Annual Signing Day Grows Bigger and Better

February 18, 2016

Topeka, Kan. – More pens, more hats and more people were on hand for the third annual National Technical Letter of Intent Signing Day on Thursday, February 18 at Washburn Tech. The new class of recruits, inked in Tech’s Conference Center, includes more than 450 incoming students which is a Signing Day record.

“We’re here for a celebration and to let these students know that we believe in them,” said Jerry Farley, president, Washburn University. “It’s what education is all about.”

The event, which mirrors the NCAA’s National Signing Day for athletes who commit to play sports in college, is designed to honor students as they enter a technical field. Business and community leaders stood behind students, as they signed their letters of intent, to show their support and connect with tomorrow’s workforce.

John Fox, director of dealer training for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), traveled from Detroit, Mi. for Signing Day. It was his first trip to Kansas and his first involvement in National Technical Letter of Intent Signing Day. Fox spoke of FCA’s commitment to building educational partnerships around the country, such as the automaker’s new training facility at Washburn Tech.

“We are fortunate to have our MOPAR Career Automotive Program really begin to grow,” Fox told incoming students. “We will have more than 5,000 technical jobs available at our dealerships around the country in the next three years. So, placement after you graduate is not an issue. You are going to get a job.”

Gov. Sam Brownback, a strong supporter of technical education, also participated in the event. He said a key to growth in the state is placing more technically trained people in the pipeline. “Our biggest limitation now for growth is people. We need people who are technically trained and know what they’re doing so they get paid more than minimum wage and can grow their skills into a career,” Brownback said.

National Technical Letter of Intent Signing Day originated at Washburn Tech in 2014 and has turned into a nationwide event. This year, 16 campuses around the country participated with 1,253 incoming students signing their name on the dotted line. The event was streamed live to a global audience from all locations.