ELDON, Mo. - A partnership between the Eldon Career Center and State Fair Community College will bring more courses to the Eldon and Lake of the Ozarks areas.
"We have more going on this year than ever before with our partnership with State Fair," said Willard Haley, ECC director. "We are doing more of the technical training at Eldon, while the lake campus will maintain a lot of the academics for State Fair."
As of July 30, 19 students had enrolled in 99 credit hours at the college's Eldon campus, said Joanna Anderson, State Fair Community College president.
The Eldon campus will offer degree programs for adults in industrial maintenance, agriculture and practical nursing. The career center has also added its own high school law enforcement and public safety program. This is in addition to its already established programs in agriculture, health occupations, business and media, computer information systems, drafting with an emphasis on computer-aided drafting, automotive technology, building trades, marketing, power sports technology and graphic communications.
Industrial maintenance classes
Interest in offering State Fair classes at the career center began with the Johnson Controls plant in Eldon, whose employees had begun taking SFCC classes to advance their level of education.
"It has now grown to a point where there are going to be complete degree programs at Eldon Career Center through State Fair," Haley said. Offering the classes at the career center will expand them to a wider range of students and allow Johnson Controls employees to earn college credit, he said.
The college will offer an associate of applied science degree in industrial technology with emphasis in electrical maintenance, a professional certificate in total productive maintenance and skills certificates in control technology and electro-mechanical technology. The industrial maintenance program is entirely new for the college and not offered on any of its other campuses.
"Some of the students will come to work at the Johnson Controls plant; many won't. But they will go on to do other things for other people," said Don Smith, Johnson Controls plant manager.
With classes scheduled in the evenings, the program will be designed for workers to attend after their shifts. Any student with a high school diploma or GED may enroll.
Agriculture program expanding
The college's agriculture program will supplement an already thriving high school program at Eldon Career Center.
"Agriculture has been very strong through the Eldon community. Our program at the high school level has been very successful. We have had a lot of students from local high schools completing college degrees in agriculture," Haley said.
The high school agriculture program includes instruction in horticulture, plant and animal sciences, and agriculture mechanics. Students often begin the program in their freshman year. Now, once students graduate from ECC's high school program, they can begin work on an associate of arts degree with emphasis in agriculture onsite with State Fair.
"Once they obtain their two-year degree at the career center, students can then transfer on to a four-year college if they would like to and continue working on the bachelor of science in agriculture," Haley said.
Nursing program transferred to college
The Eldon Career Center has had its own practical nursing center for more than 20 years. But this year, responsibility for the program will be transferred to State Fair, which will eventually add a registered nurse program.
"Once (students) got their practical nursing degree, many of them were looking for a registered nursing program to go to, and they would have to travel. It just made sense to get them a program in Eldon for it," Haley said.
Federal funding challenges for ECC's nursing center also contributed to the college taking over the program.
"Every career center in the state was mandated to find another way to do it or sign up with local community colleges," said John McMahon, director at State Fair's lake campus.
The college's practical nursing program at the Eldon campus will begin offering a professional certificate in practical nursing in January 2014, pending anticipated approval from the Missouri Coordinating Board of Higher Education and the Missouri State Board of Nursing. Students who wish to enter the program should complete prerequisites during the fall semester and apply for admission to the program. Classes will last all day from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The registered nursing program will be added in 2015.
Law enforcement program added
Outside of the SFCC partnership, the ECC has added its own high school law enforcement and public safety program for this school year.
"We are incorporating some introduction to law enforcement classes and some crime-scene investigation," Haley said.
Law enforcement classes will be taught by newly hired instructor Chad Hinds, who has eight years of experience working with the St. Louis police force.
Building up the community
"In order for a community to grow, to attract new businesses and to thrive, a strong presence of post-secondary education is essential. The Eldon R-I School District and the Eldon Career Center are proud to be partnering with State Fair Community College to increase the post-secondary educational opportunities for the Eldon area," Haley said at a ribbon-cutting at the Eldon campus July 30.
Haley said each new program will benefit the community's workforce and local businesses.
"It will be great for the Eldon community to offer these degree programs for our local workforce and provide a location where they can stay in the Eldon area to obtain these degrees," Haley said. "It will raise the education level of our local workforce and will be fantastic for local employers."
The application process and tuition fees will be the same for SFCC programs at the Eldon campus as at all other SFCC satellite campuses. For more information about the programs, contact the Eldon Career Center at 392-8060 or State Fair Community College-Lake of the Ozarks at 348-0888 or visit the college's website at sfccmo.edu.