From rivernewsonline.com: “Nicolet College hosts ‘Return to Learning’ event” — On Thursday night, Nicolet College held “Returning to Learning” an event designed to give adults and others returning to school after being out of school for any period of time all the information they need in order to enroll at Nicolet.

“It’s a great event because they can come to one place and talk to everybody. They can talk to someone about financial aid, career assessment and find out about all the other services we have going on here,” said Nancy Burns, placement specialist and career coach at Nicolet.

This is the fourth “Returning to Learning” event Nicolet College has held since beginning the program two years ago. Nicolet holds the event in the spring and in the fall.

“We try to tailor the event for people who are coming back to school after being out of school for a while,” said Sandy Kinney, executive director of communications and college and community initiatives. “All of the research and studies on people going back is that adult returning learners have different learning concerns than people coming out of high school, so we wanted to do an event that would address what their concerns are and what their needs are.”

Where similar events for high school students are highly structured with presentations and tours, “Returning to Learning” is a drop-in event designed to accommodate the busy schedules of those looking to go back to school.

“Adults are busy. They’re squeezing this in between things, and they need to be able to just come in, get the answers to the questions they need, skip the things they don’t need, and be able to leave again,” said Kinney. “So we set it up in this open time format so people could drop in at the end of the day, after work or after dinner, whatever works for them.”

Kinney said visitors to the event have usually put a lot of thought into going back to school, but they need more answers and information before deciding to enroll. Additionally, the event is a steppingstone for potential students. It begins a dialogue between students and the college, allowing the Nicolet staff to guide the individual through the admission and enrollment process, answering any questions along the way.

“We see people that are serious about coming back to school,” said Kinney. “Research will show that adults typically will take two to three years from the time they start thinking about going back to school to when they actually do it. So we see people at different stages in that process. Some that are just kind of playing with the idea, wondering, ‘What do you have at Nicolet, I know I’m not moving somewhere to go to school…so what do you have?’ and we have that, all the way to people who walk in the door and say, ‘I know exactly what I want. I want to enroll in this program, and can I start this summer?’ So there’s a whole range.”

A variety of Nicolet staff members, including deans, instructors, career coaches and academic advisors, as well as faculty members to help with financial aid and admission questions, were on hand to meet the needs of any individual who stopped in.

Several academic advisors were available to answer questions about coursework, credits and transfer options. The advisors also were able to tell students if they qualified to receive credits for prior learning or work experiences.

Tom Raykovich, a transitions counselor at Nicolet, was available to help answer any enrollment questions potential students might have. Raykovich, who runs the assessment center at Nicolet, said he helps students prepare for placement testing in order to make sure they enroll in classes that match their abilities.

“We take students no matter where their skills are, and we get them where they need to be,” said Raykovich.

This differs from the UW System, where a certain ACT score is usually required for enrollment consideration.

“We test, but just to find out where the skills are, and then we figure out where to place them. It’s an open-door policy,” said Raykovich.

Financial Aid Director Jill Price answered questions students had about financial aid, and gave them advice on how they could pay for college.

“Most of our students, without financial aid, wouldn’t be able to afford college,” she said.”We talk about the options they have and give them information.”

Price stressed to potential students the importance of filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form, which allows students to be eligible for federal grants and loans. She said students often think they won’t qualify for FAFSA loans and grants, but she always tells them that, “They won’t know until they try.”

Kinney said many of the community members who attend this event eventually attend Nicolet .

“What we do see is that out of people who come to this event, a very high percentage end up enrolling,” she said.

Dean of Trade and Industry Brigitte Parsons said the event is about helping potential students find the answers to all of their questions about college enrollment.

“This is a place where they can come and explore, ask questions, find out, ‘How much money will I make if I major in welding or if I major in nursing?’ or ‘How quickly can I transfer to a university?’ so there’s a lot of questions we can answer on a night like this,” she said.

Western referendum passes

November 7, 2012

From lacrossetribune.com: “Western, North Side school referendums ride high on local support” — Voters appeared to back Western Technical College’s plan to add students and update facilities with a strong showing of support Tuesday for the school’s $79.8 million referendum.

By early this morning, 53.4 percent had voted “yes” with 202 of 211 precincts reporting.

The money will fund six building projects, including remodeling of the college’s technology building and the Coleman and Kumm centers. The extra learning space will allow Western to serve an additional 1,000 students by 2020. It will also benefit the region’s economy, Western President Lee Rasch said.

“There is a skilled worker shortage, and it’s in manufacturing and information technology,” Rasch said. “Those are really key areas for us.”

Property taxes will increase by about $39 a year on homes worth $100,000.

The referendum covers:

  • $32.6 million for an addition to the technology building to combine the school’s mechanical and tech programs.
  • $26.5 million remodel of Coleman Center to update the 89-year-old space with more efficient, flexible learning areas.
  • $10.1 million remodel of the Kumm Center, for new health and science facilities.
  • $4.9 million for a parking ramp
  • $4.1 million expansion of Western’s diesel training facilities.
  • $1.6 million for a greenhouse near Seventh and Vine street

Western’s growth will have a $97 million impact on the regional economy by 2034, according to an economic report by NorthStar Consulting Group. Construction alone will have an estimated economic impact of $112 million by 2016.

“It’s going to make a difference,” Rasch said.

West Salem resident Bob Severson, 59, said he supported the referendum because the changes will help people learn valuable workplace skills.

“I went there myself and I think that’s going to be the crux of getting the right training,” Severson said.

Western will borrow the money for the building projects, adding to existing debt of about $58 million.

Wisconsin technical colleges can’t use referendum dollars for operating costs – unlike school districts — so they are less frequent. Western’s last referendum was more than 15 years ago, when 64 percent of voters agreed to pay for a $3 million chunk of the city’s Health Science Center.

A wave of support at the polls Tuesday also appears to have pushed through La Crosse School District’s $15.7 million referendum for a new North Side elementary school.

Voters in the La Crosse School District approved a building referendum. Final numbers show 21,494 yes votes to 10,424 no votes.

A new school will house teachers and students currently split between two aging facilities. Officials plan to build the new facility at 1611 Kane St., where the old Franklin Elementary School building stands.

“It’s going to mean a lot for our community, not just for the North Side,” Superintendent Randy Nelson said.

Taxpayers in the district could pay about $25 more on a home worth $100,000.

The prospect of higher taxes inspired 75-year-old La Crosse resident and retiree Kay Weldy to vote against the referendum.

“The taxes are too high as they are,” she said.

Franklin combined with Roosevelt about three years ago, and both run under the same administration, with grade levels divided between the two buildings.

Roosevelt, built in 1923, is the oldest school building in the district. Builders used clay tiles in the 1955 construction of Franklin, which has led to continual structural problems for the school.

Both buildings were slated for about $6 million of work, including about $2 million already bonded for heating and ventilation upgrades. Officials agreed to opt out of the bonded funds if voters passed today’s referendum.

The new building saves the district about $200,000 in operating costs each year.

Shelby resident David Loeffler, 63, said he voted “yes” on the referendum because he to ensure a quality education for future generations.

“I have a grandson and I want to make sure he gets everything he can,” Loeffler said.

Similar referendums in 2004 and 2008 failed to pass muster with voters, but this is a different time — when the community appears be favoring neighborhood revitalization in the wake of recent economic struggles, Nelson said.

“Things have changed,” he said.

From marketwatch.com: “Great Lakes Awards Grants to 14 Wisconsin Programs Improving College Completion” — Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation (Great Lakes) announced today that it has awarded $1.8 million in grants to 14 programs helping Wisconsin college students from disadvantaged backgrounds complete their degree, diploma, or certificate. Each recipient program will receive funding for services designed to strengthen the connection between these students and their campus or community, thereby improving persistence from semester-to-semester and year-to-year.

Studies show that students lacking socioeconomic or educational advantages — including students of color, those from low-income backgrounds, and those who are first in their families to attend college — are the most likely to leave college before completion. Not only do these students miss out on the benefits of postsecondary education, they are more likely to face higher unemployment rates and earn less income over their lifetime than peers who complete. In addition, students who drop out of college often leave with student loans to repay, but no credential with higher corresponding earnings to meet the costs of monthly payments.

Programs funded by Great Lakes’ Wisconsin Postsecondary Persistence Program Grants have developed specific strategies to address the unique challenges that their participating students face. Specialized services may include proactive advising, tutoring, mentoring, career exploration assistance, and placement in structured learning communities. The goal of each program is to increase their participants’ re-enrollment rates compared to those of similarly situated peers. Program outcomes will be used to identify what works best in increasing persistence and, ultimately, college completion to inform Great Lakes’ future funding decisions.

“We are pleased to partner with Wisconsin colleges, universities, and community-based organizations in their efforts to provide targeted services designed to help disadvantaged students finish their postsecondary education,” said Richard D. George, Great Lakes’ President and Chief Executive Officer. “The results-focused approaches these programs use can become models for programs elsewhere, and can help ensure that more students are able to reach their full potential.”

Wisconsin Postsecondary Persistence Program Grants have been awarded through Great Lakes’ philanthropic Community Investments program to the following recipients:

Alverno College, Milwaukee Promise Scholars Based on a successful pilot that featured a proactive advising model, this program has been awarded $151,425 to increase participation from 131 students to 250 first-generation students.

Carroll University, Waukesha Project 2016 Students in this program, 40 incoming freshmen from low-income backgrounds, will meet weekly with an advisor, attend five workshops designed to connect them to on-campus resources, and receive academic help, thanks to this $62,527 grant.

College Possible, Milwaukee College Program College Possible uses a technology-based coaching model, making use of social media, social networking, and texting to connect participating students to campus resources, to each other, and to potential employers. More than 1,300 students from Wisconsin who are attending colleges across the country will benefit from this $255,904 grant.

Madison Area Technical College Mentoring Minority Male Scholars Program (3MSP) Through this program, 40 students of color will benefit from meeting monthly with a faculty or staff mentor, as well as being part of a strong learning community. A grant of $75,608 has been awarded to expand this program to female students.

Milwaukee Area Technical College Student Support Retention Pathway (SSRP) This program supports students who have been conditionally admitted, which means their standardized test scores do not meet the minimum requirements. Through the help of a $208,407 grant, 300 of these students will be paired with another student in the program, will receive tutoring, and will be required to attend workshops on topics such as study skills and test taking.

Mount Mary College, Milwaukee Promise Plus A $214,000 grant for this program, designed to address the non-academic challenges of staying in college, will expand services to 60 students. These students will be mentored by older students in the program using online and offline methods.

St. Norbert College, De Pere Students Taking Academic Responsibility (STAR) This program provides services to assist 35 first-year students of color in adjusting to their new environment and overcoming challenges they may face. Thanks to this $61,606 grant, students will be able to participate in weekly meals, study hours, and meetings throughout the year.

United Community Center, Milwaukee Abriendo Puertas This community-based program serves Latino undergraduates from low-income backgrounds attending Milwaukee-area universities. A $155,260 grant will help 150 students identify a career path and provide them with financial counseling, professional networking, and mentoring in partnership with the Hispanic Professionals of Greater Milwaukee.

University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Blugold Beginnings Learning Community for Underrepresented Students A $148,108 grant will provide 40 students with placement in a peer group that attends classes together and has weekly meetings with a peer mentor and bi-weekly meetings with a faculty or staff coach.

University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire Commanding English This program was created for students who show great potential, despite lower grade point averages and standardized test scores. The 22 participating students have been granted admission to UW-Eau Claire contingent upon participation in this one-year program. Students take skill-building classes and general education courses together as a learning community. A grant of $40,665 has been awarded to this program.

University of Wisconsin – Marathon County Student Support Services (SSS) Through this program, 165 students with lower grade point averages or standardized test scores will meet weekly with a learning strategy specialist, explore majors, and learn about ways to fund their education. Most of the key staff in this program, which has been awarded a $67,055 grant, are first-generation college students themselves.

University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee Life Impact Program This $146,322 grant will help to serve 40 parent-students from disadvantaged backgrounds. Students in this program, which provides services throughout their time at UW-Milwaukee, will be required to attend workshops and will have access to a team of life coaches, as well as a resource center.

University of Wisconsin – Oshkosh Student Support Services (SSS)

This $169,420 grant will help to expand the program to serve 150 additional students. These students will receive advising and peer support, and be part of small learning groups led by an experienced program student.

University of Wisconsin – Parkside Project Success A $51,272 grant will help this structured learning community provide career course and assessment help, placement in a reading and composition course, and tutoring to 50 students through a team of students, instructors, peer coaches, and advisors.

For more information on Great Lakes’ Wisconsin Postsecondary Persistence Program Grants and other Community Investments initiatives, visit mygreatlakes.org/community or contact Amy Kerwin at akerwin@glhec.org or (608) 246-1785.

From greenbaypressgazette.com: “Area colleges plan for rise in online enrollment” — Local college students are gearing up to write papers and take exams, but not all of them will head back to campus.

Instead, many will complete coursework outside the classroom. The percentage of courses taken online at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College by students seeking technical diplomas or associate degrees increased from 13.26 percent in 2007-08 to nearly 18 percent last year.

“We can see clearly there’s been an interest on the customer side,” said Anne Kamps, director of learning support services for NWTC. “But quality is also important. We wouldn’t do it, if we couldn’t provide the quality without the rigor, quality and content as face-to-face.”

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and St. Norbert College also provide Internet options and administrators say they’re planning for growth in online coursework.

NWTC has been offering online options for about 12 years, and Kamps said classes began in general education and business classes. Each department had a representative involved from the beginning, she said.

In 2007-08, about 8,733 courses out of 65,868 for technical diploma and associate degree students at NWTC were taken online. Last year, 14,146 courses out of 78,700 were Internet based. That means the number of online courses taken increased by 62 percent in five years, while the overall number of courses increased by 19.5 percent in that period.

Since 2002, students taking online courses are mostly female, she said — 71 percent, compared with 29 percent male. Those taking traditional classroom courses are 54 percent women and 46 percent men, Kamps said.

Those who enroll in online courses tend to be older returning students, Kamps said. It usually takes people a little more than 12½ years after graduating high school to sign up for online coursework, compared with 8.4 years after high school to go back to traditional college courses.

Students participate both full and part time, she said, depending on the amount of financial aid they receive or life or work needs.

Online courses also save money and travel time for many students who live outside Brown County, she said.

Expansion “sure makes sense,” Kamps said. “We’re thinking about,‘Which programs and courses should we be looking at? What tools are available?’ We want to make sure we can deliver all that makes sense.”

Web conferencing programs, similar to Skype, likely will be expanded as a way to make online classes more engaging, she said.

“Could we make it even more visual?” Kamps said. “We’re always looking at new ways to promote learning.”

Many of UW-Green Bay’s older returning students prefer online coursework, said Christina Trombley, director of the university’s adult degree program.

“They may have full-time jobs, have families, be caretakers and be very active in the community,” she said. “This is a very accessible way to get education.”

She said the majority of of UW-Green Bay’s adult degree students take some or most classes online. The program offers 85 online classes this fall — some are completely online while others incorporate some classroom time. They may also take online classes.

Interactive or web-conferencing classes are available, she said.But most classes are completely online, she said.

She said the demographics of returning students is getting younger.

“Students used to be in their 40s and 50s,” Trombley said. “We still get those, but the age count is lower. We’re seeing students who are a year or two our of getting an associates, all the way up.”

She expects the popularity of online classes to continue.

“We’re showing that by 2020 returning adults could outpace traditional students,” she said. “And returning students want online classes.”

When it comes to online learning, St. Norbert College offers mostly blended classes — a mix of face-to-face instruction and online work.

The private college has a digital learning initiativestaskforce and is studying ways to incorporate online options, said Bridget Krage O’Connor, vice president for enrollment management and communications.

“In general, more classes will be blended,” she said. “That is going to be the future.”

From beloitdailynews.com: “BTC looks at options for training center” — Blackhawk Technical College officials are looking at “other possibilities” to build an advanced manufacturing center after meeting with representatives of the Hendricks Development Group Friday.

The plan was to locate the center at Beloit’s Ironworks Complex, and Blackhawk Technical College President Tom Eckert stressed that it doesn’t mean the center won’t end up there.

“We just want to explore other possibilities, and look to see what’s out there and exhaust all those other possibilities,” he said.

Eckert said the meeting with the Hendricks organization was “very positive” and both groups remain committed to creating a facility that works for the college.

“Hendricks was clear that whether the Ironworks or other locations are used wasn’t the main focus, but the important point was where we can build this training center,” he said.

Eckert said they haven’t begun to look at other locations, and are currently working on a more definitive plan.

Eckert also said he wouldn’t say whether the goal was to start the project in the spring.

“I would not say that the project is on hold,” he said. “We want to explore different possibilities just so that whatever we do we do it the right way.”

Rob Gerbitz, president and COO of Hendricks Development Group, also said the meeting with the college went well.

Gerbitz reiterated Eckert’s statement that the location of the center isn’t what is important at the moment.

“I think this is a large investment by the college and by everybody involved,” he said. “It really comes down to we want to make this facility and the most important thing is the education that will come from this facility.”

Eckert said last week the start of the renovations at the Ironworks building wouldn’t start until at least the spring because the college hadn’t raised enough funds.

About $10 million to $12 million needed to be raised to finance the renovations. Eckert said the college couldn’t afford to add the costs of the renovations to the lease, which is what the owner of a property normally does.

Instead the college attempted to raise the money needed for the renovations up front.

The center is needed in order to meet demand for some of the manufacturing programs the college offers. A third welding program section was added for this upcoming school year in order to lower the amount of students on the waiting list.

Eckert said welding classes will be held from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. at its central campus in Janseville.

“We have no doubt that if we build this facility and can make it come to pass we’re going to see more students apply,” he said.

From ppulse.com:  Filling the skilled worker gap — DOOR COUNTY — Consider this: according to the Northeast Wisconsin Manufacturers Alliance, one out of every two northeastern Wisconsin manufacturing companies is going to have trouble finding skilled workers in 2012.

Meanwhile, Door County’s unemployment rate for June 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, remains at 8.1 percent. While that’s a full point lower than the county’s unemployment rate this time last year, it’s still much higher than the 5 percent or less the county was seeing in summers before 2009.

There are workers who need jobs, and there are jobs that need workers. They just don’t seem to be finding each other.

“It starts at the national level, and it’s a repeating theme right down to the local level,” says Jerry Murphy, executive director of New North, Inc. “There are skills and training missing, most of which have to do with secondary degrees.”

New North is a marketing and economic development organization that monitors and links businesses in 18 counties throughout northeastern Wisconsin, including Door County.

Murphy says the businesses New North works with recognize the problem they’re facing and are getting involved to find a solution.

“What I think is unique about northeastern Wisconsin is the very genuine, very sincere partnership…between education and business institutions,” he says. “There’s a ready acceptance on the part of the business community that they have to be involved.”

In Door County, schools and businesses have struck up a couple of initiatives designed to train a new skilled labor workforce.

Building a Better Workforce

About 50 high school students from Door and Kewaunee counties have participated in the Door-Kewaunee Business and Education Partnership’s (DKBEP) annual home construction program, which is currently in its sixth year.

According to Tara LeClair, DKBEP business and education manager, almost 60 percent of those students have gone on to some sort of trade-related program at Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College (NWTC).

“Our big focus is on high school kids, encouraging them and training them,” says LeClair.

DKBEP also offers a high school Certified Nursing Assistant Program, a Youth Co-op Program where students can ‘try on’ a career for a semester, and schedules tours so students can see what goes on inside area businesses.

“The biggest challenge in shaping students’ perceptions is in, say, manufacturing,” says LeClair. “Lots of students view those jobs as dark, dirty, dingy jobs, but that’s not true. A lot of tours we schedule with schools open kids’ eyes.”

Something relatively new to the area is the Computer Numeric Control (CNC) Mobile Lab that has been travelling from school to school in the region since last September, allowing students to practice running computer-operated equipment and earn NWTC credit from the comfort of their own schools.

The purchase and operation of the lab was made possible through a partnership between DKEBP, NWTC, area high schools, and local businesses like N.E.W Industries, a CNC production company in Sturgeon Bay.

N.E.W President and C.E.O. Chris Moore says he currently has 200 workers on staff, and he’s perennially looking for 10 to 12 more people to fill open positions. He’s hopeful new projects like the mobile lab will help revive interest in manufacturing careers.

“The biggest challenge anybody in this business faces right now is finding enough qualified people for our workforce,” says Moore. “Everybody recognizes the fact that, especially at the high school level, students don’t have an interest.”

Sturgeon Bay Schools Superintendent Joe Stutting, whose students are involved in both the home construction and mobile lab projects, says he’s looking for ways to revive that interest and show students they don’t necessarily need to attend a traditional college to have a great career.

“The notion that to have a successful career you need a four-year degree is something we’ve been battling for awhile,” he says. “The truth is you just need to get something. We’re looking to see how we can align with the technical college and to see what we can do to help kids down that pathway sooner.”

Training Today’s Workers for Tomorrow

But it’s not just the workforce of the future that needs training. According to Murphy, workers already in the job market need to retrain themselves, so they, too, can claim unfilled jobs.

“I don’t think the job market is static. If it was people could wait out the storm,” he says. “The demands on the workforce are very dynamic, and you have to be investing in yourself.”

According to Melissa Emery, associate director at the Door County Job Center, about 300 displaced workers in the county have taken advantage of federal Workforce Investment Act funds, which can be used to provide training for high-demand occupations in fields such as medical care, welding, and CNC operation.

“We work with a case manager and work on getting them into NWTC usually,” says Emery.

Some resources are also available for businesses seeking to make sure their current workforce’s skills don’t become obsolete.

Sheila Curtin, who works in Corporate Training at NWTC, says the Washington Island Ferry Line and Heat Treat Furnaces, Inc. (HTF) have both recently received Workforce Advancement Training grants from the state, which provided funding for on-the-job training.

“For the ferry line, we did training in welding and marine diesel,” says Curtin. “HTF was computer design and modeling. They secured a contract and needed to upscale their business.”

The grants are competitive, and not every business is likely to receive one, but Curtin says businesses and workers must constantly monitor where they may have fallen behind and look for ways to catch up.

“For workers and companies…you need to address skill gaps to remain competitive. Because it is very competitive out there,” she says.

Workers Mean Business

Of course, the big push behind training all of these workers in Door County comes packaged with the hope they, and the businesses they work for, will stay in Door County.

“We need youth to come back here and raise families here, which will help with our business growth,” says LeClair. “We benefit a lot by the fact that businesses understand this, that they have to open their doors to kids.”

Cheryl Tieman, coordinator for NWTC’s Sturgeon Bay campus, says the community is taking a lot of the right steps toward keeping businesses in the area.

“There are a lot of things being done locally that make us a good place to locate,” she says. “The number of people graduating from high school is getting smaller, but there are professionals moving into the area.”

As for the skilled worker gap, Murphy says he’s optimistic it will close given enough time.

“I think our public resources are doing a great job and business involvement is incredible. What we need to do longer term is make sure schools, parents, and communities are on board,” he says. “These are hugely significant occupations and add a huge amount to our GDP. We need to be invested in the next generation, or we’ll lose it.”

From marshfieldnewsherald.com:  Column:  High schoolers able to double dip at MSTC – Technical colleges are specialists in transitioning students from kindergarten through 12th grade into higher education.

Mid-State Technical College’s, or MSTC, dual credit program allows high school students to “double-dip” by earning college credits while in high school and applying these same credits toward their high school graduation.

When cost is an issue, dual credit is a great way to stretch dollars and reduce the cost of a college education. High school juniors and seniors all across the MSTC district already are enthusiastically taking advantage of the program to jumpstart their college careers. Dual credit courses offered in high schools use MSTC’s college curriculum and are taught by Wisconsin Technical College System certified high school faculty. Since participants are exposed to higher education at an earlier age, the path to a degree and a good-paying career is put on the fast-track.

Technical college dual credit has a proven track record for more than 20 years. We know that more than 20,000 high school students a year receive such credit from technical colleges. This model has thrived in Wisconsin and is considered a gold standard in higher education across the United States.

MSTC employees help ease the transition to college by helping individual high school students with student services such as career planning and financial aid. Dual credit students are more likely to enroll in college and more likely to complete an MSTC degree or certificate. Education doesn’t have to end with a technical college degree; many MSTC students extend their education at a four-year institution.

Our relationships with high schools throughout the MSTC district remain strong. This past academic year, nearly 400 students earned more than 1,000 credits through MSTC’s dual credit program. For these students, dual-credit means a top-quality education in less time for less money. For local businesses, dual credit is another source of well-trained graduates entering the local workforce.

If we are to continue fostering economic development and job creation in our state, we must take the necessary steps to prepare students for college and the world of work. This flexible degree option is an important and effective tool for giving students the skill set and hands-on experience they need to succeed in postsecondary education and the local workforce.

I encourage high school students and parents to investigate the many benefits of dual credit. For more information about MSTC’s dual credit program or any of MSTC’s many other programs and services, call 888-575-6782.

Sue Budjac is president of Mid-State Technical College.

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