Month: November 2023


Tuition Available for Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Students

November 29, 2023 | Campus News

The Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (DHSS) is providing East Central College with funding to offset 90 percent of the program costs for students looking to complete the Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) program at the College.

Interested students need to be 18 years of age and employable. Eligible students will be required to pay $150 to enroll in the 16-week program.

The DHSS is providing the funding to help fill the large vacancies found in a profession that is drastically understaffed. A majority of long-term care facilities and hospitals rely heavily on CNAs to help patients with everyday activities such as getting dressed, eating meals and bathing.

According to a 2023 workforce report by the Missouri Hospital Association, there are 826 vacant CNA positions in the St. Louis region, 2,360 in the state of Missouri.

This round of funding is available until May 31, 2024. For more information, contact Terri Warmack, Health Careers Outreach Coordinator, at 636.584.6531 or view the CNA webpage.


ECC Defender Named to All-American Team

November 29, 2023 | Athletics Campus News

East Central College soccer player Jules Denommee has been named 3rd Team All-American for the 2023 season by the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) DII Men’s Soccer committee. Denommee, a freshman defender from Montreal, Canada, was honored on Nov. 28 for this achievement.

ECC Athletic Director Dr. Jay Mehrhoff stated that Denommee’s exceptional work on the field was recognized by the Region 16 coaches, who voted him 1st Team All-Region and 1st Team All-Conference for his accomplishments and gameplay throughout the 2023 campaign. He was the No. 2 ranked player in the region.

Denommee’s statistical numbers were impressive for a left-back with 7 assists in a position that rarely gets into the offensive attack. He also scored one goal and started 17 of 18 games in the season.

With a team record of 10-6-2, the year was highlighted by good defensive play, and Denommee stood out as the most shutdown defender in NJCAA Region 16, in addition to his offensive prowess. Denommee scored 9 points during the season, took 5 shots, and had a shot percentage of .200. He also secured a game-winning goal this season.


PTK Honor Society at ECC Rolla Inducts Members

November 21, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

The Beta Omicron Phi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society at East Central College in Rolla inducted several new members into the organization.

An induction ceremony recognizing the new members was held in October. Cole Halfaker, ECC student services specialist, was the keynote speaker during the ceremony.

New members are:

Mikayla Bigler, Amy Hiatt, Mary Howard, Kiernan Twyman, Molly Linkeman, McKenzie Burns, Karen Deardeuff, Alexia Govero, Justin Heberlie, Madyson Helmuth, Autumn Hoevel, Kristen Kibbons, Mae May, Emily Neulinger, Babajide Olatunbosun, Alisha Paradise, Philip Riche, Christabel Southards, Allister Hawkins, Jonathan Metzen, Nathanael Horton, Emma Willison, Isabella Wingard and Gage Klossner

PTK is an international honor society for two-year colleges. Members pursue activities that fall under the direction of the society’s hallmarks of Scholarship, Leadership, Service, and Fellowship.

To be eligible for induction, students must maintain a grade point average of at least 3.4 for one semester and maintain a 3.2 GPA after their induction. Students can be pursuing any major, degree or certificate.

Other students could still be eligible to join but haven’t yet. Students invited to be in the PTK can still do so through the end of the year. For more information about PTK in Rolla, contact PTK advisor Dr. Elizabeth Winters-Rozema at 573-466-4084 or


WEG Transformers Presented MCCA Industry Award for ECC Partnership

November 17, 2023 | Campus News

A local industry with an international footprint was recognized by the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) for its work with East Central College

WEG Transformers USA, based in Washington, was presented a Distinguished Business and Industry Award on Nov. 9 during the MCCA annual conference. WEG was nominated for the award by ECC because of the industry’s work with the College’s Adult Education & Literacy (AEL) program.

A Distinguished Business and Industry Award was presented by the MCCA to WEG Transformers, an international company based in Washington, Mo. WEG was nominated for the award by ECC because of the industry’s work with the College’s Adult Education & Literacy program.

WEG is an international company that operates at three locations in Washington designing and producing electrical transformers and substations. In 2021, the company hired 30 immigrants from St. Louis to work at their facilities and wanted them to enhance their English language skills to better understand the culture and their workforce.

That’s where the relationship between WEG and ECC’s AEL began.

The employees, immigrants from across the world, that includes India, Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Afghanistan, were placed with WEG through the International Institute of St. Louis (IISTL) — an immigrant and job placement service/information hub which connects refugees and immigrants to a variety of opportunities in the St. Louis region.

Beginning February 2022, the AEL program worked with the new WEG employees to further develop their English language skills that included specific lingo and language used in the Manufacturing industry.

The English Language Acquisition classes were taught by ECC at the WEG facilities before or after the employees’ regular work schedule. As a result, 12 of 30 employees successfully completed the. Several of them were honored by the College during the Student Achievement ceremony held April 2023.

The unique public/private partnership has resulted in more qualified employees for WEG Transformers and maintains their competitive edge and enhances the lives of a group of workers as they adapt and adjust to their new homeland.


ECC Advisor Selected for Missouri Community College Award

November 16, 2023 | Campus News

Melanie Dixon, ECC Early College and Admissions Specialist, is recognized by her colleagues for her supportive nature and positive spirit.

That’s just one reason why she received the Classified Staff Achievement Award from the Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) during its annual conference. Dixon, who has dedicated 17 years to ECC, goes above and beyond her day-to-day responsibilities by serving as an advisor for the ECC Union chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.

Dixon is one of two employees selected among her peers from the 12 community colleges in Missouri to receive the award. It was presented during a banquet held on Nov. 9 in Kansas City.

Each year, the MCCA Annual Recognition and Excellence Awards program acknowledges individuals and institutions that have set the standard of excellence during the year.

In addition to Dixon, ECC Trustees Ina “Cookie Hays” received the Distinguished Alumni Award, and WEG Transformers, nominated by ECC, received an MCCA Distinguished Business and Industry Award. Other ECC employees were finalists for 2003 MCCA awards:

  • Tracy Mowery, Associate Professor of Biology — Excellence in Teaching Award nominee.
  • Nancy Mitchell, Dean of Health Sciences — Administrative Professional Leadership Award.
  • Susan Giesing, Elementary Education adjunct — Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award nominee.
  • Lisa Hanneken, Accounting and Business Instructor and Programs Director, and Tanner French, Accounting and Business Instructor — Innovation Award.

Dixon’s Award

As one of three advisors on the award-winning PTK team, Dixon works diligently to ensure the chapter’s success and longevity.

“Melanie has been a highly active PTK advisor for many years, and students speak highly of her, regarding her as kind, caring, and supportive,” her nomination reads. “She is a reliable and knowledgeable colleague who always offers help when she can.”

The continued time and energy Melanie dedicates both in her role in the Department of Early College & Admissions and as a PTK advisor exemplify the criteria of the Classified Staff Achievement Award.

“Melanie’s service to the College has a positive impact on the student experience at East Central College, whether they are new or prospective students or enrolled students joining Phi Theta Kappa. It is an honor to recognize Melanie for her work and dedication.”


Hays Receives Missouri Community College Association Alumni Award

November 15, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College Trustee and graduate Ina “Cookie” Hays received a Missouri Community College Association (MCCA) 2023 Distinguished Alumni Award.

Each year, the MCCA Annual Recognition and Excellence Awards program recognizes individuals and institutions that have set the standard of excellence during the year. The award recipients were announced during a banquet Thursday, Nov. 9, in Kansas City.

Hays’ recognition comes on the heels of Hays receiving the ECC Outstanding Alumni Award presented in May by the ECC Foundation — the highest award presented to a graduate. It recognizes a graduate who has brought honor to the college through professional achievement, leadership, and community impact.

Hays was both a student and student employee when she graduated from ECC in 1973.  Since then, she has dedicated more than 50 years of service to the College as an employee and trustee. In fact, she is the only person to be a graduate, a support staff member, a professional staff member, an administrator, and a trustee at ECC.

Beginning at ECC

As part of an early graduating classes at ECC, Hays was initially taking classes in Union Memorial Auditorium before and then moving to the current campus to take courses.

After graduation, she began her professional career that would extend 41 years at ECC. Hays began as an administrative assistant, a role she served for 15 years. She then moved into the position of assistant to a vice president for a year.

In 1989, she became an academic advisor, a position she held for 9 years. Hays served as the interim director of counseling services for a year until she was appointed to that position, serving for another year.

Hays’ next step at ECC was as the dean of student development, a role that she served in for eight years. Then, in 2009 she was named the vice president of student development. She retired from the College in 2014 while serving as the vice president of student development.

President’s Remarks

“Cookie’s involvement has included being a student, student-worker, classified staff, professional staff, administrator, and trustee,” said Dr. Jon Bauer, college president. “Along the way she has impacted thousands of lives and fulfilled the dream the college’s founders had in mind when East Central College was established in 1968. Our college and community are better because of Cookie’s service and leadership.”

Hays collaborated with every department on the Union campus and at the College extension sites. Her position at ECC took her to every high school district throughout the service region.

“I loved working with the faculty and staff, but my greatest reward came from working one-on-one with the students, where I grew to understand what they need and expect from their community college,” she said.

While employed at ECC, Hays earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Management from Maryville University, and then received a Master of Education in Counseling from the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

In 2016, two years after retiring from the College, Hays was elected to her first six-year term on the ECC Board of Trustees. She was re-elected in 2022 and serves as Board Secretary.


CWD Apprenticeship Program — Empowers Employee and Industry Growth

November 8, 2023 | Campus News

Robert Laws’ successful completion of the Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship through the East Central College Center for Workforce Development (CWD) is a testament to the value of workforce development and education collaboration.

Laws, Union, a dedicated employee at Silgan Plastics in Union, provides a prime example of how the CWD continually offers opportunities for local employees to enhance their skills, advance their careers, and contribute to industry growth.

The Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship is offered through the is offered through the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) apprenticeship program, coordinated and instructed by ECC’s CWD.

At 40 years old, Laws, who has been with Silgan Plastics for seven years, emphasizes the apprenticeship’s importance in advancing his career and deepening his understanding of industrial processes. He strongly encourages others with similar opportunities to seize them.

“I would highly encourage this program to anyone who wants to move forward in a position, or who wants to better understand how things around industry function,” he said. “The apprenticeship has assisted me in my problem-solving skills when dealing with various types of equipment.”

Laws explained that the apprenticeship was offered through Silgan at a time when he was looking to continue his education.

“It just so happened that the timing was right, and the opportunity was available in a discipline that interested me,” he commented.

“While taking classes and working in the maintenance department, I was able to apply the knowledge I gained to real-life situations,” Laws added. “Having both in-class learning and on-the-job training made it much easier to solve and understand issues we encounter in our industry on a daily basis.”

Industry Benefits

Laws is the first of five employees at Silgan to complete the apprenticeship. Jeanie Ray, Human Resource Manager at Silgan, emphasized that employees enrolled in the program exhibit higher competence and confidence after starting.

“The most significant benefit we see is faster progress toward becoming qualified mechanics,” she said. “The employees are also more engaged, display a great attitude, and are unafraid to tackle tasks. They have a positive attitude toward learning new skills and are better team players.”

Ray further noted that any industry offering Department of Labor registered apprenticeships to its employees will benefit from this ECC CWD Apprenticeship Program.

“We would recommend any manufacturer to utilize the program,” she added. “The benefits to us have been well worth the effort.”

Apprenticeship Participation

According to Laws, beginning the Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship through the CWD was seamless.

“It was incredibly easy to access due to the support provided by Silgan and East Central College,” he stated.

Ray added that Silgan cooperated with any employee interested in participating in the apprenticeship.

“We allowed employees to make their own decisions regarding program participation,” she noted. “If they chose to do it, we adjusted their work schedule to ensure they could attend the program without any penalty.”

CWD Apprenticeships

CWD apprenticeship programs are more than a catalyst for improved productivity. They also boost the bottom line for companies, all while offering opportunities for tax credits and employee benefits. Currently, ECC offers DOL registered apprenticeship programs in various technical occupations, including Industrial Engineering Technology, Welding, Precision Machining, and Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning.

Melissa Richards, the ECC CWD Apprenticeship and Business Training Coordinator, highlighted the reach of DOL-registered apprenticeship programs, which span over 1,000 occupations and continue to grow. These apprenticeships are accessible to both union and non-union organizations.

“We have been strong with technical apprenticeships for over five years, and now we are working to register more apprenticeship occupations in the areas of health care and information technology,” she said.

The CWD’s is at the forefront of creating industry-leading and adaptable training solutions to meet both national and local needs. It’s important to note that for every $1 invested in an apprenticeship, employers can expect approximately $1.50 in return on investment, Richards added.

For more information about apprenticeship programs, contact the ECC CWD at or 636-649-5800.


College Receives State Grant to Encourage Math, Science Teaching Careers

November 1, 2023 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College has been awarded a state “Grow Your Own” grant to encourage students in its education program to pursue careers in teaching math and science at the middle school level.

The College is receiving $45,000 through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) in the form of a Developing an Educator Workforce that Expands Yearly (DEWEY) award to address the critical need of STEM teachers in the region.

ECC was one of five two-year colleges in Missouri awarded a DEWEY grant with the intent to inspire more students to pursue careers in education.

Dr. Robyn Walter, ECC Vice President of Academic Affairs, said math and science were strategically chosen due to their historically low enrollment certification rates in the service area, as well as the pressing need for teachers in these fields within local school districts.

“We anticipate that by offering incentives for students to pursue certification areas with historically low enrollment statewide, those students would be more likely to consider those certification areas over others,” Walter said.


Under this innovative initiative, ECC is set to offer $1,000 scholarships to complete their first year of an Associate of Arts in Teaching (AAT) focused on Middle School math or science. Upon completing their second year at ECC and providing proof of enrollment at a transfer institution for certification in Middle School math and science, students will receive an additional $2,000 to continue to pursue their bachelor’s degree.

“We selected these areas due to their historical low enrollment in our service region, and the school districts we serve are in critical need of educators in these fields,” said Greg Stotler, Assistant Professor, Education/Teacher Coordinator at ECC. “Students who choose science or math programs oftentimes are drawn into professions with higher salaries.”

The College expects to award the $1,000 scholarships in the Spring of 2024.

“This money goes straight to students in a joint effort of growing our own educators,” Walter added.

Transfer Schools

The DEWEY grant aligns ECC with their four-year transfer partners, including Missouri S&T and Central Methodist University (CMU), who can further support students through the Missouri Teacher Recruitment Scholarship opportunity during their student teaching experience. CMU and Missouri S&T are among the 15 four-year colleges in the state to receive $70,000 each in DEWEY grants.

ECC is also hopeful that DESE will expand scholarship opportunities to encompass additional certification areas in the future.

The primary objective of the “Grow Your Own” initiative is to contribute to the growth of qualified educators within the state and tackle the challenge of teacher shortages. DESE reports that just over 5 percent of its teaching workforce is either not qualified or underqualified for their positions, equivalent to 3,579 full-time employees, as of December 2022. The most in-demand subjects are elementary education, cross-categorical positions, and early childhood special education.

DESE’s data from 2023-2024 shows a significant decrease in courses taught by instructors with “inappropriate certification,” down from 45,509 in the previous year to 13,314 courses, signifying the positive impact of these types of initiatives.

This initiative, fueled by the DEWEY grant, is a testament to ECC’s commitment to creating opportunities for aspiring educators and addressing critical teacher shortages across the state.

For more information about ECC’s Education programs, visit