked here. All attendees agree it will be interesting to see how those loyalty trends/patterns change as the M’s change the workforce even as we acknowledged that there are many other factors than just being part of a generation which impact individuals.

The bottom line for your leadership philosophy:  base it on your values, write it out and then live it and breathe it.

Next post will be based on Cassie Schuh’s presentation on Your Leadership Brand.  Check back soon!

Womens Health & Leadership

This week is National Women’s Health Week.  It started on Sunday and is celebrated through May 18th.

National Women’s Health Week is a weeklong health observance coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health. It brings together communities, businesses, government, health organizations, and other groups in an effort to promote women’s health and its importance. It also empowers women to make their health a priority and encourages them to take the following steps to improve their physical and mental health and lower their risks of certain diseases:

  • Visit a health care professional to receive regular checkups and preventive screenings.
  • Get active.
  • Eat healthy.
  • Pay attention to mental health, including getting enough sleep and managing stress.
  • Avoid unhealthy behaviors, such as smoking, not wearing a seatbelt or bicycle helmet, and texting while driving.

Monday (the 13th) was “National Check Up Day,”  a nationwide effort, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health, to:

  • Encourage women to call and visit health care professionals to schedule and receive checkups; and
  • Promote regular checkups as vital to the early detection of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental health illnesses, sexually transmitted infections, and other conditions.

Yes, it was yesterday, but if you are a woman and haven’t either already had, scheduled or getting your head around getting scheduled for your annual check-up, do so today.  If you are a man, encourage the women in your life to do so.  Women often serve as caregivers for their families, putting the needs of their spouses, partners, children, and parents before their own. As a result, women’s health and well-being becomes secondary. As a community, we have a responsibility to support the important women we know and do everything we can to help them take steps for longer, healthier, happier lives.  This isn’t about martyrdom ladies, it is about being in a position of good health in order to take care of those who depend on you.  This is the rationale behind being on your oxygen mask before you help those around you put theirs on.  You can’t help anyone if you are unconscious, ill or dead.

This is also about leading.  Women are often the leaders in their families.  (sorry guys … just true)  They are usually their heart and nerve center of their families. I remember hearing the phrase, “if Momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and not understanding it.  But it is so true!  In this case, if the caregiver isn’t well, she can’t provide care to anyone.  Taking care of our own health is the first step in leadership.

This week also kicks off our Path to Leadership, our summer personal leadership development series.  Tomorrow morning at Rennes Health & Rehab Anna Steinfest from U.S. Bank and AFF Research and Cassie Schuh from Zaptastic Professional Coaching will kick-off the series with sessions on Personal Leadership Philosophy and Personal Leadership Brand.    This series is designed to help improve and grow the participants personal leadership and I’m very excited!   Every group I’m in, both personally and professionally, often focus on leadership; but most people aren’t trained in leadership or in growing their own leadership skill-set and ability.  When I typed “personal leadership” into my Google search, it returned 776,000,000 results!  I’d say it is an important topic!  I have multiple books in my office, in my home, on my Nook, on my computer and on my Kindle app about leadership.  Two of the final classes I took last year to (finally) finish my Bachelors Degree had the majority of the classes dedicated to leadership:  definitions, lessons in good & bad leadership and how to improve as leaders.

Be a leader in your life.  You can join us to learn in our very hands on sessions of the next 3 months, you can read some great books or attend the myriad of leadership courses available online and in person.  Hand-in-hand with that education, however, is making sure you are fit to lead (thanks Prevea and Western Racquet!).  And you have to be healthy to do so.

So .. focus on leadership.  Focus on learning.  Focus on taking care of yourself.  You can’t lead anyone anywhere worth going if you don’t!

The Workforce Paradox …

By James R. Morgan, WMC Foundation President

Manufacturing, and manufacturing careers, have been getting quite a bit of coverage lately.

Employers have made desperate pleas for skilled workers. There is a heightened awareness of the value manufacturing brings to a community. And, there is a growing, albeit slowly, recognition of the innovation and intelligence that goes into today’s manufacturing jobs. Governor Walker has launched his College and Career Readiness Council and the President and his Education Secretary have also been extolling the virtues of college and career readiness.

That is all good. Manufacturing is critical to the future success of Wisconsin. Not only for the 425,000 employed in the sector, but for the hundreds of thousands that exist because of manufacturing. No other sector has the job multiplier effect that manufacturing does.

But let’s not let old paradigms drive our future needs for a qualified workforce.

We know that about 30 percent of the jobs in Wisconsin will require a bachelor’s degree or more. That means 70 percent do not, with the vast majority of those requiring technical education beyond high school. What seems to be missing in the current system is a broad understanding by today’s students of the jobs available. They simply cannot select an occupation that they don’t know exists. They do not know what a welder does; they do not know what a CNC Operator is; they have never seen the inside of a modern day, advanced manufacturing facility; and they do not have accurate job data and salary information. The same applies to their parents. And all of us (business, educators, parents, media) should share that blame.

The WMC Foundation recently conducted more than 50 listening sessions with over 300 manufacturers from around Wisconsin. Since completing that road trip, we have been sharing what we heard. One thing that became clear is that we need to change the definition of “success.” As a parent, you want your children to be healthy and happy, doing something they love, and able to live comfortably. Isn’t that most people’s definition of success? This is America, and everyone should be encouraged to pursue their passion. However, we owe students a reality check and perhaps even a “Job Probability Index” – what are the odds they will find a job in their chosen field. We should discuss the passion they wish to pursue, provide information on what it will take to reach it, explore the costs involved, evaluate the job prospects upon completion, study the level of demand for their degree/career, look at salary expectations and consider the return on investment.

If every 16-year-old, and their parents, have all this information and a full understanding of (and open mind to) all the occupations available, we will work through this shortage. Currently though, our definition of success seems driven by a mentality that master’s degree is better than bachelor’s degree, bachelor’s degree is better than technical degree, and technical degree is better than work experience. The workplace is not that linear and easily defined. Right now, there are shortages of engineers, welders, CNC operators, machinists, masons. Some of those require work experience, some apprenticeships, some technical degrees, some 4-year degrees or more. Let’s make sure everyone knows the market, because the market will drive us to success.

As we focus on “college and career readiness,” we might want to put “career” first.

Related Material:
Wisconsin Business Voice: Workforce Paradox – Solving the Skills Shortage

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Editor’s Note: WMC Foundation President Jim Morgan recently conducted more than 50 listening sessions with over 300 manufacturers. He will be presenting his findings, as well as the Foundation’s initiative to deal with the skills shortage, at all 16 Technical Colleges. Click here for the schedule for those events.  I will be attending the June 13th session in Fond du Lac and will report back!  Any one want to car pool?

Science, Math … did I lose you already?

Chances are if you are a high school or college student in the US, then yes!

American students, it seems, just aren’t interested in careers in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)… and this is having a negative impact on the nation’s global competitiveness.

Take a look at these numbers:

  • In September 2001, there were 4,012,000 ninth–graders in the U.S.
  • In June 2005, there were 2,799,000 high school graduates.
  • In September 2005, there were 1,861,000 high school graduates with plans to enter college.
  • Of these, 1,303,000 actually entered college.
  • Just 277,000 majored in science or technology or engineering or math.
  • Only 166,000 will graduate with a STEM degree.

While the number of STEM graduates grows in China and India, experts are pointing to a STEM brain drain in the U.S. The rate of STEM to non–STEM graduates in the U.S. is 17% while the comparable percentage internationally is 26%. One example of the decline: the number of computer science degrees fell 27% in the U.S. from 2004 to 2007.

The problem is that STEM disciplines are increasingly important in all kinds of enterprises. Case in point: Nationwide Insurance was surprised to find that their single largest employment category was “technology,” not “insurance.” Nationwide had to import a whole department of computer scientists from India to Columbus OH because they couldn’t find talent in the U.S. According to Brian Fitzgerald, executive director of the Business–Higher Education Forum, “You can be selling insurance or manufacturing cars but almost every American corporation has been turned into a technology operation.”

Even good intentions are not enough. Just 50% of students who enter college to study one of the STEM fields actually graduates with a degree in the field. Yet, the nation produces 50 new MBAs and 18 lawyers for every Ph.D. in the physical sciences, according to the Aerospace Industries Association.

Efforts are underway to reverse the STEM brain drain. Calculus courses are often described as “STEM killers” so colleges are redesigning calculus classes to be more interactive and computer–based. The Obama administration is earmarking $250 million to hire more science and math teachers. Time will tell if these measures –– and others –– will stem the tide.

The change to calculus is likely a very good start.  I know when I decided to go back and add a civil engineering degree, calculus was difficult because it was all theoretical and very little of it was rooted in something I could touch or could even envision as real.  For me that was incredibly frustrating and made it difficult to stay mentally connected to the subject.  My son complained wildly about science in middle school because it was all theory and very little application.  Before middle school, he was thinking of engineering, now he is tilting toward the social sciences.  It doesn’t help that the way his high school is now teaching math courses have turned them theoretical too by teaching them “holistically” rather than in a linear fashion and working in groups (including test taking).  He still has two years and I’m still encouraging him to keep his options open but it is a battle since he has lost his passion for the subjects.

He is one student (an important one to me obviously) but my experience, couple with his experience and then added to these statistics make me pretty concerned.  This has been a known issue in the United States for as long as I can remember. I hope the response is not yet another blue ribbon panel or study group.

“The STEM Challenge” by David A.Kaplan. Fortune. June 14, 2010.
“Let’s get back to worksheets” by Bill Costello. Japan Today. www.japantoday.com September 2009.

Please Stay

U.S. colleges and universities have long been a magnet for international students seeking advanced doctorate degrees. But, is the U.S. able to retain this talent after they earn their Ph.D.’s?

Recent data shows that the answer is Yes –– although there’s a caveat: this data only tracks activity through 2007, just before the recession started.

In the aftermath of 9/11, the prevailing thought was that many foreigners who earned Ph.D.s in science and engineering in the U.S. would return to their native countries due to restrictions on immigrants and increased opportunities at home, especially in India and China. New data shows that the “stay rates” after 9/11 remain surprisingly strong: 62% of foreigners who earned their Ph.D.s in science and engineering in 2002 were still living in the United States in 2007. Of those who graduated in 1997, 60% continued to live and work in the U.S. in 2007. The data was compiled by the U.S. Energy Department’s Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the National Science Foundation.

The ability to attract and retain international students is important for two reasons. First, the students are increasingly important to the research conducted at U.S. universities and research facilities. The percentage of Ph.D.s awarded to foreigners in science and engineering has increased from 30% in 1997 to 46% in 2007. Second, they are even more important in the years following graduation. Foreigners comprise about 40% of all science and engineering Ph.D.s working in the U.S. –– providing much needed intellectual capital to spur innovation. “Our ability to continue to attract and keep foreign scientists and engineers is critical to…increase investment in science and technology,” said Oak Ridge analyst Michael Finn.

Graduates in the physical sciences and computer sciences are more likely to remain in the U.S. than other fields. Stay rates, however, vary by nationality. Oak Ridge’s data finds that Chinese and Indian students are more likely to live and work in the U.S. than students from Taiwan, South Korea or Europe. Among the 2002 graduates, 92% of the Chinese and 81% of the Indians remained in the U.S. in 2007 while only 41% of South Koreans and 52% of Germans stayed.

Will the stay rates remain at the same high level following the recession? It’s too early to tell, but Vivek Wadwha, executive in residence at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering, believes that the stay rates will decline. Using social media like Facebook, Wadwha and several others questioned foreign students about their plans after earning degrees at U.S. institutions. Their results show that more than 50% of Indian students and 40% of Chinese students hope to return home within five years given the growing opportunities in their countries.

For some foreigners, the time spent here is an investment they do not want to waste. Joy Ying Zhang, now a research assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon’s Silicon Valley campus, does not plan to return to China. “I have spent ten years here already, it took me some time to get used to American life,” he said. Zhang added that returning to China would be “reverse culture shock.”

Zhang noted, however, that younger Chinese students have more options to study at home. “Life in China is getting better. There are research alternatives in China –– like Microsoft China. They can get good mentoring and advice there, instead of coming to the U.S.”

For now, the U.S. still appears to be drawing its fair share of the world’s students. The National Science Foundation reports that the number of foreign science and engineering students enrolled in graduate programs in the U.S. increased 8% in April 2009 from the previous year. Over 158,000 foreign students are studying in the U.S.

“U.S. Keeps Foreign Ph.D.s,” by David Wessel. The Wall Street Journal. January 27, 2010.

Women have vaulted to the head of the class

For the first time in history, women with college degrees now hold more non–farm payroll jobs than men. Data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that this trend began just last year; in January 2010, women held 720,000 more non–farm payroll jobs than men.The reason for this change is clear. Women are earning significantly more college degrees than men –– in 2007, women earned nearly 166 associate and 135 bachelor’s degrees for every 100 earned by men. Women are also using their degrees to obtain jobs in fields that have been more stable during the recession including teaching, government and health care. Casey B. Mulligan, professor of economics at the University of Chicago, noted, “There are very high returns to education in the marketplace right now; it’s a fact that women have leveraged.”

In a sense, it’s back to the future for women. Until the start of World War II, women in the U.S. were typically more educated than men. This changed after the war, when men went to college in large numbers thanks to the G.I. Bill while more women stayed home to care for growing post–war families. The momentum changed once again in the 1960s as both male and female baby boomers entered college. By the 1980s, women were earning more bachelor’s degrees than men in all fields except physical sciences, math, engineering, business and economics –– a trend that continues today. As Harvard University economist Claudia Goldin explained, “Men have traditionally needed less education, [because] guys can get good jobs in construction without a master’s in Education and women can’t, so education substitutes for that.”

Here are several other job–related gender trends worth noting:

  • Women’s wages are also rising faster than men’s. During the most recent two–year period, men’s wages rose 3.4% while women’s wages rose 5.3%.
  • The disparity between black men and women is even greater. Black women are earning 219 associate’s degrees and 192 bachelor’s degrees for every 100 earned by black men.
  • Men are more likely to be unemployed than females. In January, the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for males was 10% while it was 7.9% for females.
  • The last time the unemployment rate was equal between genders was in November of 2006. Indeed, men have lost almost 75% of all jobs lost during this recession. In November 2009, 19% of all men in their prime working years (ages 25 through 54) were unemployed –– the highest percentage since 1948, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

It’s no wonder that some economists are calling the current economic situation a “man–cession.” According to University of Michigan professor Mark Perry, “For a recession to have had such a disproportionate effect on one gender has never before happened in the modern period.”

“Education Gains Shield Women From Worst of Job Woes,” by M.P. McQueen. The Wall Street Journal. February 12, 2010.
“How a New Jobless Era Will Transform America” by Don Peck. The Atlantic. March 2010.

SNC Announces Spring Leadership Series

Beginning Thursday, March 11, 2010


St. Norbert College in conjunction with Development Dimensions International (DDI) will host three leadership courses that begin on Thursday, March 11 and run through Thursday, May 13. Matthew Doyle, a certified instructor through DDI and Continuing Education Instructor at St. Norbert College, will facilitate these interaction management courses.  For more information about DDI, reference their website at www.ddiworld.com.
Courses to be offered include:

Thursday, March 11, “Essentials of Leadership”
This course is a prerequisite for the following two courses and will focus on how to work well with others, reduce wasted time, lessen conflict and influence interactions in a positive way.

Thursday, April 8, “Coaching for Success”
This course introduces skills for guiding individuals and teams toward achieving successful business results. Leaders learn how to recognize and approach each coaching opportunity as a catalyst for success.

Thursday, May 13, “Coaching for Improvement”
The last course focuses on enhancing employee performance and creating a more efficient work environment. Attendees will learn how to develop improvement plans, conduct effective improvement discussions, and handle various challenges they may encounter when executing improvement discussions.

Each session costs $249 and requires pre-registration. Courses will be held from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the F.K. Bemis International Conference Center on the St. Norbert College Campus. The registration fee includes workbook, course materials, refreshment breaks and lunch.  Special group pricing is also available.

To register, or for more information, please visit the Continuing Education Institute website at: www.snc.edu/continuinged. You can also call (920) 403-3100 or email continuinged@snc.edu.