Forestry Program Provides Graduates for a Growing IndustrySubmitted: 03/25/2013
Story By Hayley Tenpas

ANTIGO - The first graduating class from a Northwoods forestry program will receive their diplomas this May, and most of them have job offers.

It's a program that's taking the forest industry to another level.

But it's not just about the trees.

It's about jobs.

"We're just trying to develop the best possible people for this industry that we can," said Brown.

Northcentral Technical College's Wood Tech program is teaching future forest industry employees, right in Antigo.

"The equipment that we have here on the floor, the curriculum that we teach here at NTC is very unique, and it is cutting edge. It's what employers are looking for when they're hiring new employees," said instructor Travis Allen.

The forestry industry job market looks good too.

With almost 60 thousand jobs in Wisconsin in 2011, compared to 52 thousand in 2010, according to the DNR.

Oradei sees it as a sustainable job market too.

"It's a very desirable industry to be involved with; you're always working with a renewable resource," said Oradei.

Brown is happy to see business growing.

"Business has picked up in the united states and worldwide, so it's getting a lot more fun," said Brown.

Sixteen students in Travis Allen's class are hearing from employers too.

"A week ago I had three different employers contact us for skilled employees, and the nice thing is our curriculum is covering exactly what they want to hire on," said Allen.

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ANTIGO - We often hear of big groups and organizations raising money for cancer.

But sometimes it's nice to know the face behind who is giving the money.

Dorothy Mifflin, 15, of Antigo is one of those faces. She crochets hats, scarfs and headbands and sells them, giving the money to local people suffering from cancer.

She then gives her money to local people with cancer.

When she was young, she found spare yarn around her house and taught herself how to crochet. Later she made hats for her entire fourth grade class. When more and more people wanted her hats, she decided to sell them.

And she made her business into a mini non-profit.

She sells her hats of all different shapes, sizes and designs for just a few bucks.

Here's the interesting part. Instead of keeping the money she makes, like many people her age probably would, this teen donates her money to local people with cancer.

"I get shy I guess, I just say I wanted to do this because I thought it would be really nice," Mifflin said.

Right now she buys the yarn or its donated to her. But her new project is to make her own yarn, and she has all the machines for it. A family friend donated the machines to Dorothy and another friend taught her how to use them, including how to spin. She also makes dryer balls with the wool she spins.

She gets some of that wool from her own sheep. Mifflin lives on a farm where her family has 23 sheep and plenty of other animals. Mifflin also shows her sheep at state fairs and most recently, the Wisconsin Sheep and Wool Festival.

"I've been showing sheep for a long time," Mifflin said. "I just love it. I love showing sheep."

Mifflin has a Facebook page for selling her hats, called "Funky Hats By Dorothy." See the link below. 

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