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Archive for Thursday, November 29, 2007

Community college classes to be taught in Lawrence

Career, technical courses to be offered in partnership with school district

November 29, 2007

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JCCC expanding into Lawrence

Starting January 30th, classes like Business Math, Introduction to Writing and Industrial Safety will be offered from classrooms at the building where the Lawrence Virtual School is housed. Enlarge video

Not all jobs in Lawrence require a college degree, but many of them require more than a high school education.

For many years, the best way to get those specialized classes was to drive the 32 miles from Lawrence to Johnson County Community College in Overland Park.

Starting Jan. 30, the trip could be a lot shorter, with JCCC classes being offered in Lawrence for the first time.

"We worked with Lawrence manufacturers, and they're asking for people with these kinds of skills," said JCCC Assistant Dean Loralee Stevens. "Basic math skills, basic writing skills; we're really listening to the needs of the business community in Lawrence."

In a partnership with the Lawrence school district, classes such as business math, introduction to writing, job search skills and industrial safety will be offered from classrooms at the building where the Lawrence Virtual School is housed.

"Because it's a new location and we're getting all the equipment ordered and installed, we decided it would be best to start our semester there two weeks after our regular semester," Stevens said.

Lawrence public schools Superintendent Randy Weseman said that JCCC will pay for utilities and custodial services to use the rooms in the facility.

More classes are on tap for next fall, Stevens said. They will integrate closely with the Lawrence public schools curriculum.

Lawrence school district leaders have praised the partnership and agreement with JCCC. The school board has approved two health career-related courses to start in fall 2008 at the former Centennial School, 2145 La.

"It will really allow us to open up the educational opportunities for all the residents and citizens of Lawrence and Douglas County," said Patrick Kelly, a curriculum specialist in fine arts and career and technical education.

Stevens said about 7 percent of JCCC's enrollment comes from Douglas County, so leaders are expecting a high level of enrollment.

"We've received a lot of calls from Lawrence residents when we first announced we'd be coming to Lawrence," Stevens said.

The Lawrence-Douglas County Chamber of Commerce has been instrumental in bringing this career and technical skill-related training to Lawrence. Beth Johnson, a chamber vice president, said the only way for employees of Lawrence-based companies to get this kind of training was to drive to Kansas City.

"One of the reasons that the technical education task force was formed was because we heard from businesses that they needed technical education that was close and affordable for their employees," Johnson said.

Johnson said JCCC and Douglas County chose to start with courses that fit the needs of employers as well as the kinds of courses the college has experience offering. The long-term goal is to increase the number of courses offered to the point where students can earn a certificate for their studies.

"Kansas City and Wichita have programs like that," Johnson said. "If you take so many classes, then you're a certified worker, or perhaps a certified manufacturing technician. We're still trying to figure out what that program will look like.

Tuition for the new classes is $78 per credit for Douglas County residents.

Staff writer George Diepenbrock contributed to this report.

Comments

dragonwagon2 6 years, 9 months ago

That is truly wonderful news! Good work and thanks to everyone involved.

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MattressMan 6 years, 9 months ago

Reality_Check (Anonymous) says: Uh, those are skills which are supposed to be taught in primary and secondary schools. What does this say of Lawrence schools?

Exactly what I thought...but my experience with the Lawrence schools showed me that they really didnt care about kids that were not college bound, focus on the over achievers and get the others out the door as soon as possible.

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cowboy 6 years, 9 months ago

As described months ago this is pretty much a remedial learning program , disappointed they can't bring a comprehensive vo-tech program to town for our kids.

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Janet Lowther 6 years, 9 months ago

This also points to the failure of KU to address the needs of the people of Lawrence: They stubbornly cling to a "Traditional students first" policy and make little or no accommodation for those who are either unable or unwilling to pursue a Baccalaureate (or above) degree on a full time basis.

Lawrence desperately needs post-secondary educational opportunities which are more accommodating than KU.

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costello 6 years, 9 months ago

"Uh, those are skills which are supposed to be taught in primary and secondary schools. What does this say of Lawrence schools?"

I have a 16-year-old son with behavior disorders. He has no interest in school beyond the social aspects. Thank God his reading, spelling, and math skills are excellent, but other important academic skills - research, organization, writing, etc. - are sorely lacking. There's little anyone can do to "force" a teenager to acquire these skills if he's really determined not to.

My son is a very intelligent young man. If he decides after graduating from high school - please God, let him graduate from high school - that he wants to go to college after all, JCCC will be a good resource for him. I'm grateful that he isn't permanently locked into the bad decisions he's making now.

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costello 6 years, 9 months ago

"my experience with the Lawrence schools showed me that they really didnt care about kids that were not college bound, focus on the over achievers and get the others out the door as soon as possible."

That isn't my experience at LHS. Frankly I don't believe that my son will graduate. The school consistently treats him as if he will graduate and possibly go to college. They have in no way written him off.

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Sigmund 6 years, 9 months ago

"Back when we built things besides houses in this country (remember that?), a person who wasn't educated could still make a middle-class living with benefits if he or she on a union wage in a factory. But we don't have those anymore."

You mean back in the day when factory jobs were called dangerous, dehumanizing, robotic, monotonous, dirty, polluting, and energy intensive? Are those the days you are talking about? It is more than a little ironic that we once railed against factory jobs and moved to a more information/technology based economics we now decry the loss of the those "good ole factory jobs." And it is a mistake to imply that those workers were "uneducated." They may have had little formal secondary, or barely primary, educations, but they were by no means lacked inteligence.

It would be a mistake to move our economy back where the majority, or even a significant minority, of jobs are based on heavy industrial work. For those who do want those kind of jobs there are still plenty of factories where you can put in your applications. But be forewarned, they are looking for much more than just a strong back and big muscles. Basic reading, math, and logical reasoning skills will also be required.

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BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

Neosho County Community College has been in Lawrence for years.

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