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Western Tech offers new courses for Fall 2019



New courses for the Fall of 2019 included automation systems technology as well as an animal science technician and robotic welding and fabrication specialist program.

Western Technical College added three new programs to help meet the workforce need within the college’s 11-county district.

Michael Poellinger, associate dean of integrated technologies, said the new courses included automation systems technology, animal science technician, and robotic welding and fabrication specialist.

“We do a lot of research on both economic data, student needs, employer needs, to develop new programs,” Poellinger said. “We go through quite a bit of research and development to find what exactly we are going to be looking for down the road. It really does come down to how do we envision one year from now, two years from now, five years from now, what our employers may need.”

The animal science technician program brought benefits for students who may follow a non-traditional course. Focused from an employer standpoint, Poellinger said students may intent to receive an associate degree, but life gets in the way. This embedded technical diploma lets students gain a credential specifically related to jobs in the marketplace after one year of study.

“Once their life may settle down and they are out at a job place and they realize that they need a little bit more education to continue, they can come back and not miss a beat and continue towards their associate degree,” Poellinger said.

Poellinger noted that while Western Tech is quick with providing a solid skillset and adjusting courses, staff keep in mind it still takes two years to get an associate graduate, so they need to be on the forefront of anticipating trends among students and in the workplace.

Kaitlyn Riley’s passion for communications started on her family’s dairy farm in Gays Mills, Wis. Wanting to share agriculture’s story, she studied strategic communications and broadcast journalism at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. In college, she held officer positions with the Association of Women in Agriculture and Badger Dairy Club while volunteering as a news reporter for the college radio station. She also founded the university’s first agricultural radio talk show, AgChat. In her professional career, Kaitlyn has worked in radio, print and television news doing everything from covering local events to interviewing presidential candidates, and putting back on her barn boots to chat with farmers in the field. Today, Kaitlyn can be seen covering local stories that matter to you in the La Crosse area.

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