Washburn Tech introduces a new plumbing program – The Washburn Review

The Washburn Institute of Technology is always looking for ways to help the community. The institution started the autumn semester with 22 students in the new Sanitary Engineering course. This program will help with the decline in plumbers, give students a job once they finish the program and also complete their technical certificate offerings for the community.

“There is a tremendous need in our community. There are at least 53 different companies that have been looking for plumbers,” said Mike Strohschein, dean of Washburn Tech.

With their affiliation with Washburn University, students can advance to other degrees as well.

For a new program to start at Washburn Tech, there must be an advisory board and a critical need in the community for their support. The institution worked with Pat Grogan, licensed master plumber and owner of Topeka shop Pat the Plumber. Grogan helped the institution establish the Sanitation Programs Advisory Board by making “a generous donation over five years,” Stroschien said. Washburn Tech has also partnered with Ferguson, a national sanitation company that has donated $25,000 to help start the sanitation program.

“We are very grateful that we were able to do this […] have the sponsorship and support the community,” said Strohschein.

Several scholarships are offered for this graded technical program, including the Excel CTE and Braden Scholarships for high school students.

For adults, the Promise grant is a law that came out a year ago. It caters to adults who don’t currently have a college degree, and they can also have their loans forgiven if they work in Kansas for two or three years.

There are many other scholarship opportunities for both adult and post-secondary students, and according to Strohschein, “money should not be an issue as there are significant dollars being invested in this program.”

All programs at Washburn Tech are either high school, high demand, or high pay; the plumbing program is all three. It’s also very sturdy.

This education-based program is 30 credit hours, meaning students work with companies to explore the customer service side of their careers. This will also help students gain confidence in the industry and receive hands-on training outside of the classroom. While participating in this program, students will do a lot of math and 80% of the classes will be labs.

“This program will give these kids the opportunity to get the basic knowledge they need to know after they graduate, and it will make them more valuable,” said Quentin Oeulette, technical plumbing instructor.
In the real world there are different codes for installation. this program teaches international plumbing codes, domestic plumbing, reading and following standards, technical literacy and many troubleshooting skills.

Washburn Tech provides students in this program with hands-on in-class and off-campus training. When students complete this program, they likely start out in jobs that pay $16 to $20 an hour. According to Strohschein, most students who successfully complete the program end up in careers that pay an annual salary of $50,000 or more upon completion. This gives students the opportunity to earn high, livable wages and advance in the industry.

Edited by: Alijah McCracken, Justin Shepard

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