Missouri’s community colleges join forces to expand the number of skilled workers

The Missouri Community College Association announced the formation of a workforce training network March 9 at the Capitol Rotunda.

Metropolitan Community College has joined Missouri’s 11 other community colleges to create a workforce training network that will share resources and eliminate “geographic and procedural barriers.”

Chancellors and presidents of the 12 college systems signed off on the Missouri Community College Workforce Development Network at a ceremony March 9 in the Capitol Rotunda in Jefferson City.

Until now, if a business approached one community college seeking specialized training that college didn’t offer, the business would have to look elsewhere.

Under the new agreement, “schools with the required programs and faculty members can send information or people to the community college that needs the help,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The network of colleges draws on the collective resources of the statewide group. Meanwhile, “each college can continue to play to its strengths,” said Jon Bauer, chairman of the Missouri Community College Association, at the event.

“It’s a win for everybody, especially for Missouri’s economy,” added Bauer, who’s also president of East Central College in Union, Mo.

MCC Chancellor Mark James (third from left) was among the community college leaders taking part in the signing ceremony.

The goal of the new initiative is to “improve customer service for businesses and help Missouri compete for job creation projects that too often go to other states,” according to the MCCA.

“We understand the difficult budget situation facing the state, and with this partnership, we hope to help grow the state’s economy in two ways,” MCCA president Rob Dixon said in a statement.

“First, we want to help Missourians learn the skills they need to earn higher pay. And second, we hope to connect Missouri businesses with the workforce they need to grow and create jobs.”

MCC Chancellor Mark James (center) with state Rep. Jeanie Lauer and Sen. Dan Hegeman at the MCCA signing event

MCC Chancellor Mark James was among the community college leaders and lawmakers attending the event.

Metropolitan Community College plans to tout the new resource network and how it can help local business and industry at an event March 22 at MCC-Business & Technology. Details will be announced soon.