Preparing the workforce at NCTA

Preparing the workforce at NCTA

Sophomores from Pleasanton High School tour the NCTA campus with Rulon Taylor, recruiter. In the Ag Mechanics lab they see a center pivot tower built by irrigation technician students who also study welding and electricity. (Photo by Andela Taylor / NCTA)
Sophomores from Pleasanton High School tour the NCTA campus with Rulon Taylor, recruiter. In the Ag Mechanics lab they see a center pivot tower built by irrigation technician students who also study welding and electricity. (Photo by Andela Taylor / NCTA)

Dean’s Report by NCTA Dean Larry Gossen, Ph.D.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is intentional in its statewide mission developing graduates for the workforce.

Skillsets and knowledge acquired at NCTA are vast for animal health and agricultural industries.

From welding and irrigation technology to crop advisors, equine trainers, veterinary technicians and feedlot managers, we have it all when it comes to equipping future employees with the most relevant leading-edge education for our state's economic driver.

I was encouraged by recent news that the University of Nebraska Board of Regents has given its unanimous support to a new statewide initiative to increase the share of Nebraskans who hold postsecondary credentials.

The Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is part of the NU system.

At its June 23 meeting, the Board approved a resolution endorsing the goals outlined in Legislative Resolution 335, passed this spring by the Nebraska Legislature. It calls for 70% of Nebraskans who are ages 25 to 34 to hold post-high school credentials by 2030, up from 58% today.

“We’ve heard again and again from business leaders that more workforce is their greatest need.  And we know that the majority of jobs in the future will require education beyond high school,” said Board of Regents Chairman Bob Phares of North Platte.

“The University of Nebraska is the largest producer of workforce in our state – yet we know we need to do even more to ensure a skilled, vibrant, competitive economy for the future.”

At NCTA, our goals revolve around meeting the needs of the ag and vet tech industry to provide the workforce needs of the state and region.

We are focusing on areas that have some of the biggest needs, and where we have the greatest capacity in the next year. Those areas include agribusiness, agronomy, irrigation technology, agriculture education, and ag equipment management.

Recruiting and communication with high schools is on track for NCTA to increase opportunities for students. One goal for the long term is to grow student enrollment roughly 5-10% each year.  A more intermediate goal is growing to 300 full time students.

NU System President Ted Carter ensures all campuses, including NCTA, implement strategies to achieve the new attainment goal. Along with our Strategic Planning group at NCTA, I work closely with NU Vice President Mike Boehm who oversees our NCTA campus and programs.

Here are some highlights for achieving the NU goals:

  • Maintaining affordable tuition to ensure access for students and families. Tuition at NCTA is frozen in 2022-23 at $139 per credit hour – the second straight across-the-board freeze – under the budget recently approved by regents.
  • Investing in financial aid so students are not priced out of a university education, with a particular emphasis on expanding access for first-generation, low-income and underserved students. The university recently expanded its Nebraska Promise program to provide tuition-free education to qualifying Nebraska students with family incomes of $65,000 or less.
  •  Emphasizing timely degree completion to help students minimize their debt and enter the workforce sooner.
  • Developing new strategies to reach the 300,000-plus Nebraskans who have some college credits but have not completed their degrees. For NCTA, this may include reverse transfer from UNL or other NU institutions or improved transition from NCTA to four-year universities or colleges for a bachelor’s degree.
  •  Adding campus improvements which create a more pleasing environment for students. These include upgrading study spaces, repairing residence life and academic buildings, replacing furnishings, repairing roads and new landscaping.

Visitors to campus this summer and fall will already see some of these changes. I tip my hat to the recruiting and student services teams, and the faculty, who are the frontline to a busy summer season as they communicate – both out at events and here on campus.

Next week, on July 12, we will have our second round of New Student Enrollment on campus. These are new students who spend the day with us enrolling in courses, communicating with faculty and team coaches, and preparing to become campus residents. Welcome new Aggies!

Guests are welcome to visit campus and arrange for tours through our Student Services Office. Tours are Monday through Thursday at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Or we can arrange for recruiters Rulon or Andela to provide a customized, virtual tour. See our web site at for details.

Have a great week, Aggie friends!

NCTA Events:

July 6: Agronomy Youth Field Day, 9 a.m. – 3 p.m., NCTA

July 12: New Student Enrollment, 9 a.m., NCTA Ed Center

July 14:  NCTA at Nebraska Agricultural Youth Institute Career Fair, Lincoln

July 26: Cover Crops & Conservation Field Day, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., NCTA Ed Center and Farm

July 30:  Aggie Basketball Team Reunion, 12-5 p.m., Curtis Community Center

Part of the University of Nebraska system, the Nebraska College of Technical Agriculture is a two-year institution with a statewide mission of preparing students for successful careers in agriculture, veterinary technology and related industries. NCTA is known for its affordable tuition, high job-placement rate for its graduates, and for the success of student teams in competitive activities including crops judging, ranch horse events, livestock judging, shotgun sports, stock dog trials, and intercollegiate rodeo. The college is consistently ranked as one of the best two-year schools in the nation.

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