Taking Business to School: Gateway Technical College and SC Johnson

In collaboration with ACTE, Xello supports career and technical education (CTE) professionals in the development of Taking Business to School. This new series of publication briefs explores topics within ACTE’s Quality CTE Program of Study Framework: Business and Community Partnerships. Techniques encourages readers to consider how these resources can influence business-education partnership success in CTE.

Taking Business to School: Gateway Technical College and SC Johnson

This fourth publication in ACTE and Xello’s Taking Business to School series highlights a business and education partnership between Gateway Technical College and SC Johnson. These long-standing institutions share a home in Racine, Wisconsin, where they demonstrate a commitment to investing in the local community.

In 2005, as the region faced a need for advanced manufacturing workers, CTE administrators conceptualized a boot camp training model. And the benefits would be twofold: jobs for the community, employees to fill the workforce. Understanding, however, the issues of access to complete an intensive training program, Gateway approached SC Johnson for support. They said yes! SC Johnson committed to funding the program, including the cost of tuition, books and fees, and additional services for student success.

“The SC Johnson boot camp is so much more than a training program; it represents a commitment to accelerating the dreams of everyday citizens to earn family sustaining jobs that build our community,” said Brian Albrecht, president of Gateway Technical College. And build their community they have. With the success of the manufacturing boot camp (93% job placement), Gateway has since expanded the model to fill workforce needs in health care, telecommunications, welding and more.

Gateway’s partnership with SC Johnson makes it possible for educators to reach community members who need the most support. “Removing barriers to economic mobility for underserved people is core to our mission at SC Johnson,” said Alan VanderMolen, Chief Communications Officer at SC Johnson. “We are pleased to be able to support Gateway’s efforts to close the skills gap and create long-term career opportunities in high-demand fields.”

How can CTE learn from the partnership success of Gateway Technical College & SC Johnson?

Develop programs informed by community needs.

Consider the needs of your community broadly and identify unique challenges that all stakeholders may face. With this data collected, you will be better informed to design programs that will make a long-term positive impact on your community.

Engage industry partners.

What knowledge and skills do local employers need in their current and future employees? Ask them. And then incorporate what you learned as you seek to develop a high-quality CTE program.

Identify multiple ways for stakeholders to contribute.

Each of your business partners will have something different to offer. Be communicative and flexible and collaborate to determine what type of involvement works best. Industry can support CTE programs in many ways, such as:

  • Reviewing program curriculum
  • Participating in mock interviews with students
  • Contributing funds to support tuition and supportive services

Read Taking Business to School: Gateway Technical College and SC Johnson to learn more.