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New administrator offers outlook for CVTC's future

New Chippewa Valley Technical College Campus Administrator/Dean Beth Hein is working with businesses to form the future of the college. <i>Jillian Dexheimer photo</i>

Since starting at Chippewa Valley Technical College in January, Campus Administrator/Dean Beth Hein has been busy mapping the future.

According to Hein, CVTC is looking to add or tweak existing programs, but is just at the "initial blush of research."

CVTC staff have looked at job prospect statistics as well as which colleges offer which degree programs.

Hein, who lives in the Menomonie area, said the next step is to talk to area businesses to see what they need in their workforce.

This will be done through focus groups and other research-gathering techniques, with the goal being to find out if needs match the research. Health care, manufacturing, and general business are areas that Hein mentioned.

Hein says the biggest thing the future holds for CVTC is "helping businesses find the qualified employees they need."

She sees the River Falls campus continuing with a broad spectrum of degree programs that "mirror the community."

CVTC plans to "gear programming toward jobs of the community," she said.

Hein, who worked at the CVTC Eau Claire campus previously, says that "River Falls' needs are different that Eau Claire's."

She said that there are different jobs and requirements in each area. The benefit of the technical college is that it can be tailored to regional needs, said Hein.

Hein, who attended CVTC as well as UW-Stout and UW-Eau Claire, would like to see CVTC "open the pathways" to students, by continuing partnerships with the UW systems, for transfers and partnering with the high school for dual credit classes.

Hein sees the technical college as a great place for students to get the help they need to get them to the place they want to be.

When asked what the typical student is like at CVTC, Hein said that it has a diverse student population -- from 18-19 year olds, to dislocated older workers who were either laid off or injured, to college graduates looking to change careers or not finding jobs in their degree area to those seeking continuing education.

Hein, the mother of two, says that the students "...are as diverse as the community and all come with different backgrounds and stories."

Besides increasing the educational opportunities offered, CVTC will also be adding on to the campus. Though Hein did say that the building addition will go "hand-in-hand" with the new programs that are added, no concrete plans are set.

Even with the increase in programs and the expanded square footage, Hein would like to see the campus retain its "small campus feel."

Hein, who worked in human resources for 10 years at both large and small businesses, went on to say that she would like to make CVTC a "more comprehensive campus."

When asked if the economy has made a technical college a good option for students, Hein said that the technical college focuses on "living wage jobs."

She also said that CVTC has high placement rates -- 92% of graduates are employed, with 89% employed in a related field.

Hein said she is "excited to get involved in the community," and has had a positive overall impression of River Falls. She likes the small town atmosphere -- but more importantly she likes that it is " close proximity to more resources. You get the best of both worlds."

Jillian Dexheimer

Jillian Dexheimer has been a copy editor and reporter for the River Falls Journal since 2011. She previously worked for the River Falls Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Bureau. Dexheimer holds a sociology degree from UW-River Falls.