To the Editor: There have been several recent print and televised reports and commentaries about enrollment in, and the value of, higher education, and the critical need for workforce education and training to meet current and projected shortages connected to a growing regional and state economy. Manhattan Area Technical College (MATC) is successfully addressing several of the issues raised in those reports:
Fall enrollment for 2017 is 12.2 percent above fall of 2016, with a total of more than 900 enrolled at MATC;
The College had a successful accreditation review from the Higher Learning Commission in May, so we continue to be a public, accredited technical college with a primary service area of ten counties in Kansas;
In fall 2017, student from 48 Kansas counties and 11 other states enrolled at MATC.
The Chronicle for Higher Education, in its recent annual almanac, ranked 895 community and technical colleges in the USA. MATC ranked 19th (in the top 2 percent of the nation’s two-year institutions; only four Kansas Colleges received that distinction and all were technical colleges).
WalletHub, a financial services company, performs an annual rating of community and technical colleges in the categories of cost and financing, education outcomes, and career outcomes. Over 700 community and technical colleges were reviewed (https://wallethub.com/edu/best-worst-community-colleges/15076/). MATC ranked 35th in the nation and 2nd in Kansas (other ranked KS two-year colleges in the region included Cloud 234th, Barton 573rd, and Highland 579th);
Of the 24 Kansas community or technical colleges to have their aligned programs (152 total) assessed on three industry-designated outcomes, only 17 programs met the criteria and, of those, MATC had four (4 = 23% of the total) meet all criteria. No other college had more than two programs meet or exceed the outcome metrics used by KBOR to help gauge technical education program performance;
MATC was the only Kansas community or technical college to be recognized by The Aspen Institute and Siemens Technical Scholars Program in 2017 for student and program excellence (http://highered.aspeninstitute.org/siemens-technical-scholars-program/) & (http://highered.aspeninstitute.org/siemens-technical-programs/matc-electrical-power-distribution-program/);
MATC was 1 of only 2 recipients of the NBAF Think & Do Challenge, resulting in the College developing and piloting biosafety training to meet the needs of labs along the Animal Health Corridor;
More than 400 high school students are currently enrolled with MATC to get an early start on technical and general education (with the general education courses averaging about 1/3 the cost of a similar course from a university and with guaranteed transfer to any college within the state);
MATC averages about 400 graduates a year and, in the technical education programs, the graduating students earn a combined average of nearly 1000 industry-recognized credentials (licenses, certifications, etc.), which are key to being employed in their field of study. More than 30 percent of our students remain in Riley and Pottawatomie Counties, and almost 80 percent stay in Kansas—as employees and taxpayers. The average first year salary of a graduate from MATC with an AAS degree is over $40,000, and for degree and certificate holders combined, over $37,000 (the average first year salary for a person earning a bachelor’s degree in Kansas is $27,000).
On behalf of our students, faculty, staff, and Board of Directors, I want to thank the communities in the region for working with us to help address workforce and technical education objectives; with special thanks to the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce, USD 383, Kansas State University, and many individuals and businesses for extra effort to collaborate with us as we support technical education and workforce development.
For more information on our programs and institution visit our website at www.manhattantech.edu.
Manhattan Area Technical College