Kansas Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann toured the Pratt Community College campus March 22 and was impressed with its programs. He wants to get the word out about job opportunities available with a community college degree or certificate.

Getting the word out to students about the benefits of attending a community college is a priority for Kansas new Lt. Gov. Tracey Mann. Mann toured the Pratt Community College campus March 22 to get acquainted with the facilities and the programs offered at the college.

"We have a shortage of workers. We need to get the word out," Mann said

The tour included sports facilities in Lesh Arena and the new weight room and exercise equipment in the student center. The new equipment was installed during Spring Break. Other areas visited were the Student Center art gallery, nursing program and sim labs, the Electric Power Technology pole area.

Mann said community colleges have a tremendous impact on the work force and the state economy by providing qualified students especially in technical fields. The technical programs at PCC provide the skills necessary for students to get high paying jobs directly after getting their degree.

Pratt Community College President Michael Calvert said, according to Wallet Hub, that PCC graduates have for five out of the last six years had the highest first year of employment annual wages among the state community colleges and for students graduating with a bachelors degree from the four-year colleges.

The Aspen Institute has ranked PCC in the top 150 community colleges in the country for the last four two-years cycles, Calvert said.

Mann said students need to know a community college education can help them get a good paying job with a degree or a certificate. The college needs to continue expanding technology programs to help provide the technical skills needed in the workforce.

Paying attention to market needs will help guide the decision on which programs should be pursued.

One of the market needs PCC is going to address is a new Modern Distribution Sales and Management program that is scheduled to go on-line this fall. The college is currently working on the state proposal for the course and expects it to be approved so the program can go live this fall, Calvert said.

Keeping the college financially sound with all the state finance issues is a challenge every year but Vice President of Finance and Operations Kent Adams and the rest of faculty and staff work hard to make wise use of state and local funding.

Calvert shared some of the other projects currently under way at the college including up dating the rodeo arena and announcers booth and constructing a new combination soccer field and track facility next to the Green Sports Complex. That is a $3.1 million project and is a combination effort among the college, USD 382, USD 438 and the city recreation department. So far, about 1.3 million has been raised towards that project, Calvert said.

Also in the works for PCC is a crop applicator program.