Washburn Tech broadens horizons with new programs

Julia Eilert

Washburn Tech is shattering the technical school status quo. Expanding and doing everything it can to give its students the training and skills they need to be successful after graduation, Washburn Tech is introducing all sorts of new ideas.

Starting in February, Washburn Tech will be opening Greenlee Lab to students and companies alike on its main campus. Greenlee is a company under Textron, which has reached an agreement with Washburn Tech.  Greenlee Lab is a part lab, part classroom national training center that will certify men and women that want to enter the world of being an electrician.

“We’ve agreed to a standard of what we want it to look like, so the company feels comfortable bringing people to Topeka,” said Dean Clark Coco. “It becomes then a place where other colleges might come to see what we did and how we set it up, which is always fun.”

Along with the new Greenlee Lab, the new Washburn Tech East will be breaking ground sometime this March and will be open by next January.

“We will have opened up an entire new campus in this community by then,” said Coco. “We just educate them, and teach them, and graduate them.”

While Washburn Tech has offered online classes for awhile, the courses offered are growing in numbers. At this point, the school is planning on offering certain classes on Skype for students in the near future.

“The greatest thing about a technical college is that 70 percent of our students that graduate from here go back to their communities. That’s how communities thrive,” said Mark Wilson, associate dean of student services. “In typical university settings, only 20 percent come back to their community. That’s why so many communities invest in technical schools- it’s an investment in their future as well.”

Washburn Tech will also be holding its fifth annual National Letter Intent Signing activity Feb. 15 for its incoming students. This program was created by the school to involve students in a whole new way. They receive a free hat and t-shirt, as this special moment it broadcast nationally.  

“It’s the coolest thing we’ve ever done. Students need to know and feel that they’re wanted, and this is such a great opportunity,” said Wilson. “I love it, it’s a great event every year.”

With all these new additions, Washburn Tech is pioneering its own way forward. Anyone can feel included and valued, while earning valuable training and connections.

“We have a thing here called ‘Hope has a Face,’” said Coco. “Students, they walk into our doors, and they have a hope, and a dream. There’s always a place for a student here.”