Last month, Give Back Careers students were given the opportunity to tour Hutchinson Community College and Kansas City Kansas Community College, two Kansas-based community colleges that offer a host of diverse degree and certificate programs.

Organized by Kansas Program Director Katie Latta and Illinois Student Coach Shannon Labus, the excursion exposed a small group of Give Back Careers students, ranging from incoming freshmen to juniors in high school, to the wide variety of training and educational opportunities available through community colleges..

Set four hours apart from each other, Hutchinson and Kansas City Kansas presented two distinct campus lifestyles to the students. While the Kansas City Kansas campus appeared more metropolitan in nature, Hutchinson–which shares its campus with the Cosmosphere Space Museum–gave off more of a typical “university” feel, with a rural backdrop and a football field situated in the center of the campus. Throughout each tour the students got the chance to explore the athletic facilities, experience eating in a dining hall, and discover the plethora of degree, certificate, and career options offered at the colleges.

“So many schools and adults push students towards a four year degree and I feel like it’s important for our students to visit these community colleges and technical colleges and see the different kinds of programs available to them,” said Katie. “This different exposure can show them that they can still be successful and proud of their career even if it’s not from a four year college.”

The students were excited to learn that so much was available to them from community colleges in the area. Each college offers over 100 degree and certificate programs–anything ranging from more traditional avenues as Chemistry and Political Science to certificate opportunities from Welding Technology to Baking to Web Design. Students attending the colleges even have the opportunity to participate in a hybrid program in partnership with local companies that offer part-time paid internships while pursuing their education.

“You have to uncover a lot of rocks to find what you love,” said Shannon. “The more we can expose students to different careers and educational options, the more chances we are giving them to be successful. It’s amazing how many programs can be completed in two years that lead to fulfilling and high-paying careers.”

At Give Back, we are all about empowering our youth to discover their passions and reach their goals through support, planning, exposure, and encouragement. Everybody’s path to success and happiness is unique, and we believe that with guidance and support, everyone can achieve their dreams.