Situs, SCC Partner on Certificate Program
Situs has ramped up its partnership with Sandhills Community College by helping to develop a new banking and finance certificate program that will be launched next fall.
"How do we ensure we get a steady flow of potential employees?" said Nicole Bozich, director of the Situs office in Robbins. "I'm looking not only at today, but also five years down the road."
Situs is a global real estate and financial services company headquartered in Houston.
The Robbins location is an innovative operations center started in January 2007 that competes directly with offshore providers of support services to the commercial real estate, finance and banking industries. The center has enabled Situs to increase customer satisfaction by providing higher-quality services at lower costs to its clients.
The company and the college have had a working relationship from the beginning, mainly through the college providing employee candidates from students enrolled in the Management and Business Technologies Department curriculum.
"I would kind of hand-pick them," department chairman Kirk Lynch said last week.
Lynch, Bozich and Danna Powers, vice president of human resources and operations for Situs, sat down last spring to discuss the future of the partnership.
"Situs would like the college to offer an associate's degree in banking and finance, so the certificate program is a good interim step," Lynch said.
The N.C. Community College System (NCCCS) approved the curriculum for the certificate program earlier this year. It consists of five classes: principles of financial accounting, survey of real estate, principles of banking, commercial lending, and introduction to accounting spreadsheets.
"The five classes are technical electives," Lynch said. "The curriculum is designed to prepare individuals for entry-level positions in banking and finance. Graduates should also be able to seek employment opportunities with insurance, brokerage and mortgage companies, as well as governmental lending agencies."
Lynch has also received approval from NCCCS to launch a small business management certificate program in the fall. It is designed to help students in the cosmetology landscape management, culinary and massage therapy programs who want to start their own business.
"I've always thought we should serve the other departments at the college," he said.
The curriculum includes business law and small business management classes, as well as a choice between college accounting and principles of financial accounting, and between principles of management and business math.
Lynch said the college decided to seek approval for both new certificate programs at the same time.
"It's easier to do the two together rather than one this year and the other next year," he said.
The department already has certificate programs in entrepreneurship and e-commerce.
Registration for the winter semester at the college starts tomorrow, and classes begin next Monday.
Pat Corso, executive director of Moore County Partners in Progress, said the new programs are "terrific" because they enhance the county's quality of life.
"I think it shows how flexible our community college is in addressing the current needs of the community," Corso said. "Situs is looking to grow and thrive here. This takes things to the next level."
Bozich said Situs plans to donate $30,000 to the college to establish a partial faculty chair, and $15,000 to provide three full scholarships and several supplemental scholarships.
"Those are the people I want because they're motivated," she said.
Bozich said the company, which has 52 employees, plans to hire at least 10 new workers in the first half of 2013.
"And that's a conservative estimate," she said. "We're definitely seeing a lot of growth."
As a result, Situs is working with an architect to up-fit 12,000 square feet of space it is currently using for storage. The company already utilizes 14,000 square feet.
"We really see the market taking off in 2013," Bozich said. "I think the first quarter is really going to tell us."
Contact Ted M. Natt Jr. at (910) 693-2474 or tnatt@the pilot.com.
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