Gov. Mike Parson is scheduled to visit Springfield today as Ozarks Technical Community College cuts the ribbon on its new Allied Health Student Success Center.
The 1,500-square-foot center currently has two employees — with plans for more — that will advise students in the college’s allied health program, said OTC spokesman Mark Miller. The center is located in repurposed space within Lincoln Hall.
Parson is among state and local officials expected to speak at the ceremony for the center, which was funded entirely by a $180,000 MoExcels Workforce Initiative grant.
“The whole idea there is our college is undergoing a change to improve our advising system,” Miller said, noting the space allows for more private sessions with students. “Better advising leads to better outcomes and more graduates.”
Warrensburg-based Reasbeck Construction Inc. was general contractor for the project, with Paragon Architecture LLC handling the design, Miller said. Design work began in September and infill work of the former classroom in Lincoln Hall took place over winter break. The project wrapped up in January.
“We got it done very quickly,” Miller said. “We think it’s very important as far as workforce goes.”
OTC currently retains and graduates 81% of its allied health students, according to Miller. As of fall 2019, the program had 554 students enrolled – up 5.3% from 2018’s enrollment of 526.
“Our allied health students are typically among our best students,” Miller said. “It’s competitive to get into that program. Retention is pretty strong, but hopefully this will improve that number even more.”
The grant, which paid for the center’s construction and furnishings, is part of $3.1 million in one-time funding the state provided in its operating budget for fiscal 2020. That funding was designated by the legislature for the Ozark Region Nursing Collaboration, a project between Missouri State University and OTC to help meet the need for nurses in the region, according to school officials.
Funding proposals for OTC and MSU through MoExcels also are being supported by Parson as part of his proposed $31 billion state budget for fiscal 2021. OTC’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing tops the funding proposals for this year’s MoExcels program, at $2.5 million, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting. Additionally, Parson recommended nearly $1.8 million for MSU to launch a collaborative cybersecurity training program for students in the Jordan Valley Innovation Center.
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