Williamson College of the Trades

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Higher Education Institutions
North America

Williamson College of the Trades partners with Blackbaud to integrate entire campus like never before.


Williamson College of the Trades in Pennsylvania has provided trade education since 1888. Looking ahead, the college wanted to integrate each facet of operations, from back-office processes to student engagement, to meet expectations of faculty and students alike.

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Our technology solution is now on par with the best-practice education we provide our students. That is truly exciting for all of us invested in the future fulfillment of Williamson’s mission and vision.

Williamson College of the Trades aims to provide young men in need with the opportunity to become respected leaders and productive members of society. Since 1888, the college has offered academic, trade, technical, leadership, moral, and religious education based on the values of faith, integrity, diligence, excellence, and service.

About 100 young men—generally over 75% of whom are federal Pell Grant eligible—each year receive a fully-funded, three-year education valued at nearly $100,000 through Williamson College. Students have the choice to focus on a trade, such as carpentry, masonry, machine tools technology, paint and coatings technology, landscaping and turf management, or power plant technology.

“For these young men, college may have never been a real consideration,” said Todd Zachary, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff. “But now they’re being offered a $97,000 scholarship and—with hard work—a ticket to a successful career.”

Williamson’s graduates enjoy a 98% job placement rate, with the remaining 2% accounting for students who go on to pursue higher education. “For the most recent graduating class, we had 175 companies competing for 79 graduates,” Zachary said. “On average, graduating students often receive four to five highly competitive offers in their specific discipline.”

A New Solution for New Needs

With growing expectations from its faculty and students, the need for a more robust education management solution became increasingly apparent. Williamson’s search for the right solution began and eventually ended with Blackbaud.

“We looked at a number of options in addition to Blackbaud. You name it, we looked at it,” Zachary said. “But our 20-plus year history with Blackbaud and its solutions for higher education held the promise of providing everything we wanted to achieve and more.”

Blackbaud solutions’ ease of use, customizability, and robust set of features made the decision easy for the team at Williamson. The college implemented Blackbaud’s comprehensive cloud solution for higher education institutions—which includes enrollment management, student information management, learning management, and billing management, plus fundraising and relationship management and financial management—to integrate each facet of the college’s operations, from back-office processes to student engagement.

For example, critical records and information previously managed in simple spreadsheets now reside in one location for all to review, revise, and access in real time. “All of our information will now be interactive and digitally integrated,” Zachary said. “There’s no need for staff or students to physically visit separate offices for different items that were once only available in hardcopy format and filed away in someone’s office.”

Discovering Untapped Possibilities

Williamson is eager to enhance the faculty-student relationship with personalized touchpoints, where instructors view a complete picture of each student’s history, progress, and records—all available in an integrated system. Likewise, students will get a big-university experience within the tight-knit Williamson College community. Students will have the ability to track and manage their college experience more so than ever before by accessing all information in a single place, with a single login—anywhere, any time and on
their mobile devices.

“To keep the analogy in the trades, it’s like we’ve been walking around using a tool kit that had a flathead screwdriver and a pair of pliers,” Zachary said. “And now, in addition to those items, we have a full set of socket wrenches, several types of pliers, numerous hammers, high-tech laser levels, and a slew of tools we have never had before.”

As Williamson College of the Trades receives its new class of freshmen and welcomes back returning upperclassmen, the college is poised to offer enhanced functionality that will improve each student’s experience. “Our technology solution is now on par with the best-practice education we provide our students,” Zachary said. “That is truly exciting for all of us invested in the future fulfillment of Williamson’s mission and vision.”

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