Clintonville High hopes to partner with Fox Valley Tech
College would offer students skills training
By Erik Buchinger
Clintonville High School is looking to collaborate with Fox Valley Technical College and area businesses.
“Building community partnerships has been a goal of mine, and this came out of the talking circles that we had for the community vision,” Principal Kelly Zeinert said at a Clintonville School Board meeting on Dec. 10. “Through discussions I’ve had with Dr. Dyb and various community members, they want us to build a stronger connection for the people here in Clintonville.”
Zeinert said teachers have volunteered to visit different industries to see what they are doing and bring their findings back to the classroom.
“In order to make this happen, I reached out to Kim Manteuffel at Fox Valley Technical College, and we talked about what we need to do,” Zeinert said. “We sat down with Fox Valley Tech and area businesses in October and we got together and said, ‘What do you guys need? What are you looking for as far as building a partnership? How can we work together?’ Because that’s our ultimate goal.”
The plan is for high school juniors and seniors to be able to attend Fox Valley Technical College in Clintonville from noon until 3:15 p.m. five days a week, learning various technology.
Rick Recktenwald of Walker Forge said he would be in favor of students being ready to work shortly after high school.
“We have about 400 people working at Walker Forge, and about 100 of them are what we would consider technically trained, which would be engineers and maintenance people,” Recktenwald said. “Over the last 20 years, we’ve probably invested more than 200,000 hours at Fox Valley Technical College to bring those skills up. Those have taken the form of apprenticeship training.”
Recktenwald provided advice to students who may take advantage of this opportunity.
“The one thing we always talk about with people that work at Walker Forge that continue education on their own is please don’t get educated to work at Walker Forge,” Recktenwald said. “Get educated to be employed for the rest of your life.”
Bob Wirth of Deluxe Plastics said partnering with the high school would benefit the business.
“As I look at the curriculums associated with what’s going on here, it really ties it all together for us to grow,” Wirth said. “We’re here for the long term so I think it’s important we move forward with such an activity.
“Hands-on is extremely important to us and the ability to think and execute from that perspective is important to us. As they continue to learn that, we will continue to pay for knowledge. As we pay for knowledge, the more they understand, the better they will be compensated. If they keep that perspective, they’ll carry that to wherever they choose to go in life. I think it’s a great opportunity. I started out as an apprentice, so I got a flavor for that. We have apprentices at our facility, and our intentions are to continue to grow that because they are the bloodline of the future.”
Zeinert said this is being done in Wautoma as well, and bringing it to Clintonville would be beneficial to students.
“We haven’t done this before, but it has worked in Wautoma,” Zeinert said. “We just need to send our kids, and I would do whatever it takes to help these kids succeed. It’s a chance for us to be known as being the people who are leading, not just following.”
School Board President Ben Huber said the board could not vote on the topic during the meeting, but said the idea unofficially has the board’s support. “We cannot vote on this tonight, but I can say personally I strongly approve of this idea,” Huber said. “I don’t see anyone shaking their heads here, so I think this is a wonderful proposal. This is really what we’ve been needing for a while.”
Zeinert said the hope is to have the option for students to attend FVTC available as early as next school year.