Feb 22, 2012

Educating for careers

Chances are you or someone you know has a better job today thanks to a skill-centered  education designed to sustain a technical career. Congratulations. Central Lakes College and other Minnesota colleges and universities with career and technical education programs are observing Career and Technical Education Month. Gov. Mark Dayton signed a proclamation citing statewide awareness of the important training under way at public-supported campuses. The list of career programs at the Brainerd and Staples campuses of CLC provides proof that the community and technical college stands out as a regional workforce partner. Examples: Brainerd campus – Accounting, Administrative Assistant, Automotive Technology, Business Management, Child Development, Computer Technology, Criminal Justice, Dental Assisting, Horticulture, Marine and Small Engine, Medical Secretary, Natural Resources, Nursing, Welding and Fabrication. Staples campus – Communication Art, Diesel, Heavy Equipment, Machine Tool, Medical Assisting, Nursing, Photographic Imaging, Robotics, Videography, Viticulture and Enology.

CLC is one of 32 public colleges and universities that comprise the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. Together, the MnSCU schools offer more than 3,800 programs on 54 campuses, as well as online.
            MnSCU produces about 33,000 graduates each year. The system educates 86 percent of the state’s new law enforcement graduates and 82 percent of nursing graduates.
            Within two years or less, many CLC students acquire the credentials that get them in the door and on the job locally and wherever they need to be for a living wage. Some of the entrepreneurs with management training from CLC become business owners.
            Two strong business career programs at CLC are Accounting and Medical Secretary where instructors with energy and experience prepare tomorrow’s bookkeepers, auditors, financial analysts, accountants, transcriptionists, medical billers and coders, office specialists, and supervisors.
            The Associate in Applied Science degree requires 60 credits for graduation; diplomas (32) and certificates (20) more quickly get the student into an entry-level post.
            Two Accounting instructors at CLC are new to the Brainerd campus this year, bringing practical experience into their creative lesson plans. Certified Public Accountant Kristina Ehnert, New York Mills, had been a senior accountant at Arvig Communication Systems in Perham, and she majored in Accounting and Office Administration at Concordia College, Moorhead. Prior to becoming a full-time instructor at CLC she had served for six years in adjunct teaching capacity.
Salle’ Crutaire, Foley, has a background in public and corporate accounting. CPA Crutaire holds a Master’s degree in Business Administration and previously taught at Minnesota School of Business, the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, and St. Cloud State University.
Medical Secretary instructor Connie Vieths, Pillager, is in her 37th year and has groomed more than 700 for careers. Some of her former students remain close to the program, including three as volunteers on the Advisory Committee. One of her protégés, Pam Nelson, teaches the program’s coding course.
“The program started in 1969 with Eileen Pettit instructing,” said Vieths, who is the second to be in charge. “We started with IBM Selectric typewriters, then word processors, then computers,” she said. Her students have included two men, a one-handed typist, a sightless person, and a paraplegic.
Susan Bremer of Brainerd is a second-year instructor in the Medical Secretary program, bringing more than 16 years’ experience in health care. She has worked in a rural hospital as well as for a major insurance company, independent clinic, and integrated health system. She has held positions in registration, billing, capital campaigns, as an analyst and in management.
Bremer holds national certification by the American Health Information Management Association as a Registered Health Information Administrator. She earned her Master’s from the College of St. Scholastica in Health Information and Informatics Management and is finishing a second Master’s in Information Technology Leadership.
One of Bremer’s first contributions to the CLC Medical Secretary program was the three-credit online claims management course, Reimbursement Methodology.