As an upper-level Chemistry major at OTC, Megan Westwood’s current transcript naturally reflects many credit hours awarded in CHM and other STEM courses. So, it was a bit of a surprise when she became aware that something was missing. “As a chemistry major taking upper division courses,’ Megan said, “I [sic] noticed a large gap in the knowledge that my peers know and what I know.” This ‘gap’ was a lack of intensive laboratory experience on industry-relevant equipment. To fill this gap, Megan turned to the MSW Chemical Laboratory Technology [CLT] Certificate program.
Obtaining a CLT certificate provides students with a year of hands-on, real-life, laboratory experience—currently in high demand by most employers. “One of the reasons I was drawn to the program initially is that it is lab-based, which lets us as students hone our lab skills and gain confidence while still in an academic setting,” she stated.
To date, OTC’s CLT program is only the second one offered within the state. The skills it imparts are critical for Megan’s transition to gainful employment. “As an undergraduate student, the instrumentation I used allowed me to have an upper hand when applying for research and internships, because I don’t require additional training. A requirement of the program is to take lab courses in several branches of science, which makes the students who graduate start out as more knowledgeable laboratory employees and students. The real-life scenarios of the labs permit me to apply the techniques I learned to actual situations and train me on the etiquette of reporting data to clients properly. The CLT program at OTC has given me the opportunity to become proficient in common laboratory techniques and instruments while still pursuing my education.”
Per Megan, the CLT program has been of benefit in many other ways as well. “I gained knowledge in the program that several years of chemistry courses did not show me, such as the reality of working in a chemistry environment and what to do when things do not go as planned. CLT also helped me learn about instrumentation that I would not ordinarily be using in other chemistry courses.” Most importantly, she says, “It allowed me to gain important and applicable knowledge that aids in my understanding of adjacent courses and can be applied to both undergraduate and graduate levels in the field of Chemistry. It’s important to mention that the confidence I gained while taking these specific courses has been a key part of my success as a Chemistry major.”
Mary Jo Henke, first contacted the grant office on August 18th, after seeing a flyer about our grant program at the JC Career Center.
I contacted her by phone. She informed me that she is currently unemployed. She previously worked for a dentist in the area as an office support assistant. This dentist retired, leaving her jobless. We talked briefly about her employment/education goals. She inquired about the health science programs here at State Technical College, but was not interested in any long term educational programs. However, she expressed the importance of the knowledge and use of computer applications in any employment field and wants to learn more. If possible, she desires to continue to work in the dental field.
I expressed my desire for her to enroll in the Computer Concepts class which would begin in just a few days. Because of the obtainment of an NCRC and a minimum net score of keyboarding at least 10 WPM prior to class attendance, I asked that she please call or visit the JC Career Center as soon as possible to schedule a time for WorkKey testing and to fill out an application, which she did. On September 7th, I stopped by the Career Center to pick up her application and to speak to several of the staff about Ms. Henke. Her husband is a Veteran, so I spoke with the Vet Representative, S. Burch, who said he will discuss further opportunities for her, since she is a spouse of a veteran. I also consulted with Jerri Bowles, to make her aware of her employment goals.
I personally met Ms. Henke the first night of class, September 11th, 2017. I previously registered her with the Learning Express Library website, so I took the opportunity that evening to show her the content and availability of various resources, such as sample career practice exams, academic material, etc. Also, because her keyboarding score was less than 25 WPM, I gave her several free keyboarding websites for her to access and encouraged her to practice. I also gave each class participant, including Ms. Henke, a packet of material including instructional guides on: filling out the job application, first impressions in a job interview, dynamics of interviewing skills, ad resume writing. I suggested that she contact me any time, if need be.
On September 26th, I informed the class of an upcoming Career Fair that was scheduled at the Capital Mall on 9/28/17, and encouraged all to attend.
Several phone calls were made back and forth. At one point, she considered not completing the class because she didn’t have enough confidence in completing/passing the class. I encouraged her to continue in the class. I also suggested several open employment opportunities that I thought she’d be interested in. She was applying at several locations, but she either did not hear back from them, or they were only hiring part-time.
Ms. Henke continued with class and completed/passed the Microsoft Digital Literacy Certificate and the Microsoft Word Reproduction exit assessment. However, she did not earn the Certificate of Completion because she was not able to increase her keyboarding score to at least 25 WPM.
I personally spoke with Ms. Henke again on 12-5-17. We sat and discussed each other’s career goals, retirement, employment, etc. She continues to search for employment.
Today, 1/2/2018, I received a phone call from Ms. Henke. She accepted a full time position as the State Coordinator for the Dental Association for the State of Missouri! She was very thankful for the assistance she received, especially the interviewing guides. She had a phone and a face-to-face interview and said that all of the sample interview questions I gave her were almost verbatim to what they asked of her! In addition, she said that the advice I gave her to ask the question, “What are you looking for in a good employee?” at the end of the interview was excellent. The interviewer even commented on what a good question that was.
The Dental Association of Denver, Colorado is flying her out to Denver next week for a one week training and then her office will be located in Jefferson City soon after training.
I emailed her a website that provided free tutorials on Microsoft Office applications, requesting that she may want to ‘brush up’. Furthermore, I encouraged her to continue on her keyboarding skills, and that if she felt confident and could prove that she could keyboard 25 WPM or more, I would be glad to document that and give her a Certificate of Completion.
I congratulated her, not only on her new employment find, but of the many successes along the way, especially her ‘pressing forward’ when the going got ‘rough’.
We’ll stay in touch; I’m sure.
Grant Reentry Coordinator/Instructor
State Technical College of Missouri
Linn, MO 65051
When her son was diagnosed with meningitis and a brain empyema, Stephanie Boyer had to learn all about his different medications. She says this is what sparked her interest in pharmacy.
As the grant heads toward closeout, it's time to take a close look at the data that you're uploading to ETO.
During its last meeting, the Data Advisory Task Force was asked to review scorecards and related career exploration tools developed by other states. At least 23 states currently have some form of a scorecard, so there are several examples to review for best practices to incorporate into the Missouri Scorecard.
Through MoSTEMWINs, State Technical College of Missouri has been able to offer industry-recognized credentials, including the National Career Readiness Certificate, a Microsoft certification in Keyboarding, and a certificate of completion from the college focusing on knowledge of Word, Excel and Office.
At the end of April, grant leads and advisors met to discuss the progress of MoSTEMWINs consortium programs.
As one of two states to receive millions of additional funds for data integration, the progress of Missouri’s MoSTEMWINs data initiatives is something the nation is watching closely. Here’s where the projects currently stand.
Missouri was one of three TAACCCT participants chosen to present at the Congressional Staff Network forum on Workforce and Economic Security last month in Washington, D.C.
Dawn Busick, MoWINs Grant Director discussed our progress with intrusive advising, while representatives from Sinclair College in Ohio and William Rainey Harper College in Illinois discussed competency-based education and stackable credentials. We also shared the MoWINs Innovations Report published in December, along with the final reports from MoHealthWINs and MoManufacturingWINs.
The panel also discussed employer engagement, financial aid barriers, alternative (non-term) delivery models and credit for prior learning. The goal of the presentation was to help members of congress and other leaders learn more about the successful innovations taking place as a result of federal investment in these programs.