DeForest Times-Tribune: Employers want many things in their workers – productivity, positivity, and reliability as a short list.
For American Packaging Corporation in DeForest, “personal accountability” is a major sticking point. It’s the difference between suffering from a large turnover rate versus a workforce that commits to a company and rises up through the ranks. Company representatives said there is significant management investment to recruit and retain workers that display promising qualities.
“We’re not hiring to keep people at the bottom level,” said Facility Manager Josh Voelker. “That’s not our plan.”
But even with state-of-the-art equipment and an assortment of internal policies to promote advancement of workers, policies including tuition reimbursement and in-house certifications, the Philadelphia-based company reports that it’s struggling to fill vacant, local positions.
Now, the DeForest Area School District is showing interest and recently sent 11 teachers on a tour of the factory. Located in DeForest’s northern industrial park, the teachers visited the American Packaging plant Aug. 9 and heard from company representatives. Topics of discussion included workforce development and the types of skills needed to start working right out of high school.
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DeForest Times Tribune: The DeForest Area School District’s Land Lab is an integral part of both the high school’s agricultural science and Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs. On July 10, two students who participated in last year’s growing season presented to the Board of Education about their agri-business experience.
The Land Lab is a 68-acre plot east of Windsor Elementary School and lying between Gray and Windsor Roads. Each summer, students plan and then implement the planting, scouting, marketing and harvesting on the district’s test plot. Land Lab is designed to provide students with hands-on learning in agronomy, soil science and agriculture sustainability. According to Gwen Boettcher, agriculture teacher and FFA advisor, about 16 students were involved in the project during the 2016 growing season.
Participants Zach Mickelson and Reagan Schwoerer reported to the board that 15 acres of corn and 35 acres of soybeans were planted last May. They described how students met weekly throughout the summer to discuss marketing strategies. They also visited the fields to evaluate crop health and growth.
Mickelson and Schwoerer reported the soybean harvest brought an average yield of about 60 bushels an acre. The poor corn yield of about 993 bushels per acre was attributed to a mix-up when a nitrogen application was ordered, but not applied.
On the plus side, the 2016 crop generated a net income of $20,284. They presented a check to Board President Jan Berg for the district’s portion of the profits.
DeForest Area School District News Blog: Earlier this month students in Laura Kruschek’s and Holly Mair’s 7th grade English/Language Arts classes interviewed individuals older than themselves about their lives and created biography presentations. Students in six of the classes interviewed older adults in the community, while two classes interviewed local business people, and two more classes interviewed high school seniors.
After the interviews, students used their writing skills to create a biography about their guest. Then, using their technology skills, created an electronic presentation.
Throughout the day on April 14, the volunteers returned to the school to hear and see the finished projects. Students were able to hear about what it was like to have a party line for a phone, be the first woman to be hired by UW-Madison to milk cows, and have a grandpa who owned the “jot it down” store. “We were reminded many times that we read about history, but these older adults have lived through history,” said Laura Kruschek.