Education Spotlight: HATC at Western Nebraska Community College

hatcSpeaking of career academies (cough, cough: We’re looking at you, Lincoln Career Academy blog post), there’s another career academy a bit further out in the Western Panhandle of Nebraska: The John N. Harms Advanced Technology Center for Business and Industry, operated by the Western Nebraska Community College.

At 82,000 newly renovated square feet, the facility is designed to serve 12.5 counties covering an expanse of 17,000 square miles with a population of about 100,000. As such, their goal is to not only be a top-of-the-line career academy, but to tailor their educational services specifically for expansion in rural Nebraska.

And it seems as if the Scottsbluff/Gering Chamber of Commerce, Area Health Education Center, WNCC, Twin Cities Development, and the Nebraska Department of Labor are on board to help younger students realize the potential available for an outstanding education at HATC. Earlier this week, the above entities arranged a tour for two hundred and thirty five students to look at all seven different industries in the career academies: business and marketing management, communications/information technology, human services and resources, health sciences, environmental and agricultural systems, and industrial, manufacturing, and engineering systems. There were even two tours for the health sciences because of popular demand, reports the Scottsbluff Star Herald.

“Younger students are still looking at what they want to do or pursue in the future. This connects them with real live businesses,” Jim Schmucker, co-chair of the Chamber’s Business/Education Taskforce, told the Star Herald. “It was a way to pique interest in the resources of the community,” said Schmucker. “Students have viable job options in our community and they can come back and work in these industries or maybe find work and not have to move away.”

Tours such as these are part of a growing rural Nebraska trend to keep local talent at home. For example, NETNebraska reported earlier this month that the impetus to drum up more students heading straight from Hastings Public Schools to Central Community College, the local technical school (you can read more about their career pathways program here).

“We need a talented labor force, and I don’t think that students always understand the career opportunities that are right in their backyard,” says Scott Helt, location manager at 21st century equipment. At his tractor dealership, Helt explains that not only is there on-the-job training available, one of the only requirements is for employees to have a strong work ethic.

For Scottsbluff and the surrounding area, HATC is certainly worth a look to explore how an outstanding institution in the backyard of the city could be the key to a successful future. The center explains that all classrooms are equipped with state-of-the-art smart technology, including a LCD projector, DVD, video, writing tablet, and document camera. “A variety of conference and breakout rooms are available, as are a bookstore, a full-service catering area, and sleek and comfortable furniture and furnishings to ensure the excellent customer service to which our numerous clients and students are accustomed,” they note.

If you’re interested in learning more about a career pathway at HATC, check out their website or leave a comment in the section below anytime—we’d be happy to help!

Photo credit: WNCC