People interested in health care-related careers have found a valuable resource in training for those jobs right here in DeSoto County.
For the past five years, Concorde Career College has operated a branch of its Memphis campus at 7900 Airways Blvd.
Chris Burgio is Southaven campus president, who noted the commitment the school has made to the DeSoto County community.
“Ultimately I think what it means for us to be here is that it’s been five years of producing graduates that are going out into the community to better the community around us,” Burgio said. “That’s what Concorde stands for, trying to better the community in which we are in.”
Burgio said the college offers programs in four health-related areas and supports its students as they move from education to the working world.
“We have medical assistant, dental assistant, medical office professional and massage therapy,” Burgio said. “We actually have Graduate Employment Services here. What that means is that, on the students graduating, we help them with job assistance, such as resume building, interview skills and giving them job leads as we come across them. For us to have that is a key to what separates us from other institutions.”
Concorde Career College is a national network of 16 schools that are located in eight states, including California, Florida, Colorado, Missouri, Oregon and Texas, in addition to its Mississippi and Tennessee locations.
Burgio has been campus president since 2013 and previously was involved in campus services at Antonelli College in Flowood, having moved into career education from a financial background.
He has been overseeing a growing program at the Southaven campus.
“We roughly enroll about 300 or more students here a year,” Burgio said. “Right now, our average student population is right around 225 students between the four programs, which is exceptional, considering the fact that, when we first opened these doors five years ago, we started off with 34 students.”
Burgio said the Southaven campus opened when the Memphis location began to notice a demand from DeSoto County for the health career education it offered.
“We started to hear that there was a need from some of the institutions down here and from some of the students,” noted Burgio. “Our main campus in Memphis decided to open up a branch campus in Southaven. We’re located in an area with a lot of prime medical areas so we’re able to service a lot of people in the Southaven-DeSoto County area.”
The reach of Concorde has also gone beyond the confines of DeSoto County, Burgio added.
“We service students from as far away as Lafayette County and Oxford, in Greenwood and we have students drive from Grenada to come to school,” he explained. Beyond the teaching of fundamental skills of the career, students also learn the importance of resume writing, customer service and how to present yourself in an interview, all geared toward easily going from the classroom to a job.
“Throughout their time here, we do something called Pathway to Placement,” Burgio said. “It’s really a pathway to the student getting placed in a job. Our placement rates for our students have been above standards, as the standard placement rate is 70 percent, and we are above standard on that.”
Bob Bakken is Staff Writer for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.