Barton Community College career programs guided by community, put residents to work in local jobs

CTE Month 2017: This feature is the third of four stories to be released by Barton Community College in February in celebration of Career Technical Education (CTE) Month.

CTE Month® is an annual celebration held in February of CTE community members’ achievements and accomplishments nationwide. CTE Month 2017, with its tagline of "Celebrate Today, Own Tomorrow!" gives colleges the chance to inform others of the innovation and excellence that exists within our local CTE programs and raise awareness of the crucial role that CTE plays in readying our students for careers and our nation for economic success.


February 10, 2017
Story by Brandon Steinert

Barton County would look very different without Barton Community College.

According to a study conducted in 2014, Barton directly impacts the county and the surrounding six counties to the tune of $11.7 million in created income in fiscal year 2012-13.

The indirect impact of student productivity on the economy after graduation, which was measured by Economic Modeling Specialists Intl., comes out to about $82.4 million.

Some of that added income is found in graduates who were able to secure a better job with higher wages after finishing one of Barton’s career programs, which are designed to be agile and flexible to keep up with ever-changing industry demands and technological advancements.

Volunteer advisory councils keep Barton curriculum relevant

Nearly 20 advisory councils composed of community volunteers help Barton Community College keep pace with the ebb and flow of industry workforce needs.  

Dean of Workforce Training and Community Education Elaine Simmons said the councils ensure the college’s programs are serving up content to ensure graduates leave Barton skilled and with relevant experience.

“Advisory board members are living and working in the industry – they have a pulse on what is needed with respect to the workforce – it’s skills and talents. Advisory board members also provide a voice of promotion and support that is limitless in scope,” she said. “These relationships strengthen the College’s awareness of its mission and help to identify opportunities for service.”

The councils meet at least twice per year and are encouraged to attend special events, college Board of Trustees meetings, career fairs and open houses. Simmons said the college appreciates their time and dedication.

 “Service as an advisory board member requires an investment of an individual’s personal and sometimes professional time. Board members give of their time and talents not only to participate in these activities, but also provide feedback throughout the year,” Simmons said. “They are exceptional.”

Below is a sampling of comments from advisory council members on why they feel it’s important to participate.

“Why do you serve on a Barton Community College Career Program Advisory Council?”


It is my pleasure to serve on the Barton Welding Advisory Board to share my knowledge of the welding industry with other members of this council to benefit students, local businesses, Barton administration and instructors. At the same time, I can also benefit along with my business from the information being shared and experiences directly related to the program.  I believe it is very important for the welding program graduates to be well prepared to pursue gainful employment with the confidence, knowledge and skills taught within the Barton Welding Program that they can utilize in the local workforce. The local businesses benefit greatly from this effort likewise as they are afforded the opportunity to hire individuals who already possess the professional skills and knowledge they learned from Barton in lieu of expending significant resources and time to train them or recruit them from other areas. 

Dave Cox

Plant Manager 

Maico Industries, Inc



Early Childhood Education

As a member of the Barton Early Childhood Education Advisory Council, I feel like it is important to involve these young students in our community. Working together with Barton and local school districts, we can encourage these students to remain right here in rural Kansas and become productive members of our community. As an educator serving on the council, I have been impressed with the vision of the Early Childhood Department at Barton. They truly empower these students to reach beyond the textbooks and provide opportunities for interaction in schools and childcare facilities. Involving schools, business members and the community as part of the advisory councils helps to promote a collaborative effort throughout Barton County. 

Kim Specht


Roosevelt Elementary Preschool




I think it’s important to serve on the Business Advisory Council at Barton because as the Community Coordinator, I want to stay informed of the projects and ideas coming from the students. I love that through the advisory board we can connect these students to our community in various ways. I’ve previously helped provide tours of downtown and some of the attractions that our city is so proud of like the Trail of Lights and Santas Around the World during Christmas time. I’m excited to grow with the students all while helping the business community see an influx in college students’ interest in our community through shopping, entertainment or even just a place to enjoy coffee and study in town. I think we are just getting started in helping each other!

Christina Hayes

Community Coordinator

City of Great Bend



I choose to serve on the Business Advisory Council for a number of reasons. First, I love engaging the students, faculty and administration. It is refreshing to hear the success stories, dreams and vision that these young people have to contribute. As an employer, the college values and uses my input when designing courses and curriculum. They really do listen and want to build their programs based on industry needs. Lastly, I believe it is my civic duty to contribute to the college and it’s programs. I want to do more than just support the college via my property taxes. I am Barton proud! 

Matt Hoisington

C&V Home Improvement, Inc. and Kansas Doors

Great Bend



Open communication is an important aspect of the successful partnership between Barton Community College and Ellsworth Correctional Facility. I am convinced that the programs Barton provides our offenders has a big impact in reducing recidivism. Barton has always been a great partner to ECF; they go out of their way to provide positive interactions and opportunities for our offenders.  As the Warden at ECF, it is important that we continue to have good positive communication with Barton staff as we continue our long-standing partnership. The communications through the Corrections Advisory Council is important to the success of our programs.  Many of our offenders who have completed Barton Vocational Welding and other programs eventually release to the local communities, continue employment in metal fabrication jobs and become successful taxpaying citizens.

Marty Sauers


Ellsworth Correctional Facility



Serving on the Agriculture Advisory Council has been a very rewarding experience for me. We have many needs as employers in the community and serving on the board has given me a chance to express those needs. Our return on investment is found in the people we hire who have graduated from Barton with the qualifications we need.

I have also been asked to speak at the classroom level so I can better understand the students who are taking the classes and have a feel of the career goals set by today’s students.

I believe that since being on the advisory board, I feel better connected with the college and also other employers in surrounding communities. We have all gained valuable relationships that can help us come up with solutions for our questions and needs that we are all faced with in having qualified employees to help us grow our businesses.

Marvin Rose

Crop Production Manager

Great Bend COOP


Barton Career Fair

CTE month will culminate with a Career Technical Education Fair from 1-3 p.m. March 1 in the Case New Holland Shop in the Northeast side of the Technical building. Registration opens at 12:30 p.m. and optional campus tours start at 10:30 a.m.

The fair is available for 8th grade students, high school students, current Barton students, community members and will feature demonstrations, hands-on-activities, refreshments, prizes and photo ops with the Barton mascot.  To sign up, contact Denise Schreiber at (620) 792-9324 or

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