The New Pathways to Careers Program (P2C) at Dunwoody College of Technology
We're going to hop right into our program. I'm gonna introduce our day chair, Chris Morris. Christmas is a trial lawyer. At Bastard Gramling in Minneapolis where he has worked since 1993 after he completed a clerkship with the Minnesota Court of Appeals.
Chris in his wife Sarah have two children who are both undergrads at the University of Minnesota. His son is at the College of Liberal Arts and his daughter is at the Ed campus. Outside of work. He spends time with his family at his family's farm in South Darcel, and Chris is added better known as the hometown of the president of the Best Rotary Club in the Universe. So there you go.
It's a really small well, I have to say Chris's maternal grandparents were are our neighbors on the next farm and his paternal grandparents were just down the road from there. So what a small world it is. He likes to act at the farm tap maple trees in the spring fishing in bass area, lakes in the summer and splitting wood year round. Chris, thank you for being our day chair today.
Thank you, Scott. Good morning, everyone. Well, it's my honor to introduce our speaker today from Dunwoody. You've heard the club has been a longtime supporter, of course, of Dunwoody. You've heard the vocational committee talked a lot about why cap in years past and now it's we don't have white cap anymore. We have something a little different.
And our speaker is going to be explaining it. But she's got plenty of education in her background. She attended Saint Catherine for college.
Cedar Bay there received a master of arts from Oxford, then went on to Saint Mary's University for studies and doctor, a doctor of education and she's I'll let her explain some of her relevant background, but she's she's had a variety of unique experiences for a while at Duracell High School I think as as the Dean Dean of students there. And all of that brings her now to Dunwoody and she has Dunwoody first ever executive director of community partnerships. She's a longtime leader in the Twin Cities Diversity and inclusion community and as a champion for under-resourced students in her new role, her responsibilities at Dunwoody include building community relationships and effective partnerships and direct activities that strengthen and grow then what? His mission to improve lives through technical education. So she's going to share a lot more this morning about the new Pathways to Careers program P to C, and let's give a warm welcome to our speaker today. Basil Weekes.
Good morning, everyone. Thank you so much for the warm welcome and thank you, P&G, for the shout out that this will be a good presentation. I hope so. I'm going to share my screen name and just jump right in OK. So once again, good morning, everyone.
My name is Faiza Weekes and I am the Executive Director of Community Partnerships. I actually now lead to significant scholarship programs at the college, the Pathways to Career Scholarship and the women in Technical Career Scholarships. Initially I was only going to focus on Key to see, but I revise my slides a little bit to include information about both programs, but I promise I won't take more time so just a little a quick agenda of what I'll cover today in alignment with the wonderful introduction I just received. I am going to cover a little bit about my professional background only because people always ask me, How did I get into this work? Why do I do this work? Why is it important so I'll talk a little bit about myself.
And then for those of you who aren't familiar with Dunwoody, which I'd be surprised because you have the wonderful Kelly Naughton there. So I know she shared information, but I'll just cover some quick information about our degree programs. And then I'm going to talk about the nature and purpose of both of these scholarship programs, which is to dismantle disparity gaps.
Then I'll cover the program design and features for both programs and a little bit about what it looks like to envision the future so just a little bit about me. As you just heard, I am alumni of Saint Kate's in Saint Paul and Ens Burke, and I'm currently completing my dissertation in educational leadership at Saint Mary's University of Minnesota. Previous experience, largely K-12 college administration.
I've done work with Saint Paul and Minneapolis Public Schools in terms of counseling and administrative support. Also Dean of students at De La Salle and prior to coming over to Dunwoody. Last May, I worked at the new Daughter and Family College at the University of St Thomas, where I led their transfer division and manage their full tuition scholarship program. I've been a program manager, director consultant for several nonprofits in the Twin Cities. Education is near and dear to my heart. I've been doing this work since after school programs as a teenager, so I value this work significantly.
I have been blessed to have immersive experiences and I as an ambassador, several committee and chair positions and focusing on DTI research initiatives and organizational efforts and change in this area. Personally, I am a native of North Minneapolis born and raised there and mother of two sons, and I laugh about this because this is not a typo. One is 25. That's my oldest son. That I had when I was 16 years old, so a long time ago. But once again, when we're talking about disparities, I do understand what a lot of our students are experiencing so ages 25 and then my six year old is behind me, kind of resting on the couch waiting for this presentation. So then I'll take in the school. So if you see him scurry around behind me, you'll know why.
And then I've also, you know, raised four of my siblings. So, you know, once again I mention this because of the connection to disparity gaps and and what students of color are facing when they have to support their families as well as focus on themselves and their education. So I raised four of my siblings, one is actually a Dunwoody and Y Kapiloff so here are just some quick facts about Dunwoody that you may or may not be aware of. So we have been in existence for over 107 years and provide over over more than 45 majors across in-demand technical industries we offer a certificate Associate of Applied Science degrees, Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Science Completion Programs Our average class size is 11 students, and we have a 95% job placement in the field of study and 13.8
job inquiries per graduate with an average salary. And this is absolutely amazing to me because even with my background and education, I didn't make this much until well into my career there starting at 53,007. That's the average.
So this is, these are outstanding numbers and we had a panel of students recently at the college where they talked about having to literally fight off job offers as soon as they told employers that they were enrolled at Dunwoody. So we are nearly guaranteeing jobs and opportunities for our students and just a little bit about the 45 plus degree and certificate programs we offer and from in several programs and automotive business, computer technology, construction sciences and building technology design and graphics technology, health and sciences, technology only one program. There are radiologic technology, robotics and manufacturing and school of Engineering.
And I encourage all of you to visit Dunwoody Dot Edu for more information about this, or you're welcome to visit the campus or connect with our mission staff as well. So I'm going to just jump right in to talk a little bit about economic disparities so that you can understand a little more about the significance of the pathways to Careers program and the Women in Technical Careers Program. So really looking at these four bullet points when we're talking about comparing the economic status of people of color versus their white counterparts, we're facing significant atrocities here. And Minnesota has one of the largest disparity gaps in this area in the nation.
And so we're seeing lower educational attainment, lower high school completion rates, and we're seeing lower job placement and skills for the workforce. So these are the reasons that we want to focus on eliminating these disparity gaps or as I would say, dismantling these disparity gaps. We want to tear them apart and create a whole new structure. So you can see even the last bullet, you know, we're looking at between eight and eight and 19% just in terms of the gap of those not graduating from high school. So I used to as a as a previous program director, I would have all the students stand up in the room and I would say, you know what, OK, I need all of you to sit down except for two of you.
And that was what the disparity would look like. So there would be a room of ten or 15 students, and I wanted them to understand and the importance of their focus and persistence and perseverance to get through high school. The significant gap here similar to that, we have the gender wage gap, and you can see here the differences in terms of what white males make in terms of dollars and then what what corresponds for the different nationalities below.
So you can see for black we're looking at for women. $0.61 on the dollar and we're looking at Native Americans. $0.61 on the dollar. For women, Latina, the same thing. So once again, we're looking at the skills gap the income gap and the educational gap. These are the things that are the results of those disparities persisting in our.
Community or. Not. So as I mentioned, key to see program or the Pathways to Careers program is designed to dismantle disparity gaps in three main areas. So we want to increase high school and graduate high school graduation and college graduation rates. We want to eliminate the income gap and the skills gap. And just a little bit about the P to C program, as mentioned, the former Y CAP program, the Youth Career Awareness Program was in existence for over 40 years at the college. And I came on in this role last May to reimagine it, to make it even better for the next generation.
Of students so that we're serving students in the highest capacity possible and serving our communities in the highest capacity possible. So the Pathways to Careers program has two distinct chapters, which I'm going to talk about. One is for high school youth, and that's for juniors and seniors currently in high school.
And the other is chapter two for post traditional adults. And I'll dig a little more into that in the next slide. We have an enhanced engagement model, and this is simply because it's not enough to see students one time or two and connect with them or engage with them infrequently throughout the academic year. So we want to ensure that we are supporting students. The whole student, along with their academic success.
Community partnerships is vital to what we do. So 11 is made many major components to my role. But one significant component is building community partnerships where we want to elevate the program and elevate access for students to have quality education and technical careers. So for example, we have a partnership with the Urban League Twin Cities. They have a workforce development program and what we've done is we've created a memorandum of understanding where they will work, continue to work with their participants, but refer those who are interested in technical education to our chapter to program with them to see now when those students enroll with us, they're part of PTC and they're also part of the Urban League, Twin Cities so then those adults will receive dual services.
So once again, if we're trying to dismantle disparity gaps, than we want to avoid students falling through the cracks. So that's part of the concern and reason for the community partnerships is to ally and build together support systems and networks for students to be successful and for both programs to see NWA, we see that there's an intentional focus on underserved and underrepresented student populations and for the deaf for definitions for the purposes of this talk, underserved is high financial need and and underrepresented. Our students are adults of color. So as I mentioned, the chapter one aspect of PTC largely mirrors the former Y cap model, and that was a model where students came on campus for three weeks and they had an immersive experience in technical activities, tours of industry leading sites and opportunities to engage as a group.
So we are keeping that aspect of the Wildcat model. As part of the new PTC model, eligibility falls along the lines of free and reduced lunch or, as I mentioned, underserved being of low income. The enhanced engagement component involves students meeting with us for monthly engagement sessions, which will be a hybrid model of in-person and virtual once a month for 2 hours. And this is important because we're going to cover different topics on leadership development, financial coaching and wellness. We're going to look at goal setting. We're going to look at how to properly acclimate to college and what it looks like to build that network and reach out to professors and advocate for yourself.
And we're also going to look at just different fun activities for them to tap into building that network and engaging with each other. So those are the monthly engagement sessions that occur from September to roughly April of every year. We also still as I mentioned, have the three week summer experience, and this is only for chapter one students, so for those juniors and seniors. So for example, this summer we are slated and we will have 60 juniors and seniors participating with us this summer and we have a robust schedule. So we are going to be focusing on engaging with our faculty and staff on campus in several different hands on activities. We're going to tour some leading industry sites.
We're going to have some other fun off campus and on campus activities. But our hope is really by the end of that three week session that they will have a really good idea of. Not only is Dunwoody a good fit for me, but what program they'd like to focus on.
And then those high school juniors and seniors will continue in those monthly engagement sessions with us. Every student completes a college planning and persistence support document, and this is important because we want to teach students how to identify their goals, how to identify obstacles, and then how to build their network of support so that when they need help because they will, it's not if it's when they need help, they know how to do that. So every student chapter one and chapter two will complete that document. And that's what we'll reveal with students when we meet with them on a monthly or semester basis.
Opportunity for mentorship. So myself and my awesome program director for to see Mrs. Keyser meet with students to help to support them throughout the process.
They also engage with several staff and faculty on campus. They have faculty advisors, and we also have a wonderful first year experience coordinator who has been with the college for nearly 20 years and knows the college and the programs inside out and knows how to best support students. So students are receiving numerous check points and touch points in terms of support and being able to persist through college. And of course there are stipends for their participation because once again, if we're talking about eliminating the disparity gap we have to address the unique needs for underrepresented populations. So there are stipends for the three week summer opportunity and that is a full time well full time, 6 hours a day roughly, and they're paid at $15 an hour. They're also covered in stipends for their monthly engagement sessions, and that's also at $15 an hour.
So students have an opportunity to earn some money which can be very useful for them so that they can focus on their studies. And of course the key ticket here is that students are going to receive up to $10,000 in terms of Dunwoody scholarships. It's renewable for up to two years to complete any program at Dunwoody in the pay to see program so chapter two is a little bit different, but same intention. And this came about when I was in the program creation mode. So when I came in, in May, I was tasked with the large task of creating the Pathways to Careers programs so I spent three or four months doing so, and I realized that especially with the pandemic, we have an overlooked population that we need to be prepared to serve and that's the post traditional adult.
So I'm talking about adults who already have a high school diploma or a GED, and they very well may be working in a field that they don't like or that doesn't work for them. And they find that technical education would be a better fit. So these adults hopefully in alignment with our community partners can enroll in the P to C program and also receive all the supports from the Chapter one piece.
But they're not required to complete a summer experience session but this is an opportunity for those adults who, you know, maybe they took a gap year, maybe they finished high school a couple of years ago and they weren't ready to jump into an online program because the pandemic really shifted the way that we provide education to students and adults. So now they realize, you know what, maybe I can get back into this and I need a scholarship, and I also need support to be able to be successful. So here's an opportunity for those traditional adults of any age to participate in the P to C program and receive that financial support. To attend Dunwoody, we are working on building out a technical career Fields mentorship program for the Chapter two piece so that students can start to engage and build that network with adults in the fields who look like them.
This is significantly and this is significantly important. And we talk about this. You hear about this in schools that we need black and brown students to be able to see adults that look like them in order to realize and actualize their future success. Or the same thing has been in place for adults. We need to be able to connect with mentors and people who have paved the way before us so that they can help us to realize different ways that we can be better and to push us. So the technical career piece is very important, and Mrs.
Keats is doing a wonderful job working on building out that program. Stipends are also in place for this program for chapter two. So the post traditional adults who attend those monthly engagement sessions are also paid for their time.
And of course they receive the same scholarship as Chapter one, and that's $10,000, up to $10,000 for two years to complete their degree at definitely so very similar to the Pathways to Careers program. But this is an established program that has been in existence for over five years. At the college. This is our Women in Technical Careers Program, and this is led by another fabulous program director, Mrs.
Maggie Whitman, and she's not with us today but she is a dynamic leader in this program and has spearheaded the efforts, and it's wonderful to work with her. So once again, similar to to see students in the Women in Technical Careers Program receive up to $10,000 a year, which is renewable for two years. They also receive stipends for childcare and textbooks there's a career focused mentoring program. So instead of monthly engagement sessions, they conduct professional development sessions each month. There's targeted advising and academic support. She works tirelessly with these women to help to ensure that they have what they need and that they feel supported in their programs.
So very strong peer support network. And as I mentioned, the monthly professional development sessions so why is W3C in existence simply because of the disparity gaps for women where there are serious barriers to entry in the workforce for technical workforce options. And we're dealing with expectations from family and friends that technical options, construction, electrical engineering, are not for women.
Misconceptions of technical careers. There are thoughts out there that technical work is only for men, and that's completely false. There's there's people that are just not familiar with technical occupations.
There's a lack of role models simply because there is under women are underrepresented in these fields. Caregiving responsibilities can be a barrier. Simply paying for childcare. I'm trying to figure out how to go to work and go to school is a serious challenge for us. Financial barriers, of course, and academic preparedness.
So our hope through WIC is to address all of these barriers and to create access a little bit different than PTC. WIC is focused on bringing women into nontraditional careers. So you can see some of the disparities here when we look at how many women are in these fields versus men.
And just look at the top three construction and extraction installation and maintenance military, and we can keep going down. But as you see, as we get to more of the the the the people serving careers, you can see that it increases where women are predominant there. And we want to shift the scale to make sure that it's more equitable so as I mentioned, the women in technical careers is focused on bringing women into technical careers and opportunities only for those fields where women are historically underrepresented.
So women in technical career scholarship does not provide scholarships for every program at Dunwoody, but it does for these categories here. So any program in automotive, any program in architecture, computer technology, construction sciences, and building technology, robotics and manufacturing in our school of engineering so just wrapping up here, I always think it's important to talk about the underlying vision of programs like this. So I hope that you all see that key to see. And WIC can be a bridge for current and future industry needs.
We want to disrupt, as I mentioned, you know, major disparity gaps. We see Dunwoody education as a solution, as a premier institution, providing technical education. As I mentioned, for over 107 years, students can come to us, receive quality education and support and be in their field after their two year program most of the time, even in internships before that time.
So we are a solution to the growing demands and needs for technical career fields in Minnesota. We are we want to restore hope for underserved and underrepresented student populations, especially given the nature of this pandemic. We have people that are just it's just hopeless. You know, they've lost family members, they've been sick, they've lost jobs.
They don't necessarily see the sun on the horizon. They need to have that hope restored, that they are valuable, that they're contributing members to society, and that there is a plan for their future. And of course, we want to change the landscape for technical education and employment.
One question I've been asked is how will you help students to see the value of a two year education versus a four year education? Well, it's challenging because I know when I was younger in college, there was this perception that a two year education or going into a hands on field was less than a four year degree or a liberal arts degree. Well, I want to change that narrative. And even though I'm a liberal arts student and I've been in college for over a decade, it's still is significant that we have opportunities that meet the unique needs of every student that's what I have for you today. As I mentioned, just a really brief overview of these programs and understanding the significance and value of these programs. And here is my information. I'm happy to connect with anyone or as I mentioned, you have the fabulous Colleen there already who can help and provide some support but I do want to thank the Rotary Club for your time today.
Thank you for your previous support for Wide Cap and moving forward through PTC. And I look forward to engaging with all of you. Thank you so much. Mesa. We hope you can take a few questions. Are there. Questions? Of course.
Let's get a question. Hi, my name is Doug Schmidt. John Vander Biden. I had the opportunity to go over to Minneapolis Edison High School last week, and we had dinner with their band.
And then John got to direct the band in a concert, which was really a fun side story. We'll do a happy break on that someday. But we got to sit next to a young man, a clarinet player who doesn't like school and he wants to get into a technical education and he wants to be a plumber. And I said, Hey, how about Dunwoody? You know, because we've been connected with that really long time because, oh, that's really expensive.
And I don't know how expensive it is. So I guess question one is what's your tuition like? And I don't know if there is some way, you know, to to get one of those $10,000 scholarships for this guy, but it just seems perfect. You know, it's like, all right, you're an inner city kid, wants to get into technical education. Done what? He's right down the street you you graduate at a high level, you get good high paying jobs right out of the gate. It's like, man, that's ideal for this guy. So there you go.
Great question. Thank you so much. You know, it is it is challenging to help students to see their options. And the one thing I would say is we got to get them on campus and we got to get them to connect with our program director or myself, you know, for for students that wonder what our tuition is. The average cost is about $25,000 for one year. That's average.
OK, so depending on the program fees, that could be a little more or a little less. And you know what I would say for a student that is, you know, not really sure what they want to do. I would say that, you know, research your options, talk to people, ask questions, go to open houses, info sessions, really start to tap in and look at what your options are. I tell students you don't know what you don't know. So for students that say, well, I'd like to go on to carpentry or I'd like to go into age back or I'd like to do something along those lines, but I don't know how to do it. We'll start asking questions.
And one thing that our program director has done a fabulous job of is going to these high schools, including Edison and North and Henry and many of the Minneapolis locations and helping counselors to understand the programs we offer and helping them to understand ways to get their students connected with us. So I would just tell that student to apply I mean, our application deadline, unfortunately for this summer, is wrapping up this Friday, but there's still could be other scholarship opportunities for that student as well. But I would just tell them to reach out to us.
You know, we are the the college that I always hear people say, well, I know where you are. I drive past you all the time, you know, because 94 bridge right there, they just stop in and see us. A few more questions. Gail hello, Baze. Thank you so much for the information this morning.
I'm Gail Noakes. And as you know, our club is sponsored by Kaplan, supported for a long time doing my job, interviews and scholarships and by two of them qualified to go. And I'm just wondering with the new PTC program, what can you tell us about the best way to support you going forward? Great. Thank you for the question. You know, I think, of course, you know, the financial support is always appreciated. Definitely.
We are forecasting over 250 students to be a part of this program within the next five years. So that's always support is always appreciated and well received. I would also say that word of mouth is really important. So for example, you have Peggy Thomas there who has done a great job and supported us at Sundance in terms of exposure, helping other organizations to learn more about our programs and what we provide, even listing our scholarship programs and newsletters I have found that this role and this program is really all about networking.
People just don't know. First of all, they don't know about Dunwoody and what we provide. And then secondly, they don't know about scholarship options or opportunities for students to receive additional support while they complete their degree.
So I would say both would be, you know, ideal is continue, you know, financial support in whatever capacity the Rotary Club feels is is you know, is reasonable. And then also, of course, just word of mouth and helping to connect us to various partners and nonprofit organizations and schools and entities that have a subset of adults or youth who would be a good fit for the program and are eligible for the program. Thank you. Rob. Scarlett, I really appreciate your presentation. I do think you hit it out of the park, in my opinion, big picture question.
When you look at the high schools that are feeding people to you, what about the cultural aspect that our high schools recognizing students who achieve outside of the four year pathway? And is that something that you see a need to change? Or do you see trends already where people who are in high school are actually honored for taking the pathway that you're suggesting is available to them, going to technical and trade. That's a great question. I think we're seeing a shift. You know, I have to say from my own experience, working as an administrator in schools and working with a lot of high school students, the the recommended pathway is still that four year degree. And, you know, I think it's really good for some students to have that option, but it's just not a good fit for every student. And I really have been wanting to change that narrative for a long time, even back when I was the dean at do list out for, you know, almost a decade, it was challenging for me to see students apply for four year opportunities, but not fully equipped for them or not be able to get a job once they graduate or they're doing it simply because that's what their parents told them to do, or they feel like that's the only option or we also have, you know, the the perception that, you know, if you're a student athlete, you have to go to a four year institution.
You must you know, have that college experience. And I really think that the tide is shifting, number one, because we're seeing, you know, increasing student loan rates and students don't want to be in debt like that anymore. I often want to show students my student loan debt because, I mean, I've been in school for over a decade. So, yes, I've had significant debt and then I also think that students are seeing the value and want to get into an immediate career. And they know that a four year program may well lead them to a career, but not as quickly as a two year option.
I also think that we're seeing a shift in terms of students wanting to do things with a more hands on element. You know, liberal arts is fantastic. I'll never dismiss a liberal arts degree, but there is inherent value in and and return on investment.
When you focus on a hands on technical program because you have long term career trajectory there. And the one thing that I didn't mention about the Dunwoody programs is, you know, we have completion plans. So at any point in time the student comes to us and completes a certificate or, you know, a two year degree, they can come back and focus and work on completing a bachelor's degree. So we will accept them back at any time to focus on increasing their their scholarly profile. So long in short, is, yes, it's a serious challenge to try to shift this narrative for students to to understand that for students and educators to agree and understand that a two year pathway is just as successful as a liberal arts or four year pathway. But we're getting there. We're getting there. Thank you.
Good morning. I'm Jim Eaton. And happen to be able to work with a lot of nonprofits that some of which overlap the kind of work that you do. Obviously, the timing for what you're doing has never been more important because there's such a desperate need for job for people that fill jobs, many of which probably could be filled with your students.
And there is hope that the federal government might help with two year, particularly in support of two year colleges like yours. So I hope that happens as well. So my question really is around collaboration. I as I said, I'm very familiar with organizations like Cristo Rey, the high school in South Minneapolis, and Urban Ventures other nonprofits that are dabbling maybe in some of the same populations that you are. Are you reaching out and really looking for collaboration opportunities with other nonprofits that are that are working in this space great question. Absolutely.
And you just mentioned actually one of our partners. We are connected with the new Lake Street Works project. I'm certain you know who Art Erickson is, and I know Art as well. And we have an M.O. you to support their new apprenticeship program at the Studio 180 Lake Street Works program.
Also working with many other organizations. So looking at Pillsbury United Communities, Genesis Works, Achieve Minneapolis, the YMCA, we are focused on really creating pathways for students through organizations that already do this. One thing that I have mentioned that is near and dear to my heart is to build collaborations among nonprofit organizations, especially those that have been led in a way in a competitive manner. You know, we want to work together and align our efforts instead of working in silos and trying to just increase our own enrollments.
Why not work together if they have a population of students who would benefit from additional supports, a scholarship, a Dunwoody education, a long term career let's work together where they can still support their students and we can support them as well. So absolutely, I'm actively seeking partnerships actively talking with people and presenting about this information. Working on M.O use streamlining scholarship options. Some organizations want to contribute to the students education goals that they've referred to us. So absolutely. And if you have additional partnership options, I'm open to any and all. Thank you Karen Scott Online asks Are there any programs that have high market demand and lower enrollments that might be especially opportune to build awareness for prospective students? Mm great question.
I would think all of them right now, we are all in a series. All of the programs are in serious need. But the land surveying is one that is absolutely desperate for firm for employment. So I don't know if any if all of you know what that is, but you see these people out here with these looks like fake cameras taking kind of pictures of the landscape and assessing and measuring things. That is surveying. And it's a newer program at Dunwoody but it's one that has very low enrollment and one we want to increase enrollment and awareness and the wages are phenomenal.
So that would be one program that I know Mrs. Keyser could speak a little more to as well. But we want to provide exposure for students to understand what that is, because most of them have seen these staff members out here doing this work, but they don't know what it's like and how what what the compensation is and what the long term job satisfaction is.
So that would be the number one that I would say right now. I don't know. Augustine, if you have anything else you want to add to that? Nope. That's the one I would mention.
I had just attended one of their summits on campus, and that's one of the program that we're looking for to have a larger representation in that population. And we were looking at the numbers of Dunwoody grads in the past it was very atrocious. There was a late two students of color who actually have graduated in the program since 1999. So that is a population that we see where we can close the gap and be able to expose more students to that. But our students for the PTC over the summer will have an opportunity to get exposed to that program. And they're also we'll be bringing in some professionals to speak with the students doing that session.
So we're excited to see that. Situation. But I, you know, I will add to that that while we're seeing a strong disparity there, we're seeing a disparity across all technical fields. So if you look at construction and you look at electricians, you look at engineering, you look at H VAC, look at the number of the people of color that are in these roles. And it's very, very low. And even in terms of people of color, look at just overall the representation.
We are in a shortage right now for quality educated, prepared adults to be in these fields. So as I mentioned, Dunwoody is a solution to this economic challenge. Thank you. One more question from Gail. Sure.
Me again, I work in the manufacturing industry. And so my question is how how's it going getting relationships and partnerships with the industries that these students are going into, like manufacturing and construction how? Because I find that they're pretty independent kind of folks that don't have a lot of groups to go to. And I'm wondering how that partnership is going. Sure. You know, it's you know, we're making strides as a as I share with many people, we're doing this. It's a brick by brick effort.
We're building walls, we're creating new structures. But it is one brick at a time. But it's true. We have received tremendous inquiries and supports from all manufacturing and construction fields. We have several people that serve on our board of trustees who have made connections to us through Ryan, through Madoff. And in terms of electrical, we have so many people reaching out to us from smaller electrical firms to bigger we're working with Xcel Energy, we're working with CenterPoint.
There are so many opportunities for students. And what I love is the engineers and managers in these fields and the construction crew leaders, they are realizing that there's a shortage in number one. There's a shortage of people of color in these fields. So the demand is extremely high. So they reach out to me and we talk about potential partnerships and we connect them also to our career services at Dunwoody but yes, along the line, the short answer to your question is, yes, we have we're able to start building some solid partnerships and hopefully some real pipelines for some internship gratuities as well for our students to be successful in those fields.
Because I thank you so much. Thank you. These are more of a speakers that we will ask you to sign a book that will be given to a third grader in the Way to Grow program so that they can have a book of their own that's signed by a leader in our community. I'll send this with Colleen, and perhaps she can have you sign that when she sees you and bring it back to her a meeting sometime in the future. So thank you so much. It was a pleasure to have you today. What a presentation you aren't going to want to miss next week, folks.
Next week we have Lori Morris from the Binary Bridge, which is bridging health disparities in emerging economies. I want to thank Karleen for that great reflection today. Thank you. To our Day Chair, Chris Morris. Routers, as always, thank you for that great song today.
Jim Nelson, thank you for being our greeter this morning. Brock and Ross. Well, I guess you graded people eventually Brock and yes, Brock, Ross and Greg, thank you for your technical support today. And Abe, everybody have a great Rotary week.