Earning the Skills You Need for the Job You Want – In One Semester
COVID has caused upheavals in the job market, and often that means job applicants must retool to be competitive. Responding to these needs, South Texas College has created Occupational Skills Awards (OSA), which consist of specific courses that can be completed in just a single semester.
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The pandemic has caused upheavals in the job market, and often that means job applicants must retool to be competitive. Responding to these needs, South Texas College has introduced a new program to provide the skills people need to become more marketable, to advance in their careers, or to change professions.
Occupational Skills Awards (OSA) consist of three to five courses (9 to 14 credits) that can be completed in just a single semester. Currently, South Texas College offers 14 OSAs in various fields including business, computer information and technology, health sciences, public safety, and technology, with more on the horizon. Most programs can be completed entirely online, thus offering plenty of flexibility to students who are working. They are affordable and can be used as a stepping stone to a degree.
“Some OSAs are structured as a stackable credential to give students an introduction to the program it is aligned to, such as the Welding OSA,” explains Sara Lozano, dean for the Division of Business, Public Safety and Technology. The credits earned in this OSA can then be applied to the Welding Technology AAS or one of the welding certificate programs.
“Other OSAs, such as Police Leadership, give individuals additional skills to enhance certifications or degrees they may already hold,” Lozano adds.
“With the OSAs, our goal is to prepare students for work immediately through job-specific training in fields that are currently in demand."
The Police Leadership OSA, scheduled to begin in September 2021, will serve those already working in law enforcement.
“They might be police officers, border patrol agents, state troopers, game wardens, or come from any other position in law enforcement,” explains Robert Vela, program chair of the Fire Science and Law Enforcement programs, who is spearheading this OSA. “The courses offered will give them the leadership, management, and problem-solving skills, as well as the understanding of liability, which they need to grow professionally.”
The Police Leadership OSA will consist of four online courses, taught by different experts in the field. As with the other OSAs, it is designed to be completed quickly in one semester, although students can stretch the courses out over two semesters if desired.
“The way to move up in the law enforcement field is to show you’ve taken courses in leadership and management,” Vela says. “Whether you want to become a supervisor, or you’re a supervisor adding to your credentials, earning this award will show you are serious.”
An OSA may also be taken as a way to explore a new field. For example, the Facilities Maintenance OSA will give students a taste of what it would be like to work for the maintenance department of a school or government building. This OSA borrows courses in the construction, electrician, and HVAC programs, and will begin in fall 2021.
“With the OSAs, our goal is to prepare students for work immediately through job-specific training in fields that are currently in demand,” says Lozano.
There is no need to take a placement exam or prerequisite courses to enroll in an OSA. For more information and to see the list of OSAs offered by South Texas College, visit http://www.southtexascollege.edu/academics/osa/.