Gov. Jay Nixon was in Washington Monday to announce a $15 million investment in community colleges for modern manufacturing training.
The announcement was made at the Four Rivers Career Center, operated by the Washington School District and East Central College.
The governor explained the federal grant’s potential impact on job training and creation.
On hand for the governor’s tour of the Career Center and talk were members of the Center’s faculty and staff, students, board members of both the school district and college, school administrators, Mayor Sandy Lucy, Chamber of Commerce leaders, local employers and other interested individuals.
In September East Central was announced as one of nine colleges that would participate in MoManufacturingWINs, an initiative to prepare Missourians for manufacturing jobs.
Approximately 3,300 Missourians, including traditional college-age students looking to enter the work force quickly, into a stable and reliable industry, as well as underemployed, unemployed and dislocated adult workers, will benefit from this educational opportunity.
MoManufacturingWINs will enable East Central to accelerate learning in the manufacturing programs offered primarily at the Washington location.
Core elements of the training program include redesigned curriculum, technology-based instruction capabilities, local work-based learning or paid internship experiences, nationally recognized certifications and a strong faculty support network.
ECC should receive a $1.1 million portion of the grant and be able to train more than 200 individuals for welding, precision machinery and industrial engineering positions over a three-year period.
“We know these are fields where jobs exist right now,” Gov. Nixon said.
He pointed to numbers from last month’s job report to support his statement.
More than one quarter of recent hiring — about 4,900 out of 17,900, or 27.3 percent of jobs — occurred in the advanced manufacturing sector.
ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said the potential to place individuals trained and certified in manufacturing work in the job market is an exciting opportunity for the college, but the benefits go beyond campus.
“It’s great news for the entire region,” said Dr. Bauer.
Before congratulating East Central and other schools and entities involved in securing the work force innovation grant, the governor toured welding, precision machining, and industrial engineering classrooms and met with students already benefiting from or prepared to enroll in the specialized and accelerated programs.
“We are committed to ensuring that our work force has the latest training and certifications needed to attract more manufacturing jobs to Missouri,” Gov. Nixon said.
“This investment in Missouri’s community colleges is an investment in our economy and our future.”
Other colleges receiving a part of the $15 million grant are Linn State Technical College, Linn; Metropolitan Community College, Kansas City; Mineral Area College, Park Hills; North Central Missouri College, Trenton; Ozarks Technical Community College, Springfield; State Fair Community College, Sedalia; St. Charles Community College; and St. Louis Community College.