GREEN BAY (WLUK) -- Local elected officials, area leaders, and community partners gathered at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College on Tuesday to learn about new programs and advancements the college has made to further prepare students for entering into the workforce.
The event focused on training the local workforce during and beyond the pandemic, specifically showcasing the health science facilities on campus.
"We had to pivot a lot of different ways in which to deliver our education. We're primarily a hands-on institution so here we are faced with the issue of how are we going to teach our students some of the skills that require them to practice and at the same time keep them safe," NWTC president Jeff Rafn said.
Healthcare classes have advanced in new ways.
"One of those is simulation, so within respiratory therapy program, within the nursing programs, we use patient simulators to supplement up to 50% of what students would see in clinical and we are now introducing a virtual and augmented reality to these simulation sessions too," NWTC dean of health sciences and education Scott Anderson said.
"Clinical spots were not always open because hospitals and other healthcare facilities are keeping their area safe so how were we going to provide that education so we got to show a lot of that. A fair amount of that will probably continue into the new year, the parts that have been successful but we do expect our students to be back on campus," Rafn said.
NWTC says enrollment dropped 8.5% this year, but Rafn expects it to go back up.
NWTC says it's important to show stakeholders what NWTC is doing to make that happen.
"We are prepared in the fall to offer everything a in face-to-face format. At the same time, there are some things that clearly students have liked, having to come on campus less but coming to do the hands-on portion but being able to do some of the classroom work at home...We'll be taking some of the best things that we've learned and combining it with the strong, hands-on education that we always provide," Rafn said.
Rafn says he's also impressed with the faculty and the creative ways they've adapted to teaching amid the pandemic.