Jul. 23—Cloud County Community College held its first-ever Tech Day July 21.
The Geary County campus was temporarily taken over by booths advertising the community college's programs — including the new nursing program — and services from organizations such as the Junction City Workforce Center.
Director of the Geary County campus Jennifer Zabokrtsky said the school has conducted open houses before, but has never had anything specifically dedicated to its technical programs.
"We've added some technical programs and so we wanted to highlight those and just get folks on campus after the last year of things being strange with COVID," she said.
Zabokrtsky highlighted the nursing program which officially starts being offered in January.
"It's an accelerated program — about 18 months — and starting in January, offset from other programs that start in August," she said. "So (we're) really excited about that."
Other programs on display during the event included the renewable energy department which has added new 16-hour certificates starting this August, early childhood education, business, criminal justice and social service, art and graphic design and a new 16-hour commercial truck driving certificate program, according to Zabokrtsky.
She said technical education programs are a draw for students.
"That's kind of the trend in higher education now," Zabokrtsky said. "People are not wanting to rack up 10s of thousands of dollars in debt and want to get some training so they can go to work and get a good job and make decent money pretty quickly."
Current Cloud student Cassy Moore hopes to enter the nursing program when it starts up in January. She has been attending classes at Cloud for the past year.
"I came from a bigger school in Colorado where you're kind of just a number," Moore said. "Here, it's a smaller size so you get a lot of individualized attention. I actually just got into the nursing program, so I took a lot of my (prerequisites) at this school."
Moore, age 36, used to work as an automotive collision technician, she said, but decided she wanted a nursing degree.
"I'm ready for a career change," she said. "Nursing has a lot of opportunities. It's very varied. You can work in a lot of different departments and I like that. I like that I can have a lot of choices."
Disabled Veterans Outreach Program Specialist Maiah Diel of the Junction City Workforce Center was onsite to talk with prospective students about entering the workforce.
"We came out to this event because we want to assist people with finding jobs either before, after or during their college experience," she said. "We also want to make sure they are aware of the possible funding source through Heartland Works as well."
Diel said the Tech Day attendees seemed receptive.
"I know oftentimes, coming to a college — because we are a workforce center — many people are more interested in the education front," she said. "But there have been many people who seemed very interested in also working — and then also planning for the future, because at Cloud County within two years you could potentially be graduating sometime sooner than that and then it's time to enter the workforce."