WASHINGTON D.C., December 4, 2023 – Today, the Aspen Institute named Northwest Tech as one of the 150 institutions eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, the nation's signature recognition of high achievement and performance among two-year colleges. The institutions selected for this honor stand out among more than 1,000 community colleges nationwide as having high and improving levels of student success as well as equitable outcomes for Black and Hispanic students and those from lower-income backgrounds.
“Northwest Tech has a strong track record of supporting students as they pursue their passion in the skilled-trades,” said Northwest Tech President Ben Schears. “We are blessed to be a small campus where we have the opportunity to get to know our students – which has proven critical to helping them succeed.”
Enrollment Jumps at Northwest Tech - Goodland, KS. (09/28/2023) – Campus leaders at Northwest Tech suspected it would be a good year for enrollment during dorm move-in weekend back in August. “Applications for housing were up significantly this year, and that is usually a good final indicator of where enrollment would be,” said Jason Showalter, Northwest Tech Vice President of Student Advancement. “We are excited to see so many students on campus this year.”
According to the recent press release from the Kansas Board of Regents, enrollment headcount at Northwest Tech was up 8.9% from the same time last year. When looking back over the past ten years, the college has grown 15.8%. Campus officials credit the increase to marketing and recruiting efforts, strong legislative support, expanded Early College programs with area high schools, and unwavering support from industry partners. “Our business and industry partners are in desperate need of skilled graduates and are really stepping up to address demand,” said Ben Schears, Northwest Tech President. “We have more employers directly sponsoring student’s education at the college than ever before.”
Technical college enrollment growth is not only limited to one technical college, in fact, Kansas technical colleges achieved a significant milestone this year – a decade of enrollment growth across the entire sector. Over the past ten years, Kansas Technical Colleges have consistently demonstrated their dedication to providing high-quality education and training opportunities to students. According to the KBOR enrollment report, the technical college sector has experienced an astounding overall FTE growth of 27.4%. Notably, headcount enrollment has skyrocketed by an impressive 70% during the same period, underscoring the pivotal role these technical colleges play in shaping the future workforce.
Kansas technical colleges express their profound appreciation to their local communities, employers, the Kansas Board of Regents, and state government for their steadfast support over the past decade. This collaborative effort has driven progress and prosperity for Kansas, solidifying the commitment to excellence in education and workforce development.
“We appreciate the support from legislators, high school counselors, industry, communities, and especially our students for choosing Northwest Tech,” said Schears. “We are excited about where enrollment came in this year and are already back on the road, recruiting the next class.”
Read full details of the Kansas Board of Regents report here: https://www.kansasregents.org/about/news-releases/2023-news-releases/864-board-of-regents-announces-2023-fall-semester-enrollment
Goodland, KS. (09/20/2023) – Northwest Tech was recently awarded grant funding from the National Science Foundation to bring modern advanced manufacturing equipment and introductory training courses to five regional partner high schools - Goodland Jr/Sr High in Goodland, KS; Colby HS in Colby, KS; St. Francis HS in St. Francis, KS; Brewster HS in Brewster, KS; and Flagler HS in Flagler, CO. This project will expose area high school students to advanced manufacturing and ignite their interest in high-wage and high-demand manufacturing fields. The grant is a critical cornerstone of the college's efforts to grow advanced manufacturing in Northwest Kansas.
"This NSF-ATE grant will provide wonderful opportunities to pursue advanced manufacturing and workforce development that Northwest Tech is exceptionally well positioned for. This project will give high school students a breadth of knowledge in manufacturing, engineering, and engineering technologies," said Michael Zimmerman, who leads the Mechanical Engineering Technology department at Northwest Tech.
The journey to expanding an advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Northwest Kansas began in earnest in 2021 when Northwest Tech began the curricular work to launch a new Mechanical Engineering Technology pathway to support regional industry. Shortly after, the college received a $500k grant from the Kansas Department of Commerce to design and equip an advanced manufacturing lab complete with additive and subtractive technology. Regional foundations, specifically the Dane G. Hansen Foundation, have provided additional funds for the program's success. The facility has become home to one of the most advanced collegiate labs in the state.
The addition of the Mechanical Engineering pathway at the college, subsequent grant funding, and the new advanced manufacturing lab are significant milestones as the college works to support, expand, and attract advanced manufacturing to Northwest Kansas. The new NSF grant will allow for expanded K-12 partnerships to increase access to hands-on training and equipment with area high school students.
Advanced manufacturing technology continues to evolve rapidly and is expanding across industry nationwide. However, employers in rural areas are experiencing a need for more qualified workers who want to continue to live and work in these rural areas, including Northwest Kansas. To help address these challenges, Northwest Tech developed this NSF - Advanced Technological Education (ATE) grant project to bring modern advanced manufacturing equipment and introductory training courses into the hands of area high school students.
"We are excited about the grant and want to express our appreciation to our industry partners and Sen. Jerry Moran for providing significant support for our proposal," said Ben Schears, President of Northwest Tech. "We hope to build on the vibrant advanced manufacturing ecosystem in Kansas and bring more opportunities to Northwest Kansas."
For more information about the Engineering & Drafting Technology program, please visit NWKTC.EDU
**NOTE: The picture on the next page is a MakerBot Method X Carbon Fiber 3D Printer. It is an example of one of the pieces of technology that will be provided to partner high schools through the grant.***
- Jim Kennedy is an automotive professional with 33 years of experience and 28 years of instruction at Northwest Kansas Technical College. He holds certifications in ASE Master, Hunter Engineering, ASE maintenance and light repair, and Ford. Jim is a proud graduate of NWKTC, class of 1990.
Christa Bergsma has a Bachelor of Science in Vocational-Technical Education from Pittsburg State University and an Associate of Applied Science in Cosmetology from Northwest Kansas Technical College.
She also holds a Cosmetology Instructor License from the Kansas Board of Cosmetology and is certified in various areas such as Milady Trailblazer Master Educator, Redken Finishing Authority, Redken Blonde Authority, Redken Design Authority, Redken Haircolor Authority, Redken Certified Specialist, Babe Hair Extensions, Tape-In/Fusion/I-Tip/Sew-In Weft, Apple Teacher, and an OPT Certified Instructor.
She has been working as a Cosmetology Instructor at Northwest Kansas Technical College since December 2005 and previously worked as a Cosmetologist in Goodland, KS.
#BeautyEducation #CosmetologyExpert #CertifiedInstructor #HairColorAuthority #MasterEducator #CosmetologyCareer