SCC Alumni Network News

News and events that make us proud to be members of the SCC community.

  • Home
    Home This is where you can find all the blog posts throughout the site.
  • Login
    Login Login form

Returning to SCC to Develop & Teach a New Welding Certificate Program

Posted on in Alumni News


Joe Volk started out like many students at South Central College. He graduated from high school in Morristown and enrolled in a technical program, started working in industry while going to school, and continued to work with some advancement opportunities and some job changes as the economy shifted. Now he’s back at South Central College trying to do for students what Dean Odette, his Welding instructor in 1990-1991, did for him.

Joe started working at SCC well before any students were on campus to develop the curriculum. “I’m trying to give students a skill set to learn welding processes and establish a foundation for moving up to team leader, supervisor or engineering positions. Advancing from welder to operator or another position within a company is not to be feared. I did it and they can do it,” Joe stated.

The 16 credit certificate program that Joe teaches includes Blueprint Reading, OSHA general industry safety and welding safety, Shielded Metal Arc Welding, Gas Metal Arc Welding, Gas Tungsten Arc Welding and Oxy-Fuel Welding & Cutting. It’s a new, one-semester program on the Faribault campus of South Central College.

In 2007 Joe enrolled at Riverland Community College and earned an Associate degree in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, but the opportunity to teach came along before a job in law enforcement, and he’s thrilled to return to Faribault to teach. Joe stated, “I noticed right away that some people who were working here when I was going to school are still here, but there are also people who were going to school here when I was, who also work here.”

Since starting at SCC Joe has received training from the American Welding Society for certification as a welding inspector and has participated in Lincoln Electric’s Welding Educator Workshop.

SCC’s Welding Certificate program is helping to fill the regional need for trained welders. Joe remembers when a ripple went through the industry with the introduction of robots to weld parts; “Weld shops have robotics but they can’t do it all. Some welding has to be done by hand and it will always be that way.”

Joe commented that the changes in the building are obvious with the construction project that just finished, and while the welding lab was moved in the early phase of the $13.3 million expansion project, the dedication to maintaining the lab is evident. It is a top-notch lab with new equipment and new lighting. SCC’s commitment to investing in its technical programs is evident in this space.

When asked what advice he’d give to new students about finding success he remarked, “Success is a recipe, it’s a combination of skills, drive, luck, persistence and opportunity.” He’s happy to be here to help students develop their skills as welders.

South Central College in Faribault draws most of its students from a 30-mile radius of the campus – Joe’s family included. His sister and two nieces attended SCC for nursing, accounting and administrative assistant, and two of his sons are currently attending. “This is a great place to be,” Joe said, “helping students learn to weld is my job, but everybody at SCC has helped me get my feet on the ground and learn the ropes around here. I couldn’t do it without them.”  

Story submitted by Shelly Rockman, Faribault Foundation Executive Director


Congratulations Todd Huxford!

Posted on in Alumni News


Todd Huxford, SCC Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning/Refrigeration (HVAC) instructor and SCC Alumnus, was recently selected as the Minnesota SkillsUSA Post-Secondary Advisor of the Year. He was awarded this distinguished honor at the MN SkillsUSA State Competition awards ceremony event held on March 30th.

As a SkillsUSA advisor for SCC, Huxford serves students of this institution, but has also made significant contributions to the success of SkillsUSA at the state and national level. He has been an advisor for the past 24 years.

Huxford believes the SkillsUSA program is invaluable in helping position SCC students for future success. In addition to the guidance he provides these students as an advisor, his national involvement also helps him create valuable relationships with industry partners. “Through SkillsUSA I have had the opportunity to work alongside industry leaders from whom we have gained knowledge and resources, as well as key contacts for employing our students,” said Huxford.

SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, instructors and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce, while helping each student excel. South Central College is one of 29 Minnesota community and technical colleges participating in SkillsUSA.


SCC Sales and Marketing Graduate Finds Her Niche in the Beverage Industry

Posted on in Alumni News


Bonnie Barrer has come a long way since she graduated from Mankato Area Vocational Technical Institute, now known as South Central College, in 1981.  She has spent more than twenty-seven years working in the beverage industry, beginning in frontline sales and working her way through account management, sales management and General Manager roles to her current position as Director of Sales and Marketing at Gillette Pepsi.  As Director, Barrer is responsible for all aspects of the sales and marketing functions within Gillette Pepsi locations including La Crosse, WI, Rochester and Mankato, MN and Decorah, IA.

Barrer is a strong proponent of the value of education.  “I knew that I’d need to further my education after high school to have a career,” she said. “I was very fortunate that it started me on a path in business.”   Barrer said she used what she learned in college to advance in the positions that she held.   In addition to academics, she said she gained valuable organizational and interpersonal skills while attending college.

Barrer said she was drawn to SCC because of its size and affordability.  “It was affordable for me at the time.  I was paying for my own college.  I also liked that I could work in my field of study while attending classes.  This allowed me to apply what I was learning and earn money to cover expenses,” she said.  Barrer said she graduated from a small high school, and found it easy to transition to SCC because she found similarities.  “One size doesn’t fit all,” she said, adding that being on a 20,000-student campus isn’t right for everyone.  She said for some people, SCC is just not as overwhelming as a large university, and it has so much to offer.

When asked how SCC has changed since she attended, Barrer said the two-year transferable Associate in Arts degree was a very important addition, giving SCC students the availability to start working toward a four-year degree.  In fact, SCC’s enrollment grew steadily after the Associate in Arts degree was added as an option for students.

Continue reading

Learn Spanish on Your Schedule

Posted on in Alumni News

Back in December, we shared some tips on writing a resumé (

It is important, especially in today’s economy and job market, to have talents that add value to your resumé and make it stand out. Spanish speakers are becoming more in demand in a variety of industries and job positions.

Learning Spanish can have numerous benefits, sometimes leading to special assignments and pay raises. It can help with getting a job or progressing a career.

South Central College is offering classes that will help you learn Spanish quickly and conveniently on your own time schedule.

These selfpaced, online Spanish courses are designed for specific occupations to help maximize your learning experience, including Banking, Health Care, Law Enforcement and Manufacturing. Click here to check out available Spanish classes! 


Want a Unique Experience

Posted on in Alumni News




Check out the SCC online auction and bid now on a plane ride donated by Dave Bates.  He owns a 1941 Stearman biplane that flies out of the Faribault airport.  His son, David, will be your pilot if you are the winning bidder, and he is an SCC alum!  He graduated in 2011 with an Associate in Arts degree.  He’s a commercial pilot and will take someone on the ride of a lifetime!


SCC Path Brings Rewards for Legal Administrative Assistant Alum

Posted on in Alumni News

Fischer“It is so satisfying to see students start college and really take advantage of everything that is offered to them. Shari Fischer is an example of a student who did just that. She expanded her horizons allowing herself to believe that she could do more with her life, and she did. We are proud to count Shari as a South Central College – Legal Administrative Assistant alum!” 

 -Lynda Ernst, Legal Administrative Assistant Instructor at South Central College.

Shari P. Fischer
Shari Peterson Fischer was raised on a farm near Morgan, Minnesota, where she learned the value of hard work and the importance of helping fellow neighbors and friends in need.

Ms. Fischer has been employed by The Legal Professionals PA since 1997 and is now an associate attorney. Ms. Fischer has a growing practice focused in estate planning and has extensive experience in diverse probate matters. She also counsels clients in the areas of farm, commercial and residential real estate, business law, and family law. 

Starting her education at South Central College, Shari received high honors in completing the Legal Administrative Assistant program. Continuing her education, she received her Bachelor of Science degree, summa cum laude, from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Business Law. Ms. Fischer received her Juris Doctor degree, magna cum laude, from William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, graduating in the top ten percent of her class. While in law school, Ms. Fischer was named to the Dean's List, won the CALI Award in International Negotiation, and was a recipient of several academic scholarships.

When asked about her experience at SCC, Fischer said, “I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at SCC. I left SCC at just 20 years of age, but with the tools and knowledge necessary to ‘hit the ground running’ when I began my first position as a Legal Assistant only days after graduating. I commend Lynda Ernst for the strong legal program at SCC. She ensured we students were well prepared to begin our careers and also instilled in us the importance of maintaining a sense of professionalism throughout our lives. These are skills I have carried forward in life, especially now as an attorney.”

Married to Cody Fischer since 1998, Shari and Cody make their home west of Hanska. Cody is a 1997 graduate of South Central College from the HVAC program and has owned his own HVAC business since 2002. Shari added, “As you can see, we both have truly benefited from our experiences at SCC”. Outside the office, Shari enjoys spending time at the lake with her family, friends, and her favorite English Bulldog, Elvis.


Resume tips - provide your best tips to students in the comment section

Posted on in Alumni News

In today’s competitive job market, it is important to have an excellent resumé to be noticed. While most people have an idea of how to create a resumé, few know how to write a resumé well. Here are some tips and techniques that should be consider as you write a fantastic resumé.

  • Personal Information:  Include your name, address, and contact information.  Use larger font (12-14), center and bold at top of page.
  • Body of Resume’ – use a common font style, size 10 or larger.
  • Objective:  Usually a sentence stating the type of position and environment you are seeking.
  • Work Experience:  List any work experience you have had beginning with most recent information first.  Use a bulleted format for easy reading and begin each bullet an action verb.  You may include the organization, dates of employment, description of duties and any accomplishments or you can summarize your work experience and skills omitting the organization and dates.  Remember that work experience can include an internship, apprenticeship, and clinical experience.
  • Licenses and Certifications:  List any current licenses, certifications or training.
  • Education:  List education institute and degree earned with highest degree listed first.  If you have a college degree, there is no need to list high school information.
  • Volunteer Activities, Organizations and Interests:  List any volunteer or organization work.  Be sure to include any officer positions held to illustrate leadership skills.
  • Reference Page:  List 2 or 3 professional references (no family) on a separate page.  Title the page “References” and type your name in the right side of page.  Remember to contact your references and ask for permission to use them as a reference.  Include their name, title, company, and contact information.

Additional Resources

  • The South Central College Placement Center is happy to help Alumni develop and write a great looking resume’.  For more information or to make an appointment, call Candy Laven at (507) 389-7225 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .
  • To assist you in finding a great opportunity, another resource is the South Central College Job Bank (   The South Central College Job Bank is easy to use.  Alumni can search for jobs by location, employer or job type.  Below are the login instructions:
      1. Visit the website:
      2. Register as an Alumni (right side).  Click Register
      3. Complete Registration form.  If you don’t remember your Student ID, call or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or 507-389-7225.  Click Submit.
      4. When the registration is complete, you will receive a Job Bank Email Verification.  Click on the link to confirm your email address.  Then Career Services Registration will email a link to create you password.



SCC Alum Returns to His Roots

Posted on in Alumni News

Broughten_Michael-2013   Culinary_10-2013-4014   Culinary_10-2013-4022  Culinary_10-2013-4025   

Chef Michael Broughten, 1986 Alumnus of the South Central College Culinary Arts program, recently joined SCC’s faculty as Culinary Instructor, replacing Jim Hanson, who retired from full-time teaching after more than 35 years in higher education.  “I am absolutely thrilled and grateful to have the opportunity to come back to my hometown and teach in the school where my culinary career started,” said Broughten, adding that he looks forward to getting re-acclimated within the community and getting to know the chefs and restaurant owners and their needs.

Broughten said he has a passion for teaching.  “I’ve been in the industry since the mid-80’s, and I’m ready to bring the latest culinary techniques to the students of SCC.  In my life, it’s really important to make sure I have passion in whatever I do, and that’s something I instill in my students,” said Broughten, who has a vast array of experiences to share from many years in the industry.  “I have done so much within my life with different types of food, different parts of the country, different cultures, and managed many types of operations,” he said.

“My vision is to take an existing successful culinary program, take what Jim Hanson has done, and build on it, taking us forward to the next period in time,” said Broughten. “I want to make sure this program is a leader within the culinary industry and make sure our students are well-prepared when they graduate.”

Broughten said the program has changed dramatically since he graduated in the mid-eighties.  “The school has grown and changed for the better, and the program has adapted to today’s needs,” he said.  “Food is ever-changing, people are ever-changing, and people are becoming more sophisticated and educated about food.  Everybody raises the bar.”

Continue reading

Recent SCC Alum Awarded Gold Medallion at SkillsUSA Competition!

Posted on in Alumni News



The winners of the SkillsUSA National Championships were announced at the National Skills and Leadership Conference Awards Ceremony. Cassandra Dlugiewicz (Madelia) was awarded a Gold Medallion for Pin Design. For this category, students present their state-winning pin and artwork, describe its unique qualities, and explain how their design represents their state and why another SkillsUSA member would want to wear it.

Dlugiewicz graduated this spring from SCC with an A.A.S. in Graphic Communications. When asked about her first place finish, Dlugiewicz said, “Since this was my first year in SkillsUSA, the whole week was different from anything I'd experienced before. I was nervous going in, but I came out proud of what I accomplished. Winning a gold medallion in a national competition completely validated my career and education choices. I had the best instructors at SCC. My success is just as much theirs as it is mine.”


Welcome to the SCC Alumni Network Blog!

Posted on in Alumni News

We’re glad you made it here.  The South Central College alumni community is a special group of people, and the time is right to provide a place where alumni, SCC friends, business associates, faculty and others can come together and share information, ideas and other items of interest.  What better place than a dedicated blog!

Now that you’re connected, we invite and encourage you to share your thoughts and provide feedback.  We’d also love to see others that you may know connect with the SCC Alumni Network, so spread the word!  Check in from time to time and see what’s new.  We’ll do our best to keep everyone up to date with the latest information about happenings at SCC.  Let us know what’s happening with you!