Strategic initiatives driving growth, building industry pipelines
From construction to computers, more students than ever are choosing to pursue degree paths in the technical and skilled trade fields. In fact, Dunwoody College of Technology’s fall 2023 new student enrollment grew by 20 percent, making this year’s freshman class the largest in more than 10 years. Overall, Dunwoody’s student population grew by five percent, with enrollment increases in nearly all departments and majors.
Dunwoody’s growth was due in part to the College’s focus on several strategic initiatives, including: expanding scholarship opportunities; creating more bachelor’s degree pathways, including Architecture and Engineering; and establishing an online campus.
The College also saw increases in the number of women and students of color pursuing a technical degree. In fact, there are 22 percent more women and 15 percent more students of color on campus compared to a year ago. These growth areas are key as Dunwoody works with industry and community partners on ways to address the skills gap facing many technical and trade fields.
Last year, Dunwoody joined the Minnesota Department of Education’s Direct Admissions program, which provided seniors at participating high schools who are on track to graduate a list of all participating Minnesota colleges and universities they are proactively admitted to. The program resulted in 10 new students enrolling at Dunwoody for this Fall.
Enrollment at the College has been increasing steadily after dropping to 1,070 students in 2014. This year’s growth marks an increase of 33 percent over the past 10 years.
“Technical education is becoming more and more desirable as students see the immense opportunities available in these high-demand fields,” said Vice President of Enrollment Management Cindy Olson. “There has never been a better time to pursue a degree at Dunwoody. We have the people, the spaces, and the partnerships to provide graduates with everything they need to accelerate career growth in their chosen field.”
Dunwoody’s degrees in the electrical, construction, and architecture fields, continue to drive the highest enrollment, but automotive, engineering, automation, and computer programs continue to grow year over year.
The growth is good news for companies trying to fill the shortage of trained professionals affecting their workforce. But even with the increase in enrollment, the demand for skilled workers continues to outpace available graduates. In fact, Dunwoody places 95 percent of its graduates directly into their field of study upon program completion, with most having already earned valuable paid industry experience prior to graduation.
This August, students returned to a newly transformed Dunwoody campus. The College spent the summer months undergoing a major renovation that included the installation of new windows, restoring the campus to its original façade, along with new distinctive exterior signage.
Additional campus improvements included renovations to several interior spaces, along with a new state-of-the-art cyber range that is expected to open in 2024.
All of the building improvement projects were funded through donor support, allowing Dunwoody to improve its spaces without the use of tuition dollars.
“We spent the summer transforming the campus for our students. Now, we are committed to helping the students who put their faith in us transform their futures through the great-paying, high-demand careers a Dunwoody education makes possible,” said Dunwoody President Rich Wagner.
About Dunwoody College of Technology
Founded in 1914, Dunwoody College of Technology is the only private, non-profit technical college in the Upper Midwest. Having provided hands-on, applied technical education to more than 250,000 individuals, Dunwoody is the college for experimenters and makers, a place where the curious and the confident learn by doing. Located in Minneapolis, Dunwoody offers a unique campus experience in dedicated labs, studios, and shops that treats students like future professionals from day one. With certificates, associate’s, and bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors – including engineering, robotics, design, and other STEM-related fields – Dunwoody challenges students to come determined and graduate destined.