Nov 15, 2011
Shaping the future workforce through partnerships with employers.
Fox Valley Technical College’s consistent 90% graduate job placement rate doesn’t happen by chance. The high job placement is the result of careful matching of graduates’ skills to employer needs. Employer advisory committees guide the curriculum for each FVTC occupational program, providing real-world business expertise that positions the college’s graduates for employment in their industries. Thanks to these critical partnerships, FVTC graduates hit the ground running in a 21st century workforce.
Employer advisory committees have been part of FVTC’s entire 100-year history. Since 1912, committee members representing area business, health care, and manufacturing organizations have helped FVTC students in many ways. They have ensured that learners work with the latest equipment, study the most current curriculum, and gain experience through real-world internships, clinical placements, and cooperative learning activities.
Chris Matheny, FVTC vice president of Instructional Services and chief academic officer, underscores the importance of this connection to business and industry. “We would be unable to fulfill our mission without the guidance of employer advisory committees,” he says. “Each of our partners, including business owners, managers, and employees, provide a unique perspective on the needs of their industries. They are partners that make sure our graduates have the necessary skills in today’s workforce.”
Advisory committee member Greg Peterson, chief of police for the Town of Grand Chute, has worked closely with FVTC for many years on the Criminal Justice advisory committee and now on the new Forensic Science advisory committee. “Our communities rely on Fox Valley Technical College to develop needed training programs,”
he notes. “Right now, I’m on an advisory committee providing input to help shape the college’s new online Forensic Science
program. This program really fills a need for area police departments. Solving crimes more quickly and accurately through forensic skills keeps our communities safer.”
“In our business, there are always new trends and new equipment,” notes Jesse Kinzel of Kinzel Wood Products, an advisory committee member for the college’s Oshkosh-based Wood Manufacturing Technology
program. “Our advisory committee recently shaped new curriculum on finish cabinetry.”
Jesse understands the value of technical training. He and his brother, Gregg, both graduated from the Wood Manufacturing Technology program.
To help guide FVTC’s 200-plus programs, the college engages a diverse group of business representatives on its employer advisory committees. “It’s important for a committee to have representation from large, medium, and small organizations,” notes Kim Winter, senior systems manager at J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. and committee member for the Information Technology programs. “One of our challenges as a committee is how to stay ahead of what the industry will need. When I was in school, it was computer operations or computer programming. Today, graduates can go into application development, database management, Web development, system networking, security, and so much more.”
“Our employer advisory committee members view their work here as an investment,” states Matheny. “These partnerships can also lead to other forms of collaboration. Whether it is through workplace training opportunities, joint facility projects, or lending their expertise in and out of the classroom, our employer advisory committee members always go above and beyond for the college.”