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OTC Handpicked For AACC’s MentorLinks Grant

OTC handpicked for AACC’s MentorLinks grant

Ozarks Technical Community College’s Agriculture Department will receive a boost in funding and resources thanks to a $20,000 grant from the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). The AACC selected OTC as one of 11 community colleges nationwide to participate in the grant program.

The MentorLinks: Advancing Technological Education grant provides technical assistance and networking opportunities to community college programs that prepare students in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. Through MentorLinks, grant awardees are paired one-on-one with an experienced mentor in a similar discipline. The mentors — handpicked by the AACC — have strong credentials and extensive experience in planning and implementing advanced STEM programs in collegiate settings.

For the next two years, OTC’s Agriculture Department will work closely with its assigned mentor — Jenni Fridgen, agriculture program director at Parkland College in Champaign, Ill. — to enhance the curriculum of its agriculture programs. The department will also collaborate with Fridgen to implement strategic changes within the programs to best meet local industry and employer needs. Additionally, OTC Agriculture Department faculty and staff will receive professional development opportunities and students will gain access to experiential learning programs.

“We would like to thank the AACC, MentorLinks and Parkland College for their partnership,” said Matt Hudson, OTC dean of Technical Education. “We look forward to enhancing our agriculture programs in an effort to best serve our students and area employers.”

About OTC’s Agriculture Department

OTC’s Agriculture Department offers degree options in Turf and Landscape Management, Animal Science, Plant Science and General Agriculture. For more information about OTC’s agriculture degree programs, contact Rob Flatness, Agriculture & Construction Technology department chair, at 417-447-8274 or

About the American Association of Community Colleges

As the voice of the nation’s community colleges, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) delivers educational and economic opportunity for 12 million diverse students in search of the American Dream. Uniquely dedicated to access and success for all students, AACC’s nearly 1,200 member colleges provide an on-ramp to degree attainment, skilled careers and family-supporting wages. Located in Washington, D.C., AACC advocates for these not-for-profit, public-serving institutions to ensure they have the resources and support they need to deliver on the mission of increasing economic mobility for all.

About the National Science Foundation’s ATE Program

With an emphasis on two-year colleges, the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program focuses on the education of technicians for the high-technology fields that drive our nation’s economy. The program involves partnerships between academic institutions and industry to promote improvement in the education of science and engineering technicians at the undergraduate and secondary school levels. The ATE program supports curriculum development; professional development of college faculty and secondary school teachers; career
pathways to two-year colleges from secondary schools and from two-year colleges to four-year institutions; and other activities.

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