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Students Take CVTC Stories to Madison

When Chippewa Valley Technical College (CVTC) Dental Hygienist program students Randi Johnson and Jordyn Becker talked to state legislators in Madison Tuesday, it wasn’t because they had concerns about lawmakers’ brushing habits. They wanted the people who hold the state purse strings to know what a technical education is doing for them, and how it has them reaching out to the community.

“We have to do 100 hours of community service before we can graduate,” said Johnson, of Eau Claire. Outside-the-classroom activities may include providing sealants and fluoride treatments for children. “We do that by going right into the elementary schools.”

The students joined others from the Wisconsin Technical College System’s 16 colleges in Madison for a legislative day sponsored by the Wisconsin Association for Career and Technical Education. Students set up displays about their schools and programs in the Capitol Rotunda, while others personally visited legislators’ offices to lobby on technical education issues.

Johnson and Becker combined messages about their community outreach efforts with information on specific issues. Becker said they would like to see Wisconsin adopt a program Minnesota has pioneered in which a certified advanced dental hygiene practitioner could provide services without the direct supervision of a dentist.

“We’d like to see that so we can keep our jobs here,” said Becker.

“We’ve had some supporters, but with others it’s tough,” said Johnson. “The dentists are opposed to it.”

Dylan Warzynski of Almond and Josh Frederickson of Owen represented CVTC’s Agriscience Technician program in Madison, and specifically talked about the biodiesel program.

“We tell them what we do at CVTC to promote the growth of the agriculture industry and to promote the use of biodiesel fuels,” said Warzynski.

He added that they were prepared to speak in favor of renewal of a program that offered $1 in tax credits for every gallon of biodiesel fuel blended with regular diesel. That program was recently renewed, Warsynski said.

“We wanted to showcase programs that really showed what CVTC does,” said Alisa Hoepner Schley, student life specialist at CVTC, who helped select the programs for presentation. “Biodiesel is really cutting edge and we wanted to show what students are doing here at CVTC, making biodiesel fuel out of seeds in a mobile laboratory.”

Hoepner Schley said the Dental Hygienist program is a good example of CVTC’s partnerships in the community, with students working with local professional dentists and hygienists and spending time volunteering in the community.

“Our presentations were geared toward legislators. The goal of the program is to show what our students are doing in technical education,” said Hoepner Schley.