Topeka, Kan. - Washburn Tech, in partnership with GO Topeka, the Joint Economic Development Organization (JEDO) and the East Topeka community, broke ground today for a new adult training center located at 2014 SE Washington St., the site of a former military service facility. Washburn Tech East, scheduled to open in January 2019, will offer courses in health care, construction trades, commercial truck driving and the General Education Diploma (GED).
“We are excited about this project and the opportunity to offer additional education and training possibilities in East Topeka,” said Jerry Farley, president, Washburn University. “Washburn Tech East will focus on adult education services, workforce development training and success services for Topeka residents. This facility will allow us to train another 400 students, primarily young adults, who are entering the workforce for the first time, as well as those who are looking to improve their skills. This initiative fits perfectly with our mission to help our students reach their full potential, to create pathways for their success and contribute to the region’s economic growth.”
JEDO purchased the site for $240,000 and is providing up to $4 million for the partial demolition and remodel of the existing facility. In addition, JEDO is committed to providing partnership funds up to $500,000 per year for three years for start-up and operational expenses, having already committed the first year of funding. They have further charged GO Topeka with identifying and potentially securing a funding source through New Markets Tax Credits that would offset two-thirds balance of the cost of partnership funds. Washburn University and Washburn Tech will provide staff, instructional programs and all certifications. The new 11,000-square-foot facility will accommodate 400 students annually.
“GO Topeka is dedicated to the competitive future of the Topeka and Shawnee County workforce, striving to grow, retain, and attract talented and educated people,” said Matt Pivarnik, president/CEO, Greater Topeka Partnership. “A well-educated workforce is critical to our employers. Washburn Tech East addresses our talent pipeline focus with well-planned, insightful educational opportunities. It should be noted that there are a multitude of community leaders that have been working on this concept for more than ten years. As we celebrate this future endeavor, we should thank those who laid the foundation and made this possible for East Topeka.”
"Topeka is committed to ensuring our residents are workforce ready,” said Mayor Michelle De La Isla. “Washburn Tech East will provide the education necessary to compete in today's job market.”
In the fall of 2017, Washburn, GO Topeka and JEDO engaged Ketchum Global Research & Analytics, Boston, Mass., to conduct a market research study. According to data provided by GO Topeka, there are 11,000 working adults in Shawnee County who currently do not have a GED.
The market study confirmed that there is a need for an educational facility in East Topeka and the courses being offered are those the job market is calling for and ones that prospective students want to take. These courses are designed to give prospective employees the education and training they need to compete and be successful in today’s workforce and lay the foundation for future advanced training opportunities.
“It has been a joy to watch the Topeka community collaborate to create Washburn Tech East, an initiative that will benefit the residents of our city for years to come,” said the Rev. Marcus Clark, co-chair of the project task force and senior pastor, Love Fellowship Church.
“This project offers yet another opportunity to work with our business and industry partners, as we deliver technical training to the East Topeka community,” said Clark Coco, dean, Washburn University Institute of Technology. “Today’s workforce is going to need some type of post-secondary education to compete in the job market. We are committed to providing the future students who come to Washburn Tech East with the skills and training they need to find employment in these high-demand jobs.”
About Washburn University
Founded in 1865, Washburn University is a public institution with more than 8,000 students and 1,000 faculty and staff involved in more than 200 academic programs. Washburn’s programs lead to certification, associate, bachelor, master’s degree or doctor of nursing practice and juris doctor degrees.
Washburn University Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech) is a nationally recognized innovator in career and technical education. The dedicated faculty and staff at Washburn Tech serve adult and high school students as well as business and industry participants with career specific training.
Washburn University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and many of the individual programs have additional accreditations.
About GO Topeka
GO Topeka is a private not-for-profit organization dedicated to enhancing economic development in Topeka and Shawnee County by attracting new businesses, facilitating expansions and enhancing the business acumen of small business owners and entrepreneurs. Since 2002, GO Topeka has generated 11,000 new and retained jobs and $1.3 billion in capital investment. For additional information, visit www.gotopeka.com.
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