Barton Community College trustees heard good news this past week from the dean of Workforce Training & Community Education, Elaine Simmons.
Barton is preparing to start a welding program, and has received a state grant. Bids are being accepted for equipment, and interviews are being conducted for part-time faculty.
Meanwhile, the new Commercial Driver’s License offerings – including training on a truck and trailer purchased with donated funds – have garnered interest. “The phones are ringing,” Simmons told trustees, noting a national shortage of truck drivers.
Earlier this year, Barton’s Nursing, Adult Health-care and Pharmacy Technician programs received about $140,000 worth of equipment and supplies donated by St. Rose Health Center in Great Bend. The donation was used to assemble a simulation lab that will be implemented in the fall 2015 semester.
These and other accomplishments were highlighted Thursday when Simmons presented a report at the trustees’ monthly study session. The “Workforce Preparedness” report was submitted by Simmons and LaVonne Gerritzen, program assistant.
Indicators of success
“Students will be prepared for success in the workplace” is written into Barton’s Workforce Preparedness policy. The Kansas Board of Regents attempts to track postsecondary students who enroll in career programs, noting how many complete a program and find employment in their field of study.
The college also monitors the “pass rates” of students who take state or national exams for certificates or licenses after completing their programs.
“Students will have the work ethics, discipline, and collaborative skills necessary to be successful in the workplace,” is another stated end. Success is measured by a KBOR survey that asks employers how well recent BCC graduates or those completing certificates are performing on the job.
Barton students received high marks for their technical knowledge and ability to operate job-related tools, and for general education and professionalism in categories such as “oral communication skills,” “follows directions” and “maintains confidentiality.” Other areas of high employer satisfaction were their ability and willingness to learn, computer skills, and math computational skills and reasoning.
Even the lowest scores weren’t too bad (82 percent positive), but show areas that instructors might want to focus on in the future, Simmons said. Bad habits that employers notice are attitude issues such as initiative, cooperation, loyalty, attendance and personal appearance.
The third indicator of success is: “Students will have the skills and knowledge necessary to maintain, advance, or change their employment or occupation.” This is measured at Barton by surveying students after they complete a degree or certificate program. Virtually all said that Barton prepared and qualified them for their employment after completion, and the level of satisfaction with their work and work performance was 94 percent.
The report concluded with a list of recent Barton achievements in the career technical division, including those mentioned at the beginning at the beginning of this story. Other items on the list:
• Department of Agriculture (Weights & Measures) awarded BCC a five-year state contract for Continuing Education Training
• Implemented the Gas Measurement Certificate Program using a training trailer funded by a grant
• Developed an accelerated paramedic program in collaboration with the U.S. Army
• Developed a new Mental Health Technician Certificate program in partnership with Larned State Hospital – Awaiting final approval from U.S. Department of Education
• Implemented an Entrepreneurship Certificate program
• Established new partnership with Envisage (a New York pension company) for customized training.
• Received a multiple-year contract from the Kansas Department of Corrections to provide adult education and vocational training to inmates at two adult correctional facilities
Trustees praised the report and Barton President Dr. Carl Heilman commented, “it certainly reflects a lot of accomplishment.”
The full report can be read online here.