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Focus and Planning Allow for Success

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Bethany Ensminger

Last year, Bethany Ensminger, decided it was time to expand her knowledge—and her career. She was comfortable and doing well in her clerical position with Walz Chevrolet Buick GMC, but she had always had an aptitude for numbers, and when she heard about Southeast Technical’s online accounting program, she decided to investigate.Ensminger

“Online learning,” says Bethany, “is the only thing that would work with my schedule since I work full-time at Walz.” People told her that it would be hard, and she admits that it is probably a little more challenging at times than the traditional classroom, but she has found that by planning ahead, setting a schedule, and sticking to it, success may be achieved. And she is indeed successful, maintaining an extremely high GPA while meeting the demands of full-time employment. In order to fit everything in, Bethany spends about 4 hours online each evening after work attending to her studies. In addition to this, when the need arises, she even makes use of her lunch break to stay caught up with her assignments.

Bethany’s instructor and advisor, Jill Halverson, says of her, “She is a perfect candidate for online learning as she plans ahead and asks lots of questions.” Bethany reminds herself to not be self-conscious about asking questions. “If I am wondering about something, there is a good chance that someone else is too. Maybe I can help them find the answer as well.” In addition to tracking down answers to questions, Bethany also offers her assistance, through online discussion, to other students who might be struggling in her classes. In these types of encounters, there can sometimes emerge a surprising sense of “community” even in the virtual learning environment.

Accounting instructor Tony Fritz comments on how dramatically things have changed for online learners and instructors in the last few years. “We now have a wide variety of tools to deliver and monitor progress in online courses. The publishers have really invested in e-learning applications that accompany their text books as they realize the increased market potential for online education. All of these tools make it easier for us to deliver the same high quality content in an online accounting course that you would get in the class room.”

Based on the increased interest in online learning and the popularity of the accounting program, the department found it was essential to include an additional online section of Principles of Accounting I, the program’s first accounting course. The popularity of the program might be explained in part by the increased demand for accountants. In fact, a recent article from CareerBuilder.com identifies accounting as having the hottest job prospects among all associate degree programs.

In Bethany’s case, the timing is especially good. Recently it was announced that Dahl Automotive has acquired Walz Chevrolet Buick GMC, and she has accepted the position of Administrative Support within the new (and larger) organizational structure. Like Walz, Dahl has pledged to be supportive of Bethany in her continuing education. She is rightfully excited about her future there. “My hope,” she says, “is that once I have my degree, I can take on more responsibilities and grow with the business.” Fritz and Halverson agree that knowing Bethany and the quality of our online accounting degree, we expect she’ll do just that.

The High Value of an Associate Degree

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The High Value of an Associate Degree

A recent article in USA Today speculates that in today's economy a two-year degree might be more valuable than a four-year degree. The article states that the trends indicate some of the mid skill jobs that Electrical Engineerdisappeared during the recession are coming back and might signal a more lasting growth in areas such as Mid-level managers and medical records specialist, just to name a few. Shannon Schell, Director of Recruitment at Southeast Technical explains that two year colleges are smart choices for students today saying, "They can get in, get an education, and start on their career path many times in two years or less depending on the program. Students are also able to take their education on to a 4-year school, complete a bachelor's degree, and finish with less debt."

The bright outlook in a variety of technical level careers means that students beginning an associate degree spring semester 2013, for example, could start earning associate degree salaries as early as 2014. The U.S. Census Bureau affirms that associate degree holders earn an average of $400,000 more in a lifetime than high school graduates. CareerBuilder.com reports that some of the associate programs with the hottest career prospects today include Accounting, Nursing, Information Technology, Applied Science, Paralegal Studies, Medical Specialties, and Electrical Engineer. In addition, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS)reports that those with associate degrees earn an average of 17 percent more than someone with a high school education and 41 percent more than someone with less than an a high school education. It also reports that the unemployment rate of associate degree holders is markedly lower than the national average.

Studies show that there are a number of associate degrees that will allow their holder to earn high wages with little or no on-the-job training or experience. The BLS is also predicting that healthcare will be among the fastest growing industries this decade. It is projecting over 1.2 million Registered Nurse job openings this decade. Electrical and Electronics Engineering Technicians and Radiologic Technologist and Technicians also made the list.

By 2018 eighty-five percent of new jobs in Minnesota will require some post-secondary education. More than half of these will require a two year degree or less. Schell conveys, "Two year colleges have great relationships with the business community and are able to provide the education and skills that employers are looking for today." Just a few of the initiatives that the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System have put into place are to align academic programs to turn out the right numbers of graduates in the right professions, to ensure that students are learning on top of the line equipment and technology that they will encounter in the real world and provide more hands on experience to students as they prepare for their futures.

10 Days of Giving Exceeds Goal

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10 Days of Giving Finds Success10Days of Giving

The college offered an incentive drawing this year for the 10 Days of Giving. As a result the barrel filled up. The college collected 121 pounds of non-perishable food items, surpassing the 100 pound goal!

The prize drawing was held Thursday morning in the bookstore. Stacy Hill looked on as her name was drawn and cheered for her win in the photo below.

Hill WinsPrize winners are:

iPod Shuffle: Erin Snidarich (student)
$25 Kwik Trip Gift Card: Stacy Hill (Business Office) and Julie Haedtke (Student Services)

Prize winners can contact Casie Johnson in the President’s office to receive their prize.

The Weather Won't Stop Good Cheer

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The Weather Won't Stop Good CheerHoliday Truck

On Tuesday Minnesota State College - Southeast Technical faculty and students from the truck driving program headed in separate directions to deliver loads of toys, clothing and furniture to the Santee Sioux reservation in Nebraska and the Crow Creek Indian reservation in South Dakota. 

The departure was slated to happen Monday morning.  The semi-trailers had to be dug out of the snow on Monday after the considerable snow fall we had over the weekend.  Between the need to dig out the trailers and icy highways, the trip was delayed one day. The first thing Tuesday morning students and faculty departed to spread good cheer.   

Read the article from Winona Daily News

Stay Informed with Southeast Text

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Southeast Text Winter Phone

Would you like to know right away when school gets cancelled? Consider signing up for Southeast Text! This is a new texting program available to students and staff. Students can opt in to receive information when all classes are cancelled and college closes because of inclement weather or other non-emergency situations.

Sign up for Southeast Text today!

Please note that information about individual class cancellations will not be included. Students will continue to receive that information from the News and Events page of the website or directly from their instructor.

Be aware that this texting program DOES NOT replace Star Alert. Star Alert Emergency Notification is the Southeast Technical emergency notification text messaging system used only for dangerous situations.