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Career and Technical Education: Benefitting NCMC students and our communities

By: Jason Helton, Director of Corporate and Business Relations

CTE activity
Students during activity for the Career and Technical Education program at NCMC.

Career and technical education (CTE) at North Central Missouri College can take many different forms and can benefit students and learners of all ages. For high schoolers to adults or for job seekers to incumbent workers, career and technical education and workforce training are an important part of the mission at NCMC.

Many of our area high schools send selected juniors and seniors to career and technical centers for skill training such as automotive, construction, computer networking, welding, and more. NCMC partners with more than ten of those career and technical education centers across the northern half of Missouri to make college education affordable and accessible for completers of those secondary technical programs.

Through articulation agreements with these area career and technical centers, NCMC’s unique Associate of Applied Science degree in Applied Technology allows those program completers to count their technical training toward what is typically a two-year college degree. Once a student is accepted and eligibility confirmed, only 31 college credit hours remain at NCMC. Upon completion of the college course requirements, NCMC then awards the 30 hours of free articulated credit recognizing their technical certificate. Opportunities such as this can save students thousands of dollars and lots of time thereby allowing them to enter the workforce quicker.

High school graduates who may not have attended a technical school but are interested in Agriculture, Allied Health Services including Nursing, Business, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Development, and Industrial Technology have many options to explore at NCMC. Traditional college certificates and AAS degrees, many with embedded industry credentials, are available in these career-oriented fields.

Just as important to NCMC’s mission of assisting individuals in our educational community, providing training and educational opportunities to our business community is an important responsibility of our institution. Creating partnerships with business and industry throughout the region benefits our institution, students, and employers by enhancing communication and ensuring the education and training provided at NCMC is relevant for today’s workforce.

One business solution provided by NCMC is customized training for industry. After assisting with identification of specific skill gaps and training needs of manufacturers and industry, NCMC can provide or manage the delivery of those training activities. Those activities might include both technical and soft skills for employees. NCMC has been working with many manufacturers – from Maryville to Marceline and from St. Joseph to Sullivan county – to develop and implement customized solutions to their skills training needs.

Another solution for a broader employer base across the region is college courses designed to meet training needs throughout a business environment. Safety, supervisory and leadership, and computer skills are examples of common topics and needs that lend themselves to workshops or short-courses hosted by the college. A variety of companies and organizations of any size can usually benefit from these offerings.

Conversations on essential worker skills with regional business and industry also help to keep NCMC connected to better align our academic programs, courses, and curriculum to the evolving needs of employers and the community. All of our technical and career oriented degree programs have Advisory Boards consisting of individuals from throughout the region who provide input on critical knowledge and skills necessary for students to find a job and successfully transition into the workforce.

Employer input helps to shape college purchasing decisions with state and federal funding to ensure that the current equipment, curriculum, software, etc. necessary in the current workforce can be incorporated into relevant coursework at NCMC. Guest speakers and site visits are also part of the process where staff and students can see first-hand modern equipment, necessary skills, and hopefully an intern or graduate from NCMC at work.

Other linkages between the college and business community are nursing clinicals, business and ag internships, apprenticeships, and even job shadowing. Many employers in the region, and even some out of the area, seek out our students to assist in their learning. Not only can an extra worker or two benefit the company during a busy time, but the student is exposed to real-world working conditions and interactions. Experiencing this sort of training in addition to providing a chance to demonstrate technical knowledge offers a student an early look into the working world. For some, such an experience can lead to some sort of first job offer.

Whether it be a technical certificate from a career and technical school, college courses leading to an Associate of Applied Science degree from NCMC, internships and work experience, short-courses and workshops, or customized training for those in the workforce, career and technical education training is vital to make certain individuals have the skills necessary to help area business and industry remain viable as economic providers to our regional communities. The coordinated CTE and business/industry solutions offered through NCMC’s mission contribute to lifelong learning through accessible, affordable, and quality educational programs across our 17-county service region.

For additional information on any of the above topics, please contact Jason Helton, (660) 357-6278 or [email protected].