Why an East Topeka Learning Center?  

The idea of a learning center on the east side of our community has been bubbling up for some time. At the Joint Economic Development Organization meeting on Feb. 8 community members shared how over the years there has been brainstorming, sharing, hoping and now finally the next step in developing the center. East Topeka Learning Center is envisioned as an impactful, education space for citizens to benefit from expanded educational opportunities in their own neighborhood.

Where will the East Topeka Learning Center be located? 

The location is at 2014 SE Washington Street, situated on SE 21st Street, between SE Washington Street and SE Indiana Avenue. It is just south of the Antioch Family Life Center and nearby to Hillcrest Community Center. The location provides a central eastside site and is situated on a bus route for ease of access.

This sounds great, but what really is the East Topeka Learning Center?

That’s a great question. It’s a combination of several things. First, the Learning Center is a public-private partnership between the community, Washburn University, and Washburn Institute of Technology (Washburn Tech). Washburn Tech works with the community and businesses to ensure that they are able to support business growth and the educational and career needs of our citizens – identifying opportunities for new degree programs and curricula while supporting workforce needs of employers.

In addition, programs are critical to the success of students and the center. When developing the programs, high-wage and high-demand occupations were considered. The high-wage component ensures citizens are able to earn good wages. The high-demand portion ensures businesses are able to hire qualified, trained employees for their most-needed positions; providing a win-win scenario for individuals AND businesses. Those programs include commercial truck driving, building technology, healthcare technology, adult education and literacy services (GED) and workplaces skills. Per our knowledgeable specialists, the target opening date is late summer of 2018, with the intent for classes to begin fall semester of 2018.

Tell me who can benefit from the East Topeka Learning Center?

Short answer – we ALL benefit!  As a community, the more educated all of us are (through earning a GED, obtaining a certificate, pursuing an associate’s degree or another degree beyond) the better our opportunities for well-paying jobs and the better ability to fill the positions employers have open. It provides a talent pipeline giving employers the workforce they need and provides for each of us, as an individual, the ability to support ourselves and our families. It’s truly a Community Learning Center and will provide for each of us in that way.

Read the press release here.

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Barbara Stapleton

Barbara Stapleton

Barbara is the vice president of workforce & education. Barbara partners with employers, schools and colleges to increase the workforce in Topeka/Shawnee County.
Barbara Stapleton

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