OWATONNA — Riverland Community College in Owatonna will host an open house on Wednesday evening in conjunction with 16 other institutions.

The aim is to introduce prospective students and community members to Riverland, and to provide a sort of college fair for the other locations.

“We wanted to give them an opportunity to talk to as many colleges as we can,” said Debbie McManimon, a business instructor.

Riverland encourages students to enroll in one of its programs with plans to transfer to one of its partner schools. It offers two-year technical programs and associate degrees, after which the student could transfer to another college or university to finish a four-year bachelor’s degree.

One of the most popular and newest programs, according to McManimon, is nursing. In partnership with the Minnesota Alliance for Nursing Education and Metropolitan State University, nursing students can become dual-enrolled with plans to transfer from Owatonna to St. Paul.

Private and public institutions will be represented at the open house, as well as the Minnesota Army National Guard.

McManimon said that in previous open houses, not all the visitors are soon-to-be high school graduates. Many older, working-age people show interest and end up taking classes as well.

“As an instructor, I see a pretty good mix,” she said.

McManimon hopes the open house can serve as a “one-stop shop” for those looking to sign up for college.

Reach reporter Matt Hudson at 507-444-2372. Follow him on Twitter @OPPMattH