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WITC system president addresses county board

The Wisconsin Indianhead Technical College (WITC) serves a number of counties in northwestern Wisconsin on six campuses.

St. Croix County is not only the southernmost of the 11 counties in the WITC district, but also the largest in population.

As head of the board in the most populous county, Daryl Standafer also chairs the WITC District Board Appointment Committee that selects the school's trustees.

The county's taxpayers contribute the most to the WITC budget. In fiscal year 2011 the tax levy in St. Croix County for WITC amounted to nearly $7.5 million or more than 20 percent of the school's budget.

Bob Meyer, WITC president, addressed the regular meeting of the board of supervisors May 1 to give an up-to- date, overall view of the tech college and its mission.

"Nearly one of every nine residents in St. Croix County has taken a class through WITC, either on campus, online or via continuing education," Meyer said. The largest campus is in New Richmond.

Meyer said there are 7,715 students in credit programs at WITC with a curriculum that includes 53 associate (two-year) degrees. And 91 percent of the school's students are employed within six months of graduation.

"Graduates stay and contribute," he said. "Of 1,600 graduates across the district, 83 percent stay in Wisconsin and 72 percent remain in the district.

"It is a 'brain gain' for the district and state," Meyer said.

"A two-year degree can lead to very good jobs; sometimes it's hard to convince parents," the president said.

Meyer also pointed out it is a centennial year for WITC. The school was first established in 1912 in Superior.

The president said the school looks at every program on a yearly basis, thoroughly calculating cost per course. "We really focus on listening forums, advisory committees for every one of our programs," Meyer said.

"The technical college system is extremely nimble," he said.