Southeast Community College in Beatrice hugely impacts the economy of Beatrice, Gage County and surrounding areas in several ways, campus and area officials say.
The college provides teaching and training to its students, area high school students and area employees, which helps strengthen the local workforce, officials say.
“I think Southeast Community College plays a major role in the economic impact of Gage County and the surrounding counties attached to Gage County,” said SCC-Beatrice Campus Director Bob Morgan. “We certainly are here to meet employer and student demand. Our job is to help provide an educated workforce for not only Gage County but our 15-county area. That advanced education and training can certainly help provide workers that will have an economic impact for our area.”
Southeast Community College offers 50 programs of study through its three campuses in Beatrice, Lincoln and Milford and its online courses. The Beatrice campus offers six programs: agriculture business management, business administration, office technology, academic transfer, criminal justice and licensed practical nursing.
Glennis McClure, executive director of NGage (Gage Area Growth Enterprise), called the graduates from those programs “very critical to economic development” of the area.
“It’s wonderful for Beatrice that we have a Southeast Community College campus here,” McClure said. “We have a very strong presence with Southeast Community College. It’s really important for our current businesses to be able to draw from the whole Southeast Community College area as far as what they’re doing with programs and teaching students.
“As we look to recruit, as we talk to businesses, as we tell about our area, it’s so important, so wonderful that we have Southeast Community College as a partner in this area.”
The Continuing Education division of SCC helps boost workforce development of communities throughout its 15-county area by offering contract training to community employees.
SCC Dean of Continuing Education, Amy Chesley, said employees of Gage County area businesses have taken advantage of contract training by SCC in topics including welding, precision machining, blue print reading and computer training (such as Excel). The college has also hosted a series of workshops in precision agriculture management, Chesley said.
The training is offered at receiving businesses or the college campuses.
Marguerite Himmelberg, SCC director of client solutions, said SCC is Nebraska’s leading college in Global Corporate College, a membership of community colleges that share resources and information.
Some of the colleges are more active than others in providing services for community workforces, Himmelberg said.
A community college is a vital part to a strong economy and workforce, Himmelberg said.
“I think especially today when we’re looking at a very low unemployment rate in Nebraska, a lot of employers are looking at the workforce demographic changing and sometimes they have gaps in critical skills,” Himmelberg said. “We can provide a real important resource to these companies that want to develop skills that are missing or that aren’t able to hire immediately. (SCC) helps them to be sustainable.”
SCC also serves area high school students through dual-credit courses and Southeast Nebraska Career Academy Program courses.
Beatrice High School offers dual-credit classes in topics including English, math and Spanish that apply toward students’ credit at SCC-Beatrice.
At half the cost of in-state tuition, BHS students can also enroll in classes under six different academies – agriculture; education; welding; health; business, marketing and management; and law enforcement.
SCC projects new learning centers will be in Falls City, Nebraska City, Plattsmouth, Wahoo, York and Hebron by 2017.