The following is a detailed summary from the technical education meeting that was held on October 19th at the Tripp County Courthouse:
Our overall goal is to provide Technical Education courses for all ages. Local hands-on education should be directed toward local job opportunities, quick, effective skill building and adult education.
Attendees spoke and the following comments are noted:
Regional Technical Education Center (RTEC) – Yankton
Josh Svatos, General Manager and John Darcy, Welding Instructor
RTEC started in 2004 and formed a 50l(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. They started in a 5,000 square foot building and soon added 12,000 square feet of space with Grant money. The initial 24 Directors were reduced to less than 12 people. Their cornerstone was for manufacturing and specializing in custom education programs. RTEC developed community partners. Initial Grants of $50,000 and $300,000 were obtained. Summer programs are offered. Quick programs are provided as well. Issues will come up, keep going forward thinking as a team, lastly, agree to disagree. Approximately 50% of their students are recent K-12 graduates.
Sinte Gleska University – Mission
Provost Phil Baird and Cheryl Medearis, VP Academic Affairs
Sinte Gleska has accredited programs. Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) are offered with cross credit. South Dakota is an open union state. Apprenticeship programs can be a problem in other states that are unionized. They also operate a van to transport students between Burke and Mission, twice daily, year-round.
Mid-Plains Community College (MPCC) – Valentine
Jennifer Nollette, Class Coordinator
MPCC is offering day and evening classes: accounting, computers, Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), Emergency Medical Technician (EMT), visual arts, and welding. Valentine is one of 20 distance learning centers through MPCC.
Suggestions from Experience
1. In general, partnerships are key. RTEC will assist us with instructors where they can. Avera Hospital has partnered with RTEC providing healthcare equipment, obtaining Grants and instructors.
2. Start small, offer most critical classes, get local employer support plus community at large.
3. Offer a class when four people sign up – eight more will usually follow.
Oct 19 Public Meeting Summary – Page 2 of 2
(Suggestions continued on page 2)
Suggestions from Experience (continued from page 1)
4. An Accountant can help with 501(c)(3) application.
5. Cross-trained local professionals can be used as local instructors for some classes.
6. Hands-on is a vital key. In conducting classes, start with hands-on instruction, then classroom instruction and then back to hands-on. This proven method is a big learning motivator.
7. It was suggested that a survey may be helpful – employers, potential students (all ages) and teacher resources (local, retired, and others interested in instructing). In any event, a plan for short and long-term education programs will be developed as we go forward.
8. We are going to come up with unique programs, for example, Drone Technology as applied to agriculture, in addition to more common programs. Historically, Fairview Community College, which has been operating for 60 years, conducts the only Harley- Davidson sponsored Technician Training program in Canada. Students come from all over to this northwestern Alberta town of 4,000 people.
In conclusion, the meeting was very interesting and useful. The intersecting activities of these nearby educational institutions were shared in a very cooperative manner. This will further education choices.
Volunteers are needed to help start this Post-Secondary Hands-on Technical Education Program. One Attendee has already offered to be a Director.
This activity is part of the plan to develop the Winner Regional Technical Center.
By Chuck Noble