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Odessa College

Congratulations to NC3’s May 2023 School on the Rise, Odessa College! Since becoming an NC3 Leadership and LEEPS School in 2021, Odessa has issued over 1,800 certifications including Lincoln Electric and Snap-on! Odessa College has made a commitment to preparing their students for a successful future through robust career and technical education.

Robert Turner is the Director of Ford ASSET, Diesel and Automotive Technology at Odessa College. After maintaining a successful career in the diesel and automotive industry, Mr. Turner became interested in educating the next generation. When asked about his motivation to support Odessa College in issuing NC3’s certifications, he said

“The goal of any automotive or diesel program should be to help develop the skills young technicians in the program need. Industry certifications help prove they have the skills and mastered the knowledge.”

Odessa’s automotive and diesel programs focus on micro-certifications. The institution has implemented 23 NC3 certifications with plans to add more in the upcoming academic year. Integrated as part of the general curriculum, high school students are offered dual credit which provides them with an advantage upon graduating. CTE programs are unique as students are unable to show their skills outside of the classroom. Mr. Turner’s students are excited to have evidence of their skills to show to their families and prospective employers. 

Despite the plentiful benefits of participating in CTE programs, educators can have difficulty getting students interested in certain fields. Odessa’s partnership with a nearby school district, Ector ISD has been influential and engaging students in meaningful learning opportunities.

“Currently, there are over 250 high school students who come to Odessa to learn a new trade. They get to use the same equipment, train, and earn the same industry certification as the adult students. They also get to meet and hear from our industry partners throughout the year.”

Mr. Turner’s students have made a significant impact on his experience as an educator. He recalled an interaction with a recent Odessa graduate where they described their change in perspective as they continued their education. At 22 years old, the student has purchased a home, a new car, and is employed in their field of study. 

Odessa’s Earn While You Learn Program involves 15 community partners that hire adult students within the first eight weeks of their CTE program. Students receive a mentor and tuition assistance. Currently, 98% of Odessa’s adult student population is working in the industry associated with their certifications. 

Community partnership is one of the keys to success for implementing successful CTE programs. Mr. Turner described Odessa’s local partners as the backbone of their programs. 

“We simply could not do what we do if we did not have the support from them. They help with our curriculum, purchasing equipment, and hiring our students. One of our partners donated the land our new automotive and diesel building is located on.”

Syed Muhammad R Naqvi is the Department Chairman of Industrial Technology at Odessa College. Motivated by seeing students graduate with the resources necessary to enter the workforce, Mr. Naqvi views every student who can find better employment opportunities as an asset to their community. He believes that NC3 certifications increase the types of job opportunities available to students. 

“Our local industry requires employees who can do various types of welding and repair work. Local businesses do interviews and offer jobs to our students on the spot.”

Dr. Gene White Jr. is the Dean of the School of Business and Industry at Odessa College. Originally starting as an adjunct instructor at a community college in Arkansas, Mr. White transitioned into teaching advanced computer science classes. He eventually pursued administrative opportunities, leading to his current position. 

Inspired by his own experience in education, Mr. White seeks to provide his students with the same opportunities he was afforded. He described the important role community colleges play in a community, providing students with a chance to be successful through continuing education.

To many students, the ability to obtain NC3 certifications is life-changing for themselves and their families. Institutions have their choice to provide students with CTE curriculum. When asked about why Odessa chose NC3, Mr. White said,

“NC3 allows us to offer industry-standard certifications and valuable curriculum support as we work to provide our students with the necessary foundation to steer them towards high quality, high-value employment opportunities in the Permian Basin and beyond.”

Odessa College’s School of Business and Industry places a high value on their industry and local partnerships. Mr. White actively seeks the input of their community to help curate curriculum. Doing so produces employable graduates, leading to a well-informed workforce and successful families. 

Odessa has had many achievements throughout the years. The institution was selected by the Aspen Institute as one of 10 community colleges to participate in the Unlocking Opportunity Initiative, a nationwide network of schools committed to post-graduate success. Over the past 10 years, their enrollment rates in CTE programs have increased 20%. One of two colleges to receive the 2018 Leah Meyer Austin Award, Odessa is proud to recognize their accomplishments over time. 

Mr. Turner, Mr. Naqvi, and Mr. White are eager for Odessa’s future. As they prepare to add new Kubota, 3M, and Trane certifications to their program offerings, they look forward to providing students with more opportunities to become lifelong learners. Mr. White describes Odessa’s administration as poised to continue their efforts towards becoming the best institution in the country.

Congratulations to Odessa College! Thank you for choosing NC3 to help accomplish your goal of becoming the best school in the nation. 

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Stay tuned for our next School on the Rise recipient in June 2023!

Questions about NC3’s School on the Rise? Please contact Erika Staackmann, Customer Success Coordinator, 847.533.6985, Erika.Staackmann@nc3.net 

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