Ottawa High School is one of seven schools that would participate in a series of career and technical education vocational courses — ranging from welding to health sciences — that Neosho County Community College would like to offer in the 2013-2014 school year.

“Right now we are going through the enrollment process for next fall, and we should have some numbers to Neosho County by the end of the month,” Ryan Cobbs, Ottawa High School principal, said. “If there is enough interest in these courses from the area schools, then Neosho County would proceed with the program.”

West Franklin, Central Heights, Wellsville, Anderson County, Baldwin and Prairie View also have expressed interest in the courses, Cobbs said.

“The whole discussion started when area superintendents talked to NCCC and among themselves about forming a large cooperative for technical education programs, and NCCC indicated they wanted to extend their program,” Cobbs said.

Kansas Senate Bill 155, which Gov. Sam Brownback signed May 25, 2012, made it possible for students to take the courses for free through the community college, Cobbs said, with the state paying for the tuition and the cost of transportation to and from the site.

“We were already interested, but when Senate Bill 155 passed, that really made it a slam dunk to go through NCCC,” Cobbs said.

If enough students express interest, courses to be offered in fall 2013 include several welding classes, nurse’s aide, medication aide, college accounting, managerial accounting, computer graphics, business communications, introduction to computer information systems, nutrition and about half a dozen other classes, according to Neosho County.

Enrollment in each course would have to be close to reaching the number of seats available for the course to be offered, Neosho officials have said. Students would receive credits for courses, along with certifications in applicable programs, according to the Neosho information.

The welding classes would take place in Garnett, while all other courses would be offered at Neosho County’s Ottawa campus, 900 E. Logan St., Cobbs said.

“Anderson County has a building, which I believe was a portion of their old high school, that already is set up for many of the things we need [for the welding courses],” Cobbs said. “Our building is being utilized during the day, but [Anderson County’s] is not and would be suited to house the NCCC program.”

Courses could be expanded to include construction technology courses, starting in fall 2014, Cobbs said.

“This is a good opportunity for us,” Cobbs said.