Education Conference Puts Topeka in the National Spotlight

September 25, 2014

Topeka, Kan. – Educators from around the country will converge on the Washburn University and Washburn Tech campuses to talk about grants that are training today’s workers. The TRAC-7 consortium, Creative Commons and the Open Professionals Education Network (OPEN) will host a conference in Topeka on Tuesday, September 30, through Thursday, October 2. The first day’s events will be held on the Washburn Tech campus at 5724 SW Huntoon before the conference moves to the Washburn University campus on October 1 and 2.

The conference will focus, in part, on supporting grantees of round one of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant program. One of those grantees, TRAC-7, is a consortium that includes Washburn Tech and six other technical or community colleges in Kansas. The group received a $19.6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to provide workers with the academic and industry-recognized credentials and training necessary to meet the need for a skilled workforce. Discussions will cover a range of topics from best practices to sustaining the programs past the grant period. 

Among the attendees will be representatives from the U.S. Department of Labor and a team from California State University’s Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching (MERLOT) project. It will serve as the TAACCCT repository and make educational materials openly available to anyone online at no charge.

“We are excited to be able to host this conference for fellow TAACCCT grantees who will be working with the national leaders, here in Topeka, Kan.,” said Dr. Gillian Gabelmann, associate dean for technical education, Washburn Tech. “The TAACCCT grants have given institutions across the nation the opportunity to expand capacity and provide hands-on technical training leading to stackable industry certifications and well-paid careers.”

“TAACCCT grant efforts are changing the lives and livelihoods of thousands of participants across the country. The TAACCCT On! Conference is a grantee-sponsored, grantee-led collaborative effort which supports technical training programs that prepare workers for high-wage, high-demand careers,” noted Debra Mikulka, director of sponsored projects at Washburn University.