The MCTC News Blog

Ahmed: Using Career Services to Get Ahead

Posted on: October 2nd, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

ahmed, mctc student“When I started at MCTC, I didn’t even know what I wanted to do. That’s why I studied Liberal Arts—it gave me the most options for transferring,” said Ahmed Abdulle, MCTC alum and current University of Minnesota student.

Ahmed’s story represents the experience of many students at Minneapolis Community and Technical College: he went to high school in the Twin Cities, knew he needed to go to college, but didn’t know exactly what he wanted to do, so he entered with a broad plan to get his generals out of the way and then transfer to a four-year college.

“I needed a work-study job while in college, but I wasn’t even sure of where I could work,” Ahmed said. “I connected with MCTC’s Career Services department and they helped me so much. I actually wound up working with them in a work-study job. While helping to pay for some of my studies, I learned about how to be professional, develop confidence and keep my mind open.”

Through Career Services, Ahmed connected with Minneapolis Urban Scholars, a 12-week leadership development internship program aiming to provide students from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds with professional experience in order to develop leadership skills and create career pathways to positions of influence. “Through my internship with the City, I had the opportunity to meet the mayor and the City Council several times,” said Ahmed. “The people I met working with the City are people who both live and work right here. They know the community well, and they were committed to diversifying the city’s workforce specifically with programs like Urban Scholars.”

Now studying IT Infrastructure at the University of Minnesota, Ahmed has a goal. “I’m focusing on the strategic, business, planning side of IT along with the traditional topics like networking and storage,” he said. “I’m a tech-savvy person, but I’m more interested in focusing on planning.” Ahmed is currently interning with a cloud team at Thomson Reuters to support some of its business units.

“When I started college, I didn’t know what I wanted to study or what my skill level was,” he said. “The Career Services staff helped me understand my strengths, areas for improvement, how to develop work ethics and how to network. I was able to drawn on their experience and knowledge base to get ahead in life.”

In the News: Central Corridor Anchor Partnerships Gain National Attention

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

Members of the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership (CCAP) met at the White House Summit on Apprenticeships recently to discuss a resolution passed this May to support a pilot initiative to integrate education and career planning for two-year degree nurses. “This is fantastic news for the students we serve who are pursuing health care careers,” noted MCTC Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa in this article from the Central Corridors Anchor Partnership. “It is gratifying to see a White House Summit bringing attention and traction to an apprenticeship model that is very relevant to our students.”

The original story is posted below.

Nursing Apprenticeship Concept Gains National Attention

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

A White House Summit on Apprenticeships last week shone a spotlight on an apprenticeship model to promote greater access to healthcare careers.  Laura Beeth, Fairview’s System Director of Talent Acquisition and chair of CCAP’s workforce development work group was one of 100 leaders at the national summit, and she spoke to the gathering immediately after Vice President Joseph Biden.  U.S. Senator Al Franken was a keynote speaker at the event, along with Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker.

Beeth learned in Washington that Fairview will receive a $750,000 grant to support 150 nurses and other healthcare workers advance on career ladders through a Department of Labor apprenticeships grant.  A key focus for the project is supporting two year degree nurses to obtain four year degrees and better wages, which the Partnership believes is a critical element to its goal of hiring more Central Corridor residents.  The funding for Fairview is part of a $5 million federal grant to the Minnesota Department of Economic and Employee Development (DEED) and the Department of Labor and Industry (DLI) to expand registered apprenticeships in high-growth jobs, including health care.

“It is great news to receive such strong support from the White House Summit,” reflected Beeth. “Now I hope that this grant can inspire additional funding to adapt and expand this model and serve a larger number of Central Corridor residents seeking health care careers.”

CCAP Support for Apprenticeships Model

The Central Corridor Anchor Partnership adopted a resolution on May 12 this year to support a pilot initiative to integrate education and career planning for two year degree nurses to work for several years in long term care, while they complete a BSN degree and receive training and support for ultimate employment opportunities in acute care.  The Partnership has recognized that there are strong national, state, local and organizational pressures to have at least eighty percent (80%) or more of hospital nursing jobs filled with four year BSN nurses by the year 2020.  While significant progress is being made to promote more diversity in four year BSN programs, two year degree nursing graduates have traditionally been a more ethnically and culturally diverse population than the four year degree graduates, and thus are important to the CCAP’s workforce goal and objectives.  Sixty-five percent (65%) of St. Paul College’s nursing students, for example, are persons of color; sixty percent (60%) of MCTC’s nursing graduates this year were born outside of the U.S.

“This is fantastic news for the students we serve who are pursuing health care careers,” noted Avelino Mills-Novoa, President of Minneapolis Community & Technical College.  “It is gratifying to see a White House Summit bringing attention and traction to an apprenticeship model that is very relevant to our students.”

Time for Creative Partnerships

MCTC has a nursing education partnership with Augsburg College, where MCTC nursing students are provisionally admitted to Augsburg’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program.  According to Augsburg’s President and CCAP Chair Paul Pribbenow, this is but one example of strategic alliances that the Central Corridor Anchor Partnership can pursue to promote educational and economic opportunity for  students.  “We are living in a time where creative and nimble partnerships are increasingly important,” Pribbenow observed.  “And you can see from the White House Summit that our Anchor Partnership is on the right track with this model.”

Two year degree nurses are more likely to find employment in long term care, where wages are lower, and resources for tuition reimbursement and nursing education advancement are more scarce.  Without thoughtful intervention, a more diverse nursing workforce in acute care is less likely, and the population of more diverse two year degree nurses are more likely to stay employed in long term care, where wages are lower and advancement opportunities are less.  The caregiver turnover rate and vacancy rate for long term care facilities in the Twin Cities are significant; and while many four year RNs may start their careers in long term   care, most have moved to acute care settings within a relatively short time.

Next Steps and National Significance

The Partnership’s work group is currently solidifying participation among hospitals, long term care facilities, and nursing educators to build the apprenticeship model and prepare funding applications.  The current plan calls for establishing up to 200 additional nursing apprenticeships, which when added to Fairview’s 150 would create a pilot of national significance.

Denisse Linares: On a Path to Success

Posted on: August 14th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Denisse, MCTC gradWhen Denisse Linares visited MCTC this summer to interview Interim President Avelino Mills-Novoa, Deputy Education Officer for Minneapolis Public Schools Elia Bruggeman and several high school students for a story on Univision, she walked around like she knew the place. Because she did know the place—quite well.

Denisse began attending MCTC in 2006, when she dove into English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes. After several semesters, she transitioned to the Human Services program, and in the meantime served as activities coordinator for the Xicanos Latinos Unidos student club. “I was in school for a long time—first part time, then full time.”

Going to college in Minneapolis wasn’t at the top of her to-do list when Denisse was graduating high school. “My plan was to go back to Mexico,” she shared. Having moved to Minnesota when she was 12 years old, Denisse had strong ties to her family members who stayed behind, and thought for some time she could begin her adult life in the country where her parents started theirs.

But encouraged by a high school counselor, she stopped by an open house at MCTC. Liking what she saw, Denisse submitted an application. And then took the Accuplacer. And finally decided to take a leap—and stay on her path in Minnesota.

“It was a tough decision. At 18 years old, it was a very scary decision,” she said. “MCTC was so helpful when I didn’t know what to do next.”

After committing to staying in the Twin Cities, Denisse flourished. With a strong start in ESOL classes, campus involvement, a major that inspired her and compassionate instructors, she received her Associate in Arts degree in Human Services in 2011. Denisse went on and transferred to Augsburg College where she studied business management, and landed a job as an account executive with Univision.

“Deep inside I think I knew I needed to stay here, even though going back to Mexico would have been easier,” she said. “I would tell someone in my position to continue their education, and to find resources to help them. There are so many more resources now than when I was making my decision: there are scholarships, paid internships and the opportunity to go to school part-time and work in their field.”

After her interviews, Denisse had to leave in a hurry. “The Gold Cup is going on right now,” she explained. “Everyone wants to run advertisements with Univision. It’s a busy time of the year.”

MCTC Instructor Tapped for Pluto Insight in Interview

Posted on: July 22nd, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Parke Kunkle, MCTC“One of the problems with the field of astronomy is that you can’t just…experiment on something that’s light years away.”

MCTC Astronomy instructor and advisor to the University of Minnesota Bell Museum of Natural History Parke Kunkle spoke with WTIP North Shore Community Radio in this 20-minute interview about Pluto’s recent return to public attention in images from the New Horizons spacecraft, and why it’s important to science.

Read about Parke’s past forays into the news spotlight.

Our Voices: Vikas Narula, Fostering Business Skills

Posted on: July 20th, 2015 by insidemctc No Comments

Vikas Narula, MCTCVikas Narula couldn’t believe his dream of becoming a college instructor was finally coming true when MCTC offered him a position to teach a Small Business Management course last fall.

The entrepreneurial founder of the software and services business Keyhubs started his career with a love of math. His interest led him to the field of computer science, and eventually business school. Originally from Canada, Vikas didn’t see himself as a business owner until the moment he realized he could use business as a way to make people’s lives better.

“Business can be a powerful engine for improving society,” he said. “If you go into it with that intention, you can prosper and help others prosper.”

Vikas quickly learned the value of using contemporary technology to reach his audience, and began blogging about business, entrepreneurship, and eventually the intersection of his personal interests with his business model. His passion, amplified by the far reach of technology, was noticed by an MCTC instructor who encouraged him to pursue a teaching position at the College.

From day one in the classroom, Vikas’ business philosophies chartered his stories and lessons. He instantly connected with his class.

“I felt welcome immediately,” he said. “My course seemed to flow right from me, and the students met me with equal passion and interest. I felt like I was right at home in the incredibly diverse classroom on an incredibly diverse campus.”

Vikas told his students that whatever their background—whether they have business experience or are fresh from high school—they are capable of creating something original in the world of business. The rapport he builds with his students helps them envision all sorts of entrepreneurial ideas.

“Getting to know the students on a personal level and getting to see their eyes widen when they realize they could pursue their dream is truly special,” he said.

Vikas will teach the Small Business Management course again this fall, and is prepared for a semester of connecting, building and imagining with his students.

“Having the opportunity to teach at MCTC has been a blessing,” he said.