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Partnerships allow PCC to create pathways for students

14 November 2012

As Pratt Community College enters its 75th year of operation, it is clear that many programs and partnerships have been created to broaden the scope of Pratt Community College's student base and footprint. One such partnership was created nearly two years ago with the Urban League of Kansas.

Currently entering their 6th "cohort," or group of students to pass through the program, PCC and the ULK have created a partnership which grants each access to their respective needs with PCC assisting in the education of many students in the field of healthcare. This fall the ULK and PCC have enrolled 15 students in their program, which began on Monday, Oct. 29.

"The partnership is incredibly important because (PCC) provides the foundation for students to build upon, while the Urban League provides resources for students to remain in the program," said Desmond Blake, Director of Workforce Development at the Urban League of Kansas in Wichita. "We have received so many calls from members of the community and PCC has the available resources to make their dreams come true."

Programs currently offered at the Urban League in Wichita include the Certified Medical Aid program (CMA) and Home Health Aid program. With each program drawing a range of candidates, the program has managed to receive applications to fill nearly all of the classes over the duration of the partnership.

"We have had a job placement percentage of roughly 63 percent within eighteen months of their completion of the program," Blake said. Additionally, these candidates are sticking with the jobs they are able to receive. "These people have been employed longer than 6 months (in their position)."

The Urban League of Kansas has served the Wichita community for the past 58 years, with a mission to create and provide equal opportunities for all demographics in the community. Pratt Community College has, over the past 2 years, assisted in completing the holistic approach to serving the community that the Urban League strives for.

"It feels good because the Urban League is a one stop shop for them; we have the housing department, a rehabilitation program, and the education program," Blake said. "We take a holistic approach to the client."

Another partnership that PCC has joined into since opening its doors, is with Westar Engergy. The partnership started in the fall of 2011, giving students the opportunity to become certified lineman in one year in Wichita. The year-long certification program offers nine months of formal training and a three month internship. While in the program, students climb daily, get exposure to underground installation, go to hotline school, learn about electrical theory and safety, receive trencher and backhoe training and learn basic line construction, just like the students on PCC's campus.

Last year the program started with nine students and had another nine enroll for this semester.

"It's great for students who are from that area to be able to train there and live at home," said Dave Campbell, EPT program coordinator said. "They can keep the part-time job they had in high school and still get training."

Last year the two programs had over 90 percent job placement and according to Campbell the ones who didn't get jobs were offered jobs but turned them down for one reason or another.

PCC uses all of Westar's equipment at no charge and broadcast the classroom work through an IPT system from PCC.