The Cape College Center (CCC) will celebrate its ninth year as an open enrollment higher education center, providing community college-type services to the citizens of Cape Girardeau County and the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center service (CTC) region with an open house on Thursday, April 11.
The event is scheduled for 3-7 p.m. on the CTC campus at 1080 S. Silver Springs Road. Refreshments will be served.
“We will have building tours, on-site admissions personnel and representatives from Southeast’s Student Financial Services for parents and students who want to speak face-to-face to a financial aid representative. The CCC will also provide free Accuplacer placement testing,” said Tinea Ortega, coordinator of academic and student services at the CCC.
The Center has provided its students with opportunities and resources that can’t be found at larger institutions, and its student-oriented atmosphere has equipped students like Shelly Grovenor with the skills they need to succeed.
Grovenor, a Scott City, Missouri, native, says the Cape College Center was the perfect fit for her needs as a non-traditional student, allowing her to complete her associate’s degree and continue her education at Southeast.
“I was a non-traditional student going to college for the first time at the age of 40. I wanted smaller class sizes to get used to going to school after 20 years,” she said. “When I called to ask about classes, I loved the warmth and experience of the staff that answered my questions.”
Ortega provided Grovenor with resources and information that allowed her to explore potential paths of study, and the center’s staff helped guide Grovenor into a field that she is passionate about pursuing.
“Our students are committed to finding their path – what they are interested in and what makes them successful,” Ortega said. “That’s what makes the Center so unique and a vital resource because anyone can access this higher education environment with general education courses at an affordable cost that can launch their careers.”
After exploring her options, Grovenor said she decided to pursue a degree in social work.
“I liked the different directions in which you can take social work, such as working one-on-one with people, leading groups or counseling,” she said. “I am a people person and love assisting people with their needs. I like the social justice aspect of the social work field.”
The Center is a partnership of Southeast Missouri State University, Mineral Area College (MAC), Three Rivers College (TRC) and the Cape Girardeau Career and Technology Center (CTC) that strives to help citizens meet their higher education goals and post-secondary needs. It can provide a starting point for all levels of education at any age.
Course work is offered by Southeast and Three Rivers, and is applicable to an Associate of Arts degree offered by Three Rivers. All courses applicable to the Associate of Arts are transcripted at Southeast and Three Rivers at the end of each semester. Mineral Area College provides the technical portion of all Associate of Applied Science degree programs offered at the CTC.
An Associate of Arts is what piqued Grovenor’s attention. Though earning a degree at 40 years of age was no easy task, she had plenty of support along the way from CCC faculty and staff.
“I learned so much from all of my professors. Social work is a wonderful but challenging field,” she said. “There were many days I wanted to give up, but I had many professors and Tinea Ortega encouraging me.”
After earning her associate’s degree, Grovenor enrolled at Southeast and graduated in 2016 with a Bachelor of Science in social work. She is currently a housing case manager with the Community Caring Council. She administers a housing program for clients who struggle with homelessness. She visits the homes of clients with multiple sclerosis and connects them to local resources as the multiple sclerosis caseworker for southeast Missouri.
“The best part of my job is the clients. I work with many different people of different races, different ethnicities, different cultures and different needs,” Grovenor said. “It is not always an easy job. It is often stressful and frustrating, but also rewarding.”
The education she completed at Cape College Center and Southeast were just the beginning for Grovenor, who is now taking a class at Southeast to earn her Community Health Worker (CHW) certification through Continuing Education.
“I like learning and adding tools to my toolbox. When the opportunity arose to take this certification, I took it,” she said. “I believe having the CHW certification will enhance my services to my clients.”
“My education exposed me to different ideas, cultures and people that I did not have a chance to be exposed to in my small hometown,” Grovenor said. “The Cape College Center and Southeast prepared me for the workplace by showing me the different ways that I can use my education.”