An opportunity for Pratt Community College to expanding its Electrical Power Technology program in a different Wichita location will become a reality this fall.

Working in conjunction with Wichita Area Technological College, the new EPT program will be held on the WATC Gove Campus that is next to East High School, said PCC President Michael Calvert.

Students enrolled in the class will do classroom work through remote video with PCC instructors in an interactive distance learning system while the pole-climbing portion will be done on poles that will be installed on the Gove Campus.

Since WATC doesn’t have an EPT program there is no conflict with the PCC program plus it benefits both colleges with new student enrollment.

Calvert said he hopes the new program will attract from eight to 10 students the first year with anticipated growth once students learn about the program. The program will be for high school juniors and seniors.

The goal of the program is to produce students that are job ready or they can go on to college.

The program will offer students the chance to earn a technical certificate and get a degree. If students choose, they can get a job right out of high school or they can go ahead and continue their college education.

“It’s kind of a win/win deal,” Calvert said.

Besides providing students with options upon completing the course, students will be able to take the program for free. So not only can students begin work right out of high school, they will not have a big loan to pay off to start a career.

Financing for the program will come out of the Career Tech Ed Funding that was approved in 2013. It was from Gov. Brownback’s SB 155 initiative.

By providing a free program, it is a huge incentive to get students enrolled and grow the program. The main goal is to put people to work.

Career Tech Ed Funding started like gangbusters and the Legislature doubled the amount in the program because demand was so high. There was dramatic growth in a short period of time, Calvert said.

The partnership with WATC has been positive so far and PCC wants to investigate other programs that the two can offer students together. A possibility of a partnership with Wichita State University is also something PCC would consider for the future.

“There’s other opportunities we’re exploring,” Calvert said.

The EPT program at PCC is one of only three in Kansas and offers training on the PCC campus as well as locations in Coffeyville and the PCC remote campus on the west side of Wichita. Students in the remote site take classes there and do their lab work at a Westar location in Wichita.

Other partnerships have worked well with PCC before the EPT program. The nursing program also has a very successful satellite program in Winfield through a partnership with Cowley College.