Nicolet College Expands Welding Program Submitted: 02/27/2013
Story By Hayley Tenpas

RHINELANDER - Hearing about jobs on the rise can be comforting.

A program expansion at Nicolet College in Rhinelander highlights one of those growing job markets.

They're expanding their welding program to bring in more students and meet the needs of a growing workforce.

"The need for welders, not only in our district here, but nationwide, is phenomenal," said welding instructor Chuck Kopp.

Expanding the welding program at Nicolet College is the result of two grants totaling 1.2 million dollars.

"We have accelerated our series of classes so that we can get our students out into jobs sooner, we have upgraded equipment, and hired some new instructors and we've re-vamped the curriculum to better meet employer's needs," said Elizabeth Burmaster, President of Nicolet College.

Part of that expansion means going from 17 to 23 work stations.

"What they'll be able to do with them is the same thing they're doing here now with the booths that are existing, which is all the different processes," said Kopp.

Kopp says this one year program is helping students get jobs in the Northwoods.

"So this is a response to our manufacturers, to try to satisfy their need for welders and give them the ability to grow their businesses," said Kopp.

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TOMAH - The Tomah Veterans Affairs Medical Center says it has adopted another plan to improve patient care.

The La Crosse Tribune reports (http://bit.ly/1QMsDMZ) that Friday's release of the "100-day plan" comes almost 11 months after media reports that veterans at the center were prescribed excessive doses of opioid pain-killers and that employees who spoke out faced retaliation from top officials.

The plan, which follows a 30-day plan announced in May, outlines steps for improving access to care, employee engagement and restoring trust.

Among other things, it calls for recruitment of psychiatric staff, employee forums and listening sessions, and opening an employee wellness center.

Several Tomah VA officials including former Director Mario Desanctis and former Chief of Staff David Houlihan have been fired since the problems emerged early this year.

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