Career Technical Education—the mission of Glen Oaks Community College

As Glen Oaks Community College enters its fiftieth-year of service to the greater St. Joseph County region, a review of its mission in regards to serving career, technical, and occupational needs is in order.

The College mission statement includes, “to provide quality educational programs that meet the life-long learning needs of its students and the communities it serves.” This noble goal has many facets. One of the most significant being, “providing career, technical, and occupational programming” to help students enter the workforce and serve the employment needs of the region’s industries and businesses.

Since the beginning in 1965, Glen Oaks has offered career programming to educate students to enter into such fields as nursing, automotive technician, computer aided drafting, machine tool, medical assisting, nurse’s aid, computer technology, business occupations and more. Over these fifty years, students have been prepared to enter their chosen career fields ready to be productive. In recent years, the recession placed financial pressure on the hard technology programs (machine tool and CAD) due to reduced enrollments. This led to the decision to place the programs on hold until such a time that the need re-emerged. Beginning the Winter Semester 2015, the CAD Program is being reinstated and Machine Tool is being planned for re-launch in Fall of 2015. These programs coupled with the revitalized Automotive Technician and Electrical Trades offerings are in response to the greatly increased employment opportunities in the region to better serve industry.

Glen Oaks is also stepping up the partnerships with the St. Joseph County ISD Career Technical Education (CTE) offerings to help serve students tracking to careers which require higher education such as nursing, automotive technician and many more. To this end, the college is offering dual enrollment college credit to students in automotive technology, welding, graphic design, and computer aided drafting. These credits may be applied to post-secondary offerings at Glen Oaks and many other institutions giving the students a head start with college as well as a reduction in costs and shortened times of attendance. The College is looking to expand the CTE Dual Enrollment offerings in 2015-16 to such area as Health Occupations and Agriculture.

The College also serves unique training needs of the County via the Business Services Office. These offerings provide customized training and contract services for regional employers for both incumbent and pre-service employees. These trainings may range from a few hours; to weeks, in providing the needed knowledge and skills that employers are seeking to advance their business operations.

Glen Oaks will continue to serve the career, occupational, and technical educational needs of the region’s students and business and industry. This has been a corner stone of the college’s mission and will be for the foreseeable future.

– Dr. David Devier, President
Glen Oaks Community College


GOCC makes pitch to state for Library/Learning Center

In an effort to tap into state capital outlay funds, representatives from Glen Oaks visited Lansing recently to make a pitch for the renovation of the library space for a combined Library/Learning Center, and for renovation of the current Tutoring and Testing Center space into an Art Studio/Gallery. The $2.5 million project would require that half the funding would be raised from the College.


Chasing the Cure

Glen Oaks Community College was a sponsor for this year’s Chasing the Cure event held in September in Sturgis. Over 300 runners participated in the event which has raised over $50,000 over the past five years for ovarian cancer research. A special thanks to Leanne Barnell, assistant financial aid director and advisor, who is one of the founders and co-coordinators of the event.


Blood drive reaches goal

Over 50 students, faculty and staff came out to support the blood drive at the college in early October. The organization conducting the drive was Michigan Blood which supplies all of the blood needs for Bronson and Borgess. The Glen Oaks chapter of Phi Theta Kappa coordinated the event and slightly exceeded its goal.


Return to Learn

Whether you are a first-time college student, you need a few credits to complete a degree, or you want to obtain a bachelor’s degree, plan on attending Return 2 Learn on Thursday, Nov. 20 from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Dresser Business Development Center on the Glen Oaks Campus. Learn about Glen Oaks partnerships with Trine University and Spring Arbor University for bachelor degrees offered on the Glen Oaks campus.


Senior discounts now available at GOCC Fitness Center

Glen Oaks now offers senior citizens a 25 percent discount in memberships and guest fees to use the Fitness/Wellness Center. Public rates are are shown with the senior rates. Daily $5/4; Monthly $30/25; Semester $90/75; Summer $70/60; Annual $200/150. Contact the Fitness and Wellness Center for more information at (269) 294-4307.


Glen Oaks receives Brick Award from Chamber

The Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce recently presented a “Brick Award” to the Glen Oaks for improvements and renovations made this past year. From left are Glen Oaks President David Devier; State Senator John Proos, who also provided the college with a certificate from the state, GOCC Board of Trustees President David Allen, and incoming Chamber Board Chair Bill Russell.

Additionally, Mary Kay Balaguer, GOCC director of business services, was recognized with the prestigious “Chamber Participation Award” given to those who have been very involved in the Chamber’s success over this past year!


New faces this semester at Glen Oaks

Larry Diekman recently joined the College as a maintenance assistant. He was previously employed at Lippert Components (formerly known as Star Design) in Elkhart, Indiana. Prior to that he spent 26 years in law enforcement. Diekman has completed courses from both Lansing and Glen Oaks Community Colleges and from the Michigan State Police Academy.

Diekman spends a lot of volunteer time coaching for youth sports in football, wrestling and baseball. He and his wife have five children, and they reside in Nottawa, Michigan.

Ron Hofman is the College’s new automotive instructor. He has over 36 years of automotive experience including teaching the last ten years at Kalamazoo Valley Community College.

He attended Denver Auto and Diesel College and is credentialed with a number of certifications including: Automotive Repair, Master Mechanic, Service Consultant, Parts Specialist, A/C Specialist, Emissions Inspector, Vehicle Safety Inspector Training Instructor along with his I-CAR Certification. He also completed courses at KVCC.

Hofman was employed by Firestone for ten years and was employed by automotive dealerships in South Haven, Michigan, for 16 years. He resides in Schoolcraft, Michigan, with his wife, Gina, of 36 years. They have two grown children.

Pam Hughes
Glen Oaks Community College welcomes Pam Hughes as the new executive director of the Glen Oaks Foundation. In this role, she will lead the college’s advancement initiatives. Hughes has worked in development for over nine years and has worked and volunteered in the St. Joseph County community for nine years as well.

A native of Denver, Colorado, Hughes moved to southwest Michigan 20 years ago. She worked at Perry Personnel Plus Staffing Co. for nine years. During that time she volunteered for the American Cancer Society and eventually took a position with the organization in Portage, Michigan. Having been there nine years, in her most recent role as senior manager for Relay For Life, she directed over 22 events each year.

Hughes serves on the Water Festival Committee in Three Rivers, Michigan, where she resides. She enjoys water activities and resides in the Fisher Lake area.

Jesse Salazar is the new part-time computer lab assistant. A native of Ojeda, Zulia in Venezuela, he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Universidad Santiago Marino, Zulia, Venezuela.

He worked for PDVSA Oil Company in Venezuela where he worked in drilling design and held analyst positions both in SAP and in health, safety and the environment.

Salazar is continuing his education working toward an Associate in Applied Science in Technology and he plans to pursue a master’s in computer science.

He enjoys listening to music, computers and playing the drums.

Adrienne Skinner is the new admissions representative for Glen Oaks. Born and raised in Jackson, Michigan, Skinner earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications from Western Michigan University.

She held positions both in promotions and as a production assistant at Kalamazoo’s WWMT Channel 3 for three and a half years. Prior to coming to Glen Oaks, Skinner was an admissions representative for Everest Institute in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In her spare time, she enjoys Do-it-Yourself projects and watching Netflix. She and her husband have a three-year-old son and they are expecting their second child in February.

Linda Walker is the College’s new graphic design instructor. Born and raised on Chicago’s western suburbs, she earned a Bachelor’s of Art in Studio Art from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.

Walker worked as a freelance graphic designer and as a presentation graphics artist in Chicago. She was a professional muralist developing and completing murals from concept to design and painting—her business, known as Valentino Walker Murals and Decorative Painting, for 25 years.

Walker returned to school as a non-traditional student at Grand Valley State University and received her graduate teaching certificate. She recently taught K-12 art at Burr Oak Schools.

As a Plein Air Artist of West Michigan, Walker was the 2012 Artist in Residence in Glen Arbor. Her work has been shown in galleries throughout the state.


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