ST. CLOUD -- St. Cloud Technical and Community College continues to be a top pick for students going into manufacturing fields, but why are students choosing SCTCC?

Jeff Hallermann is a Mechanical Design Instructor at SCTCC. He says many students are choosing the college because they've heard great things about its programs.

"I think word of mouth is a big thing, when I ask students, 'why did you come all the way from Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, there's programs farther south?' and they'll say 'I talked to so and so and they said you had a good program up here.'

John Manthie is in his second year in the mechanical design program he says because he's from the area and heard SCTCC was a good school he decided to enroll after high school.

"I live close and my brother actually graduated from the electronics program and he liked it."

Shaun Kress, another mechanical design student says SCTCC proved to be a good choice for him as he got out of the military and decided to further his education.

"We toured the school before I came and everybody around was really helpful."

Outside of the mechanical design field, welding student Nick Engstrom has bounced between career fields and different colleges. He says many schools don't offer as much help as St. Cloud Technical and Community College does.

"If you ask someone for help with your financial aid someone is there. If you ask someone for help with housing they are there. I didn't have that when I was checking out other colleges."

To be able to meet the growing demands for more workers, Hallerman says the college relies on its community partners.

"Places such as Park Industries, DCI, DeZurik, we work very closely with them. They are on the advisory board for lots of different programs here at the college."

Hallermann says with these companies input, the school can provide them with skilled workers.

"They make sure that we make changes along the way and that we are producing what they are looking for."

One of the challenges colleges often face is keeping up with technology. Hallerman says since laptops have become more accessible it has made it easier for students.

"Whether it is at home, in their apartments, I tell some of my guys even if they are out ice fishing, if the fish aren't biting you can fire up your laptop and work on some of your CAD homework."

From students fresh out of high school, to ones who have been in other career fields, they all have one thing in common, they chose St. Cloud Technical and Community College because of the instructors.

Kress says SCTCC instructors in-field experience helps give him a good idea of what it will be like working in his field after college.

"They're very hands on and very knowledgeable. They've been in the field for quite a while so they have the hands on experience to pass on to us."

Engstrom says in welding, he's always receiving feedback from his instructors, which tells him that they truly care about his success.

"He [the instructor] really knows what he's talking about to help out students. It's not like he just shows up as a teacher and shows you how to weld and you do it, he's always there [to answer questions]."

St. Cloud Technical and Community College started its fall semester last month. If you're interested in enrolling follow the link below.

The Tour of Manufacturing will be this Saturday and next Saturday, October 7.

St. Cloud Technical and Community College student welding. (Chrissy Gaetke, WJON)