Fort Scott Community College offers state-wide incentive program - KOAM TV 7

Fort Scott Community College offers state-wide incentive program to increase education and boost economy

His eyes may be cast down as he welds metal, but Zachary Cox is looking up.  

"I got something I look forward to," said Cox. "I'm going to have a trade after all this done. I can go anywhere in the world I want to work, and I'll have a job."

Cox is a welding student at Fort Scott Community College as part of the Accelerating Opportunity Kansas initiative, also called AO-K.

The program offers adults who lack a high school diploma the chance to earn their degree, while learning an in-demand trade, for free or reduced tuition.  

"Be very likely to get a higher paying job, a job that's highly in demand, such as welding," said Regena Lance, Dean of Instruction at Fort Scott Community College.

The state initiative to increase education and bolster the economy is new to Fort Scott Community College this semester.  

"Our main focus area is for those adult learners to get the education that they need," said Lance.

Regena Lance says it's a winning combination for students, the college and the state.  

Welding instructor Davis Oehme says it also boosts confidence.

"This gives them a chance to get back into the work field and create a career," said Oehme.

This is Cox's motivation. He is currently one of the almost million working-age adults in Kansas who does not have a meaningful post-secondary credential.  

But upon earning his industry-recognized certificate in welding, he'll soon be helping the economy--and opening up his future. X

"The  possibilities are endless. I could work on pipelines, I could go to a factory and just make stuff. Or I could just open my own welding shop, you never know."

Fort Scott Community College currently offers the A-OK program in Welding at its Pittsburg location, It's working to add a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning technical program to its schedule this fall. Anyone interested may contact the school at 620-231-3690.

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