June 29, 2020

Sedalia, MissouriJune 26, 2020 –The COVID-19 tsunami has left a global high-water mark with far-reaching consequences on the world economy, health services and how Americans live. As the waters of change recede, State Fair Community College and other technical schools will play a vital role in economic recovery and strengthening communities because these institutions can provide immediate and affordable access to training and services that strengthen the workforce.

The Policy Leadership Trust, a select group of education leaders, posted a June article on the Jobs for the Future website (jff.org) titled “Five Reasons Why Community Colleges Are Key to Our COVID-19 Recovery.” The article pointed out that community colleges historically have played important roles in crisis response because they are affordable, offer flexible learning delivery and are connected to local communities and regional economies, which is why “government, communities, and families ought to look to community colleges as engines of recovery.”

Last December, Governor Mike Parson, SFCC President Dr. Joanna Anderson, the Board of Trustees, and the SFCC Foundation announced the receipt of grant funds from the Missouri Department of Economic Development as part of the Workforce Training Initiative and a donation from the Olen Howard family to help fund construction of the college’s new Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center. The new center, which is scheduled to open next year, will more than double the college’s capacity in precision machining and welding and expand other programs such as automation control technology, industrial maintenance, climate, energy and refrigeration control technology (HVAC), advanced manufacturing, robotics, logistics, leadership/supervisory skills, and apprenticeships.

“Now, more than ever, unemployed and under-employed people and businesses and industries need access to affordable, relevant and responsive educational training and services,” said Dr. Anderson. “Our technical programs, The LearningForce’s workforce training, our apprenticeship program, and Small Business Development Center have experienced faculty, staff and resources that will help meet workforce challenges and fuel economic recovery throughout our 14-county service region.”

Since 2003, Adient, a manufacturing company in Eldon, has been engaged in Missouri One Start programs administered by State Fair Community College’s The LearningForce. Adient US LLC produces components for the automotive industry and employs high volume precision technologies in the assembly process. 

“The training in advanced manufacturing technologies provided by State Fair Community College meets the specific needs for our employees,” said Adient Plant Manager Nick Cline. “State Fair Community College has not only provided the training but also access to training grants to offset the cost of the training for our workers which is a huge benefit to our company and bottom line.”

Because of long-standing relationships with businesses and industry, SFCC’s technical and workforce development programs have the courses and industry certifications to develop talent for current jobs while anticipating future needs. The combination of studies and hands-on learning from faculty with real-world experience is the best recipe for producing a strong workforce.

SFCC offers more than 70 programs in which students can earn a Skills or Professional Certificates for quick employment or Associate of Applied Science degrees or Associate of Arts degrees that transfer seamlessly to many other four-year schools. Besides 7 transfer degrees, SFCC offers 6 career paths in agriculture; 14 in business and computers; 17 in health sciences; 2 in human services, and 26 in industrial technology (automotive, construction, engineering, electrical maintenance, manufacturing production, machining, welding and marine technology).  Skill Certificates are typically completed in one semester, and Professional Certificates can be completed in two semesters.

In addition to these programs, SFCC faculty and administration continue to work closely with employers and research new career paths that will improve the quality of life for all. After receiving approval from the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Innovation, SFCC is pleased to announce the addition of these new certificates and degree in the 2020-2021 course catalog:

               Skills Certificates in: Computer User Support, Digital Media Communications, Early Childhood Development, First Line Supervision in Office Support, First Line Supervision in Production, First Line Supervision in Retail, Medical Assisting (accepted students only)

               Professional Certificates in: Early Childhood Development, IT Essential Skills, Manufacturing Production Technician, Millwright Technician, Robotics and Automation Technician

               Associate of Applied Science in: Digital Media Communications

Registered Apprenticeship programs have been used for more than 80 years and are growing among regional industries as another effective way to meet workforce needs. Currently, SFCC partners with employers of all sizes in a variety of industries to offer apprenticeships in engineering design, first-line supervisor, industrial electrical maintenance, precision machining, and construction management.

 The COVID-19 pandemic also highlighted the critical need for well-trained healthcare professionals. SFCC offers certificates and degrees for nurses and aides, dental hygienists, radiology technicians, diagnostic sonography technicians, occupational therapy assistants, medical assistants, medical laboratory assistants, medical information technicians, pharmacy and phlebotomy technicians. The licensing pass rates for SFCC’s health sciences students are among the highest in the state and graduates are quickly employed upon completion.

For the last three years, SFCC’s practical and registered nursing programs have been rated as #1 in Missouri by PracticalNursing.org and RegisteredNursing.org. To expand and expedite the pipeline for more nursing students, this summer, for the first time, SFCC offered the Paramedic Transition course for the RN program in Clinton, which was made possible by a MoExcels grant and matching donations.

“As the pandemic crisis continues to unfold, SFCC is already responding to the educational needs of our students and the workforce needs of our business and industry partners,” said Dr. Anderson. “Like the Jobs for the Future article points out, we are well positioned to make important contributions to our local health services and manufacturing partners and empower our students and communities to not only get through this difficult time but to find long-term success.”

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