The state's largest community college is expanding its educational and technical training to the Lawrence area.
Leaders of Johnson County Community College in Overland Park said the college is in a good position to meet the training needs of workers and high school students in Lawrence, home to Kansas University's main campus.
"There are things a community college mission may be able to address or meet that may not be within the mission of a university that would focus primarily on career and technical education programming," said Bill Osborn, JCCC's dean of community outreach and media resources.
JCCC and Lawrence leaders said they expected the community college to begin offering at least technical training and a career health class here this fall. Business, industry and education leaders have studied the need for additional training programs since 2004, when the KU Institute for Policy and Social Research released a study that found Douglas County workers were not meeting employers' needs and high school students needed additional technical training.
JCCC leaders said the college has had success offering technical and other courses off campus, including at Bishop Miege North High School, De Soto High School and at KU's Edwards Campus in Overland Park.
"We have a lot of practice doing outreach within our own county," said Loralee Stevens, JCCC's coordinator of community outreach.
She said the college has been able to partner on projects without overlapping on course work already available in the area. Those involved in the task force say KU leaders have been supportive of Lawrence public schools, the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and businesses pursuing additional career-oriented training for students and adults.
"This can make a big difference in our training skills need," said Beth Johnson, the Lawrence chamber's vice president for economic development.
Lawrence businesses that want to be involved are still trying to decide what class JCCC should begin offering here in the fall, Johnson said.
KU is a comprehensive educational and research university with 29,272 students on its campuses across the state, most at its main campus in Lawrence. KU does have an agreement with JCCC that allows transfer credits of lower-level undergraduate courses in most major subject areas.
During the fall 2006 semester, 242 KU students were also enrolled at JCCC. That same semester, 194 KU students dual-enrolled at Neosho County Community College, which offers courses in Ottawa.
JCCC opened in 1969 to help serve Johnson County's growing population. Six elected trustees govern the college and oversee its $162 million budget.
Osborn said the college focuses on serving credit transfer students, career and technical students, and the noncredit and continuing education community.
"That's exactly what we should do, and I think we are very fortunate," he said. "We do it quite well, and we are always striving to do it better."
According to JCCC, about 18,000 credit students enroll each semester. In total, more than 34,000 students enroll each semester for credit or continuing education classes.
The campus is on 234 acres near College Boulevard and Quivira Road and has expanded to 18 major buildings with more on the way since it opened with six in 1972.
The trustees in March hired Terry A. Calaway as JCCC's president. He had been president of Central Arizona College since 2003, and he will start work at JCCC this summer.
The college's longtime president, Charles Carlsen, resigned in April 2006 after published allegations accusing him of sexual harassment. He denied the allegations but resigned, saying they were a distraction to the college.