Honoring Dr. King

By Timmothy Boettcher, President & CEO of Realityworks, Inc.

2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

Today is a very special day. It is not a day of rest but a day of service to recognize the great Dr. King’s life work and ultimate sacrifice leading the civil rights movement in our country. Not only has his work greatly influenced the rights of African Americans but also of women and other marginalized groups. As one of the greatest orators in history, he exposed truths about our country that many would rather not face, but in a way that made them take notice and make change.

If you don’t know how this day came into being, after a long struggle, legislation was signed in 1983 creating a federal holiday marking the birthday of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. In 1994, Congress designated the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a national day of service and charged the Corporation for National and Community Service with leading this effort. Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.” The MLK Day of Service is a part of United We Serve, the President’s national call to service initiative. It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national problems. The MLK Day of Service empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a “Beloved Community.”

While the Company did not close our doors on this day of remembering, as we don’t with many federal holidays, we do empower each of us to bring Dr. King’s vision to life in our communities. Each year the Company provides every employee with 4 hours of paid service to help strengthen our communities. In addition to this, we have a charitable giving program that is designed to take a portion of our profits to help provide resources to organizations that help families and children in need in our communities. I strongly encourage you on this special day to take time to remember what Dr. King did for our country. Thinking about how we make our communities stronger is the cornerstone of Dr. King’s mission in life. His work focused on empowering and energizing people to make our communities stronger. Through our collective work we can make a difference in our communities. I encourage you to take today and identify the action you can take this year to work to make a positive impact on the community you live in.

Welding pays off: The importance of “upskilling” in today’s welding education programs

By Jamey McIntosh, Realityworks RealCareer Product Manager

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of “Welding Productivity.” Click here to view the article in its entirety.

The demand for skilled welders is growing. The American Welding Society predicts a need of almost 400,000 welders in the United States by 2025 while the Manufacturing Institute has stated that in the next decade alone, there will be a need for nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs.

To ensure the welding industry is prepared to meet this demand, today’s welding educators and instructors must make certain that their programs and training methods are equipping today’s young people with the skills employers are looking for. And, in a workforce that will increasingly require those who are agile, adaptable and highly qualified, “upskilling” students above and beyond the fundamentals of welding will only make them more employable in a competitive, high-demand industry.

Skills pay off

With an oversupply of entry-level welders and a growing number of skilled welders ready to retire, welding and manufacturing companies are paying more and more attention to welding codes and qualification standards. This means welders who are certified, or who are able to examine and test their own welds, are more attractive than ever before – and their pay reflects that attraction. According to the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International’s “2013 Salary/Wage & Benefit Survey,” a welder who is certified to AWS, ASME and other codes has the broadest salary range of any shop floor position, up to $83,000 for a base salary, not including overtime and bonuses.

While having basic welding skills can certainly pay off, other skill sets can also pay large dividends. Figure 1 depicts the many paths one can take when considering a welding-related career. For instance, the chart shows the average pay for a welding supervisor and a manufacturing production supervisor. With reported average pay ranges around $12,000 higher than an average welder, these highly skilled positions are rewarded with higher pay.

When speaking with various workforce development boards and companies within the welding industry, it’s not uncommon to hear welding and manufacturing industry representatives say that they routinely pay more per hour for employees who can visually inspect welds and supervise others in the creation of quality welds over those who could simply create the quality welds.

Barring geography, experience, skill level and employer, the message is clear: By focusing on basic skill development and the development of additional career-specific skills such as weld testing and qualification, educators and trainers are opening the doors to higher pay, more benefits and in the long run, more successful careers.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the November 2016 issue of “Welding Productivity.” Click here to view the article in its entirety.

Adjusting the RealCare® Baby Grading Scale

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

  • Do you feel that you to make adjustments to the points taken off for each mishandle event?
  • Do you think that points should be reduced or increased to better reflect what you feel is appropriate for your grading scale?
  • Did you know that you can change the points taken off for each mishandle event?

We can help! Just follow these four easy steps…

  1. First, go to any class folder, select any report and click “View”
  2. On the view report screen, click where it says “Edit Rubric”
  3. A new window will open and in there you can increase or decrease points for each mishandle event
  4. Click “OK” and all reports, past-present-future will now reflect the new point system

For more product support tips make sure to check out our Product Support Page and our Pinterest Board too!

The Impact of the RealCare™ Drug-Affected Baby

by Diane Ross, M.Ed., Senior Field Account Manager with Realityworks

As I work with teachers throughout the year, one of the most poignant moments of my career is showing teachers the RealCare™ Drug-Affected Baby. Realityworks has been carrying the Drug-Affected Baby as a part of our RealCare™ Infant Health Trio (Shaken Baby, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Baby and Drug-Affected Baby) for several years. This past year we added a new unit in the curriculum that covers Methamphetamine, which makes this product more relevant than ever before.

We’ve all seen the news stories of young parents, passed out in their cars, using meth, while their young children are present. Children are losing their parents in an alarming rate in our country overall to drug abuse.

Recently, my college coach, who is now the Executive Director of the School of Medicine at Marshall University, my alma mater, posted a news story created by a classmate about the increased drug problem in Huntington, WV. After watching the news story, I saw the parallels to our own curriculum concerning drug affected babies and their families.

I am convinced that every student, whether in West Virginia or any state, should see this video. It is not a dramatization, but reflects real lives, real people affected by heroin, meth and any other drug. Watching what this small town has had to do to combat the rising drug rate, as well as the rising number of infants born ‘drug addicted’ is alarming.

I challenge you, as a teacher, to spend a class period watching this video and discussing it with students. Many students will become child care givers and even more will become parents. Education is power. I think this lesson will be one of the most important. I welcome your comments and would like to get your feedback on how students have reacted and some of the conversations you have with your students. I’d like to share the comments in this forum, as well as in sessions you may attend or lead during your conferences and meetings.

As a teacher, you may underestimate your influence on society. I look forward to hearing your stories on how you continue to positively impact your students’ lives.

We would love to hear from you – please leave your thoughts and experiences in the comments below!

Diane Ross, M.Ed. is a Senior Field Account Manager with Realityworks. She graduated from Marshall University with a degree in Broadcasting, then returned for a Master’s in Secondary Education.

A Look Back on a Year of Giving

Every year Realityworks employees are fortunate to have the opportunity to give back to the community in many ways. From nominating local organizations to receive donations to volunteering within the community, we are fortunate to work for a company that is dedicated to bettering our community through service.

This year employees participated in five larger volunteer and donation opportunities:

2nd_annual_flower_fundraiserRealityworks held the 2nd Annual Valentine’s Day Flower Fundraiser. Employees had the opportunity to purchase roses in an effort to raise funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern Wisconsin. All proceeds collected were matched by the charitable giving fund and then donated to Big Brothers Big Sisters.

feedmypeople2

 

A spring food drive was held this May in conjunction with a volunteer opportunity to help Feed My People Food Bank by volunteering their time to help repackage bulk food items.

 

busThe Culture Committee held their annual “Stuff the Bus” School Supply Drive contest during the month of August in which teams could earn points for items donated. Supplies were donated to three local schools which were nominated by our employees.

 

comm_tableIn September, several members of the Realityworks team volunteered their time at The Community Table, preparing and serving a meal for our local community members.  The Community Table serves one meal each day, 365 days a year and everyone is welcome!

 

christmas_is_for_children500pxLastly, during the months of November and December our employees had the opportunity to participate in iHeartRadio’s “Christmas is for Children” campaign, which enables businesses to purchase Christmas gifts for local kids. We were able to donate gifts to 17 local children for Christmas this year.

Along with those larger volunteer opportunities, donations supported more than 30 local and regional organizations, including:

Chippewa Area Mentor Program
Chippewa Senior High Special Needs Program
Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Special Olympics, Polar Plunge
Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwestern WI
MHS Senior Appreciation Night
Western Dairyland Community Action Agency
Roosevelt Elementary PTA – Eau Claire School District
Seymour Ball Club
Memorial H.S. Bowling Teams
Longfellow Jeanne Richie Memorial Puddle Jump
Special Olympics-Chippewa Falls
Northern Wisconsin State Fair Law Enforcement Booth
Odyssey of the Mind – Flynn Elem. Team
Feed My People Food Bank
South Middle School
McKinley Charter School
Boys & Girls Club
National MS Society – Upper Midwest Chapter
Altoona Area Foundation
Chippewa Valley Montessori School
Ski Sprites Water Ski Organization
Chippewa Sr High School
REACH, Inc. (Regional Enterprises for Adults and Children, Inc.)
Family Resource Center
Menomonie Boys & Girls Club
Kids N Cops
Junior Achievement of Wisconsin, Inc., Northwest District
Community Table
Southview Bear Crawl – Southview PTA
Children’s Museum of Eau Claire
The Shaken Baby Alliance
Hallie Heat Travel Ball
Christmas is for Children

We are so proud to be making a difference in our community, and each year we learn about more organizations that need our support. Charitable giving is truly a part of Realityworks’ corporate identity, and we look forward to doing even more in the years to come!

 

Reflections on VISION 2016: Why I’m Proud of the Realityworks Team

By Timmothy Boettcher, President & CEO of Realityworks, Inc.

2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

Last week, the Realityworks team had the pleasure of exhibiting our experiential learning tools at the largest gathering for Career and Technical Education professionals across the country: the Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE)’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference. As President and CEO of Realityworks, Inc., and a member of ACTE’s Board of Directors, I was extremely proud to be exhibiting and presenting at such a gathering for several reasons

We debuted over a dozen new products for technical education. Educators have long been telling us of their need for innovative new ways to provide targeted skills training and prepare their students for careers. As Chair of the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition and the Western Wisconsin Workforce Development Board, I have seen first-hand the importance of ensuring that today’s students have the chance to learn relevant job skills. The Realityworks team worked hard over the last year to research and design several new products that help educators engage students and prepare them for success in the workforce, and the ability to get live, in-person feedback from the very professionals we designed them for is truly exciting.

Timmothy Boettcher of Realityworks at ACTE's CareerTech VISION 2016

Watch Timmothy Boettcher, President & CEO of Realityworks, Inc., review Realityworks’ new products at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference, which took place in Las Vegas December 1 & 2.

 

We connected with our customers. We wouldn’t be the company we are today if it weren’t for the dedicated, passionate educators who support us. From the teachers who first used RealCare Baby® (our flagship product) over two decades ago to those who now implement our new Geriatric Simulator in their health occupations programs and our virtual reality welding simulator in their welding programs, we are thankful for each and every one of them – and we jump at the chance to thank them in person.

We created and fostered partnerships with educators. We are dedicated to meeting the needs of 21st Century educators, and are excited to announce several new solutions to help them engage their students and prepare them for success in the workforce. Attending events like ACTE allows us to learn what educators are struggling with in the classroom and what they are interested in exploring in the upcoming year. That knowledge gives us insight into what is on the horizon for Career and Technical Education, which, in turn, helps ensure we can create products and programs that are truly useful to today’s educators.

Our success as a company depends on remaining profitable, yet profitability alone does not define our success. We measure our impact by how many lives are changed in positive ways, and how profoundly they are changed, as a result of our efforts. The recent Career and Technical Education conference was a wonderful opportunity to connect with our employees and our customers, and I am already looking forward to next year.

Spotlight – December Edition

Meet the Realityworks Team

andre2Andre Vestnes is an Engineering Test Technician at Realityworks. He lives on a hobby farm in Eleva, a small town next to Eau Claire. His family is originally from Norway and he was the first of his siblings to be born in the U.S.  Andre’s love of new foods and adventure is supported by his interest in travelling and hiking, and he has had the opportunity to travel all over the world.

As an Engineering Test Technician, Andre helps on product design, product engineering, testing in the test lab and writing test cases, test labs and scenarios. He also is a member of the company’s Culture Committee which takes care of charitable giving, helping educational charities and organizations locally and nationwide, along with planning company outings and events for all Realityworks employees.

He is currently working on Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) on new potential products that either Realityworks has designed or brings in to evaluate as options to add to product lines.

“I analyze an item as a whole to evaluate any potential/current failures or risks surrounding the product to determine if we need to mitigate or make changes to a product to ensure we have a safe, high quality product that we can provide to our customers with confidence,” said Andre.

So far, Andre’s favorite project at Realityworks so far has been guideWELD VR.andre1

“Implementations and feature enhancements in guideWELD VR is one of the accomplishments I’m proudest of during my time here so far,” he said. “This has been exciting because it allows in-depth training for students in the welding profession.  We have created a user-friendly and functional product.”

Andre says that the most Interesting thing that has happened to him at Realityworks would probably be a time he was welding in the maintenance shop.

“I was welding in our maintenance shop with my coworker, and we forgot to open the ventilation system and set off the fire alarm,” he said. “We walked out of the building and saw the entire company was lined up outside. Luckily it was a nice sunny day out, and everyone got a little fresh air.”

The people and the work atmosphere are Andre’s favorite things about working at Realityworks.

“Working at Realityworks is a unique experience, the people treat you like your family, they are kind and caring and never miss moment to help each other out when they need it,” he said. “The atmosphere is simply inspiring, people hold themselves accountable to do their work, and they strive to do their best. We all want to see Realityworks grow and succeed, and it shows with the everyday dedication, hard work ethic, and good communication each person shows in their work, and even outside of work. I am proud to work with the people I do, and they inspire me to work harder and smarter every day.”

6 Reasons to Meet Realityworks at the Association for Career & Technical Education’s CareerTech VISION Conference

Every year, the Realityworks team journeys to the largest annual gathering of Career & Technical Education (CTE) professionals in a single location: The Association for Career & Technical Education (ACTE)’s CareerTech VISION Conference. We typically plan for this conference a good year in advance, and this year is no exception. Held in the Las Vegas Convention Center from November 30 – December 2, this year’s conference will be attended by thousands of technology education professionals, educators and industry representatives. From product exhibits and presentations to interactive demonstrations and more, there are countless reasons to meet Realityworks at ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference at Booth #529. Here are our top 6!

  1. Preview interactive products and simulators for nursing skills training, including injection training, elderly nursing care and catheterization
  2. Explore the new RealCareer™ Geriatric Sensory Impairment Kit, a set of wearable simulators that mimic hearing impairment, arthritis and hand tremors
  3. See the new Birth Process Kit, which includes six large, lifelike models that depict each stage of the birthing process
  4. Get a SNEAK PEEK at our one-of-a-kind animal science and plant science models, including detailed animal and stomach models and a plant science kit (available in 2017)
  5. Try virtual reality welding with the guideWELD® VR welding simulator
  6. Conduct live welding with the guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system

guideweld

Additional ways you can interact with Realityworks at VISION 2016 include:

  • Attend the “Baby Basics and Best Practices” pre-conference workshop we are co-hosting with the National Association of Teachers of Family and Consumer Sciences on November 30
  • Join us at the NATFACS Awards Reception, ACTEBabywhere
    we’ll be raffling off a new
    RealCare Baby 3 infant simulator
  • Attend the “Create Student Engagement Through Experiential Learning Tools” pre-conference workshop we are is co-hosting with the National Association of Agriculture Educators on November 30, where we’ll be raffling off one of our NEW animal science models
  • Attend the Health Occupations Student Association (HOSA) Luncheon we are co-hosting with HOSA on December 1, where we’ll be raffling off a RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator and sharing more details on our new experiential learning tools for health sciences
  • Share your selfie for a chance to win! tweet a selfie with your favorite Realityworks product in our booth and tag us @Realityworksinc and the show #VISION16 for your chance to win a Realityworks mug!

You can still register for ACTE’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference online by clicking here. We hope to see you there!

Is RealCare® Baby Recognizing ID Tags?

By Nate Schlieve, Realityworks Product Support Technician

Ever have students who have just completed a full simulation mention that their Baby was not accepting the ID very well? Before running a test or a demonstration you can look at the student’s report and verify if there was an ID problem or not.

Start by looking at the Performance Overview box. There is more to this box than just the Performance Overview percentage.

img1 Look at the Proper Care section of the Performance Overview. This section is very important because it provides you with an idea of how attentive the participant was with the Baby. The Proper Care percentage is calculated by dividing the number of care events the participant properly responded to (left side) from the total number of requested care events (right side).img2

If you look at just the Proper Care section alone, you can tell the participant gave excellent care. You can also tell from the Proper Care box that we have a very attentive student by looking at the total number of times the ID was recognized against the total number of requested care events. In the example above the Baby requested 103 care events and the ID was recognized 109 times. The Baby will respond to the ID whenever the Baby is crying for a care event, fussy event, or mishandle event. If the total number of times the ID is recognized is greater or equal to the total number of requested care events it is an indication that any time the Baby cried for care the student was there to respond. It also indicates that the Baby is responding just fine to their ID.

To see guides, videos, FAQs and troubleshooting with RealCare Baby, visit our support page: http://www.realityworks.com/support/realcare-baby/

 

Spotlight – November Edition

Meet the Realityworks Team

kathi_peck Kathi Peck has been with Realityworks for 13 years as our Accounts Receivable Clerk. A friend told her about the job opening, she was friends with an employee who worked here. In her role, Kathi handles a lot of different tasks including working with accounts receivable, processing credit cards, cash receipts, mail, bank reconciliation, and many other odds and ends.  She enjoys helping things run smoothly and problem solving issues that come up with both customers and the sales department.

“If I made a list of the things I like about Realityworks, the top one would always be the flexibility,” said Kathi when asked what she likes most about working for Realityworks. “My flexibility needs come with having a daughter who is 23 and autistic.  It is just her and me at home.  No other employer has come close to understanding how important she is to me.  It makes me feel more loyal to the company for that understanding.”

One of the most interesting things Kathi finds true about Realityworks is the huge impact we make in spite of being a very small company.

“To know we can make a difference even though we are a small company means we can all be proud of the work we do,” she said. “It takes every person here to contribute to make that happen and at the end of the day that is a good feeling.  When our customers succeed while using our products, we succeed.”

When not working, Kathi spends a lot of time with her family. She has two adopted kids, three biological kids and another daughter who she has all but adopted.  Kathi also has four granddaughters and a grandson.

Kathi said she has many hobbies and also enjoys travelling.

“I went on an Alaskan Cruise, zip lining, dog sledding,” she said.  “I also went to Mexico.  In the future, I would like to travel more within the United States.”