With a goal of increasing retention and graduation rates for its allied health programs, Ozarks Technical Community College cut the ribbon on the Allied Health Student Success Center today, March 9. The new facility provides students with advising and academic counseling, along with a study lounge. The center is located in Lincoln Hall on the west side of the OTC Springfield Campus.
The facility was funded by a $180,000 MoExcels Workforce Initiative grant from the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development. The state funding was part of Missouri State’s $3.1 million MoExcels grant for the Ozark Region Nursing Collaboration in fiscal year 2020. The goal of the nursing collaboration is to help more students earn degrees and licensures in high-demand allied health fields, such as nursing, surgical technology and respiratory therapy. Additionally, the advising center will help enhance the transfer pathway from the Associate of Science in Nursing degree at OTC to the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree at Missouri State.
At the event, OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon thanked the State of Missouri for its support of the project.
“We are grateful to the state for this MoExcels funding, which will strengthen our allied health programs,” he said. “Our region has workforce shortages in several healthcare-related fields. This facility will help ensure that we graduate as many students as possible into those high-demand fields.”
Governor Mike Parson, who was also in attendance at the event, spoke to the center’s ability to help fill healthcare workforce shortages across the state.
“This student success center is exactly the type of project MoExcels was designed to help,” Gov. Parson said. “By giving more students an opportunity to earn a college degree, level up-their skills, and advance into healthcare related fields, this will help us continue to develop a strong workforce that is ready to meet the demands of Missouri’s highest-need jobs.”
Currently, OTC retains and graduates 81 percent of its students across all of its healthcare-related programs. The hope is that through enhanced and proactive advising, OTC will increase its graduation rate thereby increasing the pool of qualified healthcare workers.
In addition to the Allied Health Student Success Center, OTC also received $50,000 for simulation lab technology upgrades specific to the nursing program at the OTC Table Rock Campus.
According to the Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, “MoExcels funding will facilitate development and expansion of employer-driven education and training programs and initiatives to substantially increase educational attainment.”