Blackhawk job losses detailed; declining enrollment cited

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Frank Schultz
Friday, March 21, 2014

TOWN OF ROCK—Blackhawk Technical College will not fill eight open positions, in addition to the previously announced 11 positions it is eliminating in the coming school year.

Of the total 19 positions, 12 are instructors and two are counselors.

The 14 instructors and counselors represent about 13 percent of the 106 positions represented by the faculty union.

A shrinking student body played a big role in the decision, said Brian Gohlke, vice president for human resources.

Officials also have talked about budget constraints in the face of declining state support.

Gohlke on Friday completed informing all of the employees who will be laid off as of July 1, so he was able to release a list of those positions. They are two diesel mechanics instructors, one nursing instructor, one adult basic skills instructor and two limited-term instructors, one in business management and one in the automotive technician program.

Also being laid off are a student-support assistant who helps students register, a counseling and advising assistant and a marketing research specialist.

Blackhawk is laying off the only two instructors in the diesel and heavy equipment technician program. The plan is to make changes in the program and then to hire one instructor, Gohlke said.

Gohlke said he was not familiar with the changes to be made in the diesel program.

The open positions that won't be filled are instructors in nursing, medical assistant, communications and information technology systems, as well as a continuing education coordinator, business and operations coordinator and a Wingspan coordinator.

Wingspan supports students who are displaced homemakers or enrolled in nontraditional occupation programs.

The Wingspan coordinator is a part-time position, and that person also works as a student assessment coordinator. Both positions are funded by grants that are ending. The Wingspan coordinator will be shifted to a different job, Gohlke said.

Nursing has been a popular program, but nursing has no current waiting list, Gohlke said.

“Our enrollment has declined over the last three years, and that could be expected because of the huge increase related to (the closings of) General Motors and related businesses (in 2008-09), Gohlke said.

“We've seen a steady decline in our enrollment, and hopefully that's because more people are getting jobs who might otherwise seek an education at Blackhawk,” Gohlke added.

Leaving the eight positions open and eliminating the 11 other positions is expected to save $1.77 million.

College officials also are planning non-personnel cuts in the 2014-15 budget, Gohlke said. Those cuts are expected to be presented to the college's board when it meets April 17.

Last updated: 3:18 pm Friday, March 21, 2014

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