: Capital Area Technical College Westside... New name, new direction

TECH COLLEGE…Here is the key staff members for the Capital Area Technical College Westside, which is located in Plaquemine: front row, from left, Developmental Education and Testing Head John B. Cade, Jr., Interim Campus Administrator Martha Sealy, Medical Assistant Instructor Rachel Floyd; and, back, Practical Nursing Instructor Lori Raffray, Facility and Operations/Business Instructor Delma Burton, Student Services/Financial Aid Officer Kiawana Sheppard. Missing is Maintenance Coordinator Lee Roy Williams

The old Louisiana Technical College, Westside Campus has a new name, a new campus administrator, and a new direction and approach.

Martha Sealy recently took over as the Interim Campus Administrator of the Capital Area Technical College Westside, which begins registration for its fall semester today (August 19) and tomorrow (August 20). Classes are set to begin Monday, August 23.

The facility is a non-profit, public, and state college that offers classes in Medical Assistant, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and General Business. By July of 2011 expectations are to offer a Licensed Practical Nursing course as well.

Tuition is being offered free on a one-time only basis this semester as part of a growth incentive.

The college offers job placement after a period of studies. Students can earn a diploma, certification, and licensing.

Also in the offering is dual enrollment for high school students. Through the program they can earn both high school and college credits. Also scholarship money is available through the educational Board of Regents. High school students can attend classes during the summer at a normal fee as well.

Under the Board of Regents, the Westside campus is one of five Baton Rouge area technical colleges. Offered in the system are courses in Pharmacy Tech as well as everything from culinary to heavy equipment operations. Over 20 total programs are offered through the system. If interested in finding out about the various programs offered at the five locations, contact the Westside campus office at 687-6392.

Through the technical college system a student can apply for a PELL Grant, which provides federal financial aid if requirements are met. Sealy said the grant is higher than the tuition fee and students do not have to pay back for the grant.

The capacity at the aging facility last year was approximately 75, but it has been as high as 400 students in the past when more classes were offered.

According to Sealy, plans are in the works to build a new facility for the college in Plaquemine. Capital Outlay funds have bee sought, but a location and additional needed funding is still in the planning process.

The college has begun work very closely with the Iberville Parish School System. The opportunity is there to develop additional programs to educate students in technical skills that will benefit local industry as well as workforce development in the parish. Discussion in recent months is to perhaps build the new technical college facility adjacent to Plaquemine High School. There is a positive link between the Board of Regents that oversees the technical college system and the parish school system.

“This is something both those of us in education and in the local industry would really like to see in the future. There is a need for it,” commented Sealy.

The closing of Ascension College recently already has impacted the student enrollment at the Westside campus. A handful of displaced students attended a meeting last week at the Plaquemine campus, and, although the number of former Ascension College students ready to enroll was unknown by press time, Sealy noted that there seems to be some interest in attending the Plaquemine school.

Sealy said the college’s staff is ready to get rolling and during a meeting with the POST SOUTH last week they came up with a mission theme: “Changing Lives, Creating Futures”.