October 2023 Central Connection

October 2, 2023

The date has been set: The Third Annual Central Community College Winter Commencement will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 15, at the Columbus Campus. The December graduates from all CCC locations will be honored.

College board approves 2023-24 budget

By Scott Miller
Senior Director of College Communications

The Central Community College Board of Governors has approved an operating budget for 2023-24, which includes a fifth straight decrease in the property tax levy for the 25 counties served by CCC.

The property tax levy was set at 8.5391 cents per $100 of assessed valuation, down from 9.0273 cents in 2022-23.

“I am pleased that the CCC Board of Governors chose to reduce our levy by 7.9 percent after seeing valuation increases of 8.9 percent across our 25-county service area,” said CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall. “It demonstrates our conservative values while allowing a modest increase in tax funds collected for reinvestment into our high-quality faculty as well as repair and improvements of our educational facilities located throughout central Nebraska.”

The total operating budget for 2023-24 is $65,023,525, which is an increase of $2,494,535 from the 2022-23 budget. The college will plan on drawing $1,000,000 from reserves.

In addition to local property taxes, other revenues include state aid, tuition and those tied to the bookstores and food services affiliated with CCC.

Additionally, the college has budgeted $10,885,109 in the capital improvement fund, a $422,131 increase from 2022-23, and $415,000 in a fund for removal of hazardous materials and compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, a $2,263,762 decrease from 2022-23.

Property taxes are based on property valuations for the 25 counties served by CCC, which reported an increase in total valuation of $5,175,189,504, or an increase of 8.97 percent.

Total budgeted disbursements and transfers for Central Community College in 2023-2024 will exceed $128 million.

“The CCC Board of Governors is dedicated to providing quality programs for all students, and equally committed to maintaining cost effective spending that doesn’t overburden our property tax supporters,” said Rita Skiles, board chair.

Gotschall also credits the Grand Island City Council for approving up to $500,000 of its American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for infrastructure improvements to CCC-Grand Island.

“CCC appreciates the Grand Island City Council recognizing the powerful partnership through helping the Grand Island Campus grow to assist in meeting increased workplace demands and to recruit more college-age students to live and work in central Nebraska,” said Gotschall.

Grand Island Mayor Roger Steele said earmarking the city’s ARPA funds for CCC-Grand Island is both the right thing to do and a wise investment in the future.

“We depend upon Central Community College to provide training for our citizens and many of those people who are trained at CCC take high-paying jobs here in Grand Island,” Steele said. “Investing in education always provides great returns for our community.”

Fall semester sees increase in enrollment

Central Community College has announced that its total college-wide enrollment for the fall 2023 semester is 6,636, which is up from 6,209 students at the start of the fall 2022 semester.

The total is comprised of 2,186 on-campus students and 4,450 distance learning students enrolled at CCC’s campuses in Columbus, Grand Island and Hastings and centers in Holdrege, Kearney and Lexington.

While college-wide enrollment numbers are unduplicated, the campus breakdowns may vary due to some students taking classes from multiple campuses and centers.

“It is encouraging to see our overall enrollment numbers exceeding 2019, prior to the pandemic, as we continue to see extremely strong job placement of graduates with technical degrees and students seeking economical transfer courses for advanced degrees,” said CCC President Dr. Matt Gotschall.

Because of local workforce demand, health, skilled and technical sciences, business and academic transfer courses and programs are all seeing more student interest.

In health sciences courses, nursing, paramedicine and medical lab technician programs are seeing increased enrollments. Skilled and technical sciences courses seeing increased enrollment include energy technology, mechatronics, quality control and welding. Business courses such as business administration, criminal justice and media arts are seeing increases as are academic transfer courses like chemistry, economics, history, math, physical education, psychology and speech.

Fitness is for everyone

Two lucky dogs got to run alongside their person, media arts instructor Beth Kavan, at the annual Ram Run and Walk Sept. 9 at Central Community College-Hastings. This year’s event had 83 participants: 51 in the 5K race and 32 in the one-mile race.

First CCC apprentice receives certificate

Francisco Pano, the first participant to complete Central Community College’s Registered Apprenticeship Program (RAP), has received a certificate of completion from the U.S. Department of Labor.

Pano, a 2022 welding technology graduate, recently completed his apprenticeship at Standard Iron in Grand Island and must now work for the business for two more years as part of the agreement.

CCC began its RAP program in 2021. It provides apprentices with the opportunity to further their education while supporting themselves through employment. About 20 businesses are part of the RAP program.

“We anticipate celebrating more graduates in the months to come,” Apprenticeship Director Catrina Gray said. “We are proud of Pano and his achievements through the apprenticeship program.”

Demo details how to build an ofrenda

Creating an ofrenda (altar) for El Día de Lost Muertos (Day of the Dead) was the subject of a lunch-and-learn event Sept. 26 at Central Community College-Grand Island.

The event was sponsored by the CCC-Grand Island Multicultural Resource Center in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Attendees learned about the importance of the Mexican tradition of building an ofrenda from Maria Flores, enrollment specialist; Maria Lopez, diversity recruiter and coordinator; and Emily Klimek, graphic design specialist.

Flores and Lopez (pictured) demonstrated how to set up an altar and explained the importance of each item used to decorate it.

There’s no wrong way to build an altar, but here is what is usually included:

The base: A table can be used as the base with boxes, crates or books arranged on top to create levels.

Colorful fabric or tablecloth: This adds color and hides the table and boxes or crates.

Papel picado (paper banners: Papel picado is delicately cut tissue paper used to represent the wind. It can be strung over the ofrenda or draped in front of the table.

Velas (candles): Candles represent fire and light the path for the spirits to return.

A glass of water: Water quenches the thirst of the spirits on their long journey.

Food: The favorite dishes of each deceased person should be included as well as the traditional pan de muerto (a sweetbread decorated with bones and skulls to represent the earth), seasonal fruits, chocolates and candies.

Drinks: The deceased’s favorite drink.

Incense: Traditionally copal incense has been used, but any form of incense will work.

Pictures: Pictures of the family members and friends being honored should be placed on the highest levels of the altar.

Mementos: The deceased’s favorite objects or mementos should be placed next to their photos.

Calaveras de azúcar (sugar skulls): Sugar skulls are iconic mementos representing both life and death. They’re meant to poke fun at death and traditionally have the deceased’s name on the forehead.

Cempasúchil (marigolds): The strong scent and bright color of marigolds guide the departed back home.

Remember: Think of the departed loved ones while lighting their candles.

Mark your calendar

The 2023 CCC-Grand Island Day of the Dead/Día de los Muertos event will be Nov. 4. Details can be found at k7dp.hbqmxco.com/diadelosmuertos.

Individuals interested in making an ofrenda for the CCC Día de los Muertos event must reserve a spot by Oct. 20. Reservations can be made at k7dp.hbqmxco.com/events/2023/november/dia-de-los-muertos-day-of-the-dead.

CCC Foundation ProAm Golf Tournament

Shaun Skahill, Keith Vincik, Casey Lee and Tom Peters received the team low-net score at the annual Central Community College Foundation ProAm Golf Tournament Sept. 18 at the Riverside Golf Club in Grand Island. Vincik and Peters work in CCC’s information technology services department, and Skahill and Lee are from Sirius/CDW. Over $20,000 was raised for scholarships.

Employee news

Columbus Campus

Craig Potthast, plastics trainer and coordinator, has received the Qualified Trainer of the Year Award from RJG Inc., an injection molding company, for teaching 54 students between Sept. 1, 2022, and Aug. 31, 2023.

Luz Colon-Rodriguez, counseling and prevention education services director, joined the Nebraska Collegiate Prevention Alliance (NECPA) Advisory Board in August. NECPA works to reduce and prevent drinking and substance use among college students.

Grand Island Campus

Brittney Reeder has resigned as service center supervisor.

Mallory Swantek, counseling and prevention education coordinator, has joined the Nebraska Counseling Association Board as the co-chair for Region 4/5.

Hastings Campus

New employees include Jonal Broekemier, assistant facilities management director, and Keymi Parra Cabrera, human resources generalist.

Kearney Center

Sara Bennett has resigned as Entrepreneurship Center director.