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: Randy Anderson, Addict in Recovery

Posted on: June 8th, 2015 by marketingworkstudy No Comments

Randy-anderson-storyTo Recovery and Beyond

The day Randy Anderson was sentenced to more than 87 months in federal prison was the worst day of his life.

At one point in his life, Randy was using and dealing cocaine daily. That lifestyle caught up with him one day in 2004 when he came home to find himself surrounded by police vehicles and officers with guns drawn.

To avoid any lengthy jail time, Randy volunteered to enter a drug treatment program. After completing the program at the Minneapolis drug treatment facility RS Eden, he was arrested on drug charges again. It was Randy’s second stay at the RS Eden that sent the message that would change his life.

“One of the counselors told me I was being stubborn,” he said. ”That was my turning point.”
His counselor challenged Randy to enter sobriety and, not one to turn down a challenge, he obliged. He’s been sober since Jan. 10, 2005. However, despite his recent sobriety, Randy still needed to account for his past actions. He was sentenced to 87 months in federal prison.

The day Randy drove himself to prison was the scariest day of his life.

“My heart fell out of my chest,” he said. “I was devastated by an outcome that was so much worse than I ever could have imagined.”

Randy was able to reduce his sentence to 54 months with good behavior. After his release and once he acquired a steady job, his newlywed wife encouraged him to look at postsecondary education.

“I decided to go for it, but at the age of 43, I was scared to death of going back to school,” he said.

His first day of class at MCTC was the second scariest day of his life. He remembers turning around in his car to go back home twice, and telling himself he couldn’t do it.

When he finally arrived at the College, he found the atmosphere inviting. Within moments of his arrival, Randy was approached by a fellow student who offered him directions. Randy realized involvement would be his key to success as an adult student coming back to college, and shortly thereafter he connected with Student Life and the Addiction Counseling Club.

“If you don’t become involved with Student Life, you’re missing out,” he said. “It made my educational experience as a middle-aged man really fun.”

Diving into MCTC’s renowned Addiction Counseling program, Randy found his niche. Drawing on a lifetime of connecting and building rapport with new acquaintances, Randy used his involvement and connections jump start his education and work toward a future career as an addiction counselor.

“In any client-focused career, you have to find a way to connect with someone on a personal level,” said Randy. “As an outgoing person and someone with experience going through addiction counseling, my goal is to connect with the people who went through what I went through.”

Before he graduates from his program in December, Randy will spend the summer interning at RS Eden—the very place that turned his life around. He already knows he’s on the right track, too. “I was offered to stay on as a counselor after my internship,” he said. “I’m starting my future right out of the gates.

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