Friday, April 24 2015
West Plains, MO -- West Plains may soon be the home for an Ad-vanced Manufacturing Training Center that could serve as one of the premier training facil-ities in the state.
Plans are underway for the creation of a Center that would provide training on traditional edu-cation and key technology skills that are in demand by manufacturers. The project is a joint effort between the South Central Career Center, Missouri State University-West Plains, and the City of West Plains, and we are cur-rently looking at the 16,000-square-foot City Scales Building near downtown to house the Center.
The West Plains region has the potential to attract and retain manufacturers in the area, but would need to offer a sufficiently trained and available workforce. About 13 percent of our local population is employed in the manu-facturing sector, which is nearly double the state average. This region is attractive to manu-facturers because of lower wages, lower land values, and a lower-than-average unemploy-ment rate that is a testimonial to the spirit of the workforce here in south central Missouri.
About 70 percent of the current workforce is considered “not sufficient” in key technology skills. The West Plains Advanced Manufacturing Training Center would not only provide tradi-tional education and training, but also science, technology, engineering and math opportuni-ties for students.
Despite many local residents having decades of experience in manufacturing, the region cur-rently lacks a program dedicated to advanced training in the manufacturing industry. It is imperative that the future talent pool in our region is better prepared, and it is our opinion that this training is a key catalyst for keeping and creating jobs in our community.