GAYS MILLS - I was wondering what to write about this week when I found the answer in my mailbox on Friday: The Southwest Tech Annual Report. Southwest Tech is our local outpost of the highly rated Wisconsin Technical College System. One of 16 such districts spread across the state, Southwest Tech serves 30 school districts in 9 counties. There are 49 tech school campuses within the 16 tech school districts. No one in Wisconsin lives very far from a technical school.
During this graduation season, it’s encouraging to see, in the senior profiles shown in this paper, what graduates mention about their plans for further education. Many of those students plan to attend one of the excellent technical schools available in Wisconsin. If I was 56 years younger, I believe I would give those schools a serious look.
Seniors no doubt get tired of answering the question: “What are you going to do next year?” That’s right up there with “What do you want to do or be when you grow up?” Since they are de facto grown up the day they receive their diploma, these questions are not trivial for the graduates. They may not know specifically what they want to do but they feel like they need to do something. Wisconsin’s Technical Schools give young people many excellent options.
One of the attractive things about tech schools is that they are short term. Four years (or more) of college can be daunting and, of course, very expensive. Wisconsin tech schools offer practical, hands-on education programs of 2 years or less. There are 300, count ‘em 300, programs that students can enroll in at tech schools. Southwest Tech itself offers 50 programs and students can attend any school in the state that offers a program that fits their interests.
As an investment, a technical education is hard to beat and a great value. Tuition and fees to attend a technical school for a year run about $4000. This doesn’t include books, housing, and other costs. After getting a 2-year associate degree, a 1 or 2-year technical diploma, or other short-term certificates, graduates have employability skills and, most likely, job offers. The cover of the annual report showed the beaming 2019 class of Ag Power and Equipment Technician program students. They have all been hired before they graduated to jobs they have been training for.
But don’t take my word for it. Southwest Tech is an award winning school. The prestigious business magazine, Forbes’, rated Southwest Tech as the #1 two-year college in Wisconsin and #13 out of over 700 two-year colleges nationwide. The rankings are based on post-graduate success, affordability, student completion and student retention.
Help for seniors in deciding what they’re going to do next or what they might like to do for a satisfying and fulfilling lifetime career might be as close as the nearest Wisconsin Tech School.