Cowley College brings Wellington campus proposal to the public in 2 Monday forums

first_imgDr. Dennis Rittle at Cowley College community forum in Wellington Monday. by Tracy McCue, Sumner Newscow — Using a combination of business opportunity for Cowley County Community College, and a need for higher learning opportunities within the confines of Sumner County, a proposal is on the table to open a Wellington campus.Dr. Dennis Rittle, President of Cowley College, said he hopes to have a Cowley College – Wellington Campus by the spring of 2018.Rittle was the featured speaker at two community forums Monday at the Wellington High School auditorium. The forum brought in about 115 people combined — 50 in the morning and 65 in the evening.Cowley College is proposing to initially build a two or three building facility in Wellington, location unknown at this time, that would work seamlessly with its three other facilities in Mulvane, Winfield and its main campus in Arkansas City.Some of the classes Cowley County hopes to offer range from teaching, nursing, fire fighting, law enforcement, CNC programmers, electrician and HVAC technicians, as well as general education classes for high school students.Rittle would not specify the exact classes that would be offered in Wellington but the curriculum will be based specifically on the demands from the high school and business community.The forums were hosted through the Sumner County Economic Development and Wellington Area Chamber of Commerce. Currently, there is an offer on the table to pay a half-cent sales tax to fund the construction of the facility.The proposal is currently in the hands of the Sumner County Commissioners, who must decide whether to put it on the November ballot, make it a special mail in election perhaps in the winter or spring of 2017, or not allow an election all together.Rittle expressed the desire of having a mail-in ballot away from the general election.“We would prefer to stay away from the emotion of the general election,” Rittle told the crowd.Rittle said Sumner County, especially to the south and west are underserved areas. One of the keys to community college education is convenience. Surveys have found that people like to take classes within a 10 to 12 mile radius due to time constraints especially with employment and child care issues.Cowley has been looking into expanding into Wellington for some time, Rittle said. So over the past 12 months it has been conducting surveys that included 700-plus high school students from the seven county schools and 131 local professionals.“The results were startling to us,” Rittle said. “Eighty-six percent of the students wanted to stay in the area. Usually, we see a higher percentage of students who just want to get out and move away. But we didn’t find that here.”He also said up to 92 percent of the high school students, who took the survey, would consider taking a college course and a staggering 70 percent of the adult learners would take one as well if offered“These are extraordinary figures and lead us to believe that such a campus in Wellington would work well,” Rittle said. “We learned there is tremendous overall community support for this special project, and that the breadth and depth of a high school partnership is strong.”Of course, one of the on-going questions is Cowley’s appearance in Wellington before that ended in failure in the 1990s.Rittle said there were several reasons for this. At the time, there was no local funding stream, no local administrative support from the college level, there was a minimal sense of community while students attended classes, the design was temporal in nature, partnerships were fragile and marketing was modest.This proposal is at a different level, Rittle said.For one thing, new buildings will most likely be built by Cowley which makes it an exclusively college facility. Also, sales tax funding will be for 10 years which means there is long-term finance involved. Eventually, depending whether the Wellington campus will be successful or not, there could be dormitories, although Rittle said that probably won’t happen for another five or 10 years.He said the courses offered will be an evolutionary process depending what is demanded by the industry and high school students. Some classes will be more expensive than others.Rittle answered several questions from the community at large, which all seemed positive to the idea. A representative from GKN even made an impassioned speech saying how much easier it is to hire Cowley County because they are a more trained workforce.“A facility like this can only help Sumner County,” she said.Rittle said community colleges are the greatest return on investments to the state of Kansas because it procures so much federal and state dollars.Colleges are key to a skill workforce which attracts industry, economic development and community enrichment, Rittle said.“Those communities with a community college will not let them die no matter what ,” Rittle said. “They know just how important they are to their well being.”Follow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! 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Thank you for your input. -2 Vote up Vote down Machinist 101 · 210 weeks ago “A representative from GKN even made an impassioned speech. . ..” Who might this be? “. . .saying how much easier it is to hire Cowley County because they are a more trained workforce.” Why is this? More trained? because kids with specialized CNC training fresh out of technical school or college are cheaper to hire than finding laid off workers from the Wichita area that have actual years of experience and are expected to be paid more for what they are actually worth? Report Reply 1 reply · active 210 weeks ago 0 Vote up Vote down Been There · 210 weeks ago Excellent point. I worked with CNC operators at both Boeing and Spirit whom made super-tight tolerance test coupons in the Engineering Machine Shop for material testing. While a normal aircraft part may have a tolerance of +.003 to +.030 in some instances, test articles produced for modulus testing require to be +.0003 or less. Another words, as perfect as could be produced. That’s ten-thousands for those who can’t do math easily. I was Engineering Electronics Technician and a lead technician over a Material Test System lab and High Bay Structures lab. I was tasked with strain gage installation and collecting data on test coupons and structures by electronic methods. I was also tasked with measuring those super-tight tolerance coupons with high-end measure methods/equipment to assure compliance to standards. I once spoke to a young former CNC machinist from a local plant in Wellington. His salary had topped out @ $19 an hour. Upon his hiring at Spirit, he immediately went to $28 an hour. He moved his family from Wellington to Derby within 6 months and when I retired he was making $38 an hour. I doubt GKN or any other machine facility in Wellington will be matching those wages. Yes, he got his experience here, but quickly moved away. That is likely what will happen, the same with welding or HVAC trainees. Report Reply -4 Vote up Vote down southsideresident · 210 weeks ago Yes, I too support Cowley College in Wellington, a good investment. However, until the hospital and schools are more secure financially by the expansion of Medicaid to pay for uncompensated care and a better plan for the school it’s like putting the cart before the horse. CC would help train students for jobs. Any industry or business has as one of it’s two priorities good schools and good health care plus recreational facilities. We have our schools funded for another year but after that ???? . Our governor and legislature opposed expansion of Medicaid that would put our hospital be on better financial footing. Vote for Don Shimkus for KS Senate Dist. #32, Michelle Schiltz, for KS House Dist. #80, Jo Roitman, for KS House Dist. #116. Check them out before the Nov. election. They will support expansion of Medicaid and adequate funding of our public schools. Report Reply 0 replies · active 210 weeks ago -1 Vote up Vote down Janousek · 210 weeks ago nice Report Reply 0 replies · active 210 weeks ago Post a new comment Enter text right here! Comment as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. Tweet this comment Submit Comment Subscribe to None Replies All new comments Comments by IntenseDebate Enter text right here! Reply as a Guest, or login: Login to IntenseDebate Login to WordPress.com Login to Twitter Go back Tweet this comment Connected as (Logout) Email (optional) Not displayed publicly. Name Email Website (optional) Displayed next to your comments. Not displayed publicly. If you have a website, link to it here. Posting anonymously. 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