LCO Focuses on Work Force DevelopmentAug 15th, 2000 | By tcj | Category: 12-1: Celebrating Our Students, Tribal College News
Lac Courte Oreilles Ojibwa Community College (LCO) is working with area schools in northern Wisconsin to help develop tomorrow’s workforce. “Many students lack awareness of opportunities,” said LCO Academic Dean Dan Gretz, who worked at a local elementary school in the past. “Most are discouraged. They see joining the armed services as their only opportunity. That is a good opportunity, but we want them to think about college as a way of opening doors,” he said.
Since the tribe chartered the college in 1982, it has designed its curriculum to meet the employment needs of local students, but now as the result of a state grant, they will be increasing their efforts. The Wisconsin state government has awarded $300,000 work force development grants to the two tribal colleges in the state, LCO and the College of the Menominee Nation (see TCJ, Vol. XI, No. 4, p. 32). The grants are multi-year initiatives to tie academic education to real-life skills that are valued in industry, business, and the work place, according to Gretz.
The project will include internships, youth apprenticeships, job shadowing, and mentoring for both college students and high school juniors and seniors. LCO will focus on computer science information technology, hospitality and tourism, and the construction trades. The college will hire a career counselor and youth apprenticeship coordinators.
LCO also will invest in a certification program and lab in Cisco and Microsoft computer networking systems so that a student can earn an associate of applied science degree as a network specialist. Mark Trebian chairs the new information technology department, which will be the largest academic department in the college. “We will teach absolutely world-class computer and information technology skills,” LCO President Tom Davis said.
“We’ve been trying for a number of years to get the state to participate in helping to fund the state’s tribal colleges,” said Davis. “Education is a shared responsibility of the state and federal government. Davis cited the support of Governor Tommy Thompson; LCO Tribal Chairman Gaiashkibos; State Assembly Representatives Gary Sherman and Lorraine Serrati; and State Senators Bob Jauch, Roger Breske, and Joseph Strohl for the work force development grant.