Director leaves with hopefulness of career center development
The director who has been at the helm of Saline County Career Center for the past two years says he will be getting closer to his roots when he begins a position in another city this year.
SCCC Director Mitch Holder tendered his resignation to the Marshall Public School District, effective May 31. Holder accepted a position as the dean of instruction at North Central Missouri College, in Trenton.
“It’s an opportunity to continue to serve career and technical education on a little bit more of a broader scale,” he said. “It’s kind of a return back to my stomping grounds. Before coming to Marshall, I was a business teacher at Trenton High School, in that same community. I attended my freshman year of college at North Central Missouri College, so it’s kind of personal to go back.”
In his two years at SCCC, Holder said he feels momentum has been moving forward in terms of building upon what the career center was already offering.
“The old reputation of vocational schools is kind of the ‘have nots,’ and that it’s a ‘lesser than’ type of an education … that’s completely not the case,” he explained. “Career centers should be on the leading trend of bringing equipment, technology, and to provide career training for students (who are) going to transition into a career right out of school or post-secondary training ... This is so vital to building college and career readiness, but building a more skilled workforce locally. It’s so critical to continue building on the progress of the things that we’ve done.”
Some examples of building on the career center’s opportunities include a recent partnering of the Culinary Arts program with the Marshall Parks and Recreation department. Culinary students will now be operating The Grill at Indian Foothills Golf Course, giving them tangible work experience. The Building Trades program is now also building the district’s small structures. Holder says they are simultaneously trying to strengthen SCCC’s business department.
“Some of those things, I’m going to be very proud of, because I know it’s created the foundation for a more thorough and comprehensive career readiness pathway for students,” he said.
Another avenue the career center is nurturing is the possibility of a Productions Technology program, focusing on HVAC, electrical, CNC and CAD preparation. Holder said he hopes that continues progressing after his leave.
In a meeting May 22, the Marshall Board of Education approved the transfer of Callie Dobbins to the position of SCCC director. She has experience as an SCCC teacher and Marshall High School instructional coach.
“She has tremendous talent and experience to continue to move forward with career education opportunities,” Holder said. “I have no doubt she’ll continue to be an advocate for career education programming, and understanding that we need to create multiple opportunities — not only for those students who are going on to university settings.”
Holder noted he has found wonderful people within the Marshall community and the school district, and values the relationships that have formed. One thing he would like to see is the community continue building upon SCCC’s momentum.
“This career center is the school district’s connection to building a more skilled workforce throughout the region and within the community,” he said. “It’s been a joy to be a part of the community and the school district. I think there’s tremendous things that can take place.”