ANTIGO - More people work in wood-related jobs in Wisconsin than in any other U.S. state.
Employers constantly need young, talented people with training in wood technology to complete their workforce.
Now, a local technical college is helping students as young as 15 years old think about their future in wood.
On Wednesday, Northcentral Tech College's Antigo campus showed off their Wood Tech Center to high schoolers in the Northwoods.
"Before students come here, they don't realize that there are job opportunities or career opportunities within the wood industry. When they come in here and see our facility and see our equipment, and they see what the program is all about, it really opens up their eyes," says Wood Tech Instructor Travis Allen.
NTC's Wood Tech Center is new - it was only completed in 2011.
Students from nearly a dozen school districts got to make something of their own on campus.
"They're going through the ripping, the chopping, the gluing, the sanding, the CNC routering of this cutting board, so they get this feel for mass production," Allen says.
Students at the Wood Tech Center choose from either a technical degree or a more advanced associates degree.
That puts them in a great position for landing a job right after getting their diploma.
"We're not training people to stack lumber. We're training people that can run optimizing equipment, that can ship wood to China, or Vietnam, or the East Coast or West Coast. We provide a lot of different career options for these students," says Allen.
Search "NTC Wood Technology" on Facebook for more information on the program.
LAC DU FLAMBEAU - Ruby's pantry opened their doors Tuesday in Lac du Flambeau. This is the first time the Ruby's pantry has set up shop there. They decided to come to Lac du Flambeau because of the good turnout in Rhinelander. The food pantry asks that people give a $20 donation.
“It's not your typical food pantry,” says Gloria Cobb, Ruby's Pantry Lac du Flambeau Lead Coordinator. “This is an opportunity to give people dignity, to serve with dignity, and it's a donation base.”
“I mean look at the hustle and bustle going on we've got the community coming together not only Lac du Flambeau but the surrounding community coming together to meet a very basic need and that's to help with hunger,” says Cobb.
The pantry offered items like strawberries, cake mix, and toilet paper. More than 400 people were expected to show up.
“A participant will go through the line with a laundry basket and or box and they will be offered items,” says Cobb. “They can refuse them however we will encourage them to take the item because somebody else that they may know may have a need.”
“They get a certain amount of each item and they go through the line like an assembly line,” says Cobb.
The pantry had more than 21,000 pounds of food to give away.
WAUSAU - Students at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau got to see Tibetan monks create a work of art steeped in Buddhist history.
The Mandala Sand Art is an ancient Tantric Buddhist tradition dating back thousands of years.
The Tibetan Monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery are on an international tour called Mystical Arts of Tibet where they create mandalas in front of an audience.
"The colored patterns we are using, we are following the scriptures, the Buddhist scriptures. It's a very old tradition, more than 2,500 years ago," says Geshe Loden, head of the Mystical Arts of Tibet.
The monks' last visit to Northcentral Technical College in 2011 was so popular, they were invited back.
"At NTC we feel like it's important to offer our students a variety of different programming, and one of the things we feel our responsibility to do is expose our students to other cultures, other religions, other ideas," says Director of Student Development Shawn Sullivan.
The monks work hours at a time placing sand delicately in the lines of the intricate pattern.
The mandala will take them four days to complete, but the beautiful creation won't last long.
"After finishing this, making the mandala, we consecrate this completed mandala, and we dismantle it to symbolize the impermanence of all the conditioned things, all the phenomena," says Loden.
The monks' tour raises money for more than 3,000 monasteries in India. They also do it to raise awareness about the plight of Tibetans.
"Lord Buddha had started this, and that tradition keeps going on."
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