By Steve Koehler
Ozarks Technical Community College’s innovative Middle College program will begin its second year with 43 Springfield high school students to provide a new career pathway for the students to consider.
The program, the only one of its kind in the state, was developed to lower the Springfield school district’s high-school dropout rate by targeting underachieving students who have the potential to excel and give the students an opportunity to prepare themselves for a post-graduation life.
Students take classes to complete their high-school education along while completing college courses. They will also work an internship at a selected business. The program stresses personal responsibility.
“The program is designed for students who are behind in school or have life circumstances whereby the traditional high school is not as suitable. These are bright kids and through assessment have demonstrated a high potential to do college level work. We will provide them with a lot of resources on campus to give them a leg up, but we will also insist they step up their own expectations for learning,” said Dr. LaRaine Bauer, OTC’s Middle College coordinator.
Funding for the program comes from the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks.
Of the 43 students, 16 percent are minorities and 76 percent are first-generation college students.
The new pathway, Medical Services, joins the two other career pathways, Early Childhood Development and Diesel/Automotive Technology.
“This expansion is consistent with the needs of our community since healthcare is the No. 1 employer in the Springfield metro area. Our students will focus on health-related courses in medical terminology, which will assist them in understanding the language of medicine and healthcare occupations,” Bauer said.
This spring, 28 of the 32 students who enrolled completed the semester.
Next spring, the Middle College will hold is first graduation ceremony at the Gillioz Theater.
Steve Koehler is corrdinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.
College Director of Communications
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Phone: (417) 447-2666