Impressive rebound for WATC

Last week’s upbeat update on the Wichita Area Technical College and National Center for Aviation Training won praise from the Sedgwick County commissioners, and no wonder. In his 15 months as WATC president, Tony Kinkel has stabilized the college’s finances and overseen its enrollment growth, including online. And an impressive 95 percent of its graduates last year either went on to the military or landed jobs in the fields in which they were training. As Kinkel noted, much of the credit for NCAT’s success goes to the commission and county, which took the initiative to build the world-class training center and pays its debt service. There are daunting challenges ahead tied to the economy, state and federal cuts, and competition posed by other schools. But Gov. Sam Brownback’s technical education initiative will be a “game changer,” Kinkel said.