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Gateway Experience: Examining the Blueprint

January 03, 2020

By Sharnee’ Hobbs, ECMC Foundation Fellow 

A blueprint is a guide for making something. It’s a design or pattern that can be followed. A community college in Kenosha Wisconsin has developed a design/pattern/blueprint for the career and technical education (CTE) community that should be admired and duplicated across the nation.

From the highway, the Kenosha campus of Gateway Technical College (Gateway) is unassuming. It appears to be a typical community college just like many others across the United States. The beauty of Gateway can only be appreciated in person. Gateway is so much more than its edifice.

The Gateway Experience began with a welcome and introduction from its leaders. President and CEO Dr. Bryan Albrecht, and Vice President of Community and Government Relations Stephanie Skiba provided an overview of Gateway and the programs of study featured on each of its three campuses, in the cities of Elkorn, Racine, and Kenosha.

Dr. Albrecht spoke proudly about the innovative achievements and growth at Gateway and credited his leadership team for playing an important role in its success.  Leadership styles were discussed in-depth through a panel forum with three key members of the Gateway’s administrative staff, including Vice President Provost Zina Haywood, Assistant Provost John Thibodeau, and Senior Vice President of Operations William Whyte. Each shared several experiences that has helped to develop great leadership qualities:  “Act as a coach”, “Develop your own leadership style”, “Don’t let hierarchy get in the way of communication” and “Criticize in private”.

Gateway has a leadership team committed to unified mission and goal. They each possess wealth of knowledge and desire to ensure student success is the number one priority. Most importantly, each leader has grown and developed their leadership qualities and abilities as they moved up in rank. Promotion from within is an important aspect of Gateway’s foundation. 

Leadership was only the beginning. The Gateway Experience included a dynamic campus tour. Several programs provided real world scenarios to help students gain invaluable experience. Each member of the Law Enforcement Academy wear bulletproof vests, uniforms and firearms that resemble real guns. Also included in this program are a state-of-the-art shooting range and blood splatter crime scene examination room. An impressive dental assistant program includes a replica of a dentist office, dental examination chairs and equipment. Gateway’s Nursing Department features human patient simulators and technology to allow students to participate in an environment similar to the healthcare industry.  In addition to the programs at the Kenosha campus, the Gateway Experience continues at the Horizon Center. From the inception it is apparent that there is a partnership between Snap-On and Gateway. In actuality, Snap-On’s certification curriculum is a used to train students in the Automotive Maintenance Technician. The partnership between Snap-On and Gateway is a great example of building and growing pathways in CTE with great partnerships.  One additional partnership Gateway has developed, is with the K-12 system in Wisconsin. Gateway provides many opportunities for high school students to earn credit at Gateway through dual-enrollment.

The Gateway Experience will leave a lasting impression. This college has a plan in place (Vision 2021) to continue growing and providing opportunities in CTE. The blueprint for a quality CTE program resides at community college located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Gateway Technical College is the future of CTE.

About the ECMC Foundation Fellow

Sharnee’ Hobbs is the an Instructional Coordinator of Adult Education/GED at Bishop State Community College. She is an ECMC Foundation Fellow of the Postsecondary Leadership Success Program (PLSP) at ACTE – Sponsored by the ECMC Foundation. The program is part of ECMC Foundation’s CTE Leadership Collaborative Initiative.


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