August 3, 2018 | EST. READ TIME: 3 MIN

LATI on National Stage Again


Lake Area Technical Institute’s national profile continued to expand this year.


The latest recognition came in the forms of President Mike Cartney’s involvement in a U.S. News and World STEM (Science, Technology, Math and Engineering) panel discussion in Washington, D.C., and an article in Harvard Business Review highlighting the institute’s strengths of training skilled workers in cooperation with business and industry partners.


“We’re really catching traction at the national level,” Cartney told the Public Opinion Friday. “It was an honor to participate in something like that. It speaks highly to all the work everybody does here. It also speaks to the strong relationships we have with industry.”


The first bit of traction came with Cartney’s panel discussion on April 5. Sharing the stage with Toyota Motor executive Richard Lester and Florida Department of Education Division of Career and Adult Education Chancellor Rod Duckworth for an hour at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, Cartney spoke about LATI’s success of training and placing students in high-income, up to 27 percent higher compared to other new hires in the region, technical careers to the tune of a 99 percent graduation rate.


“We care deeply and track closely how our graduates do after graduation as they go out into the workforce or continue their education at a four-year school,” Cartney said.


Part of its success, according to an Education Dive article covering the panel discussion, was Cartney’s citation of LATI’s more than 400 industry partnerships that make sure students are taught the most current and necessary skills in order to do their jobs effectively.


Lester agreed with Cartney. As quoted in Education Dive, Lester argued that true collaboration between education and business is critical because “standards drive program content, resources and occupational alignment,” and “drive continuous improvement.”


The Education Dive story can be found online at


Meanwhile, Harvard Business Review took an in-depth look at the benefits of education partnering with industry to fill critical job openings, including the investment mega corporations such at AT&T have with institutes such as Georgia Institute of Technology. The article can be viewed at


The investment in students and workforce development helped LATI to receiving the Aspen Award, which recognizes the nation’s top two-year college, last year. That investment is shared by Mitchell Technical Institute, which is in the Aspen top 10 in the 2019 cycle. Southeast Technical Institute in Sioux Falls made the top 150.


“That says a lot for our (state technical education) system as a whole, not just LATI,” Cartney said.