What Technical Colleges Should Prioritize in this New Era of Higher Education
Roger Stanford, President of Western Technical College
Western Technical College, under the leadership of president Roger Stanford, is demonstrating how technical and community colleges should adapt to the evolving needs of learners as perceptions around the value of degrees and certificates continues to change.
Western is forward-thinking in two key areas: who they're serving, and how they're delivering the learning. In this episode, we sit down with Roger Stanford to see how the college is meeting the needs of all kinds of students (and regional businesses), and how they've adapted their course offerings to meet each learner where they are.
College leaders, take note! This is what higher education of the future looks like.
3 Big Takeaways from this episode:
- Technical colleges serve an unbelievably diverse range of learners, and they need to have a delivery model that can meet the needs of each: Traditional students (those coming directly from a high school) only make up a portion of technical college attendees. From transitioning military members, to incumbent workers, to justice-involved individuals, to those seeking their GED, Western serves them all. Roger explains how the college has different resources and pathways for each type of learner, from Operation Next for the military to customized training for workforce partners.
- Degrees are important, but they're not everything: People today realize that skills are more valuable than a diploma. Western Technical College has recognized this shift and has made their workforce training programming extremely modular and customizable. That way, learners can focus on the targeted skills that are most relevant to them while maintaining the option to build into a degree later on if they choose.
- A technical college education gives individuals the confidence that they can achieve their goals: Many technical college attendees are nontraditional students. Whether they're coming back later in life to finally earn their GED or whether they're a high school graduate who never felt successful in an academic setting but thrives in a hands-on environment, a technical college education gives learners confidence to pursue their career ambitions.
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