Lakeshore Technical College has been serving students in eastern Wisconsin since 1974, expanding several times and adding community education courses in various locations in surrounding communities. More than10,000 students were enrolled during the 2017-18 academic year, preparing them for careers in 13 different areas offered at the college.

Most recently, Lakeshore Technical College’s new School of Agriculture was opened near the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center in rural Newton, providing students studying agriculture hands-on, real-world learning experiences and the opportunity to develop professional relationships with those in the industry.

“Students become ‘agvocates’ and help tell the story of our industry,” said Rachel Kroeplien, agribusiness instructor at Lakeshore Technical College. “Many of our graduates work in the industry, serve on industry committees and love telling the story of agriculture.”

A few of those “agvocates,” along with their instructors, will be at the college’s booth at the WPS Farm Show next week, answering questions and distributing information about the school’s events and programs, including CareerQuest, Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin Youth Leadership Derby and College Preview Night.

Participating in the show is also a great opportunity for Lakeshore Technical College students and faculty to connect with the community and share updates to the program. Students get the chance to walk the grounds and meet new people, along with raising their awareness of the many opportunities available to them after graduation.

The show is the perfect venue to advocate for agriculture as well, and with it being close to home, is another opportunity to share the Lakeshore Technical College story with the agriculture industry and community, Kroeplien said. It’s why the college has been participating in the show for about 10 years now.

The college offers six degree programs in agriculture and horticulture, with students today particularly interested in an agribusiness science and technology associate degree and dairy herd management.

Interest continues to grow in the area of agribusiness science and technology as technology plays an increasing role in agriculture, Kroeplien said. Students studying this track at the college learn how to merge business with animal science, nutrition, pest management, soil science and more to produce a product and make a profit.

Dairy herd management addresses the need for students to not only have solid herdsperson skills, but also effective management and technology skills in order to operate a profitable and progressive dairy farm today.

Many programs at Lakeshore Technical College can also be completed 100 percent online, perfect for those busy students who may not have time to come to campus every day. Some popular online programs include agriculture technician, marketing and business management.

In addition to agriculture programs, welding, nursing, accounting and culinary arts degree programs are popular with students.

“As times are changing, so are our students,” Kroeplien said. “More and more are not from farm families but still want to go into agriculture. We help those students find the best fit for them and help them see their potential.”

Students and faculty encourage those considering a degree in agriculture — or any field offered at Lakeshore Technical College — to swing by the booth to learn more about what’s offered.

“What we look forward to most is networking with the community, getting students to meet potential employers and seeing what’s new in the industry,” Kroeplien said.