Northeast's O'Neill extended campus serves array of students

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by amandab  8/29/2017 8:51:57 AM --  O’NEILL, NE - Merri Schneider, director of Northeast Community College in O’Neill, says a full range of students, from traditional to non-traditional, those aiming to earn a degree or to acquire a new job skill, have taken advantage of the College’s O’Neill extended campus.

“Our student mix ranges from the traditional students right out of high school, to people who have gone many decades without taking a single class,” she said. “I often tell students that if they have that ‘itch’ within them to take classes, it won’t ever go away. They will continue to feel it for a long time, until they actually take the leap and enroll in classes. It is a great feeling of accomplishment to earn that degree or learn that new skill.”

The Northeast Community College O’Neill extended campus began operating at its new facility, located at 505 East Highway 20, in August 2015. And while the building may be new, Northeast’s presence in the region goes back nearly 20 years. The College opened its prior extended campus in a former elementary school building in O’Neill in 1998. Northeast successfully raised over $3 million through a capital campaign to construct the new 15,075 square foot extended campus facility.

The building has state-of-the-art classrooms, high technology computers, advanced health and science labs, and a large, attached technical training wing that can accommodate welding, industrial, and agriculture-related courses.

Schneider said that many students who walk through the doors of the O’Neill extended campus are nervous about starting classes.

“If you are nervous about starting classes as a new student, you are in the majority of the population. Many of our students are hesitant about the process, but we are here to help them through those beginning steps, and we want to see them thrive in their classes.”

Schneider has served as the director of the O’Neill extended campus since 2006, and previously worked in banking for 18 years. Originally from the O’Neill area, she is a graduate of West Holt High School in Atkinson, Northeast Community College, Wayne State College and the University of South Dakota. Her husband, Darold Schneider, works as a procurement manager at Niobrara Valley Electric Membership Corporation. Her family includes four grown children, two son-in-laws and two grandsons.



Northeast’s O’Neill Extended Campus offers a number of degrees and certificate programs that can be completed by combining courses taken at the O’Neill campus through online classes. The location also offers a number of Allied Health classes and workshops that are available to health care providers and interested individuals throughout the area, including nurse aide and medication aide courses as well as pre-nursing and nursing coursework.

The O’Neill extended campus also provides opportunities for those seeking to build skills within their current careers. It has partnered with the O’Neill Chamber of Commerce and Holt County Economic Development to form Northeast Nebraska Workforce Partners. Now in its second year, the program allows member organizations to work with others in the program to offer job-related training sessions for their employees. Topics include customer service excellence, conflict management, positive communication and others.

“We have received such great feedback from the businesses who have sent their staff through our training last year,” Schneider said. “The training topics are relevant to many different types of businesses, so we get a wide variety of people in these half-day workshops.”

And while some O’Neill campus students may be looking to build job skills, others may simply want to learn something new or acquire a new hobby. The extended campus offers a range of short-term, non-credit classes in dancing, genealogy, Microsoft Office, photography, watercolor painting and a number of crafts. Most classes meet for one or two nights.

Schneider said teaching a non-credit short-term course can be even more rewarding than enrolling in one.

“Teaching a class is a great way to share your talents and skills with others. We like to offer a wide variety of non-credit classes, so we are looking for individuals who may have a hobby or talent they are willing to share with others. It can be a really rewarding experience to share one’s talents, and many of the students are so happy after classes. They have learned that they can create something or use new technology.”

In addition to O’Neill and its main campus in Norfolk, Northeast Community College operates extended campuses in South Sioux City and West Point and regional offices in Ainsworth and Hartington.

The O’Neill extended campus can be contacted at (402) 336-3590.



Posted In -- Extended Campus Campaign, O'Neill, Press Releases

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