Focus is on building skills and confidence, leading to gameful employment –
By Patricia Beech –
Southern State Community College’s decision to move forward with plans to build a campus in Adams County will bring opportunities for higher education and vocational training to county residents according to the college’s president, Mike Pell.
“Southern State has been serving Adams County for a long time, and we’re ready to bring in bricks and mortar to compliment that tradition,” said Pell.
The new Adams County Satellite Campus and Workforce Development Center will be located on a 15-acre tract of land on Lloyd Road near the Career and Technical Center in West Union.
“The key to our future is education,” said Pell. “I’m excited about the opportunities this campus is going to provide to our local students and local adults.”
Pell said the college’s investment is an outreach to those students and adults who have no hope of pursuing a higher education.
“Our mission is to reach the kids who don’t have the opportunity to go to Cincinnati or Columbus to attend universities,” he said. “It’s those students who I want to inspire to know that they can get a good education that will lead to a good job.”
Ohio Valley School District Superintendent Richard Seas agrees with Pell’s goals.
“I yearn for the day when people in our community can get gameful employment and have good opportunities in front of them,” he said, adding, “The only way they’re going to have these opportunities is if they have the skill set and Southern State can be a big player in that.”
Both Seas and Pell say they hope access to higher education and further vocational training will embolden young people to venture out of the county to pursue jobs.
“Some of our students will move on to higher education, some will enter the workforce, but we have way too many kids who graduate from our high schools every year that don’t get the gameful employment because they don’t have the opportunities,” said Seas. “What I’ve found to be one of the great challenges in our district among kids who are graduated is that too many lack the courage and the gumption and the confidence to leave the county to pursue higher-paying jobs.”
Both Seas and Pell acknowledge that several factors, including the psychological effect of generational poverty, have created a stifling fear that erodes confidence, resulting in talented young people choosing to be underemployed in Adams County rather than venturing out on their own.
“Higher education can help provide that confidence,” said Seas. “I think with Southern State we have a much better chance of inspiring our students to pursue their dreams.”
“Education is the key to our future success,” said Pell. “Southern State will bring more resources into our community and provide greater opportunities for success. My hope and prayer is that we’ll inspire more of our youth to pursue higher education so they can gain the skills and confidence they need to succeed in life – I think we’ll all benefit from that.”