Chippewa Valley Technical College is a public technical school in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. There are four campuses in the town of Eau Claire (Gateway, Clairemont, and West) and regional learning centers in Menomonie, Neillsville, River Falls, and Chippewa Falls. In all, the college serves an area that encompasses 16 counties with over 6,500 students enrolled in degree and certificate programs, and roughly another 16,000 in continuing education programs.The school’s mission states that “Chippewa Valley Technical College delivers superior, progressive technical education which improves the lives of students, meets the workforce needs of the region, and strengthens the larger community.”
Educational divisions are organized into career clusters. The Career clusters are: Agricultural Food and Natural Resources; Architecture and Construction; Business, Finance, and Marketing; Health Services; Human Services; Law, Public Safety, and Security; Manufacturing; STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) Information Technology; and Transportation, Distribution and Logistics.
There are several different kinds of classes at Eau Claire to suit different styles of learning, student schedules, and preferences. These include online classes, in which students discuss class material, submit assignments, and meet with faculty—all online with minimal face-to-face contact; hybrid classes, in which students blend online learning with personal session; web conferencing, in which students watch and listen to a lecture online; and open lab, in which students may work on-campus with in-person support, but at their own rate and with a great deal of flexibility.
Offerings of the Different Campuses
The Clairemont campus houses the health and business programs and also offers welding and automotive classes. The Gateway campus is the hub for manufacturing technology. It contains the NanoRite Innovation Center and the Manufacturing Education Center. The Eau Claire West campus houses the Transportation Education Center and Emergency Service Education Center, offering programs such as Criminal Justice, Truck Driving, and FireMedic.
Many students go on to earn four-year degrees at institutions in the area. The college has transfer agreements with Capella University, Cardinal Stritch, Concordia University, Globe University, Marian College, University of Minnesota, Viterbo University, Winona State, and several University of Wisconsin campuses, including Stout, Stevens Point, River Falls, Oshkosh, Milwaukee, Madison, La Crosse, Green Bay, and Eau Claire.
Most Popular Fields of Study
Apprenticeships play a key role in the education of many students. The college partners with employers who offer on-the-job training and the State of Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development, Bureau of Apprenticeship Standards. Most apprenticeships vary in length from two to five years. Apprentices are paid a portion of the rate they can expect to earn after finishing their programs.
Trades with apprenticeship programs include:
Child Care Development Specialist
Electrical and Instrumentation Technician
Environmental Service Technician
HVAC Installer Technician
Industrial (Maintenance) Pipefitter
Injection Molding Machine Setter (Plastic)
Heavy Equipment Operator
Sheet Metal Worker
Tool and Die Maker
In apprenticeship agreements, the employer is responsible to provide safe and adequate facilities for on-the-job training; qualified personnel to teach the apprentice; appropriate supervision; and wages for time spent in related instruction. The apprentice is responsible to be a reliable and responsible employee, work diligently throughout the apprenticeship, and complete all related instruction work as assigned by the classroom instructor. Normally, apprentices attend classes twice a month for 8 hours per session.
In keeping with its mission to provide educational opportunities to all adults in their catchment area who wish to pursue them, Chippewa Valley features open admissions. Some specific programs have further requirements; check with the department in which you wish to study. All students in any program must take a COMPASS pre-entry assessment before registering in the program of their choice.
In addition to the wide range of state and financial options open to any college or university student in Wisconsin, the college offers several of their own need- and merit-based scholarships.
The Valley Café, located at the Eau Claire Business Education Center on the Clairemont campus, offers standard cafeteria fare for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. There are also vending machines on all campuses and at most learning centers.
Student Enrollment Demographics
Eau Claire is a small city in west-central Wisconsin. It has been named both one of the best communities for young people and a Tree City in recent years. Outdoor recreation is a large part of life in Eau Claire, with many opportunities for biking, hiking, golfing, canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. The Chippewa River State Trail follows the lower course of the Chippewa River from Eau Claire. There is also an indoor ice center with a figure skating club and an Olympic-sized public pool in the town.
The University of Wisconsin Eau Claire, Immanuel Lutheran College, and a branch campus of Globe University Minnesota School of Business are all located in Eau Claire as well, creating a college-town atmosphere rich in affordable restaurants, bars, clubs, and other amenities for students. There are also several vineyards in the Eau Claire area.
The Amble Down record label in Eau Claire produces albums by local bands. There is a thriving indie rock, hip hop, and jazz scene in the area. There is a nationally-known jazz festival in the city every year.
There is a thriving computer hardware industry in Eau Claire, including such companies as Hutchinson Technology and IDEXX Computer Systems. Other companies headquartered in Eau Claire which hire many graduates include Menards, Cascades Tissue Group, National Presto Industries, Midwest Manufacturer, Erbert & Gerbert’s, and Open-Silicon.
There is a local bus company providing transportation within the area and a regional airport just outside of town.
Elisabeth Bailey is a freelance writer and editor with particular interests in academics, food,and sustainability . She is also the author of A Taste of the Maritimes: Local, Seasonal Recipes the Whole Year Round and writes regularly for Canadian Farmers’ Almanac and the National Wildlife Federation. Elisabeth and her family live and enjoy great local food in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
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