October 2022 Central Connection

October 3, 2022

Analysis examines CCC’s economic impact

By Scott Miller
Senior Director of College Communications

Central Community College added $442.1 million in income to its 25-county service area’s economy. That’s according to an economic impact analysis of fiscal year 2020-21, which found that the $442.1 million is approximately equal to 2.3 percent of the region’s total gross regional product.

CCC’s impact supported 6,247 jobs and the activities of CCC and its students support one out of every 33 jobs in the service area. Some of the jobs supported (by industry) include 797 in health care and social assistance, 620 in retail trade, 600 in manufacturing, 495 in construction and 620 in other services.

The study also looked at the return-on-investment for taxpayers, students and society.

The total investment made by CCC’s over 17,000 credit and non-credit students in 2020-21 in out-of-pocket expenses and forgone time and money amounted to a present value of $39.7 million. However, for each dollar students invested in their CCC education, they are estimated to receive a cumulative value of $5.30 in higher future earnings.

The total benefit to society is $704.7 million or $5.60 for each dollar invested. The societal benefit is comprised of additional student income, added income from college activities, added business income and social savings related to improved health, less crime and state income assistance.

“I am very pleased that through our CCC employees, daily operations, construction projects, students and alumni, we provide such a positive impact on investments and that students and alumni are seen living in Nebraska communities and working in the local industries of Central’s region,” said CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall.

CCC’s $49 million payroll for 777 full-time and part-time employees that year was spent primarily in the service area for mortgage and rent, utilities, groceries, transportation and other household expenses. CCC’s alumni also had a tremendous impact. The increased earnings of CCC alums and the businesses they work for added $379 million in income.

The total taxpayer benefits amounted to $60.1 million, $55.3 million of which came from state and local government tax collections. The remaining dollars came from public sector savings in the form of savings generated by the improved lifestyles of CCC students and corresponding reduced need for government assistance.

“We regularly hear the human stories of positive impact from individual students and alumni, so these types of data-rich studies allow us to also see our fiscal impact, and put it into dollars and cents, that Central Community College contributes positively to central Nebraska’s economy,” said Gotschall.

The economic impact analysis was conducted by EMSI Burning Glass, a private labor market data firm serving clients in the U.S. the U.K. and Canada.

Celebrating a new location

Central Community College and Platte Valley Literacy Association (PVLA) adult education staff, CCC administration and board members and Columbus Chamber of Commerce representatives came together Sept. 23 to cut the ribbon for the new Columbus adult education space in the Family Resource Center, 3020 18th St. “We are very pleased to have large, functioning classrooms as well as quiet space for students to test and work one-on-one with a tutor,” said Becky Fausett, CCC adult education director.

College remains ‘Best for Vets’

Central Community College is the top choice for veterans among all Nebraska colleges and universities, according to the Military Times Best for Vets: Colleges rankings for 2022.

The list focuses on the efforts of two-year universities and colleges nationwide to support the military community. CCC is in 27th place of all institutions and fourth place among community colleges.

“This is a great honor to be selected and ranked so well against 310 other schools, both locally and nationally, many of which are much larger than CCC,” said Barry Horner, veterans and military services director. “CCC’s efforts to provide the best possible services for our military affiliated students is proven by their success. Our veterans’ program is not successful unless our student veterans are successful in their educational goals.”

CCC’s Veterans and Military Resource Centers (VMRC) in Columbus, Grand Island, Hastings and Kearney help veterans with benefits and academic advising, assistance for disabled vets and mental health resources. A tuition waiver program provides 100-percent tuition for spouses and children of eligible veterans paid by the college, and the Central Community College Foundation provides veteran-specific scholarships.

“We are proud to see the work of our veteran services staff having such a positive impact on student success throughout our 25-county service area,” said CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall. “We have locations open for these adult students to meet in person and remotely. Faculty, staff and administrators are grateful for their service and welcome the opportunity to help these students in their next career field.”

Central Community College's veterans and military services staff: Barry Horner, Jordan Janssen, Patti Lee-Smith and Shawn Patsios.

Meet the VMRC staff

Four Central Community College employees are the driving force behind the Veterans and Military Resource Centers (VMRC) and its services.

Barry Horner, veteran and military services director, Army and Army Reserve, retired from active service in 2021 as a first sergeant. He served in the U.S. Army in Fort Campbell, Ky., Kitzingen, West Germany; Ft. Hood, Texas; and Frankfurt, West Germany and in the Army Reserve in Hastings; Shreveport, La.; and Elkhorn.

He said the military gave him an understanding of the true meanings of duty, pride and commitment and the ability to remain calm and keep a clear head under any circumstance.

Horner is based in Grand Island. His VMRC coordinators are Jordan Janssen in Hastings, Patti Lee-Smith in Columbus and Shawn Patsios in Kearney

Janssen is a private in the Nebraska Army National Guard and has served in Mead and Seward.

He said the military has given him structure, camaraderie, leadership skills, great memories and a desire to help others succeed.

Lee-Smith is a member of the Army National Guard and is a sergeant first class and full-time contracting officer for the 1969th Contingency Contracting Team in Lincoln.

She also has served in the 195th Airborne Forward Support Company and the 734th Transportation Battalion.

She has military occupational specialties in contracting and movement control and will soon earn another in logistics. She is a master resiliency, deployment cycle and master fitness trainer and a sexual assault victim advocate.

“The military offers a wide range of opportunity to soldiers,” she said. “If you put the work in, there are endless opportunities for growth.”

Patsios is a master sergeant in the Nebraska Air National Guard, serving with the 155th Airbourne Refueling Wing in Lincoln.

He also served at the Air National Guard Readiness Center in Washington, D.C., when he was a member of the U.S. Air Force.

He said his strong passion for helping others and his background in higher education and communication have made him a superior religious affairs airman.

The occupational therapy assistant program holds a six-week sensory motor camp that attracts about 60 kids to Central Community College-Grand Island each summer. They enjoy sensory activities while improving their fine motor skills and handwriting.

CCC at a glance: occupational therapy assistant

Year started: 2009.

Location: Central Community College-Grand Island.

Total number of graduates to date: 220.

Program options: Associate of applied science degree.

Program specifics: Five semesters in length, worth 72 credit-hours and begins each August. Accepts 23 students annually.

Program accreditation: Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education of the American Occupational Therapy Association.

Special admission requirements: 10 hours of observation with a certified occupational therapy assistant or occupational therapist; drug and background checks, and immunizations.

Certification: Graduates may sit for the occupational therapy assistant national certification examination administered by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT). Most states require licensure in order to practice, but those licenses are usually based on the results of the NBCOT certification exam and on the demonstration of continuing education and competency.

OTA’s primary goal: To help people with physical or mental limitations complete their activities of daily living as independently as possible.

The team: Callie Watson, program director; Libby Paro, full-time instructor; and Alex Bendt and Kyle Lowery, part-time instructors.

Fieldwork affiliates: Nursing homes, schools, assisted living facilities, out-patient and sports therapy clinics, and some home health throughout the college’s 25-county service area. The biggest employer the OTA program works with is Central Nebraska Rehab.

Cool things the OTA students have done:

  • Completed sensory rooms and/or sensory pathways at schools in Aurora, Hastings, Centennial and Utica and sensory kits for some area daycare centers.
  • In Giltner, put in a calming station and, thanks to a student who raised $600, a sensory room as well.
  • Set up the Utica Bronco Baristas, a coffee shop for special needs kids so they can work on social skills and life skills.
  • Gave seminars on campus on various topics and at the YMCA for elders on preventing falls and staying in their homes longer.
  • Made an assistive device out of PCP pipe so it was easier for kids to get on horses for hippotherapy in Central City.
  • Created programming on recipes, healthy eating and other health topics and shared it with Hope Harbor.
  • Assembled a binder of memory activities for Countryhouse and a binder and portfolio regarding trauma informed care for Perspectives Professional Counseling.
  • A student made a communication board for a special needs child at her church who was having difficulties communicating.
  • Another student put together flowers and a message of hope for an area hospital’s cancer unit.

Center Check-in: Chamber features Ord

Central Community College’s Ord Learning Center is featured in the Ord Area Chamber of Commerce September Spotlight.

The Ord Learning Center began in 2009 with a survey showing Valley County residents desired more educational opportunities. These results led CCC, Valley County Economic Development (VCED) and Greater Loup Valley Activities (GLVA) to work together to make this desire a reality. The first step was CCC setting up a center in Ord in the former Ben Franklin’s store, which was owned by GLVA and occupied by VCED and the Ord Area Chamber. The center opened in 2010 under the leadership of Lu Lansman, sole staff member and regional coordinator.

In 2011, CCC, the Nebraska Community Foundation and the Heartland Center for Leadership Development received a three-year, $175,105 grant from the USDA Rural Community Development Initiative program. CCC matched the grant with $175,248. The goal was to build community and economic capacity in Greeley, Sherman and Valley counties. When the grant ended in 2014, more than 600 individuals had been served and new opportunities had been created in career and technical training, academic and career planning services, professional and continuing education classes, entrepreneur and business succession planning and youth programming.

CCC invested in the building since the beginning. Before its grand opening, the college added a new IP video system, smart board technology, projectors and surround-sound and upgraded the fiber optics internet connection. It enhanced the building with new carpet and fresh paint in 2015 and with a renovation of the ceiling and lighting fixtures in 2018.

Today, the center contains a large multipurpose conference room, two classrooms, a nine-station computer lab, a telecommunications classroom, a nursing assistant and medication aid lab, and a GED studying and testing room. A variety of nonprofits and community groups use the center. The facility also is available to rent for business and educational purposes.

CCC has also invested in the center’s staffing. In 2013, Dr. Crystal Ramm was hired as the first full-time regional director. In 2018, Janet Eppenbach was hired as community education coordinator and the second full-time staff member.

Collaborations continue to be important to the center.

It participates in and leads the annual Big Give to Valley County. Donations support accessibility to community education courses by keeping registration costs low for children and families. Donations also fund the Ord Center Scholarship, which has provided a $500 scholarship to CCC to 16 Valley County students since 2015.

For the past eight years, the center has held Career Discovery Day for area high school juniors who want to explore academic and career pathways; discover their interests, abilities and values; and meet with local businesses leaders.

In 2021, the center added the Student Internship Program, which gives a high school student the opportunity to plan, teach and assist with summer camps and workshops. The $3,000 internship is funded entirely by Big Give donations.

For two summers, Ord native and former kids camp attendee Grey Smith (pictured) filled that role.

“I love the opportunity to give kids the fun experiences that robotics and coding bring and be able to share that knowledge with them,” he said. “I have been taking OLC summer camps for what seems like forever, and I am very happy to have the chance to still be a part of them now.”

The center’s interest in sustainability and natural beauty led to the CCC Ord Pollinator Garden in 2019 on the Aubles Pond Trail. It features more than 35 native perennial plants that attract many different types of pollinating insects. The garden is planted and maintained by Ord Center staff and the CCC sustainability team with assistance from the City of Ord Parks Crew.

Today, the center offers 175 certification, diploma and degree programs; Early College, dual credit and career pathways; academic assessment, advising and career counseling; GED, computer and community education classes; nursing assistant, medication aide, CPR, first aid and AED training; EMT certification; kids camps; ACT prep; and student proctoring.

Prairie as ‘Far as the Eye Can See’

The prairie will come alive when Pippa White presents her one-woman show, “Far as the Eye Can See,” at 3 p.m. on Nov. 5 at College Park in Grand Island. She’ll rivet the audience with her tales of the pioneers who crossed the prairie and then settled it, the brave people of the Dust Bowl, and the Native Americans who struggled to hang onto the prairie that was once theirs alone. The show is offered through the extended learning services office at Central Community College-Grand Island and costs $20.

Partnership creates degree pathway

Western Governors University (WGU), a nonprofit, online university, and Central Community College have formed a new partnership that will give students graduating from CCC with associate degrees a pathway to earning a bachelor’s or master’s degree from WGU.

The partnership was announced when Gov. Pete Ricketts signed a memorandum of understanding with WGU to expand access to affordable, high-quality degree programs for the estimated 306,000 Nebraskans who have some college credit but no bachelor’s degree. The State of Nebraska will enlist relevant agencies to collaborate with WGU to target underserved populations such as dislocated workers, veterans and rural residents. WGU will work with local employers and organizations to meet workforce needs in the state.

CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall said the partnership will help the college “reach our goal of having at least 70 percent of 25- to 34-year-old Nebraskans have a degree, certificate, diploma or other postsecondary or industry-recognized credential by 2030.”

CCC graduates will have a choice of more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business, education, information technology and health. All WGU students are paired with a program mentor who will support them from enrollment through graduation.

CCC students also will be eligible for scholarships to help pay for WGU’s tuition of about $3,800 per six-month term.

“WGU values the important role community colleges play in upskilling the workforce and is pleased to offer an affordable and flexible pathway for thousands of Nebraskans who need postsecondary education and training to advance their careers and, in turn, their lives,” said Dr. Terrance Hopson, WGU regional vice president.

Born to run ... and walk

Eighty-four individuals participated in the 40th Annual Ram Run and Walk on Sept. 10 at Central Community College-Hastings: 21 in the one-mile run or walk and 63 in the 5K. They ranged in age from 6 to 87 and came from 22 communities, one in Iowa. Race proceeds go to the CCC Foundation for student scholarships.

Boyle retires

Carol Boyle of Elwood has retired as learning center manager at Central Community College-Lexington.

She started in the position on a part-time basis in 2009 and was promoted to full-time in 2019. For a time, she also handled the Lexington Center’s community education classes.

Before joining the CCC staff, Boyle said she did a little bit of everything. She worked in Kansas City as a VISTA volunteer and later in Lexington as a director of United Way, an income maintenance supervisor for the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services and as a camp director for the Presbyterian Church. She also did on-the-job training and workforce development for the Nebraska Department of Labor as part of the CETA (Comprehensive Employment and Training Act) program.

Boyle is a graduate of Callaway High School. She attended Chadron State College and the University of Nebraska-Kearney before transferring to Westmar College in Le Mars, Iowa, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in religion. She also did postgraduate work in English at the University of Missouri in Kansas City.

She is a member of Parkview Baptist Church in Lexington where she serves as hospitality chair.

She and her husband, Tim, have three children and six grandchildren.

Moors leaves a strong foundation

By Joni Ransom
Chief of Staff

The main driving force for Dean Moors has been finding donors to meet the needs of Central Community College students.

As executive director of the Central Community College Foundation, he said he has worked to fulfill that drive with integrity, accountability and transparency.

Now poised to retire on Nov. 1, Moors leaves a foundation that has grown in scope from when he first stepped in the doors in 2008.

“There has been a lot of work put into growth over the years and finding ways to improve,” he said.

This growth included the addition of directors to handle planned giving, the annual employee campaign and alumni.

“Employees do a lot for the students,” Moors said. “Their participation in the employee campaign has been outstanding.”

Going hand in hand with employees are graduates.

“Alumni are critical,” he said. “We worked from the ground up, starting with getting a list into a database. Now we’re moving into development and tracking.”

Those accomplishments, along with partnerships with business and industry and relationships with donors, mean the CCC Foundation can provide students with scholarships, access to food and hygiene pantries and assistance for emergencies and required tools and other items for some programs.

The foundation also stepped up to raise donations for the new Kearney Center and supported major projects in Hastings and Columbus.

He emphasized the foundation’s success rests on its entire staff: Cheri Beda, alumni director; Sharon Liske, treasurer; Nichole Olson, administrative assistant; Jessica Rohan, development director; and Pat Stange, coordinator.

Moors graduated from Lincoln East High School, Nebraska Wesleyan University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration and the Pacific Coast School of Banking in Seattle, Wash.

His career began as a state bank examiner and internal auditor. From those positions, he went to the First National Bank of Kearney as a credit analyst and loan review officer and then to the National Bank of Commerce in Lincoln to manage a corporate loan portfolio.

In 1994, he moved to Hastings to serve as executive vice president and senior credit officer for Heritage Bank (formerly City National Bank and Trust Company) before becoming president in 1999.

“Going from banking to education was a big move, but it was a good move,” he said.

He has been heavily involved in every place he has called home, serving as a member and officer for various boards and committees.

Moors will work part-time for two more years at the CCC Foundation on Generations of Impact, a $25 million campaign to fund the foundation’s operating expenses so that every dollar raised goes to scholarships and program support.

He referred to the foundation’s vision statement: Improving quality of life, fulfilling one dream at a time. “If I’ve done that in any way, then I’ve been successful,” he said.

Investing in education

Traci Skalberg brings a deep passion for investing in community to her new position as executive director of the Central Community College Foundation.

“Education is a big component because it’s a driver of economic growth,” she said. “There’s no better investment than education.”

Her commitment to education shows in her former positions, from adult development director at the YWCA of Grand Island to director of annual giving for the Stuhr Museum Foundation to executive director of the Grand Island Public Schools (GIPS) Foundation.

“Alleviating and removing barriers and creating opportunity were the two main things I did (at the GIPS foundation),” she said. “CCC will allow me to expand my impact beyond Grand Island proper to 25 counties. It’s pretty exciting.”

Since starting work at the CCC Foundation on Aug. 15, she has focused on getting out to meet people throughout the college.

“I’m learning the systems along with the culture,” she said. “Each campus has a different personality.”

She hopes to spend more time sharing the story of the community college. “We need to be vocal internally and externally what they mean to community,” she said.

Employee news

Administrative Office

Amanda Groff has resigned as marketing director.

Ryann Perkins has joined the staff as an accounts payable specialist.

Grand Island Campus

Robin Barrera is the new nursing admissions technician.

Hastings Campus

Tara Bialas has shifted positions from TRIO program coordinator to academic transfer specialist.

New employees include Charly Lufkin, residence life coordinator, and David Tuberville, custodial supervisor.

Dustin McCord has resigned as a diesel technology instructor.

Kearney Center

Kara Greenwalt has been promoted from student services specialist to director of student and enrollment services.

Chemistry instructor Yunteng He has had two articles published this year on The Teaching Professor website. They are “Quasi-active Learning: An Approach to Blending Active Learning and Lecture” on Jan. 18 and “Boosting Student Engagement and Achievement during Collaborative Learning” on Sept. 6.

The first article explores an injection of student-centered active learning into the traditional lecture format. It covers the three phases of quasi-active learning that can be implemented in the classroom.

The second article looks at the alternative of collaborative learning in which students work in groups to explore the course materials and seek understanding and solutions together.

NCMPR awards

Four employees have received District 5 Medallion awards from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations. They were:

  • Amanda Groff, marketing director, a bronze award for the Game of Life registration ads.
  • Emily Klimek, graphic designer, gold awards for the Choose Your Character digital display ads and the Step Up to Your Future New Student Orientation pin and a bronze award for the viewbook.
  • Scott Miller, college communications senior director, a silver award for the Lexington Our Town diversity, equity and inclusion marketing.
  • Kelsey Seidler, print shop manager and designer, a gold award for the Alumni Weekend brochure, silver award for the heavy equipment program brochure and bronze award for the Ram Run and 9/11 Memorial Walk and Run T-shirt.