Levi VandenBerg of Richfield works on a welding
project at Moraine Park Technical College Thursday
evening in Slinger.
JACKSON — It was a
risk, but one that paid off for Moraine Park Technical
College in the nearly two years since it opened its
10,000-square-foot Regional Center in Jackson.
Moraine Park Regional
Center, N173 W21150 Northwest Passage Way, offers students
hands-on learning with state-of-the-art equipment through a
year-long program in welding.
“Buying all new equipment
and machinery for the center was expensive, but it has been
worth it,” Steve Henderleiter, welding and fabrication
instructor for MPTC said on a busy Thursday night at the center.
“Right now, I have the maximum number of students that I can
have. We have 18 students.”
Henderleiter said the
welding program is popular, with its graduates in high demand to
fill good-paying jobs.
Most of the 18 students in
the program have day jobs, so classes for the welding program
are held at the center in the evening, Henderleiter said.
Levi VandenBerg of Richfield walks around a structure
Thursday evening he created at Moraine Park Technical
College in Jackson. VandenBerg intends to use it as a dock
Photo by John Ehlke
Vandenberg, a 2014 graduate of Germantown High School, works
10-hour days four days a week and then spends an additional four
to five hours in welding classes at the center three nights a
Although employed in a
welding job already, Vandenberg said having that technical
diploma he will earn when he completes the welding program, will
give him a “step ahead,” in the job market.
“I have learned a ton
here,” Vandenberg said during a break in classes Thursday night.
“I love working on the machines here. They are awesome.”
Vandenberg said he
discovered a love for working with machines as a kid.
“I was lucky. My dad had a
shop and we would work on hot rods together,” Vandenberg said.
His advice for students in
middle and high school is to “try things, experiment with shop
“Most of all, though, is
don’t give up,” Vandenberg said.
Henderleiter said to
prepare for the welding program, high schoolers should take
courses in math, and metal, welding and machine shop classes.
“If a student likes art
class, they’re going to like welding. It’s creative and it takes
hand and eye coordination and dexterity, like painting,”
Good eyesight is also a
plus, Henderleiter said.
“Visual acuity is
important because if you do not have good vision, it’s going to
be hard to be a good welder,” Henderleiter said.
The welding program offers
students a mix of hands-on lessons with online learning.
“Students can access the
online course work anytime and from anywhere,” Henderleiter
said. Quizzes and homework submissions are both online.
A lot of time is spent in
the welding lab, which has 18 welding booths, each with its own
ventilation system, along with other equipment, all of which is
The program prepares
students for jobs in production welding, finish welding and
For more information about
the program, visit
www.morainepark.edu or call 920-924-3207 or
Reach reporter Linda McAlpine at