Barb Ochs | Northcentral Technical College
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Barb Ochs

Barb OchsBeing a single mom in the rural community of Butternut, Wisconsin, could have prevented Barb Ochs from pursuing a secondary education. But thanks to the NTC regional campus located in nearby Phillips, she was able to earn an associate degree in small business administration while raising her two daughters.

“Having close access to the Phillips campus changed my life,” said Ochs. “As a single mom, I didn’t have to travel a long distance to obtain an education. I fulfilled my entire associate degree there.”

In addition to the convenience of the Phillips campus, Ochs said the flexibility of the program and the NTC counselors helped her succeed in her education. “I so highly promote NTC and what they’ve done for me. The counselors said what do you need, we’ll make sure that your whole program is completed. The schedule was so flexible. I was able to take most of my classes in the evening. It worked out very well for me.”

Counselors helped Ochs develop a four-year plan, determined when specific classes would be available, and worked them into the plan so there was no lapse in her studies. “It kept me from having to wait a year or two for classes in between,” she said.

While pursuing her education, Ochs helped create a Student Governing Board at the campus. “We were very proud that we got that up and running and established a voice for the campus,” Ochs recalled. “When you’re a regional campus, you don’t really feel like you’re part of the integral decision-making. That was a fun thing to take on and see evolve. Those things really helped me realize that you can play a part.”

Since graduating in 1997, Ochs has used her education and business skills to develop a successful customer relations career at WPS Health Insurance in Wausau. “If I didn’t have the education, I wouldn’t have the career I have today,” noted Ochs. “It gave me an edge compared to other people who did not have that degree.”

Outside of work, Ochs is a busy mom and a dedicated volunteer. Her daughters, Sarah, age 15 and Danielle, age 20, attend D.C. Everest High School and UW-Milwaukee, respectively. Ochs volunteers for Junior Achievement, the D.C. Everest Athletic Club, and St. Therese Parish. In addition to her family and volunteer activities, she enjoys gardening, reading and cooking.

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