By Denise Smith Amos
Enquirer staff writer
Ron Wright, president of Cincinnati State Technical and Community College since 1997, is one of two finalists for the top job at a larger community college in Madison, Wis.
The Madison Area Technical College serves about 50,000 full-time and part-time students on five campuses.
Along with Wright, the college also is considering Bettsey Barhost, president of a community college in Waterloo, Iowa, for its president's job.
Wright will be in Madison Wednesday and Thursday, meeting with college leaders, students and with community members at a public forum.
If he is offered a job and accepts it, Wright will be leaving a growing community college.
Cincinnati State has increased enrollment and programs offered in recent years. Next month the school will open a $50 million Advanced Technology and Learning Center, which will house its growing culinary arts and technology programs.
The school recently reported a 9 percent rise in its early fall attendance of full-time students to 8,472. Including part-timers, enrollment swells to 16,000, said Wright.
Wright said he is seriously considering this offer because Madison is a bigger school, tackling some of the same challenges he has faced at Cincinnati State.
Madison's business and governing leaders have more broadly embraced its community college as a source for work force development than Cincinnati has, Wright said.
"We have not, here in Greater Cincinnati, come to understand the tremendous economic impact of a community college if used effectively, especially in training a work force," he said.
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