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Bright futures ahead: Tech students turn tassels

Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Jeffrey Primus of Alexandria received his associate in arts degree at the Alexandria Technical College graduation ceremony Friday night at the Jefferson High School gym. The program is a partnership with Bemidji State University.1 / 3
Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Christy Hansen of Alexandria received her associate of applied science degree in child development - one of 16 ATC students who has completed the program since December.2 / 3
Echo Press photo by Al Edenloff Tech students turned their tassels during Friday's commencement at the Alexandria Technical College.3 / 3

About 700 students from Alexandria Technical College should be wearing shades after Friday.

Armed with degrees, their future looks bright.

Graduation ceremonies were held in the morning for the law enforcement students and later that evening for the rest of the student body.

The number of graduates is up slightly from last year, according to Eric Karlstad, director of student success at the ATC.

Enrollment this past year set a record, which boosts the prospects of even larger graduating classes in the next year or two, Karlstad added.

Enrollment in the college's law enforcement and medical fields remains strong, Karlstad said. Despite the unsteady economy, the ATC's manufacturing programs held their own, he added.

What are the job prospects for the newly graduated tech students?

"It still looks pretty good," Karlstad said. "They may have to spend a little more time searching for a job and looking at more locations but there are openings out there."

The college's job placement rate - the percentage of graduates who find a job in their selected field within six months - remains high. It was 95 percent last year and is still right around 90 percent, said Karlstad.

Friday's commencement ceremonies were the 49th annual for the college.

The school opened in 1961 with 21 students and three programs - carpentry, farm equipment mechanics and machine shop.

Today, the college enrolls more than 2,200 students annually in more than 50 programs. It offers certificates, diplomas, associate in science degrees, associate in applied science degrees and online degrees.

Al Edenloff
Al Edenloff is the news and opinion page editor for the Echo Press. He was born in Alexandria and lived most of his childhood in Parkers Prairie. He graduated with honors from Moorhead State University with a degree in mass communications, print journalism. He interned at the Echo Press in the summer of 1983 and was hired a year later as a sports reporter. He also worked as a news reporter/photographer. Al is a four-time winner of the Minnesota Newspaper Association's Herman Roe Award, which honors excellence in editorial writing.  
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