Missouri’s twelve community colleges signed an agreement Thursday to pool resources in hopes of improving workforce training.
Rob Dixon, president and CEO of the Missouri Community College Association, said the agreement means businesses can more easily train employees on specific skills.
“As a business is considering expanding or relocating in Missouri, they’re going to work with their local community college,” Dixon said. “For example, they might have a piece of equipment that they need training on… but their local community college may or may not have a trainer who knows that piece of equipment or have expertise in that area.”
Hal Higdon, Chancellor at Ozarks Technical Community College, said Thursday’s agreement could help solve that problem.
“They just pick up the phone, call us, and we go there and do it,” Higdon said.
Dixon said Missouri is divided up into twelve community college districts. Within each of those districts, there is one community college serving businesses that may need to train employees on specific skills.
“In the past there were really some of those geographic type limitations as well as some procedural red tape kind of things that were preventing a company from accessing all 12 community colleges at once,” Dixon said.
The agreement allows community colleges to more easily communicate with each other to ensure that people with the right know-how are equipping employees for the workforce.
Dixon said there’s no additional cost to the state.
“Missouri’s community colleges already receive some workforce development training funds,” he said. “So this is making more efficient use of our existing resources.”
Higdon said sending college resources to another part of the state is an expense well worth the cost.
“There may be some cost in travel,” he said. “But it’s the cost of no training versus the cost of good training.”