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Southeast Community College is planning a pair of new facilities dedicated to training students to enter careers in science and technology.
A proposed $42.7 million tower focused on technology education will also serve as a hub for businesses that want to “re-skill or up-skill” their existing workforce, the college said.
The project will be paid for through a combination of SCC’s capital improvement fund, facility use fees and private donations, according to Bev Cummins, director of the Lincoln campus.
SCC already has about $8 million in funds pledged to the project, including $5 million from Sandhills Global of Lincoln.
The Sandhills Global Technology Center is expected to help SCC address the state’s growing workforce needs in science, technology, engineering and math-related fields, which are expected to grow by 11% between 2018 and 2028, according to the Nebraska Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Non-STEM fields, meanwhile, are anticipated to grow by 5% across the state over the same period.
In the Lincoln area, the growth in STEM careers is projected to outpace the state, increasing by 11.6% compared with 5.9% for non-STEM fields, the Bureau of Labor report states.
With demand surging for a trained workforce, SCC said its teaching spaces for science and technology classes “no longer meet the pedagogical needs” of instructors and students.
“In general, most of the rooms are too small for the class sizes desired by the institution,” a report submitted to the SCC board states. “Instructional equipment and technology required is also insufficient. Many spaces cannot support the anticipated and necessary growth in science and technology offerings.”
For example, science labs within the main building at 8800 O St. were last overhauled in the late 1990s, while the computer information technology program is housed in a 35-year-old space without room for students to train in cybersecurity, network management or computer support.
SCC has also been limited in its ability to expand its electronic systems technology program because of cramped space and can’t offer space for area businesses looking for areas to train new or existing employees.
Several Lincoln companies — TMCO, Kawasaki and Sandhills, to name a few — often request space in SCC’s facilities, Cummins said.
“Because our labs are used throughout the day in our credit programs, trainings for industry can only occur in the evenings or when the college is on break,” she said.
Even then, SCC’s existing facilities often show their age.
Matt Thorne, executive vice president of Electronic Contracting, which employs 130 people, including 65 in Lincoln, said the commercial electronics integrator will often look for space where it can conduct certification classes or large sales meetings.
Electronic Contracting — also known as ECCO — has made use of the auditorium at SCC’s Lincoln campus, but found itself scrambling when there was no HDMI connection, Thorne said.
A new, dedicated training space at SCC that can accompany a large number of employees would be a big boon to both ECCO and other companies, he added, particularly as many anticipate workloads to shift into high gear once supply-chain bottlenecks are resolved.
“Once we get the raw goods in our hands, we’re going to be scrambling to find workers as quick as we can to get everything installed,” Thorne said. “We’re not going to have time to worry about finding a time and a place to train workers, so I’m really excited about these spaces they are creating that we will be able to use.”
According to Cummins, the new facility would have labs that are flexible and dedicated to “short-term, work-based training,” which will increase SCC’s capacity to produce a qualified workforce.
The Sandhills Global Technology Center, which is planned east of the Health Science Facility that opened on SCC’s Lincoln campus in 2021, would be followed by a science-focused facility to be built within five years.
The projects continue the renewal of SCC’s campuses in Lincoln, Beatrice and Milford.
A $24 million expansion and renovation of SCC’s student services center is under construction at the Lincoln campus.
SCC-Lincoln is also planning a 250-bed residence hall.
A driver in a pickup truck makes their way along a northern portion of 27th street as a break in the clouds after Tuesday’s storm allows for a final burst of color on March 22, 2022. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star
Elton John points to the crowd after he finishes his opener, “Bennie And The Jets,” on Sunday, March 27, 2022, during the Elton John: Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
Nebraska head baseball coach Will Bolt talks with his team between innings during the baseball game on Sunday, March 27, 2022, between Michigan and Nebraska at Haymarket Park. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
Cass Warren, 12, throws a disc golf next to his father Dan Warren on a windy afternoon at Pioneers Park, Friday, March 25, 2022. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Theresa Thibodeau, Breland Ridenour, Charles Herbster, and Brett Lindstrom (from left) participate in a discourse during a gubernatorial debate hosted at the Nebraska Public Media studios on March 24, 2022. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star
Lincoln Pius X’s Ellie Wolseger rests on the mat after an attempt in the girls pole vault on Thursday, March 24, 2022, during the Northeast Relays track meet at Lincoln High. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
Kindergartener Lyum Brady eats lunch on Wednesday, March 23, 2022, at Hartley Elementary School. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
A Lincoln city crew cleans up a fallen tree near 15th and Sumner streets, Tuesday, March 22, 2022. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Cars travel at the intersection of O and 16th streets on a rainy night, Monday, March 21, 2022. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
As the sun goes down, fans watch during the baseball game Friday, March 18, 2022, between Nebraska and Texas A&M-Corpus Christian at Haymarket Park. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
Nebraska’s Isabelle Bourne and Gonzaga’s Yvonne Ejim dive after a loose ball in the first quarter during the first round of the NCAA Tournament at the KFC Yum! Center on March 18, 2022, in Louisville, Kentucky. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star
Nebraska’s Griffin Everitt is congragulated by teammates Lei Brice Matthews and Luke Jessen after hitting a 3-run RBI against New Mexico State in the third inning at Haymarket Park on Tuesday, March 15, 2022. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star
Bryan Health staff pray during a ceremony to mark the two-year anniversary of COVID-19 on Tuesday, March 15, 2022, at Bryan East Campus. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
Nebraska fans cheer for free T-shirts in the second inning of a game against Omaha on Monday, March 14, 2022, at Haymarket Park. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
Malaya Burks (left), 15, plays basketball with his brother DeShawn Burks, Monday, March 14, 2022, at Normal Boulevard & South Basketball Courts. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
The Nebraska women’s basketball team reacts during their bracket announcement Sunday at the Pinnacle Bank Arena. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
Elkhorn North celebrates their championship victory over Omaha Skutt after the Class B girls championship Saturday, March 12, 2022, at Pinnacle Bank Arena. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
Humphrey/LHF’s Ethan Keller celebrates after his team scores three against Grand Island CC in the fourth quarter during the Class C-2 boys championship at Pinnacle Bank Arena on March 11, 2022. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star
Lt. Col. Christopher Perrone (R), of Papillion, hugs his daughter, Faith, 21, during a welcome home event for soldiers of the Nebraska National Guard’s 67th Maneuver Enhancement Brigade on Friday, March 11, 2022, at the Nebraska Army National Guard base. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
Lincoln Lutheran fans react in the closing minutes of the regulation of the Class C-1 girls championship game against North Bend Central, Friday, March 11, 2022, at Pinnacle Bank Arena. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Falls City SH’s head coach Doug Goltz talks to his team between periods during a Class D-2 boys semifinals game Thursday at Devaney Sports Center. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
A pedestrian and a cyclist cross a snowy Goodhue Boulevard on Thursday, March 10, 2022. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
People watches the debate to allow concealed handgun without a permit from the balcony, Thursday, March 10, 2022, at Nebraska State Capitol. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Auburn’s Marcus Buitrago (23) tries to control the ball as Fort Calhoun’s Carsen Schwarz (33) dives during a Class C-1 boys semifinal game Thursday at Pinnacle Bank Arena. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
Nebraskans for Peace hosts a rally in support of Ukraine on Sunday, March 6, 2022. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
Nebraska’s Liam Doherty-Herwitz competes on the still rings during the gymnastics meet between Illinois, Minnesota and Nebraska on Saturday, March 5, 2022, at Devaney Sports Center. JAIDEN TRIPI, Journal Star
Supporters of the Midwest Freedom Convoy line up along the Superior Street bridge over I-80, on March 4, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska. KENNETH FERRIERA, Journal Star
Wichita State’s Sydney McKinney (25) leaps to snag a fly ball for an out in the first inning of a game against Nebraska on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, at Bowlin Stadium. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
Matthew Herron (L) and girlfriend Taylyn Davey enjoy an early birthday picnic for Davey on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022, at Holmes Lake. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
Charuth Van Beuzekom, who owns Shadow Brook Farm and Dutch Girl Creamery with husband Kevin Loth, enjoys the company of a day-old kid in the barn on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
North Platte SP’s Jayla Fleck (left), Tonja Heirigs, and Ashton Guo (right) celebrate a three-pointer during a Class D boys state basketball game on Wednesday at Bob Devaney Sports Center, Wednesday, March 9, 2022. SAVANNAH HAMM, Journal Star
Felipe Gonzalez-Vazquez talks with his attorneys Nancy Peterson (left) and Candice Wooster during his trial for the murder of Lincoln Police Investigator Mario Herrera, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in Platte County District Court. JUSTIN WAN, Journal Star
Penn State’s Max Dean upends Nebraska’s Eric Schultz during the 197 championship match of the Big Ten wresting championship matches at Pinnacle Bank Arena on March 6, 2022, in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Spinach grows in a covered tunnel at Shadow Brook farm on Tuesday, March 1, 2022. GWYNETH ROBERTS, Journal Star
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Higher education/statehouse reporter
Chris Dunker covers higher education, state government and the intersection of both.
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If approved by the SCC Board of Governors later this month, construction could begin on a residence hall at the 8800 O St. campus later this year and be completed in 2023.
SCC President Paul Illich said the renovation and new construction at the 8800 O St. campus will be dedicated to support services for students, including advising, tutoring and student affairs.
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