OWATC Success Center gets $83K

Oct 14 2011 - 7:43pm

OGDEN -- Ogden-Weber Applied Technology College has received $83,000 in new funding for its Student Success Center.

The Cross Charitable Foundation gave the college a $75,000 grant to provide support to the center. The funds will be used to hire a job skills instructor and a mentor.

A separate grant of $8,000, awarded recently by the Latter-day Saints Foundation, will be used by the Success Center to buy equipment and supplies and to cover the cost of monthly workshops.

"We really have an extraordinary community that is willing to donate to give people a chance," said Rhonda Lauritzen, OWATC vice president of student services. "These students have done so much for themselves, they just need a little packaging to go into the workforce."

The OWATC Student Success Center, established in November 2010, teaches monthly workshops on how to succeed in school, in the job search and in finding a career. It has served more than 700 students in its first year.

Topics addressed include getting financial aid, staying in school, completing training, job search skills and obtaining training-related employment.

"We provide workshops and mentoring," Lauritzen said. "We have found students trained and ready to go on their tech skills, they just need a little polishing before their job interviews. They may need resume or interview skills, or a second pair of eyes on their interview outfit. At the Success Center, people can work with them one-on-one to help them package themselves in a confident way."

The center has been run by one support staffer and two federally funded AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers, Lauritzen said, but access to the volunteers will end soon. The money from the Cross Charitable Foundation will allow OWATC to hire two teaching staffers and possibly to expand the training and services the center can offer.

Lauritzen said she was proud when she saw construction students who had completed Success Center workshops show up at a spring job fair dressed in pressed, professional-looking suits, carrying their portfolios and ready to present themselves, graciously and with confidence, to potential employers.

"They came into the career fair with new haircuts, suits and ties, looking so sharp," Lauritzen said. "That's not normal for workers in the construction field, so it set these students above the norm. It's a little thing, but it makes a big difference."

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