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Miller Electric, FVTC enjoy long-running collaboration

Written by Larry Avila
Courtesy of the Appleton Post-Crescent
December 14, 2010

MillerFox Valley Technical College had a need, and one of its community partners, Appleton-based Miller Electric Manufacturing Co., was more than willing to step up.

The maker of welding equipment and accessories donated equipment that will be used at FVTC's new 26,000-square-foot facility at 4300 Poberezny Road in Oshkosh, which will house the college's expanded welding and metal fabrication program. Courses will begin there in January.

FVTC representatives said the additional space was needed to keep up with demand for people with welding skills. Its facility at the Spanbauer Center, 3601 Oregon St, Oshkosh, operates 19 hours a day, offering welding training.

"Besides our own students, many companies use our facilities for training," said Susan May, FVTC president.

Miller's contribution is welcomed, May said.

"As a Millertechnical college, we need to have access to the latest equipment so without partners like Miller Electric, how could we effectively do our job?" she said. "In the community, this has been a fantastic partnership … when we knew we would move forward with this expansion in Oshkosh, Miller was the first company we spoke with to see if it would be something they could support."

er Electric was happy to help.

"These partnerships are a two-way street," said Mike Weller, president of Miller Electric. "We can offer state-of-the-art equipment and bring our technical knowledge in, and in turn, FVTC helps us by providing training to our employees, not just in welding, but many departments from supervisory training, quality training and electronics training."

Weller said FVTC always has advocated maintaining strong relations with the business community.

"Dr. May and her predecessors always believed in maintaining outreach programs," he said. "As we help them, they in turn help us by providing a well-trained work force."

Weller said an additional community benefit is FVTC can use its financial resources on other needs.

"They don't have to worry about capital expenditures," he said of the company's donated equipment. "We take care of the equipment we provide and will trade out the equipment as new versions become available. This assures they will always have the latest equipment to train people on … it's what partnerships are all about."

Weller was complimentary of FVTC's outreach efforts.

"We work with business customers around the country and we don't see cooperation like this anywhere else in the country," he said. "FVTC always is looking for ways it can strengthen its relationship with the community."

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