Golden opportunities are in abundance at North Central Kansas Technical College. That is the point administrators have been emphasizing during the school's 50-year anniversary celebration.

The message is well-worth listening to by young adults with no intention of pursuing higher education at a four-year university. The trade school offers a 10:1 student-teacher ratio and extensive hands-on training with internships in most of its 24 programs of study. That leads students to being prepared for a job in only nine to 18 months and, with NCKTC's placement rating exceeding 90 percent, has that individual in the workforce in relatively short time.

Designed to be a leader in innovative workforce development, NCKTC was founded in Beloit in 1964-65. The Hays satellite campus was founded 10 years later in the basement of St. Anthony Hospital, which today is Hays Medical Center. The experimental nursing program was a success, so a business education program was added the next year. The school kept expanding as more students signed on, and the campus east of HaysMed today boasts six buildings, some trades are taught in another building on south Main Street, and welding is taught on the campus of Fort Hays State University.

"It's neat for people to realize how big a part Hays has been to the college for 40 years," said NCK Tech President Eric Burks. "It's exciting to be able to celebrate what the college means, not only in the past, and the present, but also what it can mean in the future. I'm glad the value (of the college) is recognized."

The celebration in Hays will be Saturday. The day will begin with receptions from 1 to 3 p.m., one in the administration building on campus at 2205 Wheatland Ave. and another in the nursing building on the south end of campus. That evening more festivities will be on tap at Ambassador Hotel. The event will feature dinner, socializing, music, a silent auction, and the honoring of deserving alumni and faculty.

Tickets for the anniversary party, which include dinner and the festivities, still are available through Monday for $40 per person or $70 for a couple. They can be reserved at www.ncktc.edu or by leaving Mari Tucker a message by phone at (785) 623-6167 or by email at mtucker@ncktc.edu.

Hays and the surrounding region is fortunate to have such a first-rate technical college right here. Not only do students receive top-notch instruction and training, business and industry have a steady source of qualified employees. The symbiotic relationship helps keep the local economy strong.

Congratulations to North Central Kansas Technical College on its 50th anniversary -- and 40th in Hays. The community looks forward to many more.

Editorial by Patrick Lowry

plowry@dailynews.net

Nick Schwien is managing editor at The Hays Daily News.

nschwien@dailynews.net