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.

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.

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!

Welding Education in the 21st Century: Engaging Today’s Students in a Growing Career Path

In July 2016, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics reported the need for 379,000 manufacturing positions – an increase of more than 280 percent since 2008.1 Industry leaders report that these job openings will continue to grow; according to the American Welding Society, there will be a need for over 400,000 welders by the year 2025.2 In the next decade alone, the Manufacturing Institute predicts a need for nearly 3.5 million manufacturing jobs.3 As the nation’s workers and infrastructure age, demand for qualified workers in the manufacturing industry will continue to grow.

glimpseWhile manufacturing job openings grow, however, employers are struggling to find qualified workers to fill them. In fact, the number of open manufacturing positions is at its highest point in 15 years, but the rate of hiring has only increased by 36 percent since 2008.⁴ The nation is facing a significant skills gap, one that the Manufacturing Institute predicts could result in nearly 2 million of the industry’s anticipated job openings going unfilled.⁵

Technology can play a powerful role in the engagement of today’s students in these vital career paths. After all, 21st Century Learning is a technology-based learning style; it is second nature for today’s process-oriented, connected and media-driven students to use technology to communicate, collaborate and create. Brick-and-mortar school buildings may have remained relatively the same over the past century, but the advancement of technology means the tools available to instructors are completely different.

How educators use technology is key in equipping students with the skills the workforce needs to remain globally competitive, from manufacturing and welding and beyond – and Career and Technical Education (CTE) professionals are stepping up. From virtual reality simulation tools to certification programs and student-run businesses, CTE instructors are taking steps to engage today’s 21st century students in these growing career paths and give them hands-on opportunities to learn valuable trades.

Illinois education organization using tools, certifications to teach students industry-specific skills

skillsgapThe Career Education Associates of North Central Illinois (CEANCI) is an Education for Employment (EFE) organization that serves 10 school districts in the Rockford, IL area. It works with educators and industry leaders to help ensure that the 28,000 students in its coverage area (which includes 15 high schools and 19 middle schools) have curriculum, equipment and materials to help them learn targeted, industry-specific skills. As the region encompasses a strong manufacturing industry, one of those skills is welding – a skill that CEANCI System Director Margie Hartfiel says is worth investing in.

“When we look at the programs we fund, we make decisions that are tied directly to labor market information,” said Hartfiel, who has been working in education for 27 years. “Welding is a high-need area, and as our labor market ages, we are finding that the business partners we work closely with are telling us repeatedly that they need these particular skills.”

Industry certifications are one way CEANCI is helping its students learn industry-specific skills. CEANCI currently offers certifications in a variety of CTE pathways, including manufacturing, early childhood, culinary arts and industrial technology – all of which the EFE works with industry representatives to ensure the relevancy of.

In 2014, CEANCI helped 630 students earn certifications; that number grew to 2,303 in 2015 and Hartfiel predicts that this year, over 4,300 students will earn certifications. Support for the initiative is regionwide; area educators and industry representatives recognize the value of a student’s ability to graduate from high school and say, “Yes, I can do this, and I have proven it.”

guideweld Technology is another tool that CEANCI is using to equip students with in-demand welding skills. In 2015, CEANCI approved funding for the guideWELD® VR welding simulator and the guideWELD® LIVE real welding guidance system. Implemented as a pilot program in the Winnebago and Oregon school districts, the guideWELD VR simulators are used to introduce students to welding in a virtual, spark-free environment, while the guideWELD LIVE systems are used to help students hone live welding skills. CEANCI sees two specific benefits to the implementation of such technology: the ability to save money and the ability to demonstrate learned skills.

Click here to download the full PDF version of this case study and learn how welding education will impact the 21st century classroom.

Realityworks announces new experiential learning tool for Career and Technical Education

Realityworks, Inc. announces a new product for Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs: the RealCareer™ Electrical Wiring Kit. Featuring practice components, curriculum and a unique assessment piece, the kit provides CTE instructors with a safer, more efficient way to teach electrical wiring basics and prepare students for in-demand jobs.

Electrical Wiring and Assessment

In addition to a desktop-size wall panel and activities that students can use to practice basic wiring, the Electrical Wiring Kit features a one-of-a-kind Assessment Kit that enables instructors to safely test for errors. The Assessment Kit not only eliminates the creation of potentially dangerous electrical situations, but allows instructors to see why problems have occurred and how to fix them without dismantling the project or creating unsafe sparks. By improving classroom safety and offering more practice and assessment opportunities, the kit will help instructors prepare even more students for a career path that is expected to grow almost 15% in the next decade.

“Instructors need a safer, easier way to assess their students while teaching basic wiring skills, and that’s why we created this product,” said Realityworks President & CEO Timm Boettcher. “By including a specialized Assessment Kit that uses a safe, battery-powered electrical source, we’re giving instructors a safer, more effective way to evaluate their students and prepare them for growing careers – and we couldn’t do it without the talent of local individuals.”

ewk-product-shot

The Electrical Wiring Kit joins a growing line of hands-on training tools designed to help CTE instructors equip students with targeted, industry-specific skills. It is manufactured entirely in Eau Claire, WI, with the Assessment Kit created by Realityworks employees and the portable Wall Panel created by employees of the L.E. Phillips Career Development Center, which provides employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities or disadvantages. It will be on display with Realityworks’ other experiential learning tools to over 5,000 education and industry representatives at the Association for Career & Technical Education’s CareerTech VISION 2016 Conference in Las Vegas December 1 & 2, as well as at other CTE conferences across the country through the rest of the year.

To learn more about the Electrical Wiring Kit and Realityworks’ RealCareer product line, visit www.realityworks.com or call 800-262-3806.

Realityworks’ age simulation suit wins caregiver award

By Janelle Krause, Realityworks PR & Events Specialist

CaregiverFriendlyAward

EAU CLAIRE, Wis., August 1, 2016 –  Realityworks’ newest RealCare product, the RealCare™ Geriatric Simulator sensitivity suit, has received the 2016 Today’s Caregiver™ Friendly Award by Today’s Caregiver magazine. The Caregiver Friendly Awards are designed to celebrate products, services, books and media created with the needs of caregivers in mind. This award recognizes Realityworks’ understanding of the importance of supporting caregivers and their creation of a product that not only helps caregivers do their job, but helps improve the quality of elderly patients’ lives.

student assisting with RCare logo cropped4x5

Realityworks created the Geriatric Simulator to help prepare health care workers for careers in the rapidly growing geriatric healthcare field. The Geriatric Simulator is a wearable sensitivity suit that helps educate on topics related to aging and care for the elderly by enabling users to experience age-related physical challenges. It includes curriculum that can be incorporated into secondary and post-secondary education, nursing and health occupations programs to help users prepare for geriatric health care careers and to gain an understanding of what patients could endure.

“The Geriatric Sensitivity suit helps users develop empathy toward the elderly, a trait that studies show is key for success in elder care careers,” said Timm Boettcher, President and CEO of Realityworks. “We are proud to be recognized for the assistance our product can give caregivers and educators.”

Realityworks’ award will be announced in the September/October 2016 issue of Today’s Caregiver and on the magazine’s website, caregiver.com.

Learn more

For more information on the RealCare Geriatric Simulator, we recommend these resources:

About Realityworks, Inc.
Established 19 years ago to better address teen pregnancy prevention, parenting skills, child abuse and neglect through educational products, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students while improving the human condition. Most famous for their RealCare Baby infant simulator (formerly known as Baby Think it Over or BTIO), Realityworks has developed several other programs over the last decade that address career preparation areas like business management, finance and entrepreneurship, and welding with guideWELD, a live welding guidance system. With simulators in 62 percent of U.S. school districts and programs in more than 90 countries around the world, Realityworks has made a worldwide impact. For more information, visit www.realityworks.com, or call toll-free 800-830-1416.

About the Caregiver Friendly Awards
Caregiver Friendly® Awards are presented by Today’s Caregiver magazine to celebrate outstanding books, media, products and services designed with the best interest of the family caregiver in mind. Today’s Caregiver magazine, launched in 1995, is published by Caregiver Media Group, which also produces the Fearless Caregiver Conferences, www.caregiver.com and The Fearless Caregiver book, which teaches caregivers how to become their loved one’s fearless advocates within the healthcare system.

Perkins Act Reauthorization: A Reminder to Continue Advocating

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

2015 ACTE Business Leader of the Year

The U.S. is on a path towards realizing how important Career and Technical Education (CTE) is in this country, and on June 28, Congress took an important step to ensure that journey continues: It announced a bill to reauthorize the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act.

Sponsored by Reps. Glenn Thompson (R-PA) and Katherine Clark (D-MA), the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act is the first comprehensive reauthorization of the Perkins Act to be considered by Congress since 2006. It’s the result of efforts by educators, business leaders, legislators and organizations to ensure that schools can equip students with the academic, technical and job-related skills they need to succeed and keep our country’s workforce competitive. It is spectacular to see those efforts coming to fruition.

Such efforts are the only way to keep support for CTE moving forward. With regular, consistent advocacy, educators and business leaders can connect. They can collaborate to develop programs that will properly prepare our future workforce – programs that match curricula to industry requirements, combine core academics with employability and technical skills and prepare students to be college- and career-ready. As Acting U.S. Secretary of Education John B. King. Jr. recently stated, “Every job that leads to a secure future requires critical thinking, problem solving and creativity.” CTE programs provide students with those skills.

That’s why the Industry Workforce Needs Coalition (IWNC), which I chair, continues to foster partnerships between education and industry while advocating for increased funding on federal, state and local levels. It’s why the IWNC collaborated with the Association for Career & Technical Education and Opportunity America to help organize a Congressional staff briefing earlier this year on CTE from an employer perspective. And it’s why more work is needed to ensure that our workforce is properly prepared for the future.

This bill seeks to reform several aspects of the Perkins Act to reflect the challenges facing students and workers today. Highlights of the bill include improved alignment between education and workforce development laws, which will drive program congruency. It also simplifies the process through which educators can access CTE funding by lessening bureaucratic requirements and expanding state control.

The educators, business leaders, legislators and organizations who have worked so hard to make this reauthorization bill a reality deserve sincere appreciation. Strengthened CTE legislation is absolutely needed in this country to ensure our workforce is prepared for the future. However, we need to stay focused on ensuring the availability of CTE programs for all students. We need to work to ensure that those programs align with industry standards and incorporate core academics along with job-related skills so that today’s students are prepared for success in the 21st Century workforce. Let’s take this opportunity to continue advocating in support of the economically critical educational opportunities that CTE programs provide.

In addition to presiding over Realityworks, Inc., Timm chairs the IWNC, a group created by American business leaders to increase the population of skilled workers in the US through better alignment between the educational system and industry. Timm was also named ACTE’s 2015 Business Leader of the Year for his sustained commitment to improving CTE and the connection needed between the workforce development, economic development, and education systems.

Realityworks Appoints Fundacja Po Drugie as RealCare Distributor for Poland

Realityworks Appoints Fundacja Po Drugie as RealCare Distributor for Poland

Educators in Poland will have access to experiential education simulators                                      and support through a new local distributor.

EAU CLAIRE, Wis. USA May 12, 2016 – Realityworks®, Inc. has signed an agreement with Fundacja Po Drugie to become a distributor of Realityworks programs in Poland. Fundacja Po Drugie will join the established network of distributors that partner with Realityworks to help expand on the company’s current 90 country reach. With the help of distributors, Realityworks has reached over six million students with their experiential learning technology products.

The partnership with Fundacja Po Drugie grants them representation of the Realityworks’ RealCare® program. The program includes the world famous RealCare Baby® infant simulator, as well as simulators for shaken baby syndrome, fetal alcohol syndrome, drug-affected infants, premature infants and a Pregnancy Profile® vest. These realistic hands-on tools, with included comprehensive curricula, are mainly used in educational settings to raise awareness of teen pregnancy, teach childcare career skills, prevent child abuse and address the consequences of actions taken during pregnancy.

Fundacja Po Drugie will assist educational centers, schools, and social center and implement the RealCare program through many projects, including the international project “Positive Parenting” in which organizations from throughout the European Union are cooperatively working together to create educational programs for specialists through the use of Realityworks products.

“We have worked with Realityworks products since 2012 when we launched the project When I stay MOTHER/ FATHER,” stated Agnieszka Sikora, CEO of Fundacja Po Drugie. “We know that the products are effective and we firmly believe that through these learning tools we can work together to build a better world and a better future for Polish families.”

“Realityworks products are present in over 90 countries around the world, and we are excited to now have Polish distributor, Fundacja Po Drugie, join our network,” stated Timm Boettcher, President of Realityworks. “They have worked with our products in the past, giving them knowledge to be instrumental in distributing resources to impact the youth in their area.”

For more information about Realityworks programs in the Poland, contact Fundacja Po Drugie at http://www.podrugie.pl/ as well as +693 90 40 44.

About Fundacja Po Drugie

Fundacja Po Drugie is a non-government organization based in Warsaw, Poland. Since its inception five years ago, the organization has worked all over Poland to re-socialize and educate young people from correctional facilities, educational youth centers and those in foster care, as well as within Polish schools.

They address young people by focusing on building their social skills, including parenting and caregiver training. Fundacja Po Drugie’s goal is to involve young people in decision-making process, building its citizenship and preventing social exclusion.

About Realityworks, Inc. Established over 20 years ago to better address parenting skills, teen pregnancy prevention, child abuse and neglect through educational products, Realityworks, Inc. is dedicated to creating experiential learning tools that engage students while improving the human condition. Most famous for their RealCare Baby infant simulator (formerly known as Baby Think it Over or BTIO), Realityworks has developed several other programs over the last decade that address career preparation areas like business management, finance and entrepreneurship, and RealCareer® Welding Solutions line including the guideWELD™ VR welding simulator and guideWELD™ LIVE real welding guidance system used during arc welding. With products in 62 percent of U.S. school districts and programs in more than 90 countries around the world, Realityworks has made a worldwide impact. For more information, visit www.realityworks.com, or call toll-free 800-830-1416.

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Media Contact:

Janelle Krause Realityworks Public Relations and Event Specialist

Janelle.Krause@realityworks.com

715-858-7121