Understanding Your Community
OUTdrive Episode 13 with Dr. Joanna Anderson
In this episode of OUTdrive, Cliff visits with Dr. Joanna Anderson, President of State Fair Community College (SFCC). A passionate educator and lover of the rural American lifestyle, Dr. Anderson leads students and faculty to success in 14 counties in central Missouri.
Read more for some highlights of their conversation about rural American core values that shape how this audience works, acts and lives, and more about the importance of understanding your community and partnering with other organizations for sustainable growth.
Rural American Core Values
People in rural America live their lives by a unique set of core values and principles that drive everything they do. Part of those values include a desire to help others and make their communities a better place. Dr Anderson elaborates on this token trait of rural America.
“That’s one of the things I love best about the whole rural America lifestyle is that people can really see that they can make a difference. And then I think that makes them want to improve their community, make it a better place to live, make their workplace better for everybody.”
One of the many benefits of living and doing business in rural America is its strong workforce. Community colleges like SFCC play a vital role in workforce development across rural America, contributing to the growth of our national economy. Access to affordable education paired with the value-based mindset of rural America creates a powerful force.
Cliff added “It’s part of the mindset of the rural America worker. It is pride in what they do. They give extra, they work hard, and they make good decisions based on a value system that they’ve grown up with.”
Understanding Your Community
In rural America, there is a strong focus on community and the importance of working together to build a place that people want to live, work and do business. Dr. Anderson knows the importance of community in her personal and professional life. In fact, SFCC’s new motto, ‘It’s About Community,’ is a very accurate representation of the relationship the college has with its surrounding communities.
Dr. Anderson elaborated on what community means to her and SFCC. “It’s About Community means that we bring whoever comes from our community and help them be successful in a career path,” she says. “It’s also reaching out to the community that supports us. How are we integrated within the community? We want to be a resource. We want to help the community, we want to build our community up and make it a place that everybody loves to live and create a lot of opportunities.”
For example, SFCC offers workforce training for local manufacturers for new and incumbent employees. This provides a unique opportunity for current manufacturers in the community, as well as businesses looking to potentially relocate or expand in the Sedalia area. Recognizing needs within your community and the value that your organization can bring and actively seeking ways to partner with other organizations to meet the needs of your audience is a great strategy for growth and applicable to almost any business.
How can you be a resource for your customers and prospective customers? What do they need and what can you bring to the table to help them succeed?
Hear more about these topics and the unique world of higher education from Cliff Callis and Dr. Joanna Anderson in this episode of OUTdrive.