MCTC

The MCTC News Blog

Former MCTC Student Receives Nursing Award in Canada

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy 1 Comment

Ali CadenFormer Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) Nursing student and 2011 graduate Alison Cada recently received an award from the University of Calgary (UOC) Nursing faculty for his work with the Alzheimer’s Society of Calgary and two adult day programs for people living with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

“The support provided to me by MCTC Nursing instructors and the level and quality of education I received during my time at MCTC has molded me into the nurse that I am today,” he said.

“Ali has a manner that all students can learn from and appreciate. He is calm, patient, adaptable, and always willing to listen to new ideas,” said UOC Nursing instructor Christine Foran. “He treats everyone equitably and with a genuine desire to create a lasting experience for each person he has contact with.”

Ali’s face is familiar to many. See his photos in this MCTC Nursing photo album!

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.

Charlotte Ariss: Marketing Real Life

Posted on: March 6th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Charlotte Ariss, MCTC alumIn 1982, Charlotte Ariss enrolled at the University of Minnesota, and promptly started on a track she didn’t expect to take so quickly: real life.

“I became a single parent,” said Charlotte. “I had to drop out of my classes, retool and figure out what I was going to do.”

After her daughter was born, Charlotte applied for every scholarship and grant she could find, and started school at the college then known as Minneapolis Community College (MCC).

“What I liked about MCC is that there was so much diversity,” said Charlotte. “In one of my marketing classes, I sat next to someone in his 50s, and another single parent, and someone who spoke Arabic, and someone who was a janitor.”

Starting her studies in the Psychology department, Charlotte dabbled in classes like the psychology of colors and packaging. “I had no idea how packaging could be used to elicit consumer reactions, or that there was a science behind packaging,” she said. “All of a sudden a light bulb turned on. From there, I started to study the science behind marketing.”

Charlotte had nearly completed her degree when she was faced with a momentous decision: Take one final class for the last two credits she needed for a degree, or take a job offer that had just been made. “I was offered my dream job,” said Charlotte. “My favorite marketing teacher warned me not to leave, because I’d never come back.”

That advice haunted Charlotte for a long time. “I wish I had taken my instructor’s advice about finishing, but I couldn’t do it at the time,” she said. “I needed a job.” As a single parent, Charlotte dove head-first into her new job with Carmichael Lynch ad agency. “It’s possible I could have finished with a night class, but I felt like I had to focus.” And focus is what she did.

From the ad agency, Charlotte moved to other marketing adventures. She worked for advertising agencies Campbell Mithun, the Lacek Group and Rapp Collins, spent 14 years with Target, and most recently has moved on to location scouting.

“If you told me just a year ago that I’d be doing this, I would have laughed my head off,” said Charlotte, who recently finished filming a commercial for Timberland in downtown Minneapolis. “I’ve been working with Best Buy, Target, Medica, 3M, Polaris, Cenex, Ashland Midland and others. It’s intimidating at times, but I can pull this off thanks to the experience I’ve had.”

On a fall day 31 years after her first semester at MCC, Charlotte walked into the school now known as MCTC to drop her second daughter off for her first day of Post-Secondary Enrollment (PSEO). Hoping to thank her old marketing teacher, she found herself in the MCTC Marketing and Communications service department with a few stories to tell.

“I loved being here, and felt incredibly connected. Even though I left school with only a couple credits left, in a way I never really left.”

Click here to see one of Charlotte’s recent commercials aired nationally.

St. Paul Police Department Swears in Nation’s First Karen Officer—an MCTC TRIO Starting Point Graduate

Posted on: December 23rd, 2014 by insidemctc No Comments

The St. Paul police department has made the news on a few occasions recently.

Earlier this fall, it welcomed Kadra Mohamed, the first woman of Somali descent to the department—a move made possible by the announcement that the police department approved an option for employees to wear a police-issued head scarf.

Last week, the department swore in the nation’s first Karen officer. Ler Htoo is a graduate of the Law Enforcement program run jointly by Minneapolis Community and Technical College (MCTC) and Hennepin Technical College. The Karen ethnic group originates from the country of Myanmar, and there are about 8,500 Karen individuals living in Minnesota. During his time at MCTC, Ler was a student in the College’s TRIO Starting Point program.

(You can also read the story of Deborah Montgomery, MCTC Law Enforcement instructor, who was the first woman hired to the St. Paul police department back in 1975.)

The full story is pasted below, and available from the St. Paul Pioneer Press here.

St. Paul swears in nation’s first Karen police officer

Article by: JAMES WALSH , Star Tribune | Updated: December 19, 2014 – 9:42 AM

Ler Htoo graduated from the St. Paul Police Academy on Thursday night, becoming what is believed to be the first police officer from Myanmar’s Karen ethnic group in the United States.

When you are the first member of your community, your culture, to become something as quintessentially American as a police officer, well, you might be a little cautious about tooting your own horn.

That’s why, as he was about to graduate from the St. Paul Police Academy Thursday night and become what is believed to be the first Karen police officer in the United States, Ler Htoo wasn’t quite ready to mark the accomplishment.

“It’s not over yet,” he said before the ceremony, looking to the next 16 weeks of field training with veteran officers. “I’m not quite there yet.”

Still, he’s come a long way.

Htoo spent the first three years of his life in his native Myanmar and the next 15 in refugee camps in Thailand. In 2009, when Htoo was 18, he and his family moved to St. Paul. In 2011, he graduated from St. Paul’s Como Park High School, where he ran track and cross country. He then graduated from Hennepin County Technical College after studying law enforcement.

His interest in becoming a cop was always strong. He joined the St. Paul Police Explorer Program before becoming an award-winning member of the department’s community liaison program, helping members of St. Paul’s Karen community navigate the laws and customs of a new country.

Earlier this year, Htoo was a finalist for civilian employee of the year for his liaison work — teaching in-service classes, making presentations to business associations and schools and helping organize Karen youth groups and elder meetings.

“This is what I like to do. I want to help people,” Htoo said. “I like when people approach me. I want to be the one they can count on in my community.”

As the St. Paul Police band played “Pomp and Circumstance” from the Johnson High School auditorium balcony Thursday night, new officers marched to the stage, preparing to take their place among the state’s second-largest police department. An auditorium filled with families and friends taking photos, shooting videos and registering memories, looked on with pride.

“Take pride in the work you do, for the department, for each other and for the city of St. Paul,” St. Paul Police Chief Thomas Smith told them. “Know that your actions will be judged not just by what you do, but how you do it.”

Htoo is part of the largest — and most diverse — incoming class of new St. Paul police officers in at least 30 years. Forty-seven officers were sworn in Thursday. Five of the graduates are women, one is Latino, three are African-American, nine are Asian, 15 are military veterans.

The class swells the ranks of the St. Paul Police Department to 615 sworn officers, the most in the city’s history.

‘A huge breakthrough’

Karen leaders praised Smith’s choice in picking Htoo.

Saw Morrison, a program manager with the Karen Organization of Minnesota, said Htoo’s hiring represents a door opening for the Karen in Minnesota — of opportunity and responsibility to give back to the broader community.

Htoo, he said, is “passionate and committed. His goal is very clear, to help the community and represent the whole community.”

Chong Vang, executive director of the Karen Organization of Minnesota, was asked about the impact of Htoo becoming a cop.

“It’s huge,” he said. “We have had a number of conversations about how to get a Karen person on the force, about how to improve cultural competency. This is a huge breakthrough for the community and for Ler, too.”

There are an estimated 8,500 Karen in Minnesota. The ethnic group was persecuted in its native Myanmar.

Not only will Htoo be able to help his fellow officers better understand the growing Karen community, but he will help the community better understand its responsibilities and expectations here in the United States, Vang said.

“He can educate the community about the police force and their role,” he said. “That’s important, for a community that has been persecuted by the [Myanmar] government in the past.”

Vang was asked if being the first Karen officer in Minnesota, and possibly the nation, puts pressure on Htoo.

“There is always a level of pressure,” he said. “But Ler Htoo is smart. He has a good head on his shoulders. I think he will be able to navigate the challenges that will come his way. He is not shy about talking about the laws and regulations and what is OK and not OK.”

Before he feels completely comfortable doing that, Htoo acknowledged, he has a bit more work to do.

“You have to be constantly learning. With this job, you can’t stop learning,” he said, looking forward to the next four months with excitement — and a little nervousness. “With all the laws and the statutes, there is much to know.”

James Walsh • 651-925-5041