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Community colleges to help create 4,600 jobs

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Missouri’s 12 community college systems and Linn State Technical College collaborated with the Missouri Department of Economic Development and the state’s work force investment boards to apply for $20 million in federal funds to retrain unemployed Missourians for jobs in the health care industry, according to a Sept. 26 news release from the governor’s office.

The initiative, dubbed MoHealthWINS, targets unemployed adult learners who are seeking new careers. The competitive funds, which were made available through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training Grant Program, will help create an estimated 4,600 health care jobs, according to the release.

“This grant is a major step forward for our community colleges in our efforts to expand opportunities for adult students across this state,” said Zora Mulligan, executive director of the Missouri Community College Association, in the release. The MCCA comprises Ozarks Technical Community College and Neosho-based Crowder College in southwest Missouri.

At the start of the application process, Gov. Jay Nixon asked that the colleges work together to submit a joint application that examined ways to develop collaborative and targeted programs that would capitalize on the resources of each school, avoid duplication and save money. The colleges have since agreed to share equipment and staff and take steps to expand access through such efforts as online and distance learning, the release said.

Nixon said the educational training would benefit the state’s economy by giving unemployed workers the skills needed to help build the health care sector.

“Missouri’s health care industry is growing quickly, and hospitals, clinics and other employers need more nurses, lab techs and other workers with the right education and skills today," Nixon said in the release. "By expanding educational opportunities for Missourians in these fields, we’ll open the door for employment for more folks and keep our economy growing.

"This is a strategic investment in the growth of our economy and the future of our state."

Training would target occupations within the health care industry, including:
  • health information technologists;
  • certified nursing aides;
  • certified medical technicians;
  • licensed practical nurses;
  • pharmacy technicians;
  • hearing instrument technicians;
  • medical lab technicians;
  • radiologic technicians; and
  • mechanical technicians.
In the coming days, Nixon plans to visit several of the participating schools to detail specific programs that would be developed or expanded as a result of this funding, the release said.[[In-content Ad]]

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