Barton Community College students left their classrooms Wednesday to visit employers in Great Bend, during College 2 Community Day.
This annual collaboration between the college and the City of Great Bend allowed 185 students to meet with local business leaders, tour facilities and learn about future job opportunities. The program provides benefits for the city and the college, City Administrator Howard Partington said. Some of those students may be interested in future jobs in the community, while others may find job internships here before they graduate.
Students each visited three businesses, based on their career interests, which ranged from agriculture to health informatics — a discipline that combines information science, computer science and health care — and 10 other choices.
Agriculture students toured Great Bend Feeding, Great Bend Co-op and Northview Nursery; auto students toured Becker Tire, Car Quest and Jackson Motor Sports; business and office tech students (the largest group) toured CPI Qualified Plan Consultants, Credit Union of America and Great Bend Regional Hospital; computer students toured the Great Bend Unified School District 428, CPI, Aero Elite and Bauer Computer; and criminal justice students toured Community Corrections, the Sheriff’s Office and jail, and the Great Bend Police Department’s shooting range. Early childhood students toured Head Start, Helping Hands Preschool and the Sunflower Early Education Center; graphic design students toured the Great Bend Tribune, KSN television station, Office Products Inc. and Golden Belt Printing; journalism students toured the Tribune and Eagle Radio (and met with two Wichita TV employees at the Chamber of Commerce office); medical assistant/health informatics students toured Central Kansas Medical Center, Great Bend Internists and St. Joseph Family Medicine; diagnostic services students toured GB Regional and CKMC; and therapeutic services students toured Advance Therapy, CKMC and Club 1 Fitness.
Dana Allison, graphic design instructor at the college, accompanied students who visited the Tribune, where they heard about everything from Web design to creating ads that fit customers’ needs and budgets, all while meeting a deadline. This is useful information, even if the students don’t go to work at the newspaper after they graduate, Allison said. They won’t all be designing the next logo for the GAP, after all.
"I want them to understand exactly what is necessary for them to work in this field or a periphery field," Allison said. "If we take a look at the AIGA (American Institute of Graphic Arts) guidelines, any student should be very multi-disciplinary skilled."
After spending the morning in town, students were treated to a free meal catered by Delgado’s at Walnut Bowl, where they could also enjoy free bowling and miniature golf before catching a shuttle bus back to the college.