Clark State’s Short-Term Technical Certificates Diversify Workforce

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

In an effort to fulfill southwest Ohio’s workforce needs, Clark State Community College is now offering 24 Short-Term technical certificates approved through the Ohio Department of Higher Education (ODHE).


While Clark State has offered Short-Term technical certificates for years, the ODHE distinction “allows Clark State Community College to quantify students who are non-degree seeking and better market technical programs to prospective students,” said Kathy Wilcox, Clark State’s dean of health and human services.


Enrollment in Short-Term technical certificate programs at Clark State is on the rise. During the 2014 academic year, Clark State’s Department of Business and Applied Technology issued 42 certificates. Thus far in 2015, the department has already issued 27 certificates, putting it on pace to far exceed last year’s number.


Short-Term technical certificates are unique in that they can be earned in fewer than 30 semester credit hours, providing an alternative credential from full-year certificates and degree programs. Aimee Belanger-Haas, Clark State’s dean of business and applied technologies, said the 30 semester credit hours, coupled with applied work experience, make students desirable in the workforce. She added that many students who completed a Short-Term certificate in geospatial information systems with hands-on experience at Woolpert in Dayton found ful-time employment with the geospatial firm after completing the Short-Term certificate.


Industry partners such as Woolpert play a large role in Clark State’s Short-Term technical certificates. Wilcox said the majority of the students in the medical coding Short-Term certificate program are gaining real-world experience at Springfield Regional Medical Center and Miami Valley Hospital.


“(Medical coding) is really competitive; there is a shortage of medical coders so the partnerships with our regional medical providers are important,” Wilcox said.


Belanger-Haas had similar things to say about the firefighting certificates.


“Trained firefighters were completing the program and filling a need within local, rural fire departments,” she said. “Other partners for the Short-Term technical certificates include Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and Speedway LLC.”


Looking to the future with the Short-Term certificates, a major initiative is under way at Clark State to better engage industry partners as faculty members.


“They [industry partners] are the content experts because they control what is taking place in the field,” Wilcox said. “They are extremely valuable in the classroom.”   


To learn more about the Short-Term certificates at Clark State, visit: