Thursday, March 24, 2011

New certificate available to students at OCTC

By Dariush Shafa, Messenger-Inquirer
Published: Thursday, March 24, 2011 12:36 AM CDT
A new certificate program is available at Owensboro Community & Technical College through a partnership with the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp.

The Financial and Customer Services certificate will be available starting as a pilot program in the fall semester.

Administrators at OCTC and the EDC said the certificate will expand opportunities for Owensboro's students, present and future.

Taught through the business department at OCTC, the certificate will require four classes. Topics for those classes range from basic customer service to communications to finance and money.

They are available to both present traditional students and dual-credit high school students attending through Discover College.

The courses can also be used for an associate's degree or beyond.

"All the courses within the certificates are offered at OCTC. There's no new courses created," said Stacy Edds-Ellis, associate dean of academic affairs. "It's a clear pathway to build upon in the business sector. It also provides a great dual-credit opportunity through Discover College. What we are hoping it does for the students is the same thing it does for the community, and that is to meet a need."

Nick Brake, president of the EDC, said this is one more example of tailoring education to meet Owensboro's need for employees at businesses like U.S. Bank or First Security Bank.

"We have multiple partnerships with the college in helping focus their preparation on work force development," Brake said. "This most recent one is important because so many jobs nationally and locally are really tied to professional services and the financial sector is a growing sector here."

Brake said as jobs become available Owensboro residents should be able to snap them up, and this certificate helps make that possible.

"It's a really good pathway that aligns with where jobs are going both locally and nationally," Brake said. "The jobs are really out there. You're seeing these kinds of things present themselves. Students can actually start in high school in this pathway, so it presents a lot of options, and it's general enough so that it doesn't pigeonhole students as they climb the educational ladder."

A ribbon cutting is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. today for the new U.S. Bank loan servicing center. About 215 people will be moved into the new building, which should be open for business by Monday.