Ozarks Technical Community College has had an enormous economic impact on the metropolitan Springfield area, according to rankings recently released by the Springfield Business Journal.
The College was second only to the immense growth of the local health care industry in the newspaper’s list of “30 Points of Change,” issued to mark the publication’s 30th anniversary.
“This ranking underscores how important our mission is to these communities. We work hard to have an impact on the local economic climate through the programs we offer and by meeting the educational and training needs of our local business community,” said Dr. Hal L. Higdon, president of Ozarks Technical Community College.
Eric Olson, the newspaper’s editor, said the College “has had a strong connection to area businesses from day one. OTC is led by successful businesspeople and, in turn, leads students to success in business.”
“The school’s impact has been widespread in training students and, more so of late, sending people directly into a targeted workforce through partnerships with employers. Our editorial team felt the impact of OTC on the business community was deep and direct,” he added.
Since the College opened in 1991, enrollment has grown exponentially to make OTC the third-largest community college in the state, with over 13,000 students. Its five locations span across southwest Missouri, with locations in Springfield, Branson, Lebanon, Ozark and Waynesville. Additionally, the College’s center for workforce development works with businesses on offering specialized workforce training for employees.
A new $10 million expansion project will have a tremendous impact across the region, including developments in Hollister, Lebanon and Springfield.
The College is designating $5 million to locate a new facility in the Hollister school district after voters in the school district approved joining the OTC district.
In Lebanon, a gift of buildings and property valued at $2.6 million from Reuben and Mary Lou Casey of San Clemente, Calif., will allow the College to establish a full campus there. OTC has allocated $3 million to infill the buildings with computer labs, classrooms and technical education equipment.
The continued rapid growth of the Springfield campus has made it necessary to begin a new $2 million classroom expansion project.
“Our goal at OTC is to bring the same economic impact we have had in the Springfield area to the communities in and around the Richwood Valley campus (Ozark), Branson, Lebanon, Waynesville and Hollister,” Higdon said.
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