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OTC And Missouri’s Community Colleges Address Health Care Worker Shortage

OTC and Missouri’s community colleges address health care worker shortage

Ozarks Technical Community College is one of 13 Missouri colleges that worked with the Missouri Community College Association to help 4,251 students statewide access training and gain the skills needed to enter the health care industry.

Through the MoHealthWINs program, Ozarks Technical Community College received $2.4 million of a $19.9 million federal grant managed by the Missouri Community College Association. With those funds, the college helped 202 students achieve 359 industry-recognized credentials.

The MoHealthWINs grant, which ended this year, provided funding for students to receive training in four career pathways: health informatics, therapeutic services, diagnostic services and support services. With grant funds, Ozarks Technical Community College was able to offer programs of study to become a Maintenance Technician and a Hearing Instrument Specialist.

“MoHealthWINs is aptly named,” Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College said. “It was a win for our college, our students, our local industries and the economy. We took students, many of whom needed developmental courses, and put them on the fast track for a successful career in high-demand fields. Contextualizing developmental coursework allowed the students to catch up academically and apply what they were learning to their new career skills.”

Statewide, 80 percent of the MoHealthWINs participants who completed their program of study are now employed.

“People skills are very important for our business, as well as the technical know-how to provide excellent customer service,” said Paul Hardin, owner of a Miracle Ear franchise in southwest Missouri. “That’s what I look for in an employee, and that’s what OTC delivered.”

More than 229 businesses and agencies became industry partners to MoHealthWINs colleges. These businesses provided input on the design of the academic programs, offered internships and hands-on experience for students, and in many cases offered employment opportunities upon graduation.

“The grant bridged the gap between industries searching for qualified workers and workers seeking training for well-paying jobs,” Rob Dixon, president and CEO of the Missouri Community College Association said. “Each college reached out to local industry partners to learn their employment needs and designed curricula that provided the academic background to fulfill them. Additionally, innovations introduced by MoHealthWINs are helping the colleges improve completion rates, developmental education and digital literacy for their students.”

The federal funds were provided through the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program. The program targeted Trade Act Assistance workers, veterans, unemployed, underemployed and low skilled workers.

The Missouri Community College Association managed the grant for Missouri’s 12 community colleges and one state technical college. Two further rounds of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program are currently underway. To learn how MoManufacturingWINs and MoStemWINs are impacting the state, visit

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