Friday, January 17, more than a dozen congressional staffers flew to Wichita to see how federal dollars affect local job training. Their visit included a tour of Wichita Area Technical College’s (WATC) main campus, the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) and the NexStep Alliance, which is a partnership between WATC and Goodwill Industries that offers GED preparation, testing and more. They also toured Spirit Aerosystems and Kaman Composites.
“Wichita and Kansas is well known for being ahead of many other places for the way it aligns programs and works collaboratively to establish an effective workforce training effort,” said Mary Clagett, director of workforce policy for Jobs for the Future, a nonprofit group that helped organize the trip.
WATC offers more than 75 program of study in Aviation, Manufacturing, Healthcare, Design, Business and general education. The mission of WATC is to provide quality higher education and leadership in workforce training that supports economic development for a global economy. WATC supports Wichita’s workforce development by partnering with Industry Advocate Teams to align training with industry needs.
At WATC’s main campus, the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT), students can learn avionics, sheet metal assembly, composite fabrication and repair, airframe and powerplant, coatings and paint, machining, welding, robotics, design and other training and skills that are crucial to the aviation industry.
As a public, non-profit institution, WATC relies on local and state funding and grants to operate and provide training to support the local workforce and economy. “Flexibility in how we can use these funds is really a key,” said Sheree Utash, vice president of WATC.