KANSAS - Northeast Technology, Kansas campus, has been a veritable ghost campus, since mid-March.
The coronavirus began to raise its head in Oklahoma about the same time Spring Break was about to begin which made everything was kinda fuzzy.
As Spring Break vacated the campus, it has left many with partially completed certifications and a challenge to figure a way to complete proctored tests before the end of the semester.
According to Director of Communications, Tara Thompson, the campus will begin to come back to life on June 1, allowing completions of many certifications that have been in limbo since March.
Many students and adult careers have been held in abeyance since the campus shut down, which affected thousands of lives.
Northeast Tech has had a great impact in eight counties of Oklahoma.
According to its website “Today, Northeast Tech serves students across eight counties with its four campuses in Afton, Claremore, Kansas and Pryor.
Each year, Northeast Tech trains over 1,200+ students in its full-time, daytime programs.
Through Northeast Tech's Business & Industry Services, along with short term night and weekend classes, almost 20,000 additional students train through Northeast Tech.”
As in other locations across Oklahoma as it begins to reopen, Northeast Tech’s reopening will come with a few changes.
Students will be required to have their temperature taken as they arrive, will need to social distance and follow CDC guidelines.
Another challenge for instructors is how to “deliver hands-on training in a non-hands-on way.”
Creativity became the norm.
For instance, how to teach welding and see if the student learned the procedure: “an instructor had the students apply spray Cheese Whiz to a cracker to practice perfecting the welding bead.”
As Oklahoma businesses re-open, NE Tech will begin to re-offer the customized training as the college partners with small and medium size businesses.
According to their website “Northeast Tech is the #1 place for career training in Northeast Oklahoma. With campuses in Afton, Claremore, Kansas, and Pryor, we have locations all around our district.
Full-time programs ended with the public schools on May 8th and hopefully will resume in August or September of this year, depending on what the high schools are directed to do.
In the full-time program, high school juniors and seniors (some sophomores in certain classes), are able to take classes at NE Tech concurrently with their high school track, at no cost to them.
It makes it possible for students to graduate from high school and NE Tech with a two-year college certificate or transfer to a four-year college.
How and which credits will transfer depends on the destination college, but it is an affordable way to complete two years of college or vocational education, at no cost nor incurring student debt.
The costs of classes vary and is determined by the class taken.
The full-time classes for high school juniors and seniors are at no cost to the student (other than the costs for supplies), as are some adult classes such as “Seniors in Technologies.”
Certification classes, such as welding or medical, can cost between $600 - $900 per semester and up to $1000/semester for specialty adult classes.
Many vocational students come out of NE Tech certified, able to secure a job at a mid-point salary, instead of minimum wage, because they’re certified or trained on the latest equipment or software in the industry.
Thompson says “We take pride in using and training on the very latest equipment…sometimes graduating students find it is newer than the business is currently using.”
The use of business advisory councils keep NE Tech abreast of the latest and best industry practices, keeping their students prepared.
The hope is that the fall will bring with it “normal.”
As business reopen and as adults come out of shelter-in-place, there is a pent up desire to get out and get going.
Classes for industry such as OSHA 10, bucket truck training, art and general adult interest classes such as Yoga, making gigs, plus medical classes in CAN, phlebotomy and EMT are ready to relaunch.
Faculty and administration are anxious to get campuses reopened and classes re-populated with students as soon as they can.
NE Tech has around 30,000 students across their campuses, with 30,000 reasons to get the doors reopened and classes back in session.