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TSA Students Complete Training Courses at STLCC

February 15, 2012

TSA security officers  
The first group of transportation security officers received Certificates of Achievement for
completing the three courses offered jointly by St. Louis Community College and the
Transportation Security Administration.

The inaugural group of transportation security officers taking courses through a joint program between St. Louis Community College and the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) were honored today (Feb. 15) at a special ceremony at Lambert St. Louis International Airport.

The participants completed the three credit courses required for the TSA Certificate of Achievement. They began their studies in fall 2010. They now have earned nine hours of STLCC credit and will have the opportunity to earn an associate degree in homeland security or a related field.

“St. Louis Community College was uniquely positioned here to provide this program, and we are pleased that 16 of our officers have earned the Certificate of Achievement,” said Bill Switzer, St. Louis TSA federal security director. “The program allows our officers to advance their education and improve their careers opportunities. It also strengthens TSA by giving the work force new skills and information. The program also can be a jump start for those who want to pursue a degree while concurrently working for TSA. Homeland security is one of the fastest growing majors today, and TSA is positioning its employees to excel among their peers in the field.”

A total of 44 employees have participated in the program, with 36 percent completing it and earning a certificate. St. Louis’ cumulative course completion rate is 94 percent, compared to 86 percent nationally. As of fall 2011, 10 percent of eligible transportation security officers (TSOs) participated in the program by enrolling in at least one course. Of the TSOs who have taken a course, 88 percent who pass the course take another within a year. The national average is 81 percent.

“St. Louis Community College is the leader in providing a highly-skilled workforce for the region, and this partnership also highlights the growing role that community colleges must play in preparing students for success in the 21st-century knowledge economy and society,” said Marcia Pfeiffer, STLCC-Florissant Valley president. “In the 10 years since September 11th, we’ve seen the evolution of the homeland security field. Colleges across the country are expanding public administration programs and disaster relief training to produce graduates ready to respond to major disasters. These officers receiving their completion certificates today are the fruition of our first steps.  They are now prepared to further their careers in government, private and public security and criminal justice, or use this program as a springboard to other courses, certificates and quite possibly, a bachelor’s degree or beyond.”

Kalen Reichert, a lead transportation security officer at Lambert, thinks the program will enhance her career opportunities.

"I've learned more about how my role as a lead TSO interconnects with the Department of Homeland Security,” she said. “There are many different processes and departments within Homeland Security, and I see this as a chance to get more relevant education for my career."

As the lead institution in Missouri for Global Corporate College, St. Louis Community College was selected in 2010 to deliver classes leading to a TSA Homeland Security Certificate for transportation security officers at the TSA’s St. Louis office.

Global Corporate College is a nonprofit consortium of community colleges that provides customized, targeted corporate training through a unique network of colleges and college systems across the nation and abroad.

St. Louis was selected by the Transportation Security Agency, along with 23 other locations, which includes airports and GCC community college members. Under this contract, STLCC offers a series of three credit courses, with new students beginning the series every semester. The course topics include an Introduction to Homeland Security, Transportation and Border Security, and Intelligence Analysis and Security Technology.

This spring, 80 airports with more than 60 partner colleges are participating in this program. Nationally, more than 2,500 students currently are enrolled.