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Occupational Skills Diploma

Why Occupational Skills Diploma at CLC?

The Occupational Skills Program is one of two programs in the MNSCU system that specializes in post-secondary education for students with disabilities. We’ve been around since 1967!

Learn job seeking and job keeping skills to get the entry level job that you want. Gain work skills at community worksites through our Supervised Pre-Internship course. Learn the independent living skills that you will need to be successful in life and on the job. The OSP class room features onsite kitchen and laundry labs.

Experience college life at CLC! Enjoy all of the social and recreational activities that CLC has to offer. OSP students also choose a 2 credit elective course outside of the OSP.

Our OSP staff is experienced and passionate about helping students to be successful.

About the Program

The Occupational Skills Program (OSP) is a nine month, technical college diploma program designed for individuals with mild to moderate disabilities, focusing on competitive entry-level employment. The program is geared toward individuals who can possess the ability to work competitive entry-level employment with training and support, but may find it difficult to meet the rigor of a traditional college program.

Work experiences as well as coursework to support independence in the workplace and in the community are the main components of the program. Students also participate in a number of exciting and educational off-campus experiences designed to promote community access, social skills, recreation and healthy living.

Program Information

Special Department Information:

Program Course Requirements

Fall Semester
COMP 1103 Computer Basics I (1 cr)
OSKL 1142  Communication I (3 cr)
OSKL 1144  Critical Reasoning Skills I (4 cr)
OSKL 1148  Employability Skills I (3 cr)
OSKL 1154  Supervised Pre-Internship I (4 cr)
OSKL 1162  Study Skills I (1 cr)
Elective (1 cr)
Total 17 credits

Spring Semester
COMP 1104 Computer Basics II (1 cr)
OSKL 1146  Critical Reasoning Skills II (3 cr)
OSKL 1150  Employability Skills II (4 cr)
OSKL 1156  Supervised Pre-Internship I (4 cr)
OSKL 1164  Study Skills II (1 cr)
OSKL 1166  Communication II (3 cr)
Elective (1 cr)
Total 17 credits


Career Description: The Occupational Skills Program (OSP) is a technical college program that offers work-based training and classroom instruction for persons with disabilities with the outcome of competitive entry-level employment. Students in OSP actively participate in opportunities in the workplace and the classroom to expand their work experience background and increase their employability in the entry-level skilled work market. Experiences in OSP also promote social, physical and emotional growth in the college setting.

Program Information: OSP is a nine-month diploma program, staffed by one coordinator/instructor and two laboratory assistants. Specific skills needed for employment are taught at the business, college or community where students receive training. Coursework in the classroom reinforces basic work skills learned at the employment site, which increases student success at any workplace. Other skill outcomes for students in OSP taught in the classroom include communication skills (verbal, nonverbal and written,) problem-solving skills (goal-setting, self advocacy and relationship building, etc.) and decision-making skills (i.e. citizenship skills, budgeting, self management.) Students can also participate in an elective summer internship course which provides follow-up services at their place of employment following graduation.

Program Outcomes:
Graduates will be able to:

  • Communicate with supervisors and peers;
  • Maintain employment in supervised settings;
  • Follow specified procedures and timelines;
  • Exhibit self-advocacy skills in personal and work settings;
  • Set appropriate short term and long term goals.

Special Program Requirements: Students in OSP have documented disabilities and the ability to compete for entry-level job positions in the community in which they reside. All afterschool services required for independent living are secured by the student and family before the onset of Fall semester. Students can apply for OSP in the fall, beginning on Sept. 1, the year preceding attendance in the program. Student interviews for applicants meeting program criteria begin in January. Interviews and acceptance of students are completed from January to April with new students attending OSP orientation in late spring.

Career Opportunities: According to the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development, entry-level career availability is expected to continue to rise. Some examples of entry-level employment that students in the Occupational Skills Program obtain following graduation are food preparation, janitorial, retail, cashier and stock clerks, and entry-level health care positions. Placement data results from OSP show a great majority of students obtain gainful employment after graduation.

Career Titles: Common job titles for graduates include stock person, line worker, housekeeping, waitress, ride operator, dishwasher and dietary aide.


pattyPatty Sloan
Coordinator/ Instructor
Patty Sloan has worked with the Occupational Skills Program for 23 years. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Therapeutic Recreation from Winona State University. Patty works with students in the classroom and out in the community with their work experience class. Patty finds it very rewarding to see the many successes of students as they progress through the Occupational Skills Program. Patty enjoys spending time with her family. Her hobbies include: knitting, scrapbooking, sewing, and cooking.
Email Patty for more information

timTim Leskey
Tim Leskey is a member of the Occupational Skills Program at Central Lakes College in Brainerd. He earned his Bachelor of Social Work at Minnesota State University Moorhead. Tim has worked with individuals in a variety of settings. Originally from New Ulm, Tim and his family moved to Brainerd 5 years ago. He is married with 5 children. 3 girls and 2 boys. In his spare time he enjoys the outdoors, going for walks, riding bike, fishing and taking part in his children’s activities.
Email Tim for more information

Student Testimonials


2002 graduate
OSP taught me how to be more organized, and gave me good listening skills at work and at home.


Mother of former OSP student
Because of the OSP experience, Andrew is not only successful in the workplace but has developed confidence in himself that he never had before.

Employment Statistics

For more information regarding employment statistics, career salary information and estimated job growth, follow the resource links below:

Gainful Employment – Occupational Skills Diploma