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Ark-La-Tex In-Depth: Other Education Options - KTBS.com - Shreveport, LA News, Weather and Sports

Ark-La-Tex In-Depth: Other Education Options

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SHREVEPORT, La. -

"You get to see people go from high school to career path."

Just one of the reason Angie Rymer loves her job as dean of Northwest Louisiana Technical college's Shreveport campus.

Rymer says there's no such thing as a typical student at LTC.

"They might decide, 'well, I think I'll get a specific skill or trade' and then they'll come here and review our options and make a choice."

Often, Rymer says students find their way to LTC after trying out a 4-year option and deciding that's not for them.

And with a recent Mckinsey report revealing that half of all graduates would have chosen a different school or major if they could do it all over again, the choice to learn a trade isn't all that surprising.

"We have a lot of hands-on training where the students go into the lab and they actually do weld and the instructor's right there with the student," says Rymer.

She says the allure of a school like LTC is that life after college is laid out before prospective students even step foot inside a classroom.

"I like to walk with the student to the department and say, here's the instructor now, do you have any questions for the instructor, like, 'what's your work environment going to be like? How are you going to be paid? How much are you going to make as soon as you finish here and you go to work?'"

Offering programs like practical nursing, auto collision repair, and air conditioning and refridgeration, Rymer says LTC is an ideal option for those looking to gain valuable skills, and hit the workforce in a matter of months, not years.

"It's really rewarding to watch those students in that process of actually doing, practicing what they're going to do."

By contrast, the Mckinsey report also found that four in ten graduates of the nation's top 100 colleges couldn't get jobs in their chosen field.

A problem Rymer says is often eliminated by choosing the technical college route.

"You practice here before you go to work so when you go to work, you're ready."

Additionally, education outside the classroom now means an increasing number of programs offered strictly on the web.

"A student will not have to step foot on campus, if you will, but be able to continue their education to the point of graduation," says Dr. Ray Belton, Chancellor of Southern University in Shreveport.

Belton says the college will be offering two online-only programs in the fall - business management and health information technology.

"It provides options, you know, and it provides avenues for people to access their dreams."

Belton says the 2-year institution has had to evolve with the changing needs of their students, and that often means adjusting how - and when - students can access classes.

"The transition has been a slow one but I think we've caught up, and I think the community is on board, if you will, and so this is just the beginning as we see it."

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