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Opinion

Opinion

Editorial: Technical trends

Even as the U.S. economy improves, interest is rising across Kansas in technical training programs.

October 10, 2013

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The trends reflected in the Kansas Board of Regents’ fall enrollment report may bode well for efforts to expand business and technical training programs in Lawrence.

The Regents have reported the headcount taken on the 20th day of classes at the state’s universities, community colleges and technical schools. The state’s six universities, plus Washburn University in Topeka showed a modest overall decline of 0.12 percent this fall. The enrollment drop was considerably greater at the state’s 19 community colleges, which recorded an overall drop of 3.82 percent.

However, enrollment was a different story at the state’s six technical schools, which had an overall increase of 7.91 percent. Three of the schools — Flint Hills, Manhattan Area and Northwest KS technical colleges — saw enrollment increases of more than 10 percent. Only North Central KS Technical College recorded a decline — 34 students, or 4.24 percent.

Washburn Institute of Technology is counted separately from the other schools, but it reported a whopping 26.3 percent enrollment increase. That provides an interesting contrast with the enrollment at the main Washburn campus, which dropped by 3.21 percent.

Officials at a number of community colleges said they had expected some decline in enrollment this year after several boom years. Community college enrollment tends to rise when the economy is struggling, they said, and decline when the job market improves. Some students may also have been taking advantage of relatively low tuition at those schools and now have moved on to universities to pursue bachelor’s degrees.

Another possible explanation is that some students attending community colleges are still concerned about obtaining the practical skills they need to get a job and have chosen to take another route: a technical school program.

Universities, community colleges and technical schools all play an important role in providing the kind of post-secondary education that Kansans need to take a productive role in the state’s work force.

However, as some Lawrence advocates have been saying for years, there are many, many well-paying jobs that don’t require a university education. With current trends in post-secondary education, it seems the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce and Lawrence school district may be pursuing plans to expand technical training programs at exactly the right time.

Comments

Lawrence Morgan 1 year, 2 months ago

Please see my blog. It is about these things, but also much more: a vision not only for Lawrence, but for the surrounding towns and communities as well.

Apparently the City Commission approved the name VenturePark, but I have been working in Silicon Valley for many years, and this is one of the most foolish names I have heard of. It reflects, from my point of view, the views of people who have not worked or lived in Silicon Valley.

And the need for technical and related training is not new. There has been a need for years for technical and related training which Lawrence and KU have never dealt with. In fact, this need was often scorned by professors and administrators, who thought that technical training was beneath them. I am a KU graduate, and I have spoken with lots of KU graduates over the years. This point of view by many KU administrators and professors has not changed over the years. It is one reason that KU is so far behind many other schools.

The city of Lawrence depends primarily on KU for its income, where it should be looking at many different sources for income and higher education.

Please take a look at my blog. I will be writing about each individual aspect at a later date.

http://www2.ljworld.com/weblogs/kansas-150th-birthday-is-almost-over/2013/oct/7/amos-lawrence-park-a-name-and-a-vision-f_/?c=2383183

Richard Heckler 1 year, 2 months ago

In today's job market it seems to me KU grads may want to seek technical training in an effort to make themselves more marketable in the USA.

There are zillions of graduates that have no place to go for employment in their area of expertise. As a result of the New World Order Global Economy that failed to mention the number one export related to this concept would be USA industry and jobs.

Leveraged Buyouts = more jobs leaving the USA as well.

It seems college grads may consider chasing down USA jobs in Europe,China,India,Central America etc etc etc.

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