Lincoln Tech has 22 campuses located throughout the United States, and they have been educating tomorrow’s workforce since 1946. Lincoln Tech trains its students to enter the workforce in the automotive, skilled trades, health sciences, culinary, spa and cosmetology, and information technology career fields. They are accredited by the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges.
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Bob Martin: Joining us today on this episode of Imagine America Radio is Dr. Kevin Kirkley, campus president, Lincoln Tech – Union, New Jersey. Today’s topic is the [coronavirus] epidemic—and how the campus of Lincoln Tech in Union has adapted to the current crisis and continued providing high-quality education services to both employees and students.
Dr. Kirkley, may I call you Kevin?
Kevin Kirkley: You may.
Bob: Kevin, thank you for joining us. I really do appreciate it. Could you very quickly outline for us how your campus has tried to adapt to this current coronavirus epidemic?
Kevin: Sure. First and foremost, the safety of our students and staff are paramount to us. As of March 17, we have switched our course delivery to an online modality. While we had to make this switch in response to the current pandemic, we’re excited about the opportunities our students will have learning in an online environment. Some advantages may include not having to commute to the campus on a daily basis—and thus realizing whatever savings that might be associated with commuting, being able to focus on their course work, not necessarily having the time constraints associated with on-ground training to complete assignments, and, by not having to commute, students will have more time for studying. And finally, online training may lend itself to greater access to the instructor for individual training, tutoring, and questioning.
Lee Doubleday: Dr. Kirkley, this is Lee. Thank you for mentioning those benefits, even, to an online learning environment. Now, as I understand it, your campus is teaching completely online, but are you still open for tours, or is there someplace—a website—that I can go to for programmatic tours virtually? How does that work?
Kevin: Sure. No, we are not open for tours. However, we do provide virtual tours, informational videos, and pictures of the facility to acclimate students with our campus. You can go to lincolntech.edu and just search for the Union campus.
Lee: All right. And Dr. Kirkley—This is Lee. I’m talking to Dr. Kirkley, campus president of Lincoln Tech in Union, New Jersey. Now I have a question. Can I still enroll for a future class? Do you have ongoing enrollments? And are you still enrolling for future classes?
Kevin: Yes, we are open for enrollment. We have classes starting every month. Even prior to the COVID-19 epidemic, there existed a skills gap in American society for technical workers. Many employers were in desperate need of skilled technicians. The baby boomers of the ’50s and ’60s retiring has left a void in skilled technical labor. Thus, we feel at Lincoln that we are providing a critical service to our country, particularly when so many people have lost their jobs and might be considering how they are going to rebound from the recent career challenges they face. Being able to obtain a marketable skill that could provide income stability and opportunity for growth will be key in helping many of them move forward.
Lee: Well, speaking of moving forward, tell me something: If the campuses are still closed because of the virus and you have a class start coming up, and they’re still closed because of this pandemic, what will happen? Can I start classes online?
Kevin: Sure, you can. We plan to start new classes online until the governor relaxes the current restrictions. What sets Lincoln apart from other institutions is our focus. Not only on theory, but also on hands-on practice. We are currently formulating plans as to how we will provide the hands-on training our students need when the facility reopens. When this occurs, we plan to keep our facility open for extended hours and days, even Fridays and Saturdays if necessary, to ensure our students have the opportunity to get the hands-on experience they need.
Lee: Okay, Dr. Kirkley, and one last question for me, and then I’ll turn it over to Bob. Are your current student services—i.e., admissions, financial aid, career services, etc.—are those all still available for current or even future students right now?
Kevin: Absolutely. All campus services are available. Again, we are committed to the safety of our team, so all are currently working remotely. The good news is that when you dial our number, you wouldn’t even know that the team is working remotely. We are able to connect you with the appropriate department—that’s whether you’re a current student or a future student. We are still able to provide our services to you.
Bob: We’re talking to Dr. Kevin Kirkley, campus president, Lincoln Tech – Lincoln, New Jersey. Excuse me, Union, New Jersey. Hey Kevin, let me just follow up on what you just talked about. Imagine now, I’m a guidance counselor or I’m a potential student—high school student graduating, interested in a career in automotive technology, maybe even interested in Lincoln Tech. What would you suggest this individual do? Can you give us a website and maybe even more? Maybe campus numbers etc., etc., that people could call if they want to get more information?
Kevin: Sure, Bob, there are two methods in which the counselor can facilitate this. One can call our school directly at (908) 964-7800 and ask to speak to an admissions representative. Or to even make it simpler, they can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bob: A nice thing about having a guest like you is you jump over. You answer questions that people are thinking about, thank you. Here’s what I’ve got, Dr. Kirkley. Here are my takeaways that I’m getting back from your conversation here.
Number one is: Lincoln Tech in Union, New Jersey, is open for business and is assisting all existing and potentially new students in the Union, New Jersey, area. You’ve had to make accommodations. You’ve had to make different adjustments within staff and within the way of delivering your education. But you’ve done that and you’re doing it and you will continue to do that.
The second thing I hear you say is that the Lincoln Tech in Union, New Jersey, is enrolling new students. And you already mentioned it once—but I’m going to ask you just in a minute to repeat it again—any interested students can go to the website, can make telephone calls into the campus directly if they do want to follow up and ask any questions with you.
Finally, I would ask any of our listeners—primarily high school students, adult students—that if they have any questions, that they should contact you, Kevin Kirkley, directly. You’ve already given out your email, but why don’t you repeat it one more time, and also give the website address, please.
Kevin: Okay, so our direct line into the school is (908) 964-7800. I can be reached directly at email@example.com. And also, they can go online to lincolntech.edu and search for the Union, New Jersey, school.
Bob: Perfect. You answered an awful lot of questions here, thank you. We want to thank our guest today, Dr. Kevin Kirkley, Lincoln Tech – Union, New Jersey. We want to thank you—our audience, our listeners—for listening to this podcast, taking time out of your very busy and hectic schedules to listen to this edition of Imagine America Radio.
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On behalf of my colleague, Lee Doubleday, and myself, please be safe and we’ll be talking to you all very soon. Goodbye.