Career College Central

Career College Central - October 2020

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Subscribe at 31 T hey say those who can't do, teach. But in the case of Brian Huff and Mike Casper, those who can do teach—and then open a school. Aer these two high school friends became trained welders and saw the abundance of job opportunities in industries like manufacturing and construction, they knew there was a need for skilled workers. ey'd gotten comfortable training others on the job, but they wanted to do more—and for more people. In 1995, they opened their first school: Midwest Welding and Fabricating in Lincoln, Illinois. Aer two years, they applied for accreditation and aer four years, they began accepting financial aid. eir commitment to providing a good service for their students helped them grow their program offerings as well as their school locations. Expanding deliberately Today, Midwest Technical Institute (MTI) and Delta Technical College (DTC) operate six campuses in three states, offering students the hands-on training they need to begin (or advance) their careers in fields like allied health, cosmetology, trucking, and—of course—welding. eir rapid growth over the last 25 years isn't a result of making snap decisions or expanding their curricula just so they could say they were adding new programs. Mike and Brian are deliberate in choosing program areas that have a need for skilled workers and fields where there is interest from their prospective students. "We want to do what's relevant and what's needed," Mike says. "We don't want to add programs just to add a new course." As Brian says, it's not a cliché to say that they're changing lives at MTI and DTC. He will never forget seeing their first class of graduates get jobs aer completing their education—and that sense of pride and achievement comes back every year as more and more grads are sent out into the real world to create career success. "We're helping people build their lives," Brian says. "I gotta pinch myself sometimes." Mike agrees, admitting that he wasn't a particularly good student in high school but adding that he loved working with his hands. It didn't take long for him to realize that it was just as valuable a skill as being able to master algebra or write lengthy papers. Now, he relishes the chance to see that lightbulb of understanding come on for his students. Many of the students who thrive in hands-on industries may have struggled in school, and being able to master a trade can lead to a huge boost in their self-esteem. at doesn't mean that managing a school and helping students graduate is always easy, though, especially during a global health crisis. Students are likely to face hurdles and deal with adversity at one point or another, and they have to stay committed to the future ahead of them in order to meet their goals. "I went to school in 2015 for HVAC courses and it was the best decision of my life. Since then, I have had amazing luck in the job field. I have even become a college instructor, teaching HVAC. MTI helped me achieve my dreams and it can help you too." Don Schold

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