Workforce Preparation at Muskogee, OK Colleges
PHOTO CREDIT: Antony Boshier
When it comes to workforce development, Muskogee means business. Residents of the city have a wealth of choices to train for and advance their careers.
Connors State College
At Connors State College, experience meets intuition in an innovative program that helps residents succeed in economically difficult times.
Connors State now has ESP, which in this case means Education Stimulus Program. Starting in May 2009, qualifying residents who have lost their jobs may take up to nine hours of classes tuition-free to help them return to the workforce as soon as possible.
Donnie Nero, the college’s president, says the program will remain active as long as there is a demand in the community. “We want to make sure we change, so we are providing a program our area’s employers need,” he says. Initial enrollments included students in computer and child care classes, he says.
Thanks to a partnership with Muskogee’s Workforce Oklahoma Board, students also may receive funding toward fees and books.
Elsewhere on campus, Nero says programs are experiencing consistent increases reflective of growth in corresponding career fields such as nursing.
He praised the strong relationship among Muskogee’s education community, which continues to pave the way for students to have a seamless education experience should they need to move from one campus to another to complete their studies.
Staying attuned to the business community’s needs remains critical, Nero says.
“We want to work with our business partners to make sure we offer classes in occupations where there is a demand for jobs,” he says. Muskogee’s longstanding practice of partnering among education and business entities has a clear economic benefit.
“The majority of our students remain in the area and contribute to the local economy,” he says.
Indian Capital Technology Center
Residents wanting to develop or hone skills may turn to evening, weekend or online classes at Indian Capital Technology Center.
Classes lasting eight to 12 weeks often feature instructors employed in the content area and involve extensive hands-on learning.
While the average student is a woman returning to school in her 30s and early 40s, Lisa Benjamin, the center’s adult career development coordinator, says the center is seeing increasing male enrollment.
Classes for health and medical careers are some of the fastest growing, Benjamin says. The classes are a prime example of strong relationships with community partners, as clinical training takes place at area hospitals.
Indian Capital’s low cost per clock hour, starting at $1.75, helps residents get career-advancing training at a budget-friendly cost. “It’s a short investment of time and money,” Benjamin says.
By offering courses in the evening, during the weekend and online residents can advance their careers while maintaining their current employment. Indian Capital’s Muskogee campus also offers programs for high school students as well as daytime programs in a wide range of industries, including hospitality and lodging management, air conditioning, and culinary arts.
The continuing-education nature of many of Indian Capital’s programs results in a swift, visible economic impact. “You immediately see people go back out in the community and apply their skills,” she says.
Northeastern State University also offers a variety of continuing education programs, with many targeted to enhance career skills, particularly with computers.
Other Muskogee area career-focused educational facilities include Bacone College, which has a Division of Adult Education that caters to nontraditional students and offer many classes for degree programs off-campus, and Virgil’s Beauty College, a nationally accredited cosmetology school that has been training future beauticians for nearly 40 years.
Find more on education in Muskogee.