Month: June 2024

Clemco Employees Thrive Through ECC’s IMT Apprenticeship

June 25, 2024 | Campus News

Two Clemco Industries employees recently completed the Industrial Maintenance Technician (IMT) apprenticeship program and are already experiencing the positive impact on their careers.

In February, Washington residents Gabe Altemeyer and Caleb Gildehaus completed the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) IMT apprenticeship through East Central College’s Center for Workforce Development. They both earned an Industrial Engineering Technology Certificate of Achievement from ECC, as well as DOL IMT Certificates of Completion.

Altemeyer said he has already seen the substantial impact of the apprenticeship program on his career and noted the ease of starting the program, thanks to the support from Clemco advisors and Melissa Richards, CWD Apprenticeship & Business Training Coordinator.

Gabe Altemeyer

Altemeyer gained valuable skills, including wiring, programming, schematic reading, and the use of motors and drives.

“I also learned to problem-solve using different methods,” he shared. “The biggest strength for me was the labs. Working on something physical and seeing operations is the best way for me to learn.”

The structured program not only provided clear expectations but also accommodated Altemeyer’s work schedule, allowing time off to attend classes and complete his studies. He noted that his journey into the apprenticeship program began with a conversation with his supervisor and HR person, leading to meetings with Richards to explore available programs.

Caleb Gildehaus

With three years at Clemco, Gildehaus found the program easy to begin through the partnership between Clemco and ECC. He quickly signed up and began learning essential skills like reading wiring schematics, understanding electrical concepts, pneumatics, PLC programming, and robotics.

Caleb Gildehaus

Gildehaus said anyone interested in industrial work, machinery, or maintenance should consider this apprenticeship to cultivate growth in their own careers.

“The instructors are all very knowledgeable in the field of industrial engineering and maintenance. They have practical experience as well as theory-based knowledge to back up their skills,” Gildehaus explained.

The program’s structure allowed Gildehaus to balance work and study effectively, providing a clear roadmap to success.

“The program fit very well around my workday to allow me to get my working hours in as well as my homework and class work done,” he noted.

Both Altemeyer and Gildehaus’s stories underscore the value of the Industrial Maintenance Technician apprenticeship program. Their experiences highlight how such initiatives can enhance employees’ skills, advance their careers, and contribute to the growth and success of their companies.

Impact of CWD Programs

CWD apprenticeship programs do more than just improve productivity—they also enhance the bottom line for companies, 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.

Richards emphasized the extensive 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 excelled in technical apprenticeships for over five years, and we are now expanding to register more apprenticeship occupations in health care and information technology,” she stated.

The CWD 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, or visit

Training Tomorrow’s Surgical Technicians at ECC

June 20, 2024 | Campus News ECC Rolla

Layla Watson enrolled in East Central College’s Surgical Technology program in Rolla because she always wanted to be part of an operating room team.

“I’ve always been intrigued by surgery,” she said. “The surgical tech classes at ECC explore all the different types of surgeries in depth, and they have so much class participation.”

Watson, 21, of Waynesville, is conducting clinicals at Lake Regional Hospital, where she plans to remain and begin a career as a certified surgical technician. From there, she plans to continue her education and eventually return to a surg tech classroom to teach future members of operating room teams.

Watson and her classmates in ECC’s Surgical Technology program are poised to enter the workforce with many occupational options. Jennifer Wall, Surgical Technology Program Director, said there are numerous openings in the field, giving surg tech graduates various job opportunities.

“Most of our hospitals have more openings than any one program could fill in the next five years,” Wall said, adding, “With the nationwide shortage, our program is an integral part of the community.”

Additionally, Wall said there are many areas in health care that surgical technicians can pursue, including hospital surgery units, outpatient surgery centers, labor and delivery, dentists or oral surgeons, veterinary offices, or traveling companies. Some graduates, like Watson, will pursue an advanced degree.

“Surgical technologists can obtain a position that allows for an accommodating schedule that makes further education possible,” Wall commented.

Surge Tech at ECC

Surgical Technology is a “1 plus 1” degree program that requires one year of general education, followed by three semesters of surgical technology courses and clinicals. In the program, students learn concepts of aseptic technique, instrumentation, surgical procedures, and patient care. They are trained to anticipate the surgeon’s needs and assist throughout the procedure, making them a vital member of the operating room team.

Clinical sites ECC students attend extend across the state, including hospitals and surgery centers in Jefferson City, Columbia, Osage Beach, Springfield, Lebanon, Rolla, Sullivan, Washington, Festus, Farmington, and St. Louis.

The Surgical Technology program, under ECC since Fall 2022, is taught at the Rolla Technical Center under the guidance of two full-time certified instructors. Graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree and are eligible to take the national licensure exam by the NBSTSA.

Wall said she’s proud of the program’s perfect pass rate on the certification exam last year and 100 percent job placement over the past decade.

“Since this certification is national, our students can go anywhere in the United States and find employment,” she added. “Our graduates typically have many offers before graduation.”

Procedural drop-in that students use when training with the positioning and procedure manikin

State-of-the-Art Training

The Surgical Technology program recently received a new Positioning and Procedure Manikin to simulate the use of surgical tools in a lifelike model. The manikin’s realistic surface closely resembles the layers of human skin and is reinforced for suturing, allowing students to train with scalpels and other tools.

The manikin features an adhesive mixture within the skin that closes a “wound” and allows for additional training for many years to come. Additionally, the program received a flat abdominal skin topper, a procedural drop-in, and an insufflated skin topper to simulate laparoscopy.

Watson was the first Surg Tech student to use the new manikin.

The manikin’s realistic surface closely resembles the layers of human skin and is reinforced for suturing, allowing students to train with scalpels and other tools.

“It gives us a real sense of human anatomy during surgery and the layers of skin when opening and closing,” she said. “The laparoscopic belly is pretty accurate too, which is good because a lot of belly cases in real-world scenarios are done laparoscopically.”

Watson noted that the equipment provides additional functions that previous equipment could not.

“We’ll be able to actually move the manikin’s extremities for draping techniques,” she added. “Overall, it’ll give a better idea of patient handling in the operating room and the steps during procedures.”

The manikin was purchased through a Vocational Enhancement Grant.

‘Truly Flourishing’

Watson will be the first on her mother’s side of the family to graduate college — an accomplishment she and her family are proud of.

“Maintaining the work/life balance while still trying to reach my goals has been a challenge,” she noted. “It is worth it though.

“I love everything that I have been taught and I am continuing to learn. My motivation within the program is to better myself and to go the extra mile,” Watson added. “I feel as though I am becoming the person I am meant to be — I am truly flourishing in this program.”

For more information on the Surgical Technology program, visit or contact Nancy Mitchell, Dean of Health Science, at or 636-584-6619.

ECC Purchases Rolla USGS Building; State Funds to Fuel Renovations

June 6, 2024 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College Thursday announced the acquisition of a building in Rolla, providing the opportunity for the college to consolidate its operations into a single facility.

State funds specifically appropriated for the project were used for the purchase.

College officials said a single, comprehensive facility will better serve students and enable ECC to grow its programs and services.

ECC purchased the building that now houses the United States Geological Survey operations in Rolla. The purchase price was $5.1 million. The 107,000 square-foot facility is located at 1400 Independence in Rolla.

The USGS has operated in the building since 1974. The agency will continue to operate in the facility at least until February 2025 through its current lease. That may be extended, as ECC begins work to design the renovation of the facility for use as a community college.

“This is a momentous and historic time for East Central College and the Phelps County region,” said Dr. Jon Bauer, ECC president. “Rolla is a key strategic priority for us to greatly enhance educational opportunities throughout the ECC service region. Our mission is to better the lives of our community members through education, and this is a big step forward to accomplishing that goal.”

ECC, a comprehensive community college based in Union, has operated in Rolla since 1995 and currently operates in two facilities. The college leases space from the Rolla Public Schools at the Rolla Technical Center and leases a building located at 2303 North Bishop Road. The College will move out of the two spaces once its newly acquired facility is fully renovated.

The engineering firm Cochran, based in Union, was utilized to assess the building for renovation and construction costs. A preliminary schedule calls for renovations to begin in mid-2025 and for the facility to open to students in 2027. Mike Woessner of Investment Realty was the agent on the transaction.

State and federal funding approved for the project includes $13 million from the State of Missouri and $3 million earmarked by Congress through the Department of Health and Human Services. The upcoming state budget includes an additional $3.5 million in state funds through the MO Excels program for a Center for Advanced Manufacturing. The FY25 state budget awaits the Governor’s signature.

The state and federal funding ECC has received for the Rolla facility can only be used for this project. Additional funding through grants, foundations and other sources will be pursued.

Bauer expressed gratitude for the support from former Sen. Roy Blunt, who sponsored the federal earmark for this project, and from Gov. Mike Parson and the legislature for the state funds.

The Rolla region is part of the college’s state-designated service region, but outside of its taxing district.

“No local property tax funds will be used for designing and renovating the facility,” added Bauer. “Securing state and federal funding for this project made it possible.”

Students living outside of the ECC taxing district pay a higher rate of tuition than those living inside the college taxing district, because those students do not pay local property taxes to support the college. Much of the state’s land mass is located outside one of Missouri’s 12 community college districts. Service regions enable the community colleges to serve those areas and recoup costs through higher tuition.

One facility provides East Central with the ability to better serve students and the Phelps County area.

“Our facilities have served us well to this point, but there are challenges. Students find themselves driving between the facilities to attend classes. That limits options for scheduling, and it means they may not be in a building where other services are available,” said Bauer. “One permanent facility provides an accommodating class schedule, enhanced student and academic services, and the ability to grow programs to serve area business and industry.”

Once renovations to the building are complete, the facility will house ECC Rolla’s current academic programs and student services, a new advanced manufacturing center, and space for Certified Nurse Assistant, Certified Medical Technician, and GED programs.

Bauer said the facility also provides ample space for strategic partners such as colleges offering complementary bachelor’s degree completion programs, service providers, and others.

“Our vision is for the building to serve the needs of the region in a comprehensive fashion, primarily through the programs and services offered by East Central, but also by those offered by partners who would like to operate in the building,” Bauer said.

More information about program and service offerings at ECC Rolla is available at

Students Named to the Spring 2024 Dean’s List

June 6, 2024 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College recognizes students who have demonstrated exemplary academic achievement each semester.

Upon completion of between six and 11 spring semester credit hours with a semester grade point average of 3.5 or greater, students are acknowledged on the Dean’s List.

There were 184 students named to the Dean’s List from the Spring 2024 semester.


Students Named to the ECC Vice President’s List

June 5, 2024 | Campus News ECC Rolla

Each semester, East Central College recognizes students who have demonstrated superior academic achievement.

Upon completion of at least 12 semester credit hours with a Spring semester grade point average between 3.50 and 3.84, students are acknowledged by placement on the Vice President’s List.

For the Spring 2024 semester, there were 179 students on the list.



President’s List for Spring 2024 Semester

June 5, 2024 | Campus News ECC Rolla

East Central College recognizes students who have demonstrated exemplary academic achievement each semester.

Upon completion of at least 12 Spring semester credit hours with a semester grade point average of 3.85 or greater, students are acknowledged on the President’s List.

There were 127 students named to the list from the Spring 2024 semester.