CES Tours Salina Area Technical College

March 14, 2024

Technical education is perhaps one of the shortest routes to meeting the workforce needs of rural communities.

Recently, I was invited to tour the campus of Salina Area Technical College (SATC), located in Salina, Kansas. It was a beautiful afternoon. A relatively cool breeze was blowing while the spring sun warmed the atmosphere. It was a day worth spending outside.

The Executive Director of the SATC Foundation, Brenda E. Gutierrez, welcomed me and proceeded to show me around campus. We toured new buildings and new programs and discussed new initiatives and plans for the future. I also met various staff who made education at SATC possible.

As I reflected on the tour, I made the following observations:

  1. Technical education is perhaps one of the shortest routes to meeting the workforce needs of rural communities.
  2. The growth of the rural economy (and indeed all economies) depends on a steady supply of technical professionals.
  3. Rural communities should build strong symbiotic relationships with higher institutions, such that community resources can flow into the technical college, while skilled technicians can flow out of the colleges, directly into the community to fuel economic activity.
  4. Most programs in SATC are a direct outcome of specific community stakeholders providing startup funding, and hiring graduates trained afterward. Specifically, a company facing a workforce need will offer funds to SATC to start a program, and then hire graduates immediately to fill their open roles.This kind of symbiotic classroom-to-workplace pipeline is essential for rural communities.

  5. Nex-Tech currently supports education at SATC with high-speed broadband, and we will continue to do so as a strategic partner and friend.
Friday Otuya

Connect with Friday

Friday Otuya
Community Engagement Specialist

Friday Otuya /əoTU:ya:/ drives our multifaceted community economic development efforts and is the Nex-Tech contact for all our loan and grant programs. His vision is to position Nex-Tech as the community economic development partner of choice in Kansas for federal, state, and local stakeholders.  He lives with his wife and son in Hays, KS.

Weekdays: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.