President Barack Obama mentioned in his recent State of the Union address to Congress that community colleges will play a critical role in training future job forces.
Ray Daniels, a member of the Board of Trustees at Kansas City Kansas Community College would certainly agree with the president. President Obama cited the schooling in Germany; those who graduate from high school, who do not plan to go on to college, have job-ready skills.
Daniels said the situation is somewhat different in the United States; however, he said one of the college’s goals is to develop a “seamless” education for those from kindergarten through the sophomore year of the community college.
“The college is willing to work with all school districts in Wyandotte County,” Daniels said. He said the goal of the Kansas City, Kan., School District is for all students to graduate with the opportunity to have academic credits in technical training. He said the Piper School District also is taking advantage of these technical training programs.
An example of the integration of high school and college education was cited in a recent article in The New York Times. The story told of students in Brooklyn. Some 230 high school students are enrolled in a “P-Tech” (Pathways in Technology) program; it weaves a six-year course that trains students for jobs in the technology industry. The article mentioned that many jobs today require less than a four-year traditional college degree.
Daniels said despite political differences during the past presidential election between Obama and Mitt Romney, both agreed community colleges will play a very significant role in training the future workforce.
At the state level, Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback and many of his conservative allies disagree with certain public school leaders about the amount of funding. However, the governor agrees that community colleges are the obvious choice for training skilled workers.
The new Technical Education Center will play a very significant role in meeting the workforce needs of Wyandotte County, according to Daniels.
The college purchased property from two auto dealers—Randy Curnow and Laird Noller—for its auto repair training courses. The college also purchased the strip shopping center near 65th Street and State Avenue. The former Walmart building will provide much needed additional space for programs now housed near 59th Street and Parallel Parkway.
That building is expected to be fully operational by this fall semester; structural problems in renovating the roof have delayed the opening.
Murrel Bland is the former editor of The Wyandotte West and The Piper Press. He is the executive director of Business West.