Moran: Community colleges, technical schools crucial for the building economy | Agriculture News
US Senator Jerry Moran, R-KS, praised the work of community colleges and technical schools during a visit to Dodge City, Kansas.
These colleges serve an important need in many Kansas communities. His mindset is that, whether in the State Legislature or Congress, decisions must benefit his hometown of Plainville and many others across the state.
While the Kansans often think of the state’s population centers as Topeka, Wichita, and Kansas City, he says that in Washington, DC, congressional and program administrators often view these areas as rural as well.
Moran visited Dodge City Community College President Harold Nolte, Key Trustees and Kathy Ramsour, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees on August 25. education.
Dodge City Community College’s importance in educating young men and women is paying off for the community, region, western Kansas and the nation, Moran said. Community colleges have a dual purpose of training students for career opportunities over a two-year period and preparing other students for a four-year college.
Nolte said fall registrations are expected to increase by about 23% from the previous fall. The Kansas Board of Regents reported that as of fall 2020, enrollment was 1,034 students. The practical nursing program is considered the # 1 program in the state, and the nursing program recently received a major donation, he said.
The college continued to rely on the region’s Hispanic student base, he said. About 43% of registrants are of Hispanic descent, said Kristi Ohlschwager, assistant vice president of administration and human resources. Moran said Garden City and Liberal, which are also home to large packaging factories and community colleges, also have a sizable Hispanic base.
Moran asked how students and staff are doing during the COVID-19 shutdown. He said the strength of small colleges, community colleges and technical schools is the low student-staff ratio which builds a rewarding relationship for education.
Jane Holwerda, vice president of academic affairs, said faculty and administrators worked quickly when the college had to move to an online format and staff worked hard to keep students on track.
“You did what you had to do,” Moran said.
Nolte and other administrators also noted that one of the benefits was that it helped improve communications within the college and with external entities and that the practice will continue.
The college used federally designated COVID relief funds so that students could continue to walk the path to receive their education, the college president said.
As much as a supporter as he was of community colleges, Moran did not support a provision in Joe Biden’s economic plan to provide free education to those who attend community college. Moran said his concern was for the federal government to start providing warrants and placing students in programs based on his perspective rather than state and local councils close to the students.
Nolte agreed, and based on his own experiences and observations as a college president, “Part of the problem is you have to have skin in the game. There is nothing for free. “
Holwerda said other incentives based on academic achievement might be an option to consider. Moran said the incentives, especially for short courses, have been successful models and show that innovation at the local level works best.