Sue Budjac column: MSTC celebrates pinnacle moment for students, campus

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Graduation is the pinnacle moment for Mid-State Technical College students and employees.

More than 400 MSTC students graduated last month, each exhibiting the dedication required to overcome obstacles and achieve this final stage of student success. Each graduate has a unique story that inspires MSTC employees to remove barriers and enhance student success.

One of those stories is about Joe. He was laid off after 22 years of employment when Domtar’s Port Edwards mill shut its doors, compelling him to seek out the education he needed to secure stable employment. Joe’s existing skills and a predicted shortage of skilled industrial mechanical technicians influenced his enrollment in MSTC’s Industrial Mechanical Technician program.

He had attended MSTC’s Electrical Power Engineering Technician program 20 years ago and was thrilled that some of those credits would be applied to his new course of study. He hit the ground running, displaying an unmatched work ethic. An excellent student by all accounts, Joe graduated May 15 from the IMT program and has excellent prospects for employment.

While Joe originally was anxious about returning to college as a 45-year-old, he soon learned that MSTC’s student population is a diverse mix of people from all walks of life. In fact, the average student is 28 years old. Many MSTC students have jobs and/or families, and most full-time students receive some form of financial aid.

Affordable tuition, four MSTC locations and 100-plus high-quality career options to select from are all factors in why more than 8,000 central Wisconsin residents choose MSTC each year. We understand that our students want to get into the workforce quickly, which is why we work closely with nearly 400 individuals representing more than 240 companies and organizations to ensure our classes and programs produce the skills and knowledge employers want in the people they hire — 88 percent of last year’s graduates were employed within six months of graduation.

Our graduates are not the only ones moving on to great things. The former Stevens Point Campus served MSTC well for many years, but we are excited by our move into MSTC’s brand new Stevens Point Campus at 1001 Centerpoint Drive. It started out as a J.C. Penney store, but you wouldn’t know that now. The makeover has given rise to an absolutely incredible mix of high-tech classrooms and labs, innovative learning areas and community engagement spaces.

Come see it for yourself! Our Stevens Point Campus Grand Opening and Centennial Celebration is 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday. We will have refreshments, tours of the new campus, a short ceremony at 5 p.m., hands-on program activities and music. I would be honored to have everyone join us for this very special event.

Dr. Sue Budjac is president of Mid-State Technical College.

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