Online classes started this week for eight students from Ukraine who are working to obtain their specialist in management certificate from Missouri Southern.

The students from the Odesa National Maritime University are set to arrive in Joplin in January to complete the coursework necessary to receive the certification. The program is designed to develop students’ business management skills as they learn about working in ports and mechanical engineering, said Dr. Chris Moos, associate professor of international business.

Students from Odesa National Maritime University take a test to measure their proficiency in English.

Students from Odesa National Maritime University take a test to measure their proficiency in English.

“The specialist in management certificate is geared toward non-business majors,” he said. “The class structure ties in with their first semester of classes for their masters degree. They’re supported and mentored by their faculty in English. In the spring, they’ll come here to take the last four classes to complete their certificate.”

The conflict that began with Russia’s intervention in Ukraine earlier this year created logistical problems in implementing the partnership, but Moos said things came together just in time.

“We were once as high as 12 students, but two got called to serve in the army given the current war in the east, and two others were offered jobs on ships outside the country,” he said.

“(The fighting) has caused consternation because of the instability of the government and, of course, the economy has suffered a bit. But family ties are much stronger there. Typically, the whole extended family contributes to fund education. There was a really high motivation to make this happen.”