Column: Week promotes technical education that prepares people for careers

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Terrence Leas, Riverland College

Riverland Community College joins employers and technically educated professionals around the world in celebrating Career and Technical Education Week Feb. 12-18.

The Association for Career and Technical Education (ACTE) sponsors the annual celebration.

ACTE promotes career and technical education that prepares people for professional technical careers.

Education requirements for professional technical careers vary from short-term diploma or certificates to two-year college degrees. Bachelor’s degrees in science and applied technology are also common.

U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics predict 18 of the 20 fastest growing occupations in the next decade will require skills gained through career and technical programs. Riverland delivers more than 50 career and technical programs based upon industry skill standards inherent in licenses, certifications and accreditations.

These standards allow graduates to apply their degree anywhere they go. Each program also reflects strong employment-based values of an industry-based advisory committee.

Accounting, Business, and Office Technology

Riverland offers certificate and degree opportunities for high-demand careers as an accountant, medical secretary, legal secretary or a receptionist/clerk.

Computer Technology

Those excelling at problem-solving have many options in computer technology programs like Web page design, Webmaster and Cisco network associate. Computer science provides opportunities for those who desire a four-year technical degree. Business professionals can update or enhance their computer skills in Riverland’s courses.


Construction jobs will grow 15 percent through 2012. If you like electrical or mechanical work, Riverland can prepare you for a rewarding career in carpentry or construction electrician.


U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics report health-care employment opportunities will increase dramatically before 2010.

Some job openings, like nursing, increased 56.9 percent in one year!

Riverland will build state-of-the-art science and health simulation labs this year to serve nursing, radiography and surgical technology students.


Among the fastest growing industries in Minnesota, production manufacturing job vacancies recently grew 70 percent. Riverland offers a fast track to great jobs in computer numerical control machining, electronics manufacturing technology, industrial maintenance mechanics and welding.


Riverland offers programs leading to careers in cosmetology, criminal justice and corrections, human services and massage therapy. Minnesota’s Department of Employment and Economic Development reports that job opportunities for both correctional and police officers will grow 24 percent by 2012.

Personal appearance workers, including cosmetologists, enjoy low unemployment, high job vacancy rates and independent, self-paced work.


Transportation specialists are in demand.

Riverland accepts new students monthly in the truck driving program. Excellent jobs also await graduates in automotive service technology, collision repair and diesel technology.

A strong liberal arts and general studies core supports all of Riverland’s programs of study.

Riverland’s associate of applied arts degree focuses on high-demand occupations where graduates begin in higher wage positions and enjoy wage progression because of their education.

Graduates are prepared for a career related to their technical program of study.

Riverland Community College offers many opportunities for future employment in our extended region’s workforce. To further explore Riverland go to or call 800-247-5039 for a tour of our programs in Albert Lea, Austin or Owatonna.

(Dr. Terrence (Terry) Leas is the president of Riverland Community College.)