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Making a Trade

Washburn Tech, Explore the Trades create new plumbing program

Group posing in work room

Posing where students will take part in the new plumbing program at Washburn Tech East are, from left to right: (front row) Keith Szuba, Patrick Grogan, (back row): Charles Haven, m ed ’16, Kate Cinnamo, and Mike Strohschein. Photo by Jeremy Wangler

From The Ichabod - Fall 2022
By Katie Hampton

Washburn University Institute of Technology made an addition to its program offerings for the new school year. Starting this fall, students can enroll in the plumbing technology program that will provide them with knowledge and skills needed to equip them for the plumbing industry. Plumbers are in high demand, meaning this two-semester program will benefit the institution and community greatly.

The plumbing program has been in the works at Washburn Tech for over a year. The process entailed contacting a local plumber, Patrick Grogan of Pat Plumbing, Heating and Air, to help with the curriculum and the layout of the project.

After partnering with Grogan’s company, Washburn Tech was able to work with Explore the Trades to move forward with the process and start setting up shop for students.

Explore the Trades is a nonprofit organization that focuses on bridging the technical talent gap to trades like plumbing, heating, cooling and electrical. Kate Cinnamo, executive director of Explore the Trades, has high hopes for the new program which is being offered at Washburn Tech East.

“We are excited to see how the students progress through the program and to see their successes,” she said. “On the flip side, together with Pat Plumbing, Heating and Air, we are excited to see the relationship between the institution and business take shape.”

She anticipates many students moving through the program and establishing their career in plumbing due to the increase in open job positions.

“Plumbing is a career that will never be automated,” she said. “Students will be able to serve their community in these well-respected positions.”

There has been a shift in the last couple of years surrounding the stigma of a technical education.

Mike Strohschein, dean, Washburn Tech, advises students to “never judge a book by its cover; technical trade programs are just a robust job opportunity.”

For students interested in plumbing or other trade programs, Washburn Tech has financial support available.

“Do not let money make a determination for your career; come visit us at Washburn Tech to hone in on what you want to do with a degree in technical education,” Strohschein said.

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