WEST PLAINS, Mo. – Missouri State University-West Plains will receive a $2,529,123 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through its Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) Program, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt has announced.
Officials in Blunt’s office notified university administrators of the grant Wednesday after officials at the Labor Department revealed the list of new grant recipients.
The grant, which begins Oct. 1 and extends through Sept. 30, 2017, will fund several new academic programs in allied health and agriculture for displaced workers in the area, other unemployed and underemployed adults, and veterans. The focus of these programs will be on “green” and/or sustainable jobs, university officials said.
“We are pleased the U.S. Department of Labor is providing the funds for these programs. This is great news for our campus and our region. This funding will enable us to expand our efforts to make higher education more accessible to residents in south-central Missouri,” Missouri State-West Plains Chancellor Drew Bennett said.
As a result of the grant funds, Missouri State-West Plains will add an Associate of Applied Science in Health Information Technology and a certificate in medical coding and billing to its allied health offerings. In agriculture, certificates will be developed in agribusiness, agriculture education, animal science, environmental plant science, natural resources, wildlife management and conservation, and general agriculture. In addition, the existing Associate of Applied Science in Agriculture degree will be revised into a transfer degree that will dovetail into a bachelor’s degree program at Missouri State University in Springfield, university officials said.
The money also will fund several new faculty and staff positions that will support these new programs, they added.
The focus of these new programs will be to serve workers and students in a 12-county area of south-central Missouri. These counties include the campus’ seven-county primary service area of Howell, Douglas, Oregon, Ozark, Shannon, Texas and Wright counties, as well as Butler, Carter, Reynolds, Ripley and Wayne counties. These counties make up one of the state workforce development board service areas, university officials explained.
TAACCCT provides community colleges and other eligible institutions of higher education with funds to expand and improve their ability to deliver education and career training programs that can be completed in two years or less, are suited for workers who are eligible under the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) for Workers Program, and prepare program participants for employment in high-wage, high skill occupations.
Through these multi-year grants, the Department of Labor is helping to ensure that our nation’s institutions of higher education are helping adults succeed in acquiring the skills, degrees and credentials needed for high-wage, high-skill employment while also meeting the needs of employers for skilled workers, according to information on the Labor Department’s website, dol.gov. The Labor Department implements the TAACCCT program in partnership with the Department of Education.