MPTC suspends Building Trades program
Average enrollment has been 5 students

By AMANDA VOSS - Daily News

Jan. 22, 2015

The Moraine Park Technical College District Board unanimously voted Wednesday night to suspend the Building Trades Construction Worker program offered at the West Bend MPTC campus.

After the District Board meeting at the MPTC Fond du Lac campus, Jim Eden, vice president of Academic Affairs, said the vote happened after a lot of discussion.

“These are always difficult decisions,” Eden said.

The program will be suspended in May when the four enrolled students complete it, Eden said.

The Building Trades Construction Worker program, a one-year technical diploma program, started in 2004.

The program provides theoretical and hands-on applications in developing skills needed to successfully enter the construction or building trades industry, according to the MPTC website.

Eden said the program was suspended in the 2007-08 school year because of low enrollment; it was brought back in 2008-09.

Pete Rettler, dean of the West Bend campus, told the Daily News on Jan. 10 the program had extremely low enrollment.

“We know employers are asking for employees; we need to figure out a way to package the program and make it attractive for people who want to get into that field,” Rettler told the Daily News.

Eden said the average enrollment was about five students.

“As we look at that as a college, we can’t continue to run a program with low enrollment,” Eden said.

Eden said Building Trades was a prelude to the carpentry apprenticeship program and was designed for students who didn’t have any experience.

“Sounds like a great idea,” Eden said, adding not everyone is willing to spend the money or time on that kind of a program.

He said some people are getting jobs in the construction field because of high demand, they’re getting on-thejob training and their employers are putting them in an apprenticeship program.

After the District Board suspended the program, Eden said MPTC has three years to determine what to do. The program will either be modified or eliminated.

“My challenge is I’ve got a product I can’t sell,” Eden said. “People aren’t interested in spending a year of their lives to go through the program.”

He said he will work with businesses to come up with a another program.

“We’ll do that over the next 24 months,” Eden said. “I’d like to have something sooner.”

“This time I want to make sure I find something students see a value in,” he added.