Marano Fellows Class of 2010

Name: Patricia (Patti) Balacek

Western Technical College

Location: La Crosse, Wisconsin
Primary Industry Sector: Energy - Construction
Type of Organization: Technical College

“Listening to what employers have to say, determining their common interests/needs and formulating solutions that work across the sector. It is the dialog and engagement which stimulates my own learning and which allows us to grow and to help them grow.”

Organizational Mission: Western Technical College Mission: Western Technical College is committed to excellence in learning, continuous improvement, student success, employer satisfaction, and community partnerships.

Business and Industry Services Mission: The Business & Industry Services Division of Western Technical College is committed to providing education and training to meet the needs of employers as they strive to improve employee productivity, quality, and satisfaction.

Interest in Sector Work: For the Sector Skills Academy, I have chosen to work in the energy sector with a focus on construction. Our area has received numerous grant through ARRA funding in order to help weatherize low to middle class homes. While this is a major boon to the construction industry, it has also revealed a deficit in the ongoing training of construction workers. Most know how to build, but few know how to build using the latest in energy efficiency techniques. Creating an updated pathway that includes certificate training in energy efficiency is vital to the ongoing success of the weatherization projects in our region. I also hope to create a pathway that allows low income or displaced workers to enter the construction field through the weatherization hiring that is occurring now and for the next two years. It is estimated that over 100 additional workers will be needed, but at this point, we have no clear system for training them and for continuing their education so that they can advance in the construction arena after the weatherization funding ends.