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Students sign letters of intent to enroll in CTE programs at Northeast

Students sign letters of intent to enroll in CTE programs at Northeast

NORFOLK, NE - High school seniors from Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Colorado have committed to continuing their education at the postsecondary level. The students, with many of their parents and others watching, signed letters of intent to enroll in career and technical education (CTE) programs at Northeast Community College.

The signings by 120 students, 82 in a morning session and 38 in the afternoon, took place recently during the College’s Third Annual CTE Signing Day. The ceremony was similar to when athletes commit to continue their careers at the collegiate level, which Lyle Kathol, vice president of educational services at Northeast, calls a “big deal” for those student-athletes.

“I would suggest that a student electing to enter into a high skill, high demand, high wage occupation is a big deal for students and even more important for the employers. Gaining skills to be successful in a career is life changing. It sets one up to be employable and to contribute to society in a positive way. It is because of this importance to our communities, our region, and our state, that Northeast wants to make it a ‘big deal’ for students electing to begin a program of study in a technical field.”

Dr. Jason Scales, business manager of education at Lincoln Electric in Cleveland, OH, told the signees that they may not even be aware of the opportunities available to them once they acquire skills that are in high demand.

“What you’re going to be able to do, what you’re going to be able to earn, will outpace anyone else in this room if you apply yourself and if you get the skills. Nobody can take that away from you. What you’re going to be able to do is going to revolutionize the world. Technology is taking off so fast right now that what you learn today will be the foundation that gives you what you need for tomorrow.”

Kathol said many of Northeast’s career and technical programs combine traditional classroom learning with real-world experience through supervised, paid internships.

“These internships let you apply what you learn in class to actual situations you might encounter once you begin your career. You will develop the essential soft skills in communication, problem solving, and critical thinking that can help you move up the career ladder. Northeast prides itself on ensuring access to the latest technologies for both today's and tomorrow’s workforce needs.”

Kathol said earning a CTE degree or diploma at Northeast will allow students to be more marketable, establish stronger relationships, allow for better flexibility with time and earn a high wage.

He said the average combined starting wage for Northeast’s 27 CTE programs is $16.92 per hour. However, the College reports some students had entry level pay this past year as high as $26 to $30 per hour. The salaries do not reflect wages associated with benefits or overtime.

Dr. Michael Chipps, Northeast president, applauded the students and their families for making the commitment to pursue Career and Technical Education opportunities.

“The best choice you’ve made is to come to Northeast because there’s a job waiting for you. And it’s not only a job waiting for you, it’s a high skill, high wage, high demand job. That’s the beauty of your choice. If you want a job, if you complete your degree with us, there’s almost a guarantee at the end of it that if you do a great job while you’re here, there will be something waiting for you out there.”

A video of the signing day event can be viewed at






High school students (from left) Adriona Buchanan, of Osmond Community School; Alex Camp, of Tekamah-Herman High School; Koby Ellis, of Winside High School; and Samuel Gloria, of Madison High School, were among 120 Nebraska, Iowa, South Dakota and Colorado seniors to sign academic letters of intent recently to attend Northeast Community College this fall. The signings took place during the College’s third annual Career and Technical Education Signing Day in the Lifelong Learning Center on the Norfolk campus. Buchanan, Camp, Ellis and Gloria are among students who plan to enroll in the College’s automotive technology program.