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Jo Fey, Dean of Workforce Development and Technical Education, Moberly Area Community College

Jo Fey, Dean of Workforce Development and Technical Education, Moberly Area Community College

What’s your background?

I grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, graduated from Baker University, and taught secondary English before teaching for Barton County Community College at Fort Riley, in Kansas. Discovering a passion for community college, I completed my master’s degree at Fort Hays State University and then entered the doctoral program for community college leadership at the University of Texas. From there, I took a position as dean of both academic and workforce programs at Lone Star College–CyFair in Houston. In 2012, I accepted the position of dean of workforce development and technical education for Moberly Area Community College.

Tell us about your job:

I supervise a number of career and technical programs for MACC, including the following programs in Columbia: information technology, business, accounting, business office administration, early childhood education, and adult education and literacy. A critical part of the community college mission is to meet the needs of the community in which the school is embedded. MACC serves the 16 counties of northeast Missouri, meaning frequent travel to meet with and listen to the communities that we serve, including Columbia, Hannibal, Kirksville, Mexico, and Moberly.

What does your typical day look like?

MACC holds meetings using online technology as much as possible; however, in-person meetings are often more effective. I am routinely on the road three days or more a week to meet with partnering schools. When in the office, I meet with faculty, staff, and administration to plan our responses to student and community needs and complete the stacks of paperwork involved in running an academic department.

What drew you to your position?

I knew within minutes of teaching my first community college class that I had found my place. I believe that the community college changes people’s lives, and I am passionate about that. My job in Texas provided me with experience both in the academic and workforce areas. Discovering my love for workforce education brought me back to the Midwest and the perfect job at MACC!

What don’t people know about workforce development programs that they should?

I think many people in Columbia don’t realize how many workforce programs are available at our Columbia site or that MACC offers customized business and industry training. We offer classes for Microsoft Excel, supervisor leadership, and OSHA 10 on-site to Columbia businesses. In addition, we partnered with Boone County Joint Communications to offer an emergency telecommunicator certification training. We’re also partnering with the Columbia Area Career Center to offer their adult programs, such as practical nursing and surgical tech, so that students will earn college credit in addition to their certification.

Describe a success you’re most proud of:

I am extremely proud of the people that I’ve been able to hire while at MACC. The amazing work done to create and grow programming for MACC’s communities happens because of the extraordinary faculty and staff working with me.

What inspires you to get up each day and make a difference?

I’m inspired by the stories I hear from my faculty about students who have overcome enormous life challenges to graduate and enter the workforce with great jobs throughout the Columbia community.

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