Washburn Tech Imagehas a long history of providing technical education in Topeka, tracing its roots back to the beginning of World War II. Legislation passed created a vocational program in the 1960’s which gave college goers a different approach to starting college, besides jumping in head and wallet first. Many students not knowing exactly what they want to do, now had a vessel for testing new waters, without the full financial burden of two years. Kaw Area Technical School provided many students a vast array of technical skills they could acquire. However, being a technical school, some credits would not transfer to four year college programs. 


In 2007,  Kaw Area Technical School would emerge as the new Washburn Institute of Technology.  Washburn Tech is a nationally recognized innovator in career and technical education, and serves as a model for Technical Schools and partnerships with Universities.  Washburn’s Institute of Technology’s Welcome statement reads, “Our unique  relationship with Washburn University gives students the added benefits of starting with technical courses and continuing to advanced degrees while preparing for today’s career opportunities”. Dean of Washburn Tech, Clark Coco, gave a passionate speech about his and the staff’s dedication to the students and the goals of Washburn Tech. 

At Washburn Tech, students can choose from thirty career programs.  As Coco states, “The Tech experience is life changing. You are seeking a hands-on, high-tech education that leads directly to career opportunities.”

Career Fields available to students are: Construction, Health Care, Human Services, Technology, and Transportation.  through a partnership between SnapOn and Washburn Tech, beginning students who are interested in the field will not have to pay thousands of dollars for tools to see if this is a career that they will want to do.

Because of this partnership, there is no cost to the student; therefore, student debt will not be in issue when trying a new program. This is only one example of how unique and important Washburn Tech is to its students. Within, Human Services, The Culinary Arts program offers a 48 credit technical certificate that prepares students to serve under the supervision of chefs and other culinary professionals. Here they will learn basic culinary math, food safety and sanitation, use of and care of equipment,  as well as food preparation and cooking skills. 

“You’ll have opportunities to connect with businesses and employers, often landing paid internships and immediate job placement,” said Coco.  “You’ll find connections that last a lifetime, through community service projects, student leadership organizations, or time spent in the lounge with fellow students.”

With all that Washburn Tech has to offer, it is no wonder that Washburn Tech has a student retention rate of 87% and a job placement rate of 94%, Washburn Tech is making believers. Thanks to the partnership with Washburn University. 


The Tech experience is life- changing.  The tech allows students to perform in their chosen career and exceed both their personal and professional goals.


“Whether you’re a high school student, an adult learner, or a career changer, I invite you to explore your options at The Tech,” Coco said.  “Imagine what you can achieve.  Let our faculty inspire  your success and transform your life.”