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HCC Western Center Honors 10 Years of Graduates

published May 30, 2024HCC Western Center Honors 10 Years of Graduates

The HCC Western Center celebrated its tenth year of operation with graduation May 10.


The HCC Western Center located in Baileyville opened its doors in the summer of 2014, offering general education classes and Certified Nursing Aide classes. The technical program classes that began in August were Diesel Technology, Medical Assistant and Welding Technology. Allied Health classes, such as CNA and Certified Medication Aide, were also offered. After the first year, they had one graduate from the Welding Technology program.


“Highland Community College was diligent about surveying the surrounding communities to determine their needs and which technical programs were first to launch at the Center,” reflected Cara Baker, HCC Western Center Director.  


Initially, the Western Center served nine public high schools for technical training during the day and general education classes throughout the day and in the evening. (With the closure of Wetmore High School in 2023, they now serve eight high schools.) They also serve quite a few students from various home school entities. Annually, the Western Center typically enrolls 125-150 students each year.


In 2015, Construction Technology was added to the Center’s offerings, followed by Precision Agriculture in 2016. By May 2018, the Western Center's Commencement Ceremony was moved to Baileyville. The most recent program addition was Early Childhood, introduced in 2022. The Western Center continues to offer Allied Health and general education classes in addition to the technical programs. This past May, the Western Center had 40 candidates for graduation.


Former HCC President David Reist was this year’s Commencement speaker at the Western Center’s graduation. He was integral in acquiring the former B&B school building and completing renovations to fit technical program training needs in this part of the HCC service area. At the time of acquisition, HCC was awarded a grant to help cover the cost of the startup of the facility, developing Allied Health offerings, and the Precision Agriculture program.


Not only has the Western Center continued to provide a place for educational training opportunities for students, it has been a place for career opportunities for local residents. As of May 2023, five of the seven original faculty and staff members who were hired were still working at the Western Center. As of this May, there were still four of the original employees at the Center. Most of the employee changes were due to retirements. 


“The Western Center team is committed to the long-term success of the Center. Providing this type of resource to the area is a mission we all believe in,” said Baker.  


For more information about class offerings or enrollment at HCC’s Western Center in Baileyville, contact them at 785-442-6240, western@highlandcc.edu or visit highlandcc.edu/WesternCenter.

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