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The Role of Community Colleges[Part_2]

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/theroleofc_3121.mp3

Following the defeat of the proposed levy increase in November, Ozarks Technical Community College Hal Higdon wondered if voters might not be aware of the role a community college has in a community. In this two part program, we explore the role of community colleges and specifically, the role of OTC by hearing from Higdon and O-T-C students.

Students in the automotive program at Ozarks Technical Community College are working in a garage with the kind of sophisticated equipment you'd find at a dealership.

John Herman is from Cuba, Missouri and is in the automotive program.

James Baird also likes the scene at Ozarks Technical Community College.

It wasn't just proximity that made James Baird consider O-T-C. He says it was a great deal for him financially.

O-T-C is also a good fit for Desarae Smock who says she doesn't do well in traditional subjects like math. She plans to graduate in May, 2009 and when she does, she'll be the first in her family with a degree. She says she has big plans for her future.

Faculty at O-T-C say they see the value of having a community college in Springfield. Gloria McTeer teaches in the business department

Ozarks Technical Community College offers a long list of programs but O-T-C president Hal Higdon says most people aren't aware of them.

O-T-C has faced a good deal of criticism and a lot of questions in the last few months as voters overwhelmingly rejected a levy increase for the college. Some argued O-T-C should focus exclusively on its technical education program and should stop teaching general education courses. There are those who see O-T-C's general education courses as competition for Missouri State University, Drury University and others. Higdon says general education classes are not expensive...unlike the technical programs.

Higdon says some of the confusion comes from what the voters thought they were getting when O-T-C was first established.

Higdon says O-T-C has an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. He says students who would never dream of attending larger schools find themselves using programs at O-T-C.