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OTC offers opportunity in tough times

By Steve Koehler

Ozarks Technical Community College finds itself at the forefront in the challenge to help in tough economic times.

And residents are finding OTC as a place to go to further their education and training in order to gain a foothold on a new and better job.

This year’s spring enrollment was up more than 7 percent over last spring and fall enrollment is expected to increase as well.

Both credit and non-credit programs, along with those in the technical fields, are growing and gaining popularity with incoming students, especially displaced workers looking to gain more education and training before reentering the workforce.

In the months ahead, the College will be increasing its outreach to the region to help keep its economic engine working properly with both long-term and short-term efforts.

The addition of Dawn Busick as OTC’s new executive director of the Center for Workforce Development is key to the College’s commitment to bring expertise and experience to the position.

As the center’s new leader, Busick will be responsible for developing, supervising and maintaining high quality post-secondary workforce development programs.  She will also provide leadership for a district-wide organizational structure that will deliver workforce development, training and consulting services, business development and professional development opportunities for business and industry constituents.

“I view Dawn’s hiring as a coming together of the right time, the right place and the right person. Dawn’s expertise in Workforce Development and her strong knowledge of state and federal training resources will help position our Center for Workforce Development to greatly increase its service to Southwest Missouri,” said OTC President Hal Higdon.
“In the first few months of her tenure, I will be encouraging her to get out into the business community and get to know all of the leaders in an effort to build strong partnerships to make southwest Missouri and even stronger economic engine for our state.”

Staffed by experienced trainers and consultants, the Center for Workforce Development specializes in building leadership, developing business and training the local workforce.

The Center provides a variety of training options, including courses in lean manufacturing, management development, and quality and process improvement, as well as computer and technical workshops.  In addition, the Center, in partnership with Metropolitan Community College, is an authorized OSHA Training Institute provider and also operates the Transport Training Institute.

OTC last month addressed a critical issue in helping displaced workers by opening a liaison office in the Missouri Career Center in Springfield.

Bruce Clemens staffs the office at the center to discuss training and education options, working with directors and staff at the center to try to identify the best short-term and degree programs that need to be put into place to offer viable employment.

Clemens said the majority of people he has met with have enrolled in non-credit health care training since those jobs have the most viable employers in the area.

Others are going into credit-degree programs in Industrial Control and Automation and Health Information Technology. He said there is still great interest in the Transport Training Institute and in the Apprentice Lineman training.

Dana Patterson, director of OTC’s Continuing Education Center, said referrals from Clemens’ office have increased for a number of programs that only require a few weeks’ training in order to be certified.

Those programs, ranging from eight to 11 weeks long include: pharmacy technician, phlebotomy technician, certified nurse assistant, medical claims analyst and certified medication technician.

Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.


College Director of Communications

Phone: 417.447.2655


Steve Koehler

Coordinator of Publications

Phone: (417) 447-2666


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