Laramie County Community College hopes to give its students more opportunities to gain hands-on experience in their chosen career paths..
The focus of LCCC’s Essential Student Experiences committee is to help students acquire the proper skills needed in the career field they’re interested in. Job markets seeing high demand include: office clerks, government jobs, and tech jobs. These jobs are not easy to obtain for college students or graduates, as “experience” is generally key to getting hired. LCCC’s goal is to create ways to help students prepare for these opportunities.
In the document that outlines the nine must-have committees as part of the Guided Pathways project, an emphasis is put on the importance of students developing relationships among the college community. The college wants the experience to be one that is different from any other college in the state.
There are three types of experiences the committee has identified:
Collaboration/Developing Relationships: Providing close relationships with both staff and the student body with activities or classes that are designed to see where they can help the student.
Immersion Experience: Opportunities for students to gain experience without having to go abroad.
Synthesis and Application: Having opportunities that give the students hands-on experiences.
The case for developing these types of experiences is made in the Guided Pathways “must haves” document, which has helped guide the nine “must have” committees. “First, for students to be successful in life, they need to find meaning in their interests, activities, and work. Second, for students to successfully enter the workforce, experience is now a requirement of many employers, even in high-demand fields,” the document says.
LCCC strives to help students by offering professional opportunities in various fields of study and by giving them classroom environments that pertain to the degree in various ways. Each experience is crafted to instruct the student in meeting the demands of employers.
Students will gain, “the opportunity to learn valuable skills through engagement and activities beyond the classroom, but more importantly, be able to articulate these skills and continue to build upon them after graduating no matter what path they may be on beyond LCCC,” said Zeke Sorenson, LCCC’s Coordinator for Student Engagement and Diversity and co-chair of the Essential Student Experiences committee.
LCCC furnishes experiences that will interest students but are suitable in the degrees they pursue, thus giving them the qualifications needed, Sorenson said.
LCCC is planning these experiences on integration.
“There is a lot of research showing that student experiences hold multiple benefits such as the persistence to graduate as well as increased marketability in the job market by giving students essential student experiences as part of their college experience,” Sorenson said.
The Essential Student Experience effort will be funded in part by a recent $2.4 million estate donation to the college by the late Lois C. Mottonen. That money will be used in part to fund the new Center for Essential Student Experiences.