August 2022 Central Connection

August 2, 2022

College receives $4 million labor grant

Central Community College has received a $4 million U.S. Department of Labor Apprenticeship Building America grant. CCC was one of 30 organizations nationwide receiving $121 million in grants to strengthen and modernize existing registered apprenticeship programs.

CCC will use the funds to work with Northeast and Southeast community colleges and other partners to create a multi-network registered apprenticeship hub that will serve 59 Nebraska counties.

“This grant will allow us to reach more individuals seeking to improve their workforce skills while actively working and earning a wage with area employers,” College President Dr. Matt Gotschall said.

Project ELEVATE, as it’s known, will expand registered apprenticeships in rural central and eastern Nebraska through promotion and outreach, education and employer support. The colleges will develop apprenticeship occupations that use their educational programs and courses for the required related training, in collaboration with industry advisers.

“Since CCC started its Registered Apprenticeship Program in 2021, participation has grown to 15 apprentices and eight companies,” said Catrina Gray, CCC apprenticeship coordinator. “I am looking forward to an even greater number of Nebraska apprentices and companies taking part.”

Outreach and education efforts will help employers better understand what registered apprenticeships are and how they can be implemented in their businesses by partnering with Project ELEVATE.

“Chief Industries is very excited to be working with Central Community College in developing a strong apprenticeship program,” said Lori Schuppan, Chief Industries human resources director. “The Registered Apprenticeship Program is one strategy used to build our teams for the future.”

Metallica continues with CCC

Central Community College will receive $50,000 for a second year as part of the Metallica Scholar program to transform students’ futures.

Since establishing the Metallica Scholars Initiative in 2019, All Within My Hands (AWMH) has worked with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) to directly support students while elevating the importance of career and technical education.

“Our goal for the Metallica Scholars Initiative is to shine a light on workforce education and support the next generation of tradespeople,” said Pete Delgrosso, AWMH executive director. “With the addition of the 2022-23 Metallica Scholars program, our grants will reach over 2,000 men and women in 32 community colleges across 27 states. We are honored to support these students of all ages and backgrounds and look forward to growing the program even farther in the future.”

CCV is focusing its efforts on providing more than 50 criminal justice students with scholarships, forensic kits, field trips and subject matter experts.

“The mission of All Within My Hands scholarships to create sustainable communities by supporting workforce education has found the perfect fit right here in Grand Island,” said Capt. Jim Duering with the Grand Island Police Department. “There is arguably no job more imperative to sustainable communities or in higher demand than criminal justice graduates in the police field.”

“The Metallica Scholars program has proven to provide significant resources for community college students looking to learn the skills needed for today’s workforce,” said Walter G. Bumphus, AACC’s president and CEO. “We are honored to partner with the All Within My Hands Foundation to continue to expand this opportunity for community colleges and their students.”

The Central Community College Board of Govenors includes six female members. They are (left to right, top row) Linda Aerni, Sandra Borden, Michelle Broekemier, (bottom row) Linda Heiden, Diane Keller and Rita Skiles.

Board of Governors gains female majority

By Joni Ransom, Chief of Staff

A sea change came to the 11-member Central Community College Board of Governors in 2021 when Michelle Broekemier of Central City and Linda Heiden of Bertrand were sworn in as new members, making females a majority on the board for the first time in its history.

They joined Linda Aerni of Columbus, Sandra Borden of Gibbon, Diane Keller of Harvard and Rita Skiles of Huntley.

The CCC board was formed in 1966 when the Hastings Campus opened, and the Platte College Board of Governors followed in 1967. The two boards merged in 1973 after legislation created the state’s community college areas. From its inception to today, these boards have included 72 men and 12 women.

Heiden, Keller and Skiles were first appointed to fill open board positions in 2020, 2000 and 2007, respectively, and then went on to get elected in their own right. Aerni ran for office in 2002 and Borden in 2008.

Aerni, Borden and Keller have held all board officer positions. Current office holders are Skiles, vice chair, and Heiden, treasurer.

Borden and Keller also have been active on the Nebraska Community College Association board with Borden serving once as secretary and president and Keller serving twice in all board offices. Keller and Skiles are the current NCCA representatives.

All six women bring a wealth of professional experience to the board.

Aerni has owned or co-owned three corporations and was appointed by three governors to the Nebraska and National commissions on women.

“I have learned many valuable lessons,” she said of her 50 years of experience as an adult student, teacher, adviser, employee and employer. “The most powerful is that education is the sustainable mechanism for a better quality of life.”

Borden worked as a nurse in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio and Nebraska in intensive care, critical care, neuro intensive care and burn units before coming to teach at CCC-Grand Island.

“I had not been in Gibbon long when I got a call from Mary Lou Holmberg (retired CCC dean of nursing) asking if I had ever considered teaching because the community college had just been given state permission to start a two-year nursing program,” she said.

While a nursing instructor at CCC, she also took a 15-month sabbatical to study nursing education in various places, including a medical boat in Bangladesh. After 15 years of teaching, though, she realized she missed the patient contact and left CCC to work at a walk-in clinic in Grand Island.

Broekemier, administrator of Westfield Quality Care of Aurora, started her 20-year educational and professional career with nursing assistant and medication aide training at CCC.

“As a nontraditional student, community colleges have been an important part of my career and educational development,” she said. “I have firsthand experience with their value, and I wanted to do my part in ensuring the tradition continues.”

Heiden spent more than 38 years as the owner and operator of a property and casualty insurance agency serving south central Nebraska and as the responsible party for her family’s farming operation in Phelps and Gosper counties.

“I have a strong business background that is helpful in the decisions I’m asked to make concerning how tax dollars are spent at CCC,” she said.

Keller started at Memorial Community Health in Aurora as a registered nurse and worked in staff development and human resources before becoming CEO, the position she retired from this summer.

“Working in health care to hire and train health professionals led me directly to being interested in a role at CCC,” she said.

Skiles served as director of transition services for ESU 11 for more than 20 years before retiring. Her duties including helping high school students develop career goals and providing training for teachers.

“I had the opportunity to bring students to campus, and I worked with CCC instructors to provide staff development opportunities for ESU 11 area teachers,” Skiles said. “That was the guiding light that led to my becoming a governing board member.”

They believe CCC plays an essential role in Nebraska.

“Businesses are seeking employees with practical skills and experiences,” Broekemier said. “CCC is accommodating this need by offering many types of certifications in many different trades as well as helping the nontraditional student meet their educational goals.”

Heiden, who has served on her local school board for more than 20 years, has seen a deep split develop between students headed to four-year programs and those who go directly into the workforce.

“The earning potential is many times higher over a lifetime with education but not all of us are geared for a four-year college,” she said. “Community colleges can bridge that gap and provide students with the skills necessary to get and keep a good-paying job.”

Borden agreed. “I hope the critical need for more technical professions drives an increase in community college education. I think Central is the best of the six community colleges in the state and we work hard at recognizing industrial needs and responding quickly.”

But, Keller added, it’s important community colleges provide a less expensive entry to a four-year degree. “Higher education in Nebraska is excellent across all levels. The challenge is balancing the financial resources fairly for all students across the state and each level of education.”

Their perspectives bring depth to a board they serve on with Sam Cowan of Stromsburg, Roger Davis of Kearney, Austin Miller and Tom Pirnie of Grand Island and John Novotny of Columbus. They all have different backgrounds, interests and personalities but have a singular commitment to CCC.

“Our communities only thrive if our citizens are successful,” Aerni said, “and education is the key to that success.”

Workshop participants grow their skills

Howells-Dodge ag teacher Hannah Groth participates in a professional development workshop on plant science at Central Community College. Twenty-three summer workshops were led by 17 CCC faculty members and five staff members and drew 110 high school educators from inside and outside of CCC’s service area for training on topics ranging from criminal justice to welding. (Photo by Jamey Peterson-Jones)

Valderaz retires

Lupe Valderaz of Grand Island has retired as an accounts payable specialist at Central Community College.

She joined the staff in November 1974 as a receptionist for the CCC administrative offices which were located in the First Federal building in downtown Grand Island at the time. Several current employees also worked there: Sherry Desel and Deb Varley in the computer department as well as Laura Emde, who came into the office after school to work.

She helped in the purchasing office and was a personnel secretary for the personnel office for a couple of years before filling in for an accounts payable employee on medical leave. When the woman didn’t return to work, Valderaz moved into the position she now holds.

Prior to CCC, she was employed by Platte Valley Community Action where she provided support to clients preparing for job interviews. She also had worked at the ordinance plant for nine months.

Valderaz graduated from Boerne High School in Boerne, Texas, and earned a diploma in accounting from CCC.

Her community activities have included serving on the Mayor’s Committee for Community Development, YWCA and United Way boards, and Women of Color Committee. She also was a member of Business and Professional Women and was named its Member of the Year and ran for the Grand Island City Council. She is a member of St. Mary’s Catholic Church where she had served on the Hispanic Committee for many years.

Valderaz has three children, 10 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Her husband, Simon, died in 2002.

In tribute: Leon Sanders, T.J. Wrigley

Leon Sanders

Leon H. Sanders, 81, of Columbus, died July 14 at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln.

Services were July 20 at Trinity Lutheran Church with burial in Emmanuel Lutheran Cemetery in rural Hildreth.

He was born April 1, 1941, in Holdrege to Henry and Minnie (Quadhamer) Sanders. He graduated from Hildreth High School, Kearney State College with a bachelor’s degree in business education and Colorado State College in Greeley with a master’s degree.

On June 1, 1968, he married Barbara L. Jesse in Hildreth.

He was a business teacher at Litchfield Public Schools and Columbus High School before joining the Central Community College-Columbus staff as an accounting instructor. He went on to serve as an instructional associate dean for 32 years before retiring from CCC in 2006.

During his life, he served as president of the Association for Career and Technical Education in Nebraska and of the Institute of Management Accountants Platte Valley Chapter. He served on the Trinity Church Council, served as church treasurer, participated in Trinity Men’s Ministry and sang in the men’s choir and church choir.

Survivors include his son, daughter, brother and granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his wife, parents and sister.

Condolences may be left at Memorials may be given to the Trinity Lutheran Endowment Fund in Columbus, Trinity Lutheran Church in Hildreth or the Central Community College Foundation.

T.J. Wrigley

Thomas Scott Wrigley Jr. (T.J.), 34, of Columbus died on July 21 at his home.

Services were July 26 at St. Isidore Catholic Church in Columbus with burial in the All Saints Cemetery in Columbus.

He was born Feb. 27, 1988, in Dodge County to Thomas Sr. and Betty (Starzec) Wrigley. He graduated from Scotus Central Catholic High School and went on to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha.

He was an economics and speech instructor at CCC-Columbus and an adjunct teacher at Northeast Community College in Norfolk. He also was an airplane pilot.

Survivors include his parents and brother. He was preceded in death by his grandparents.

McKown Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements. Memorials are suggest to the family for further designation.

Employee news

Administrative Office

Becky Cook has resigned as an institutional research coordinator.

Marni Danhauer, grants manager, and Becky Fausett, adult education director, participated on a June 29 panel on rural community colleges’ experiences in applying for and implementing federal grants. They discussed the Health Professions Opportunity Grant (Project HELP grant). The panel was held as part of the Peer Learning Network, a creation of the Association of Community College Trustees and the Rural Community College Alliance.

Columbus Campus

Resignations have been submitted by Heidi Acton, director of residence life and student activities, and Elizabeth Wess, student services administrative assistant.

Grand Island Campus

New full-time employees include Pam Bales, dean of nursing; Brittney Reeder, service center supervisor; and Mallory Swantek, counseling and prevention education coordinator.

Hastings Campus

Recruiter Valeria Denman received the 2022 Admissions Rising Star Award from the Nebraska Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Offices (NACRAO) during its state convention July 12 in Omaha. The award recognizes a college admissions professional who has made significant contributions to NACRAO and demonstrate a commitment to professionalism and shows leadership potential. Denman is a member of the NACRAO Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging Committee and has been elected secretary of the NACRAO Board of Directors.

Roxann Holliday is no longer serving as the dean of business and entrepreneurship.