Wichita, Kansas – For the second year in a row, a record number of students are taking classes at Kansas’s largest technical college. Wichita Area Technical College (WATC) has experienced their largest enrollment of 4,267 students for the fall 2017 semester. That number reflects an increase of 18.8 percent in headcount. This is 675 more students than the previous fall semester. Growth at WATC continues to come largely from adult enrollment. Adult enrollment headcount more than doubled last year’s fall semester growth with 45 percent of the increase being first-time freshmen.
Fall 2017 is also WATC’s largest fall semester for high school enrollment with 1,563 students in WATC’s JumpStart program. JumpStart offers tuition-free CTE courses, as part of the Kansas Legislature’s Career and Technical Education initiative. It also provides reduced tuition, guaranteed-to-transfer general education classes to high school students.
Sheree Utash, President, WATC said “WATC continues to be innovative in providing a solution to Wichita’s workforce needs by working closely with business and industry to deliver relevant training and credentials and to create pathways of employment for our graduates. We have also increased our efforts to remove the barriers that keep individuals from getting trained with the continuation and growth of the Wichita Promise program.”
WATC intensified their efforts to supply a trained workforce to Wichita through the continuation of the Wichita Promise scholarship program. For the fall 2017 semester, WATC awarded twice as many students the Wichita Promise scholarships compared to the previous fall semester. The increase of awarded scholarships can be largely contributed to the financial support from industry partners and local organizations. The Wichita Promise provides free tuition to students in a high-tech, high-wage career pathway and a guaranteed interview with one of WATC’s business and industry partners upon completion.
WATC expects to continue to see enrollment growth for the semester as students are enrolling in second eight-week classes that begin in October.
WATC is the state’s leader in modern technical education, offering over 100 programs of study in aviation, healthcare, manufacturing, design and business. WATC serves as managing partner of the National Center for Aviation Training (NCAT) in Wichita. Additionally, NCAT is home to some operations of Wichita State University and its National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR).