Telligen grant allows OCCC to reach underserved communities across the state

The college expands the SLPA program

    (Published: 11-30-16)

Speech-Language Pathology Assistant

Oklahoma City Community College (OCCC) has expanded clinical operations for the Speech-Language Pathology Assistant (SLPA) program to rural areas of Oklahoma thanks to the Telligen Community Initiative grant. The grant allows the program to increase workforce development for the profession as well as increase services administered to patients in underserved areas.

By partnering with healthcare facilities and local schools, the program has identified nine clinical hubs that will include and serve communities further from the college targeting northwest, northeast, southwest and southeast regions of Oklahoma. The designated hubs are Lawton Public Schools, Great Plains Medical Center in Elk City, Ponca City Public Schools, Noble Public Schools, Seminole Cooperative, Newcastle Public Schools, Speech Pathways in Guthrie, Duncan Regional Hospital, and Harrah Public Schools. The clinics are presently serving clients in Justice, Butner, Konawa, Wewoka (New Lima), Bethel, Lawton, Elk City, Noble, Ponca City, Newcastle, Guthrie, Mustang and Harrah.

During the fall 2016 and spring 2017 semesters, 15 second-year SLPA students provide speech-language pathology services as interns in the clinics while 16 first-year students acquire an additional 10 observational hours each. Over the course of both semesters, the student interns will provide approximately 1500 therapy sessions which include speech-language therapy services in areas including articulation, receptive and expressive language, fluency, voice, swallowing, cognitive rehabilitation and literacy assistance.

According to the American Speech-Language Hearing Association (ASHA) and Oklahoma Speech-Language Hearing Association (OSHA), there is a widespread shortage of speech-language professionals across the nation and the state of Oklahoma. This initiative provides an avenue for workforce development and career sustainability for the profession.

OCCC offers the first and only SLPA program in the state of Oklahoma. SLPAs are prepared to work with licensed and certified speech-language pathologists. OCCC faculty in the speech-language pathology assistant program maintain current speech-language pathologist state licensure with the Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology and hold a Certificate of Clinical Competence from ASHA. For more information about the OCCC SLPA program, visit

The Telligen Community Initiative is a non-profit foundation that seeks to improve communities through funding innovative and forward-looking health-related projects that aim to improve health, social well-being and educational attainment. For more information regarding the Telligen Community Initiative, visit

OCCC enrolls more than 20,000 students and has more than 90,000 participants in its various community programs annually. OCCC offers a full range of associate degree programs that prepare students to transfer to baccalaureate institutions while other degree and certificate programs prepare students for immediate employment. At OCCC, students receive a quality education with small class sizes, dedicated professors and leadership opportunities. Students can choose from more than 80 major fields of study and participate in any of the 40+ clubs and organizations. For more information about OCCC, visit