Educating Everyone: CVTC works to ensure its student body reflects the region’s population

CVTC works to ensure its student body reflects the region’s population

Tom Giffey, photos by Mark Gunderman

English Language Learners at CVTC
English Language Learners at CVTC

Institutions of higher learning such as Chippewa Valley Technical College exist to serve the workforce needs of their communities. If the Chippewa Valley needs more certified nursing assistants, CVTC will train them. The same goes for welders or sous chefs.Likewise, the student body at CVTC reflects the population in the Chippewa Valley as a whole, encompassing women and men of many racial, ethnic, and linguistic backgrounds.

“As our community becomes more diverse, we see that in our student body,” explained Margo Keys, CVTC’s vice president of student services. And just as CVTC has to be flexible in providing the educational programs the community needs, it must work hard to recruit and retain a diverse staff and student body.

In fact, CVTC is the most racially and ethnically diverse college in the Valley. About 15 percent of CVTC enrollees are students of color, a figure that has grown in recent years, Keys said. By comparison, as of the 2017-18 school year, the student bodies at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout were about 10 and 11 percent students of color, respectively.

CVTC means providing a broad array of diversity programming – and not just to ensure racial and ethnic diversity in its classrooms. CVTC offers services to students in pursuing occupations that are nontraditional for their gender – for instance, women in automotive repair or men in nursing. The college offers such students customized career guidance, mentorship, and networking opportunities. CVTC also provides services to students with disabilities, which may include accommodations with testing, assistance technology, sign-language interpreting or captioning, and much more.

And a host of resources are available for students from multicultural backgrounds who may face a variety of barriers in pursuing higher educations. Jennifer Anderegg, CVTC’s dean of academic development and services, explains that student success specialists help multicultural students with academic and nonacademic concerns. These students are also invited to become part of EMPOWER, a group that meets weekly to talk about their experiences and concerns in college.

Much of the diversity at CVTC – at least in terms of languages – comes because the college offers noncredit courses for adults English language learners. Some of these ELL students are also enrolled in specially designed courses, taught with dual-language instructors, to train to become CNAs.

Ultimately, CVTC officials say, such efforts to foster a more diverse college environment help all students, whatever their background. “Preparing them for the workforce is our ultimate goal, and the workforce is becoming more diverse,” Anderegg said.

Developing Diversity is sponsored by:

Chippewa Valley
Technical College

620 W. Clairemont Ave
Eau Claire, WI