Technical Classes Expand
Cowley is reaching out to area high schools and adults by offering classes in automotive, machine tool and welding technology at the college’s Mulvane Center beginning this fall. High school and adult students in Mulvane, Derby, Rose Hill and the surrounding areas already have begun to enroll in courses within the three programs, which have been taught almost exclusively on the main campus.
Classes, which begin Aug. 19, will be taught from noon to 2:50 p.m. Monday through Friday at Cowley’s Mulvane Center, 201 W. Main St. Students will be taking block related classes such as blueprint reading, technical math, and interpersonal communications on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. Classes related to their specific program would be taught Mondays and Tuesdays.
Courses will be taught in five-week blocks. Dual credit (high school and college) is available for high school students. Bruce Crouse, chairman of Cowley’s Industrial Technology Department, said high school students needed technical training in these areas. “We would like to offer students in our northern service area an opportunity to take technical classes,” Crouse said. “With the rising cost of equipment and the increased demand for technical skills, many high schools simply can’t afford to offer all programs. “We have the equipment and the established programs, and we feel it’s important to reach out to high school students. The college sees high schools in its service area as having very good, but limited, vocational programs. It gets back to the high cost of technology, and many high schools have discontinued the more financially demanding vocational programs.”
Crouse said all technical fields were becoming more advanced, thus demanding more from institutions like Cowley that train students. “In automotive, students need to understand electronics and diagnostics,” he said. “Machine tool is becoming more sophisticated, requiring computer programming abilities. It’s more than just putting a part in a machine and turning some knobs. The knowledge base is increasing, and will continue to increase for technical students.” Crouse said an aging workforce, in which large numbers were expected to retire soon, made training that much more important. “The baby boomers are retiring early,” Crouse said. “We see a need out there because all industry studies indicate there will be a shortage of qualified technicians in the next 10 years.”
Technical occupations today require specialized training. Crouse said there were a number of adult students also seeking a vocational skill. “Many of them are driving to Arkansas City now,” he said. “This program at the Mulvane Center will assist those students by reducing their travel time by a year.” Students would drive to Arkansas City for the second year of the program. Successful completion of the two-year program would yield the student a college certificate. Students successfully completing an additional semester would be candidates for an associate of applied science degree. Crouse said graduates from Cowley’s technical programs were in high demand. “Our placement rates are very high,” he said. “The demand for our graduates on campus has exceeded the supply.” Persons interested in enrolling should contact the Mulvane Center at (316) 777-4044 or the admissions office at the Southside Education Center (316) 978-6647. High school students should visit with their guidance counselor.