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College Visited by U.S. Sec. of Labor Thomas E. Perez

Posted on: May 28th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Secretary PerezMinneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) was honored to host U.S. Department of Labor Secretary Thomas Perez this week for a roundtable discussion with some of the Twin Cities leaders in business, education and technical careers in light of a nationwide push for tuition relief programs for community colleges.

During the event, co-hosted by Scholarship America with discussion moderation by their CEO Lauren Segal, Secretary Perez was joined by Congressman Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges, former mayor R.T. Rybak, Sen. Terri Bonoff, Rep. Frank Hornstein and other business and community leaders for an hour-long roundtable held at MCTC. Speakers discussed the need for community and technical college tuition relief in line with President Barack Obama’s proposed America’s College Promise. “The President’s ‘America’s College Promise’ is about making higher education accessible to everyone,” said Secretary Perez. “Our discussion today is about a movement. We want to create a movement to make sure this is a nation in which everybody gets the education they need for their job, whether it’s a job as a CNC machinist at Graco or a job in IT.”

The Secretary’s visit comes at the closure of the Minnesota legislative session, in which a proposal to fund a state-level tuition relief program for community and technical colleges passed with $100 million in biennium funding. Sen. LeRoy Stumpf, the Minnesota legislator who introduced the legislation, shared his inspiration for the proposal with roundtable attendees. “Minnesotans love education,” he said. “Education is the tool with which we’ve been able to keep the state’s economy going.”

MCTC and partners Saint Paul College and Metropolitan State University lead the way in statewide tuition relief programs, boasting several programs including one of the state’s first Power of YOU programs offering free tuition to qualifying first-generation high school students, a partnership with Hennepin County, and the fledgling Destination Diploma to Degree (D3) program. “We’re looking at career pathways from high school to postsecondary institutions,” said Sarah Caruso, president and CEO of the Greater Twin Cities United Way.

“Partnerships like D3 incorporate an understanding of the depth and complexity young people face as they consider college.” The D3 program places qualifying students from alternative high schools in relevant college classes, and recently received support from the United Way to grow its program beyond its initial launch.

“We are making college relevant for high schoolers,” said Pam Costain, president and CEO of AchieveMpls. “Minnesota is a national leader in youth employment and internships, making college relevant for high schoolers. I’m intrigued by the movement-building approach of the Secretary. It would require all of us in the room to collaborate with each other.”

“I think we’re making a mistake by assuming grade 12 is an end point,” said MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa. “We should shift our mindset so that instead of K-12, P-14 is the base level of education we expect. If we don’t prepare young people to step into jobs, we’ll all suffer.”

See photos from the roundtable and press conference on Flickr. Coverage of Sec. Perez’s visit was also published in the Twin Cities Pioneer Press, Minneapolis Star Tribune and the Downtown Journal.

Photo: Congressman Keith Ellison, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges and U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez

Our Voices: Thulani Jwacu, Advising for Success

Posted on: May 27th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Thulani-storySeeing Students Through to Success

“It’s not enough to give students access to college,” said Thulani Jwacu, Power of YOU advisor at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. “We want to see them graduate, and that takes a lot of support and individual attention.”

When Thulani started working at the MCTC Library in 2005, he was a fresh graduate from Metro State University, and received a crash course in offering student support. “I saw first-hand what an MCTC student’s academic experience is like,” he said. He found himself tutoring, orienting students to technology and mentoring work study students. “I had an opportunity to work with students to go beyond what they were learning in the classroom.”

The experience was inspiring. “I became interested in how we teach students to succeed outside the classroom. It’s more than just being present; students need help developing broader skills.”

Thulani has taken those lessons and experiences with him. Last year he transitioned into his current role as a Power of YOU advisor, and works one-on-one with recent high school graduates who are the first in their families to go to college. “What attracted me to Power of YOU is the curriculum,” he said. “It’s intended to help students become scholars—to turn them from high school students to successful scholars who transition from MCTC to a four-year college or a job.”

The Power of YOU curriculum is dependent on passion like Thulani’s. The program—almost 10 years old and one of the first in the state of Minnesota—offers free tuition to qualifying students and centers on academic support as a key to student success. Students meet one-on-one with advisors to plan their courses, make sure they meet deadlines and maintain a manageable workload. “The support makes it possible for a lot of high school students, who wouldn’t have previously thought of attending college, to become success stories,” said Thulani. “We’re giving access and support to many students in our immediate community.”

The Power of YOU enrolled around 250 students in the 2014–2015 school year, and the program continues to grow. “We’re focused on building relationships with students,” said Thulani. “Knowing that they have someone in their corner to guide them through the intricacies of being a college student is of great comfort.”

Published May 2015

Our Voices: Katie Nadeau, Executive Assistant

Posted on: May 14th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Katie-Nadeau-200Underscoring the Importance of Executive Assistance

“There are a lot of stereotypes about this profession,” said Katie Nadeau, executive assistant to the CEO of the Minnesota Business Partnership (MBP). “But what it comes down to is that companies are looking for people who can actually deliver administrative support—and good administrators are leaders in their companies.”

Once slated as secretaries, executive assistants are charged with ever-increasing duties requiring data, privacy, detail and quick action. “To support a CEO requires not just office skills but also communication leadership and longer days than your boss,” said Katie. “Not many people understand how significant the role is, but executive assistants (EAs) have to know more than how to type; they need to understand and advance the priorities of their company.”

When Katie assumed her role with the MBP 11 years ago, she saw an opportunity to connect with fellow executive assistants. “I came from working in a small construction company and later with the Minnesota House of Representatives,” she said. “What I quickly found in my current position is that our members’ executive assistants are a tremendous resource not only to me, but to their company and the broader business community as well. I reached out to the other assistants and built a fantastic network of connections.”

That network eventually led her to MCTC.

On any given day, 850 of approximately 12,000 total administrative assistant jobs in Downtown Minneapolis are open, according to MCTC Associate Vice President of Strategic Partnerships Mike Christenson. When Katie met Mike, she learned about the College’s Business Office Technology (BTEC) program which trains students for administrative assistant careers throughout the Twin Cities. “One of my first experiences with MCTC was connecting with the students,” said Katie. “After that, I recruited EAs to work with faculty to align the curriculum with skills that we knew were the biggest priorities in the executive assistant community.” The group, which included EAs from Target, Accenture, Tennant, PwC and MOM Brands, worked with BTEC instructors to design curriculum highlighting resume writing, interviewing skills, data security, paying attention to detail and other keys to success. She also helped the College build its connections with local companies to grow BTEC students’ internship opportunities.

“The BTEC program at MCTC has worked hard to reinvent itself. I’m grateful to the school for addressing the needs of Minnesota’s businesses by offering what has to be one of the best business support programs in the state,” said Katie, who also sits on the BTEC advisory committee that she and the College established over the last year. “It speaks to the dedication of the instructors and of the local executive assistant community that is committed to seeing this project succeed.”

“This partnership shows MCTC students how important these jobs are in our community.”

Published May 2015

MCTC Foundation Receives $1 Million Gift

Posted on: May 14th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments
Carolyn and Sanders Ackerberg

Carolyn and Sanders Ackerberg

The MCTC Foundation has received a generous, $1 million gift from Carolyn Ackerberg in memory of her late husband Sanders (Sandy) Ackerberg, who served and led the MCTC Foundation and helped lay the groundwork for what MCTC is today.

Among the largest gifts the Foundation has received, this donation by the Ackerbergs will be used to fund scholarships and provide resources for students in need. In gratitude, the College will name its Science Center for the Ackerbergs.

“This gift will provide resources, inspiration and momentum for our College and our students,” said Avelino Mills-Novoa, interim president of MCTC. “We are grateful to Carolyn and Sandy for their belief in our students.”

Sandy’s legacy of service and achievement began during his time as a B-24 pilot in the 7th Army Air Corps during World War II serving in the southwest Pacific. After his return home, Sandy enrolled at the University of Minnesota, receiving a degree in architecture in 1949, and began his long and career as an architect, real estate developer and leader of the MCTC Foundation.

“His most enduring personal quality remains his genuine interest in, and concern for, all people he met,” said Carolyn. “He had a unique ability to connect with students, and enjoyed speaking and learning from the students he met at MCTC.”

Sandy passed away in 2009, and Carolyn has kept Sandy’s passion for MCTC students alive. A man of many talents, he served as president of the Foundation alongside historical community leaders Wheelock Whitney, Lou Nanne, Becky Malkerson and David Nasby.

“Sandy was a true gentleman, with a genuine interest and concern for the students of MCTC,” said Carolyn. “I know in my heart this is what he would like to do.”

“We express deep gratitude to the Ackerbergs,” said Reede Webster, executive director of the MCTC Foundation. “Their support will mean scholarships and supports for students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to pursue a college degree.

An MCTC Design Portfolio Show 2015 – Best of Show Peer-to-Peer Award Winners

Posted on: May 12th, 2015 by insidemctc 1 Comment
Evolve students

From left to right, 2015 “Evolve” portfolio best of show winners Guedda Hassan Mohamed (GRPH), Jaisa Blegen (GRPH/WEB) and Marlene Reyes (WEB).

MCTC Design “Evolve” 2015

We are a dynamic team of emerging creatives; Evolve is the conscious progression of our ideas.”

Students of this year’s MCTC graphic and web design portfolio class have singled a few peers for their exceptional design work in their culminating “Evolve” design show.

Guedda Hassan Mohamed (GRPH), Marlene Reyes (WEB), Jaisa Blegen (GRPH/WEB) were awarded this years Best of Show Peer-to-Peer Portfolio Contest by their classmates.

Five students from each award area were also given Honorable Mention awards: Casey Jacobson (GRPH/WEB), Renee Schendel (GRPH), Ian Sorlie (GRPH/WEB), Christopher Kelly (GRPH), and Jake Luck (WEB). EVOLVE student were all the winners.

Portfolio students themselves choose award recipients via written vote/peer review vote. The first place winners each are given full CC 2014 Adobe Creative Suite software package. This award is funded by Graphic and Web Design alum Manuel Castellanos Raboso and Graphic and Web Design instructor Jake Jacobson.

In the voting process, each portfolio student was given the opportunity to award three votes to their peers covering several evaluative areas:

  • Overall creative presentation of the portfolio
  • Overall creativity, focus, and uniqueness portfolio
  • Overall continuity in presentation of portfolio
  • Overall leadership and team/class participation of “EVOLVE 2015”
  • Overall design principles presented in the portfolio
  • Overall body of creative work
  • Overall representation of the ideals of the creative design industry and their “EVOLVE” 2015 stated mission

Evolve Students are all winners.