CCC Partnership with Hastings High Pays Off


He's been called a rock star, which is high praise for a guy some think of as a shop teacher. But Matt Hurt says he doesn't work in a shop, his classroom is a lab.

He explained, "Lab is where you go and learn and shop is where you create a career and make money."

There's money to be made, but Hastings High wants to get kids on a career path. At the same time, local plants can't find workers with the right skills.

So Central Community College hopes to bridge that divide.

Hastings Campus President Bill Hitesman said, "I think we want to look at closing the skills gap and get young people excited about the workforce and it helps with the economy, it helps our communities all grow."

CCC leaders worried the industrial programs at Hastings High were in jeopardy, with World War II-era equipment and dark, dingy facilities, so they decided it made sense to work together.

Hitesman said, "With budget restraints in every area, when you collaborate, partner, you share resources, and because of that you can do so much more."

"Having the collaboration with the community college has been financially and enrollment, very rewarding. Replace our equipment, update our equipment, has been great addition to the high school," Hurt said.

Now the high school teacher has to turn kids away, and he thinks that raises the commitment level.

He said, "Now with such a huge increase in enrollment, every student has to reach their full and best potential to continue on in these courses."

As CCC's elected board learned on Thursday, connections with those like Matt Hurt at Hastings High make all the difference.

Matt said it also benefits his students. "Being able to have the curriculum that has been implemented here at the Community College into my high school, to have my students rewarded with the 15 credits completed when they graduate HS has been best part of it."

Hitesman, of CCC pointed to other partnerships that are making a difference. That includes the college's willingness to provide students to help at a local health fair where they've detected serious conditions early.