September 2019 Central Connection

August 30, 2019

Partners bring injection molding to CCC

COLUMBUS, Neb. – Central Community College (CCC) and RJG have partnered to bring injection molding training to Nebraska. CCC will embed RJG education into their curriculum when the new training lab is completed in early 2020.

RJG’s award-winning courses have trained countless injection molding professionals in a real world, hands-on capacity to improve their careers and lives. CCC has a passion for teaching real-world skills, including injection molding. The school has been working hard to get the training facility up and running as quickly as possible for its students.

“We are very excited to open up this opportunity to CCC students,” said Gary Chastain, Consulting and Training Director at RJG. “Learning new skills through hands-on training is invaluable; especially today as less and less students choose manufacturing-based careers. We hope to instill a love of the trade and provide new opportunities to future molders.”

Currently, the mechanicals are in place, and the floor will soon receive its new finish in the 4,000-square-foot lab. CCC-Columbus President Dr. Kathy Fuchser and Doug Pauley, associate dean of training and development, are driving the initiative. They have added Ben Wilshusen as the director/trainer for the plastics program.

“CCC is looking forward to building on this partnership and giving our students training which will help them obtain high paying careers serving industry in our region and beyond,” said Pauley.

This effort has also included many local injection-molding companies. There have been machines donated by Becton Dickinson, Molex, Arburg and Toyo.  Advanced Engineering, Novatec and Majors Plastics are looking at how they can contribute specialized equipment to the project.

International Day of Friendship

About 50 people gathered in Central Community College’s Adult Education classrooms at College Park in Grand Island July 30 for International Day of Friendship. Attendees came from Argentina, Colombia, Cuba, Djibouti, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Somalia, Sudan, Venezuela and Vietnam. The food was as diverse as the students who made it and brought it: goat meat, rice, tea, pupusas and samosas, “which we call like runzas but better,” said Adult Education Coordinator Jessica Igo (far right; photo by Scott Miller).

EducationQuest awards scholarship

EducationQuest has awarded Rachel Killion of Elm Creek a Reaching Your Potential scholarship.

Because she placed first out of 227 applicants during the spring cycle, she also was named the Tammi J. Preston Scholar in memory of an EducationQuest staff member.

The scholarship will provide Killion with $2,900 per year while she works toward an associate’s degree is at Central Community College-Hastings. When she transfers to a four-year college in Nebraska, it will pay $5,900 per year until she earns her bachelor’s degree.

The selection committee was impressed by her “extraordinary efforts to overcome obstacles that would have kept many students from pursuing college.”

Killion, whose parents died early in her life, lives with her grandmother and brother in Elm Creek. Her career plans are to become an elementary education teacher.

Blueprint Nebraska: State, college goals align

By Dr. Matt Gotschall
College President


Recently, the state chamber of commerce has been sharing the results of Blueprint Nebraska, a compilation of citizens’ ideas, priorities and progressive initiatives to move Nebraska forward through 2030. I was pleased to read many of the priorities will align with priorities Central Community College maintains as we work to fulfill our mission of maximizing student and community success.

Specifically, Blueprint Nebraska initiatives include:

  • Retaining our workforce talent and preparing our workers for today’s and tomorrow’s jobs by leading peer states in job growth. CCC’s contribution: In support of preparation and retention of workers, CCC offers over 37 academic and career programs with active industry advisory boards and unique curriculum. These include occupational therapy assistant, quality technology, environmental health and safety, pharmacy technician and mechatronics, to name a few.
  • Attracting new residents to the state by leading peer states in building the population of 18-34 year-olds. CCC’s contribution: CCC regularly supports the retention of talent, as 93 percent of our graduates stay within our rural 25-county service area to work or continue their education with the remainder staying in other counties in Nebraska. We annually report on percentages of our target market population (ages 18-64) in each of our 25 counties who are taking classes or workshops from CCC. In 2018-19, CCC served over 10 percent of the service area target population. The county with the highest percentage served was Valley County where one in five residents took a class or workshop from CCC.
  • Scaling public-private partnerships that deliver internships, apprenticeships and customized workforce solutions. CCC’s contribution: One example of how CCC is supporting partnerships is this year’s expansion of advanced manufacturing programing between BD and multiple public entities such as CCC and the State of Nebraska. BD has plants in Columbus, Holdrege and Broken Bow.
  • Revolutionizing all educational segments from early childhood to career. CCC’s contribution: CCC supports all educational segments. Last year, our youngest youth camp attendee was eight years old, while the oldest community education student was 92. CCC welcomes the opportunity to work with rural Nebraskans in a wide variety of programming for lifelong learning.
  • Building an additional 30,000-50,000 affordable, livable housing units. CCC’s contribution: CCC’s construction technology and heavy equipment operator technician programs prepare their graduates to directly aid in building the proposed housing units. CCC’s Graduate Outcome report indicates our construction technology and heavy equipment operator technician graduates are working in the service area and Nebraska. Additionally, employer surveys for the construction technology program report CCC graduates are well prepared to contribute to this exciting objective.
  • Realigning Nebraska’s tax strategy to promote statewide economic growth and prosperity. CCC’s contribution: Recent economic research reports indicate that for every dollar invested in CCC, taxpayers see a $2.40 return on investment. CCC’s elected Board of Governors have kept tax rates below the amount they could levy, and we seek ways to invest those dollars wisely for the benefit of our students and communities we serve.

Central Community College’s board, administration, faculty and staff are ready and eager to take an active role in improving Nebraska and are looking forward to how we can expand our impact. Please feel free to contact CCC about how we can work with you.

Nebraska author to be at College Park

Nebraska author Joy Johnson Brown
poses with a canine friend.

Everyone is invited to bring a friend and come hear Nebraska author Joy Johnson Brown at 2 p.m. on Sept. 18 in the College Park Auditorium.

The Central Community College-Grand Island library is sponsoring this free program by Brown, who has written or co-written more than 100 books and is also a nationally known speaker.

In addition to the program, Brown will meet with the CCC book club at 5 p.m. The club is reading one of the books in her comedy-mystery series, “The BOOB Girls.” BOOB stands for Burned Out Old Broads, referring to a group of widows from the Meadow Lakes Retirement Community whose adventures fill the pages of the series.

Brown’s books had primarily dealt with grief, but she always wondered if she could write a novel. When she retired, she decided to give it a shot. She started writing “The BOOB Girls” books as gifts for her friends and the employees of the Centering Corporation, the 35-year-old bereavement resource center she started with her husband. Friends kept requesting more books and the series took off.

Her primary joys from writing the series come from talking with fans and readers and challenging society’s view of older women.

For more information about the program, call the CCC library at 308-398-7395.

Glasses travel to South America

The moon isn’t the only thing that travels around the earth – so do solar eclipse glasses. As part of Central Community College’s commitment to sustainability, the 40,000 glasses collected from central Nebraska communities after the Aug. 27, 2017, solar eclipse were donated to Astronomers Without Borders and were reused during the July 2, 2019, total solar eclipse by people in Argentina and Chile. Their next stop may be Asia for a Dec. 26, 2019, annular solar eclipse. To track the glasses’ journey and learn more about this effort, visit (Photo courtesy of Astronomers Without Borders)

Celebrating 25 years of service at CCC




Three individuals have completed 25 years of employment with Central Community College. They are:

Dan Gompert

Dan Gompert of Hastings began work at the Hastings Campus on July 29, 1994, as an audio visual technician with computer and network support responsibilities.

He held that position for about a year and then became an electronics instructor. He became an information technology instructor five years ago when electronics was merged into the information technology program.

Prior to joining the CCC staff, he was self-employed, performing aircraft maintenance and repair in O’Neill. He also had a computer repair business.

Gompert graduated from Burwell High School and later earned associate of applied science degrees in computers and automation and electronics technology from CCC and a bachelor’s degree in business information systems from Bellevue University. He will complete a master’s degree in cybersecurity from Bellevue University this October.

He also is a Cisco Certified Network Instructor, Cisco Certified Network Associate, Cisco Instructor for the Professional Level and Instructor Cisco IT Essentials.

Over the last 25 years, he has been involved in a great number of activities and committees at CCC. He describes one of the most exciting tasks as helping to implement the college-wide building of computers, an effort that was aided by students in the electronics department who designed and built the computers.

One of his first opportunities was serving as the chair of a committee that prioritized and categorized budget requests from faculty and then provided feedback to the administration so it could make better-informed decisions. He served on the Hastings Cabinet for several years and the Information Technology Advisory Committee for many years. He was serving on the Sustainability Advisory Board when it developed the E-Badge system.

He and his wife, Jenny, have two daughters, Michelle Douse of Grand Island and Ashley Gompert, who is a senior at Adams Central High School. They also have two grandsons.

Jim Kosmicki

Jim Kosmicki of Grand Island was an adjunct English instructor for two years at CCC, Bellevue University, the University of Nebraska-Kearney and Hastings College. He also worked at night stocking shelves at a grocery store.

He was promoted to a full-time position at the Grand Island Campus on Aug. 15, 1994.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in English and history from Hastings College and a master’s degree in English from Bowling Green State University of Ohio. He earned ABD (all but dissertation) status by completing the comprehensive exams for his doctorate but didn’t finish the dissertation before returning to Nebraska.

Kosmicki is a Grand Island native and has been involved in many organizations in the area throughout his life. He currently is a member of the Human and Legal Rights Committee for Mosaic of Nebraska. He also runs two monthly movie series for CCC-Grand Island: Beyond the Screen, which is held at 6:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday and is open to the general public, and the Friday Afternoon Movie Club, which is held at 1 p.m. the second Friday of each month for a large and enthusiastic group of developmentally disabled individuals.

He and his wife, Amy, have two sons: Nathan Kosmicki of Morgantown, W.V., and Elliott Kosmicki of Lincoln.

Donna Moore

Donna Moore of Marquette began her relationship with the Grand Island Campus as a student and a work-study in the library.

After graduating, she worked part-time for one year in the library before the position became full-time on Aug. 1, 1994. She later became the receptionist at the information desk and worked there for a number of years before becoming the administrative assistant for the nursing department five years ago.

Moore earned an associate of applied science degree in what was then called data processing but is now known as information technology.

Employee news

Grand Island Campus

Campus president Marcie Kemnitz has joined the CHI Health St. Francis Community Board for fiscal year 2019-20.

“Our Community Board is helping us create innovative changes in health care,” said Ed Hannon president and ex-officio. “We work closely with them to ensure we are meeting the community’s evolving heath care needs. We stand with them, listen to them and work together, to help Nebraskans build healthier lives and honor the spirit of our early health care pioneers.”

Kearney Center

Jordan Eisenmenger, associate director of financial aid, is one of the 25 member of the 2019-20 Leadership Kearney class.

Founded in 1991 by community visionaries who saw a need for new leaders within the community, the purpose of Leadership Kearney is to identify and train Kearney-area residents for leadership roles by educating them on area issues, institutions and resources through a structured curriculum.

The class began in August and will meet monthly. Each monthly session focuses on a different topic, including business and industry, local government, state government, ag and energy, arts and entertainment, education, and health and human services.