Career Technologies

August 14, 2017

When Andrew Dirienzo graduated from Kishwaukee College with a certificate in Welding Technology, he figured he would find a job as a welder in a local industry. He never imagined that he would land a position that would take him to northern Italy for training. But that is exactly what happened. 

Andrew graduated from Sycamore High School in 2011 and enlisted in the Air Force National Guard right out of school. “I signed up on my 18th birthday,” he said. “I was an Aerospace Ground Equipment Mechanic and did a tour of duty in Afghanistan.” 

When he returned from deployment in 2014, he signed up for classes at Kish. He took a few General Education courses and realized that he would rather work with his hands. He signed up for a couple of welding classes and found his path. “I really liked that you can take raw material and build something from it,” he explained. “My favorite types of welding are stick and TIG (Tungsten Inert Gas) welding. We built trailers with [instructor] Steve Durin. Instructor Zach Caccia is really an excellent welder – I was his student assistant in the welding lab.”

Everything was going in a usual direction, until Brett Cole from Cole Pallet in Sycamore called Bernie Pupino, Coordinator of Career Technologies at Kish, with an unusual request: a company in Italy was manufacturing line equipment for Cole and wanted a local rep to install and train the Cole employees on the new line when it was ready to be delivered. Their preference was for a military veteran. Andrew fit the bill, perfectly.

The Corali company makes their home in Bergamo, Italy. The company builds manufacturing lines for industries that glue, stitch or use similar procedures to build their products, industries like Cole Pallet. After accepting the position, Andrew found himself training in northern Italy at Corali’s headquarters. “I actually use all the skills I learned in the military plus the welding,” he explained. “I do pneumatics, electrical, and hydraulics.”

Andrew returned to the Corali plant in Italy with Brett Cole this summer. It gave Cole an opportunity to see the equipment in action and running product. After Cole approved it, Andrew and the Corali team dismantled the line and prepared it to ship to Sycamore where Andrew will spend the next year installing it, calibrating it, and then training employees on running and maintaining it on site at Cole Pallet.

Andrew Dirienzo never expected that his decision to pursue welding at Kishwaukee College would line him up with the kind of job everyone dreams of. “I really thought I would get a local job, doing the same welds every day,” he said. “I never thought I would have a position where I travel to Europe!”

Pictured in front of Corali manufacturing equipment at a Pallet Manufacturing Conference in Germany this summer, is the Corali USA team, L to R: Alain Clicet, Sales; Andrew Dirienzo; Jeff Jenson, Corali USA President; and Rosely Rosa, Corali Parts Manager.

August 7, 2017

Kishwaukee College has a wide variety of courses and programs to give students invaluable skills in office software use.  Pam Pascolini, Office Systems (OS) instructor at Kishwaukee College, said, “Office software programs, like Microsoft Word or Excel, are great tools but most people really never get past the homepage in any of these programs and have not even begun to tap the potential in the software.”

According to Pascolini, most people underestimate the importance of basic office skills in the contemporary work environment. “Once you know the ins and outs of the office software, work can become much more efficient and fun,” she said. “But learning to use the software tools is a great idea for everyone, not just administrative assistants. These skills are the backbone of society today.”

Kish offers everything from introductory level to more advanced OS courses and also has specialized courses for students interested in pursuing, for example, Medical Coding and Billing, a growing area of employment. She noted that high school and college students also benefit. “Many traditional age students are very tech savvy with their phones,” she explained. “But sometimes are unsure how to attach a document to an email or are unaware that Microsoft Word has the settings already programmed in for MLA formatting for research papers. Their assignments could go a lot smoother with a little knowledge.”

Pascolini is an alum of the Kishwaukee Office Systems program and knows first-hand how important the basic office skills are in the workplace. Knowing that an Office Systems degree or certificate can provide a perfect point for anyone re-entering the workforce, Pascolini has made sure that courses are available during “family friendly” time periods. “Many courses this fall begin after a parent would drop off kids at school and are completed in time for after-school pick-up,” she said. “There are evening sections, too.”

In addition, Pascolini offers a down-to-earth Employment Strategies class to assist students with finding a job that is a good fit. The class goes over creating resumes, cover letters, and how to do a job search in a practical manner, but also teaches students how to create a brand and sell it. “Most job seekers don’t think about themselves as a “brand,” but when you job hunt, you’re creating your own unique brand and then advertising it to potential employers. The days where you make a single resume and blanket employers with it are long gone. With new technology, every resume can be tweaked for a specific employer, and should be,” she explained.

For more information on Office Systems opportunities for Fall 2017, contact Pam Pascolini at 815-825-9413 or or visit

Contact Student Services at 815-825-9375 for more information on enrollment and registration at Kishwaukee College. Registration for Fall 2017 is currently in progress.

June 21, 2017

Students in several of Kishwaukee College Career Technologies programs collaborated to create an end-loader bucket this spring. 

Dave Gommel, Coordinator of Maintenance Services at the College, wanted to duplicate a specific end-loader bucket design and asked the Career Tech division if the students could re-create it. Gommel supplied the materials and the students gained real-life experience in design and manufacturing collaboration.

Students in Computer-Assisted Design (CAD) 153/253 Advanced CAD/Mechanical Design took measurements of the original end-loader. The students divided up the design components to give each student an opportunity to participate and also to learn to collaborate in the design process, a skill that they will need when they enter the workforce. Participating CAD students were Max Garcia, Genoa; Patrick Stevens, Rochelle; Jacob Felz, DeKalb; Kevin Wolfe, Crystal Lake; and Mike Walsh, Genoa. 

When the design was complete, students in Welding Technology and Automated Engineering Tech built the end loader from raw material.  The Welding students created the larger parts, using a variety of equipment to shear the metal and form the curved design prior to welding. Participating Welding students were Andrew Dirienzo, Sycamore; DJ Dirienzo, Sycamore; and Matt Cornell, Genoa. 

To create the smaller components to meet the specification required the use of both Computer Numerical Control (CNC) and traditional Tool and Die processes. Jim Gavin, Genoa, in MT 216, Fabrication Processes, and instructor Pete Campbell, created the bushings for the pins to hold the bucket to the tractor. The two turned them on the lathe and drilled the holes using the CNC machine.

The result is an end-loader bucket that was exactly what Dave Gommel had wanted, with the addition of the signature Kishwaukee College initials and the Career Tech division name!

For more information on Career Technologies programs, visit or call the Career Technologies division at 815-825-9303. Registration for Fall 2017 is currently in progress; classes begin August 21.

Pictured with the finished end-loader project are, L to R, Kevin Wolfe, Crystal Lake, CAD student; Matt Cornell, Genoa, Welding student; Mike Walsh, Genoa, CAD student; Patrick Stevens, Rochelle, CAD student; and Max Garcia, Genoa, CAD student.

April 28, 2017

Kishwaukee College students in Computer-Aided Design (CAD) 154 Advanced CAD/Architectural and CAD 254 Computer-Aided Architectural Design, visited an architectural masterpiece on April 19: Farnsworth House in Plano. Designed in 1945 by one of the leading figures in the modernist movement in architectural design, Mies van der Rohe, the house was built for Chicago physician Dr. Edith Farnsworth and was completed in 1951. Farnsworth House’s most renowned feature is its walls of glass that allow nature inside and make the house become part of the natural world outside. The students toured the house and were accompanied by Rick Bunton, CAD instructor, and Matthew Feuerborn, Dean of Career Technologies. Students participating were Aaron Davis, Rochelle; Jacob Felz, DeKalb; Chris Griffith, DeKalb; Sue Kim, Sterling; Heather Malkus, Rochelle; Sam Marchesi, Rochelle; and Kevin Wolfe Crystal Lake. For information on the Computer-Aided Design Program, contact Rick Bunton at 815-825-9634 or at Registration is currently in progress for Summer and Fall 2017, for more information, visit

June 20, 2016

Jaime Briner, DeKalb, can state without hesitation what the best part of her ELE 102 PC Maintenance and Repair class was. “I was able to gut a computer with no fear of the consequences. If the thing caught fire, it still would've been alright.”  Her statement is interesting especially in light of the fact that she began that semester a self-described novice: “I knew nothing of computers and that terrified me.”

On the other hand, Susanna Eschbach, Cortland, took ELE 102 because, unlike Jaime, she has always loved computers. “I was initially drawn to the class on how to fix computers. I then saw the fall syllabus for the computer technology major and the classes sounded interesting, so I signed up for the Fall semester of classes!”

Lucy Farley, DeKalb, has always been drawn to programs where she can use her hands as well as her mind. “I knew I was looking towards the Career Technologies division to call home during my two-year community college adventure,” she stated. “Once into my first Industrial Electricity and PLC courses things seemed to fall into place. With a vast and unique field such as Electronics, I have great optimism in finding a career path and position that seems as though it were tailored to fit me.”

Overseeing all this enthusiasm is Charles Raimondi, Electronics Technology instructor at Kishwaukee College. Charles is just completing his second year with Kish but is no stranger to the electronics classroom and lab – he came to the College with five years college teaching experience.

Electronics is a growing field and its complexity and intricacies are an attractive entryway into STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) fields for women. According to the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, women now comprise nearly 50% of all employees in the electronics industry and the demand for women in the field is growing rapidly.

Susanna is in the Computer Technology Program at Kish. “The first time you walk into an ELE class, you'll feel so overwhelmed. I'm half way through my second semester and I still feel that way a lot of the time. But then, if you persevere, you'll look back and be amazed at the amount of stuff you'll have learned and can do.”  She also credits Charles with making learning a combination of lecture and practical application in the lab. She said, “The mix makes sure that we understand both the practical and theoretical side of electronics.”

Lucy plans to transfer to a university but in the meantime has submerged herself in a program with an instructor who gives her the freedom to pursue her dream with just the right amount of support. “I am extremely fortunate to be employed within the department under my FANTASTIC instructor, Charles Raimondi, and am looking forward to the upcoming semesters,” she said. “Charles is extremely passionate about his work. The classroom atmosphere is best described as student-oriented. And Charles makes it a point to integrate women into STEM fields, as it is in high demand.”

But for Jaime, electronics is not a career goal. She plans to be a Public Relations professional, but learning the ins and outs of computers just made sense to her.  “I wanted to learn about computers considering how vital they are and likely will be later in my career.”

Susanna loves the challenge. “The best part of classes is always learning new stuff. It really never gets boringAnd it doesn't hurt that since the electronics field is one of the fastest growing industries, you're almost guaranteed a decent job as soon as you graduate!”

Enjoying the field and good job prospects makes the circuit complete.