YOUR VIEWS: GCCC industrial training at risk

6/19/2014

Is the vision for industrial training at Garden City Community College going ... gone?

Did I miss it? I read The Telegram's reports on both the May and June GCCC Board of Trustees meetings but did not see any mention of the dismissal of an NCCER (National Center for Construction Education and Research) accredited instructor who taught courses in the Industrial Maintenance department. This individual was also qualified to teach long-running seminar courses in the Automation/Electrical program and with this level of expertise will be difficult to replace. So is this an action (along with closing out these programs) to be taken at a future board meeting?

Obviously support for industrial training must be wavering, if not gone, for this foundational program. Equipment that should have been progressively modernized over the years is now in such a state of disrepair that the learning environment is inhibited due to deteriorating, outdated equipment, as well as safety concerns. Are these industrial programs simply going away because of a now higher cost to modernize? State reporting requirements for programs of career and technical education have always been generally more rigorous in order to be eligible for the tiered funding reimbursement from the state of Kansas for in-state resident learners. Are these industrial programs going away because of the bother? A couple of years back a separate position for dean of occupational education answering directly to the college president was rolled back into one position. Has anybody noticed that even a position proposed at that time for a director of workforce development answering to this "vice president of instructional services" remains unfilled?

My experience has been that educators and administrators in the traditional academy of the "junior" college have marginal understanding of what is involved in training to the technological intricacies of real-world industries unless they themselves possess such experience. Is this training now an expensive "thorn" in the side? The vision developed some 20-plus years ago by Dr. Gary Jarmer and Gerald Hundley addressed some of the funding challenges with innovative fee and class schedule alterations as well as aggressive grant writing to minimize impact on the taxpayer. Is the vision of the current administration and board so clouded by the cost and complexity that due to lack of determination and interest, if not ability, that the promotion, maintenance and delivery of this training so crucial to providing a world-class work force in the area as well as the state is about to be undone?

MARTIN NEFF,

Lakin

Neff is a retired GCCC industrial technology instructor.

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