Column: Local employer feedback essential to providing relevant programming
February 25, 2014
From marshfieldnewsherald.com: “Column: Local employer feedback is essential to providing relevant MSTC programming” — Collaboration with local employers and community partners is critical to achieving the Mid-State Technical College mission.
MSTC works closely with these stakeholders through membership on program advisory committees and participation in focus groups. This collaboration enables our college to understand the current and emerging skills needed by the workforce and provide the training employers need and seek.
We rely heavily on this information in order to keep our offerings up-to-date. This critical information is used to plan and develop curriculum, determine the length of training and establish certificate or degree requirements. It is also a resource to learn which technical skills are necessary in various sectors of the local workforce, which seem to change every year. In fact, many of these skills were unheard of just a generation ago.
At times, this valuable input might point to workforce needs for a new program offering.
A recent example of employer collaboration is the development of a new Stainless Steel Welding certificate. MSTC was fortunate to receive a federal grant through the Department of Labor that permitted us to remodel and retool the Marshfield Campus welding shop. This process was aided by a meeting of stainless steel fabrication employers last year that verified the skills entry-level stainless steel welders needed for local employment.
Employers also provided input into welding lab equipment selections, course content and the structure of training. The outcome, the new Stainless Steel Welding certificate, runs year round. New students can start any month and can work at their own pace and ability.
Beginning in August, MSTC will offer a new Health and Wellness Promotion associate degree. Health care providers and educators, along with several community agencies, came together to advise MSTC on this emerging field. This associate degree will prepare students with knowledge of health and wellness concepts, as well as program development and promotion skills. We plan to deliver this coursework in a flexible format, mostly online.
Local, regional and national trend data from the Department of Workforce Development, or DWD, help us determine emerging and growing workforce training needs, yet local employer feedback is essential when investigating a new offering. By staying in contact with employers and employees in the industry, the DWD, and many other sources, MSTC is able to offer relevant, in-demand, and up-to-date education and training.
For more information about these or any of the exciting educational opportunities available at MSTC, go to www.mstc.edu or visit your local technical college campus.