College invites public to open house

Kenai Peninsula College’s doors are always open, but on Friday they’ll be open a little wider.

For the first time in, what Campus Recruiter Emily Knight calls, a long time, the Kenai River Campus of the college is holding an open house. The event, which will be from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 23 will give the public an opportunity to explore the campus, the resources the college has to offer and the different program options available.

“There are a variety of different reasons for everyone to come,” Knight said. “But, overall we are highlighting our different degree programs.”

These programs include Alaska Native languages, anthropology, art, business, nursing, chemistry, English, general students, human services, Kenai River guiding, mathematics, instrumentation, paramedics, process technology, psychology, welding and more — a full list can be found on the college’s website.

The event is built for both high school students and the general public, according to Knight.

“We’re really trying to get people in the community who might be looking to finish their degree program but they’re not sure where to start,” Knight said. “This is their opportunity to become familiar with the programs we offer, classes they can take and all the free resources we have to offer… And for graduating seniors who are looking to enroll in the fall, it’s their opportunity to come speak with an advisor, to get to know the faculty who are teaching their classes.”

Knight explained that the morning will be organized into different sessions, with the departments giving presentations of about 25 minutes each.

“I’m trying to get people to come to the campus and explore,” she said. “For instance, the paramedic program will be presenting in their lab space. You’ll get to check out the simulation dolls. In the welding tech. program presentation, they’ll be in the welding lab. They won’t be practicing, but you you get to see the neat tools.”

Knight said the day will be full of exploration, whether someone knows what they’re looking for or not.

“If you’re just there and not interested in program overviews, but just want to talk to someone, we will have the different departments available throughout the morning.”

Knight said that she hopes this week’s open house will show that the college is built to serve the community.

“I really want people to come and see this as a place to pursue a degree,” she said. “Or if they’re a life-long learner and want to take a class… We’re here for them and we have those community resources that they can utilize.”

Alongside it’s parent school, the University of Alaska Anchorage and the University of Alaska system, Kenai Peninsula College has faced tough decisions in the face of a tumultuous economic climate, but UAA Interim Chancellor Samual Gingerich said that shouldn’t hinder any student, or potential students, from exploring what the university has to offer.

“One of the things that we do need to recognize as an institution is that we still have significant resources,” Gingerich said. “We’re still open for business, we still have lots of opportunities. Unfortunately, some of the discussion that’s been generating gives the impression that everything is being cut… that’s not true. What we need to be doing is talking about the opportunities and options that still exist.”

Gingerich and Kenai Peninsula College Director Gary Turner pointed to the process technology program as a specific example of what the college has to offer.

“The process tech program here, for a long time, was packed,” Turner said. “Because of the change in economy, though, interest in that has dropped off but now is the time that people should be enrolling. That program needs to be promoted because when the employees are needed, it’s going to take a few years to build up the workforce and by then, all of the firms that will be hiring will have gone out of state to find someone else.”

Reach Kat Sorensen at kat.sorensen@peninsulaclarion.com

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