Salina Tech establishes new position to help local businesses

Salina Tech establishes new position to help local businesses

Alisha Jester has returned to Salina Area Technical College as the college’s first Director of Business and Community Partnerships.

The responsibilities of this new role are wide-ranging, said Salina Tech President Greg Nichols.

“A lot of it will be providing or arranging to provide customized short-term training, based on the needs of an individual business,” Nichols said. “Establishing apprenticeship and internship programs will also be part of it.”

One example Nichols cited was plumbing; the college doesn’t offer a plumbing program, and doesn’t have the space to provide one. But there are state and federal apprenticeship programs that could be used to train new plumbers at local plumbing businesses, leading to trade certifications.

Nichols stressed that the trainings offered through this program are not intended to be a substitute for the college’s existing full-time programs.

“A lot of it will be outside of what Salina Tech does now,” Nichols said. “It could be leadership training for people being promoted into supervisory roles – we’ve all seen a great employee get promoted and they are not great at being a boss. But that’s because they need training for that role.”

Nichols said Jester may teach some classes herself, and in other cases “she’ll bring the right people together.”

Jester added that training won’t be limited to the Salina Tech campus.

“We can come to the company to provide training, or set it up online – and we’re able to cover the entire area, not just Salina,” she said.

Jester is already familiar with Salina Tech, having spent four years at the college, first as a recruiter and then as instructional coordinator.

She earned bachelor’s degrees in Fine Art and Art Education from Bethany College, and a master’s degree in Instructional Design from Baker University. She taught in the International Baccalaureate program at Hutchinson High School, and has a background in curriculum building and marketing.

In addition, she holds a Kansas teaching license and Kansas Realtor license, and has a network of connections with building contractors and other industry professionals across the area.

She currently serves on the Salina Arts and Humanities Commission, and was formerly a member of the Salina Animal Control Advisory Board and Executive Director of BeKind Salina.

Organizations interested in learning more about how Salina Tech can help with their training needs can contact Jester at 785-309-3152 or

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