By Steve Koehler
The future is now for Ozarks Technical Community College students who are filling programs that hold the greatest employment promise.
OTC’s top credit programs, based on student enrollment this spring, are: business and marketing, early childhood development, accounting, culinary arts, graphic design technology, health information technology, networking technology, drafting and design technology and practical nursing.
The programs students have selected fall in line with the top job openings the state expects to have between now and 2016.
According to the Missouri Economic and Research Information Center, the state forecasts the need for 10,600 childcare workers, 8,186 accountants and about 12,000 cooks and food preparation workers over the next seven years.
Enrollment in OTC’s culinary arts programs has more than doubled in the past five years and health information technology enrollment has almost doubled in four years. There are waiting lists for students wanting to enter some allied health programs.
OTC is meeting some of the workforce demands with graduates finding well-paying jobs, including dental hygiene positions paying an average of $58,996 and physical therapy assistants earning $45,270.
“We are meeting some of the needs of the business community,” said Kathy Christy, director of OTC’s Career Services office. Her staff is in constant touch with businesses and their leaders about job demands of the future.
“I’ve been calling other companies to see where their needs maybe. Once OTC has that information, we can discuss the type of courses that need to be designed and offered to better educate our students in the skills that will be needed and the types of jobs that will be available.”
Advisory boards for all the technical and allied health programs also go a long way to providing input into program development.
In addition to credit programs, OTC’s Continuing Education Center offers short-term certification programs that are eight to 11 weeks long for programs like pharmacy technicians, certified nursing assistants and medical assistants.
The state forecasts 6,500 nursing aides, 5,000 pharmacy technicians and 2,400 medical assistants will be needed by 2016.
“The noncredit healthcare programs meet needs of individuals seeking quality, affordable programs that train them for a specific job and do so in a matter of weeks,” said Dana Patterson, director of Continuing Education at OTC.
Steve Koehler is coordinator of publications at Ozarks Technical Community College.
College Director of Communications
Coordinator of Publications
Phone: (417) 447-2666