Seven young women began their coursework together in August and plan to graduate with their technical diplomas in May 2021. Most will continue their education at Lakeshore next fall as they pursue an associate degree in agribusiness science and technology. All currently work on farms and two live on family farms.
Lakeshore student Lily Charapata says she chose the dairy herd management program for two reasons: her passion for the dairy industry and the recommendation of her boss, a 2011 Lakeshore graduate.
“I love working with the cows and being a part of the farming community. Not only am I planning a career in the dairy industry, but my entire lifestyle will revolve around it. The job and lifestyle can both be extremely difficult at times, but the rewards are beyond beneficial,” said Charapata. Working together as a family, bonding with others, and the opportunity to learn life lessons in dedication, teamwork, and work ethics are the rewards Charapata says she sees in farming.
Kelsie Bramstedt, a 2020 Valders High School graduate, is two courses ahead of the other students due to her participation in the Youth Apprenticeship (YA) program. The statewide program takes an “earn while you learn” approach to career awareness by placing high school juniors and seniors in paid jobs in fields they are interested. It also allows students to take college-level courses in those fields.
“I got involved with YA because I knew I was very interested in agriculture early in my high school career. Going into my junior year, I decided that working hands-on at a farm would give me a lot of experience along with being able to learn about agriculture,” said Bramstedt. She gained experience working at Soaring Eagle Dairy and Brunmeier Dairy, both in Newton.
Since 2015, an average of 63 percent of students in the Lakeshore program have been female. The 2017 USDA Census of Agriculture, which is done every five years, reported an increase to 29.1 percent from 13.7 percent of women reporting as principal operators of farms in the United States. This equates to over 500,000 more women. The census also reported 35 percent of principal operators on farms in Wisconsin to be female.
“We are excited about our all-female group milestone and the fact women have always filled critical roles in farming and agriculture,” said Lakeshore Agribusiness/Dairy Management Instructor Liz Gartman. “Knowing these young women will also soon help fill the growing number of high-tech jobs and leadership roles is very satisfying.”
“It is enjoyable to see all these young people have the passion for dairy cattle and animals in general. Whether it is men or women, the passion dairy individuals have for the industry is what is the most rewarding,” said Lakeshore Dairy/Agribusiness Instructor Craig Lallensack.
All the students are involved in Lakeshore’s Professional Agricultural Students Club. Club members have opportunities to participate in conferences and competitions where they can showcase newly developed technical skills, as well as leadership and teamwork skills. Students anticipate attending three events typically held in person, though scheduled to be held virtually in early 2021. Students also carry out community service projects such as their recently completed food drive.
Lakeshore faculty regularly gets calls from farmers looking for its graduates and students. Graduates of the dairy herd management program typically enter careers as herdspersons or managers, calf facilities managers, milking parlor managers, artificial insemination technicians, or goat herd managers. Some start farming on their own.
For information about Lakeshore’s dairy herd management program, visit gotoltc.edu/dairy-herd.
About Lakeshore Technical College
Each year more than 10,000 people enroll in courses at Lakeshore Technical College. They rely on LTC for job preparation, to earn a degree, upgrade a specialized skill, train as an apprentice, or seek a high school equivalency. LTC faculty and staff meet students where they are in life and help them get one step closer to achieving their goals.
LTC is a nationally recognized technical college. The college was ranked the #2 two-year college in the nation for adult learners by Washington Monthly, #20 in the nation for two-year college educational outcomes by WalletHub.com, a top-150 two-year college for the fifth consecutive time by the Aspen Institute, and a top 10 Bellwether Award finalist for two consecutive years.
Approximately 800 students graduate from LTC each year, and LTC’s associate degree graduates earn a median salary of $42,000 per year. In addition to the Cleveland campus, LTC serves students in Manitowoc and Sheboygan, and offers classes at additional sites throughout the district. Visit LTC at gotoltc.edu.