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STLCC Officials Hold Public Conversation about North County Workforce Growth

September 27, 2013

Coffee event  
Marcia Pfeiffer, left, Florissant Valley campus president, welcomes guests to the community conversation regarding growing the workforce in north St. Louis County Sept. 23 at the Center for Workforce Innovation.

Nearly 50 representatives from local education, business and industry, community agencies and government joined St. Louis Community College officials Sept. 23 to discuss how the college can help grow the workforce in north St. Louis County.

 

The community conversation was conducted at STLCC’s Center for Workforce Innovation near the Florissant Valley campus.

 

“We are willing to talk to anyone about what we can do together to expand the educational experiences of North County citizens,” said Marcia Pfeiffer, president of the Florissant Valley campus.

 

Panelists for the event included Doris Graham, vice chair of the STLCC Board of Trustees; Melissa Hattman, STLCC trustee; Richard Norris, director of the college’s Center for Plant and Life Sciences; Roderick Nunn, vice chancellor for economic development and workforce solutions; and Chris Stephens, professor in communications at Florissant Valley.

 

Norris noted that St. Louis was highlighted in CNN Money as having the biggest year-over-year growth in technology jobs, increasing 25 percent and ranking as the fastest-growing city for technology jobs in the

country. In terms of economic impact, the market value of start-up companies at the Bio-Research and Development Growth Park that the center has worked directly with through its Contract Research Organization (CRO) is 99 percent higher than the college’s cost commitment to the BRDG Park facility to date.

 

A local start-up, NewLeaf Symbiotics, credits the center’s CRO with helping gets its product in the ground, Norris said. NewLeaf Symbiotics is a science-based company doing cutting-edge research and product development, using a naturally occurring family of beneficial plant bacteria. Student interns did lab work for its product trials, and three were hired after the company gained $7 million in funding. The company expects to commercialize and license products in 2014.

 

Nunn discussed college partnerships with BJC HealthCare, SSM Healthcare and Boeing.

  • STLCC has worked with BJC to develop pre-employment training in medical billing and coding certification and patient care technician. BJC employees have programs in medical billing and coding, coursework in nursing toward an associate degree, allied health prerequisite courses as well as general education courses applicable to STLCC allied health programs. In the patient care program alone, 79 percent of the students enrolled have completed the training, and 69 percent have been placed in jobs.
  • The Boeing Pre-Employment Training program, which prepares applicants for positions as entry-level assembly mechanics, has a completion rate of 75 percent, with 87 percent of those completing placed in jobs.
  • STLCC worked with SSM to develop pre-employment training for medical office assistants and clinical partner/unlicensed assistive personnel, as well as a new model for incumbent workers to train in other allied health jobs. The SSM pre-employment programs have yielded a completion rate of 85 percent, with 79 percent placed in jobs.

Stephens discussed the college’s innovative accelerated general transfer studies degree program, Global Path to Success. The program is built within five thematically organized, team-taught modules that are based on research and understanding of how adults learn. Stephens said students are able to establish connections and relevance between seemingly unconnected subject areas, as well as how experiences apply to the real world can be brought back into the classroom. He said the college has worked with a major St. Louis-based multinational employer to offer a similar program of general education and soft skills training for employees.

 

“We take the word ‘community’ in our title very seriously,” Stephens said.