Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing christina@wausaupilotandreview.com.

This week’s featured Wausau business is a cornerstone of the city’s educational landscape for decades. Northcentral Technical College, 1000 W. Campus Drive, is proud to be a customer-focused, accessible provider of innovative lifelong learning that builds a globally competitive workforce. The College’s 5,900 square mile, 10-county district includes six campus locations in Wausau, Antigo, Medford, Phillips, Spencer and Wittenberg, as well as a Public Safety Center of Excellence, a Wood Technology Center of Excellence and an Agriculture Center of Excellence. The Wausau Campus also features a Center for Health Sciences, Center for Business & Industry, Center for Geriatric Education, Information Technology Entrepreneurial Center (iTEC Lab), STEM Center and an Advanced Manufacturing and Engineering Center of Excellence.

NTC President Dr. Jeannie Worden credits the organization’s success to an outstanding team of people who work at the College in support of students in a wide range of programs, from welding to nursing to youth apprenticeships, culinary programs, veterinary services degrees and more, changing lives in central Wisconsin for more than 100 years. Here, Dr. Worden shares her thoughts with us on the history, achievements, direction and future of the school, which has educated hundreds of thousands of students who have gone on to fruitful, rewarding careers.

When was Northcentral Technical College launched?

Started in 1912 in a small, two-story building called the Wausau Industrial School, NTC has a long history of inspiring learners and supporting local businesses. Over 100 years, much has changed. Yet one thing remains the same — our commitment to our learners, our businesses and our communities.

Tell us about NTC. What programs do you offer today?

With more than 190 program options, NTC is committed to being the community’s college. Dedicated to delivering accessible, attainable and flexible educational opportunities, we offer over 190 associate degree, technical diploma and short-term certificate programs, as well as high school completion programs, basic skills education, continuing education and customized business training opportunities. Additionally, over 3,000 high school students annually take dual credit courses with NTC, saving them nearly $2 million in college tuition.  NTC offers a variety of flexible course and program options, including Virtual College, January Session and summer Courses, late start courses and online courses. Many students also chose to continue their learning by transferring to one of our 50+ University of Wisconsin and private four-year universities who partner with NTC for transferability with junior status. The College has over 400 transfer agreements in place, including a Liberal Arts partnership for students seeking their AA or AS degree. By establishing a close connection with the community, the College fills a critical and growing need for a skilled workforce by providing comprehensive, quality education and training.

What makes NTC unique?

We are offer flexible, highly technical courses, programs, credentials and continuing education opportunities that are responsive to industry needs. 

What are you most proud of accomplishing?

We are most proud of the success of our students and our ability to positively impact our community through our support of learners and businesses. We take great pride in being the community’s college.

How have you changed and evolved over time? What’s different now from when the school first opened? 

For over 100 years, we have listened to our community and responded to business and student needs. As industry changed and developed, NTC quickly and agilely adjusted program content and technology to meet the needs of an ever-changing global economy.  Our structure ensures that we are well poised to continue to meet learner, business and community needs.

What are some of the most difficult challenges have you had to overcome?

In the short term, the COVID pandemic has certainly been a challenge but we are stronger because of it. Thanks to our investment and innovations in online learning, NTC was well prepared to offer students a meaningful experience and quality education remotely. We have remained committed to providing the support that our students and businesses need to be successful in these uncertain times. Additionally, we recognized the critical role we have in supporting the industries that are on the front lines of this pandemic. We resumed labs/hands-on activities in select essential and critical program areas as soon as we were safely able to do so to ensure that we were able to supply a steady flow of graduates needed to work in the front lines of the pandemic. 

When we think more long term, one of the things we have struggled with is positioning the College as a first choice for higher education. We know that students who attend NTC receive a high quality, affordable education with the opportunity to transfer to continue their education should they desire.  We also provide a robust campus life experience, including student housing. Unfortunately, many parents still see us as a second choice or alternate option. We work diligently to get students and parents on campus so they can see the breadth and depth of all we have to offer for a well-rounded collegiate experience. As the parent of two NTC graduates, I have seen the value of an NTC education firsthand. My daughter started at a four-year college and came back to NTC to get her Associate Degree in Nursing. My son obtained his Associate Degree and is currently completing his Bachelor’s while working.  I am committed to providing these same educational opportunities to the residents of our District.

What are your hopes and dreams for the future? Where do you see NTC headed?

I hope that we are continuing to produce a workforce that helps employers be ready as they advance in technology. I hope that our graduates are bringing their skills and abilities to the workforce to help not only their employers, but also the greater community.

Connect with Northcentral Technical College