April 5, 2018
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wharton County Junior College Instructor of Business Office Technology Mary McClelland, left, had a lasting impact on Vicki Hudson, right, when Hudson was a student at WCJC. After graduating with her associate degree, Hudson was hired as Division Secretary to WCJC's Communications and Fine Arts Department.
WHARTON, TEXAS – Vicki Hudson has spent the past eight years at Wharton County Junior College, first as a student and then as an employee. Not a day goes by that she doesn’t utilize something she learned in class.
“When faced with a particular challenge, I always say, ‘What would (former WCJC instructor) Mary Wilson do?’” said Hudson, who currently works as the Division Secretary to WCJC’s Communications and Fine Arts Department. “I never realized how much of an impact she had on me.”
Wilson was one of Hudson’s primary instructors in the Office Administration program, recently renamed Business Office Technology. Not only did Wilson help Hudson develop accounting, computer and business writing skills, she also became a personal mentor.
Instructor of Business Office Technology Mary McClelland had a similar impact. During her time under McClelland’s tutorage, Hudson learned a host of administrative and business related skills that have carried over into her profession.
One of McClelland’s most lasting impacts was her demand that her students did their absolute best.
“She always had very high expectations,” Hudson said of her former instructor.
High expectations coupled with a flexible schedule designed to meet each student’s individual needs is at the heart of the program, said Celine Siewert, Program Director for the Business Office Technology Department. The program offers two “stackable” certificates – Office Specialist and Administrative Assistant – and one associate of applied science degree to provide students with a wide range of skills to cover various levels of workforce training. Courses include everything from computer applications to accounting to business law.
“The computer technology, business, administrative and people skills that students gain in the Business Office Technology program prepare them to be competitive in the job market,” Siewert said. “The stackable certificates and the AAS degree provide students the flexibility needed to enter the workforce after completion of a single award or the option of continuing their education to gain additional marketable skills.”
The bulk of the program’s classes are offered in both Wharton and Richmond, with a few classes also offered at the Sugar Land campus. Siewert said the average Business Office Technology student is around 28 years old, works either full or part time, and often has a family to help support.
Hudson fit those definitions almost exactly. She was in her 30s, had two children, had worked for a home-based business in her native Maine, and had recently relocated to Wharton for her husband’s job at the South Texas Project outside Bay City. Her goal was to obtain additional education that would allow her to work as an administrative assistant during the day so she’d be free at night to take care of the kids.
Upon graduation with her associate degree, Hudson learned of an opening at WCJC’s Communications and Fine Arts Department and applied. She has worked for the college ever since. Siewert said students who graduate from the Business Office Technology program seldom have difficulty finding gainful employment.
“The job outlook for graduates is higher than the average,” she said. “We have experienced a greater than 90 percent placement rate.”
Job growth is climbing for those who graduate with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Office Technology and also for those who opt for one of the certificates. In the Texas Gulf Coast Region, the job growth rate for secretaries and administrative assistants who hold an associate’s degree is anticipated to rise by 23.9 percent for the 10-year period ending in 2022. For medical secretaries, the rate is significantly higher, at 41.8 percent. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports that, as of May 2016, the mean annual salary for secretaries and administrative assistants was $39,230, with salaries higher for those finding employment in the legal and medical fields.
For secretaries and administrative assistants obtaining a certificate in Business Office Technology, the job growth rate in the Texas Gulf Coast Region is projected to rise by 13.2 percent over the 10-year period ending in 2022. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook reports as of May 2016 that the mean annual salary for office and administrative support workers was $34,050.
For more information on the Business Office Technology program, visit the college’s website at: www.wcjc.edu