Jan 14, 2022 3:50 PM

Citing low enrollment, Barton cancels corrections officer program

Posted Jan 14, 2022 3:50 PM

By COLE REIF
Great Bend Post

GREAT BEND — In 2013, Barton Community College started offering their Corrections Officer program providing training and education to prepare students to serve as correctional facility staff.

The college’s vice president of instruction Elaine Simmons said she had many conversations with prison wardens and members at the state office for corrections prior to launching the program. At the time, those officials said they were having a hard time getting employees. Barton created the Corrections Officer program to help build the workforce, but Simmons said the program has not taken off the way they expected.

"The Kansas Department of Corrections is having even greater difficulties getting employees, but at this point they are working with wage increases as initiatives to bring more people into the field," said Simmons. "Training and education are not the priority right now. To close this program will hurt no one."

Simmons said typically the program will see one or two students enrolled and at the most three or four. The Barton Community College Board of Trustees approved eliminating the 17-credit-hour certificate and 68-credit-hour associate’s degree.

"We do not see students move through the program," said Simmons. "At this time, it's something that needs to come off the website and discontinued."

Barton will keep some of the individual courses of the corrections officer program that will be offered online.