The Branch Academy’s Demo Day highlights work completed by student team
WAUSAU — The Branch Academy hosted a Demo Day event on Thursday, August 9 at Northcentral Technical College in Wausau. The event included a presentation by high school students to a leadership team from NTC. Throughout the summer months, high school students from around the region worked on an innovation challenge for the college.
The Branch Academy finished its second year and offered high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to earn college credit while showcasing their talents for business and community leaders.
“College and career readiness are very important, but the opportunities are hard to find in small communities.” said Janeen LaBorde, Principal at the Stratford School District. “One of the things that I really appreciate about The Branch Academy is the authentic learning experience it offers. The program requires higher level thinking and 21st century skills like collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking.”
The students who completed this summer’s Academy included Gaby Bleese and Bendik Mann of Wausau East High School, Derek Martin and Julia Schneider of Stratford High School, Tyler Tinkey of Mosinee High School and Kylie Viegut of Abbotsford High School.
“The Branch Academy is an initiative that really addresses some of the workforce issues we are seeing in the economy today.” said Brad Gast, Dean of Business & Industry and Continuing Education at Northcentral Technical College. “Unemployment is extremely low in the Wausau region, so there are significant challenges for businesses. The Branch aims to help them find the talented workforce they need.”
The Branch and The Branch Academy are workforce development initiatives introduced by the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce, Northcentral Technical College and Church Mutual Insurance Company in 2016. The programs aim to build business and retain talent in central Wisconsin. The Branch’s YouTube channel offers recaps of previous Demo Day events and testimonials from program graduates.
Along with Church Mutual Insurance Company, Ansay & Associates LLC, AROW Global, M3 Insurance, North Central Health Care and River Valley Bank are sponsors of the program. Westphal Staffing Inc is also a supporter of The Branch.
“The Branch Academy allows students to become engaged with local businesses.” said Dave Eckmann, President/CEO of the Wausau Region Chamber of Commerce. “These businesses have challenges which they would like some fresh eyes upon. The Branch and The Branch Academy give students real-life experience in our companies. At the same time, these programs give our companies access to the talent that exists in our communities.”
College students are encouraged to apply for The Branch’s fall 2018 and spring 2019 sessions. For more information or to register as a student or mentor, visit The Branch’s website. Businesses that are interested in the program can also register projects through the site or contact Renae Krings, talent development director at the Chamber, at [email protected] or 715-848-5942.