Recent high school graduates are increasingly considering careers in the trades. The training needed for skilled labor jobs is shorter, often more affordable than the traditional college experience, and offers unique on-the-job training opportunities.
Southeast Community College has invested in its trades programs and has found value through its community partnerships.
Dr. Joel Michaelis, vice president of instruction for Southeast Community College, noted 2,400 students had enrolled in the health and sciences program for the 2022-2023 academic year. There are 502 students undergoing training in computer technology, 243 in construction, 277 in electronics, 153 in manufacturing, 583 in transportation, 161 in welding, and 180 in agriculture.
“As for the pandemic, our overall enrollments have stabilized, and the technical programs have even increased,” he shared.
In 2022, the college awarded 1,349 degrees in its trades programs. In the construction, transportation, and electronics and manufacturing programs, respectively, 95 to 100% of graduates were employed in Nebraska.
SCC partners with dozens of companies, facilities, and organizations to provide on-the-job training, apprenticeships and internships so that each student can hone their skills.
For example, the heating, ventilation, air conditioning & refrigeration technology (HVAC/R) program utilizes more than a dozen local companies across Lincoln and Omaha that work alongside the college. The design & drafting technology program partners with organizations like the Nebraska Department of Roads, TMCO, Olsson, and Alvine Engineering. In the energy generation operations program, Nebraska Public Power District, Omaha Public Power District, Grand Island Utilities District, Wahoo Public Utilities, and Nebraska Nitrogen are among the partners listed. Southeast Community College also partners with dozens of medical facilities throughout the region for clinicals and practicums within its health care programs.
SCC also offers education and training to assist businesses, industries, and organizations in the area. Leadership training, certifications, and customized e-learning courses are available. Training can be provided on-site at the business, or at one of the college campus locations.
What’s Up and Coming
“I’m excited about a new division we’ve created within the college called the Office of Work-based Learning,” he said. “With this, we are developing and implementing new ways to provide instruction to even more students in technical areas through the use of credit for prior learning, competency-based education, and apprenticeships. In fact, we just recently received approval from the Department of Labor to offer welding through apprenticeships.”
Coming in October is the college’s annual Manufacturing Day, which showcases manufacturing careers for potential students. There are also events that continue through the month that will introduce students to manufacturers that are looking to fill high-skill and high-tech jobs.
SCC will continue to live out its mission to provide students with the valuable skills they need to begin a stable career that aligns with their interests and passions.
“These are the workers that produce the products and services that drive our overall economy, and it’s important to us at SCC that we do everything we can to meet that need,” Michaelis said.