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Nicolet College - New Dean of Trade and Industry focuses on cutting edge job trends

Discovering cutting-edge job trends
a major focus for Nicolet’s new Dean of Trade and Industry


As Nicolet College’s new Dean of Trade and Industry, Brigitte Parsons is on a mission to keep the skills students learn in the classroom on the cutting edge of what’s needed in the workplace.

Brigitte Parsons“What’s the next big thing? That’s what I want to know,” Parsons said. “While it’s critical students at Nicolet develop the skill sets necessary to do any given job today, they also need to know about what’s coming around the corner. What are the skills they are going to need tomorrow? A big part of my job will be to work with area businesses and industries to identify trends and new skill sets students will need to succeed in the workplace.”

A tall order, no doubt. But one that Parsons, who joined the staff in June, is eager to tackle. Already she’s working with the college’s auto technology instructors to ramp up instruction on hybrid vehicle technology. In the building trades program, home designs and construction techniques that maximize energy efficiency are the name of the game.

“It all comes down to teaching skills that are relevant,” she said. “The economy is changing. Jobs are changing. That means the skills we teach have to change.”

Along with keeping up with new technology, Parsons added she will also focus on incorporating green and sustainable practices into the curriculum.

At Nicolet she will oversee the Automotive Technician, Building Trades – Carpentry, HVAC, Industrial Electronics Maintenance, Land Surveying, Manufacturing Essentials, and Welding programs along with the college’s Renewable Energy Center.

Before joining the Nicolet staff Parsons served as the head of the Forestry Department at Dabney S. Lancaster Community College in Clifton Forge, Va., for five years. Before that she worked for three years as a planning forester for Weyerhauser. She holds a B.S. in Forestry Resource Management from West Virginia University and a M.S. in Forestry and Wood Products from Virginia Tech.

Parsons also has strong ties to the area with many relatives in the Minocqua and Woodruff area. Her dad even once took classes at Nicolet. “It’s very rewarding for me to give back to the community my family has been a part of for generations,” she said.