Area residents needing to increase their employability skills to meet the demands of today’s manufacturing industries are encouraged to attend the “Technology Showcase @ GOCAT” between 4 and 6 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 2, at the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT), 395 Jackie D. Garrett Ave., in West Plains.
Sponsored by Missouri State University-West Plains, the showcase will give those attending the opportunity to tour the facility and its training equipment, see demonstrations, speak one-on-one with instructors, and meet with area employers to find out how the skills taught in the programs offered at the GOCAT are needed by area industries, many of which are currently hiring.
Programs Developed With Area Manufacturers
“These training programs have been developed hand-in-hand with local manufacturers with the primary goal of benefitting both students and our area industries,” said Dr. Dennis Lancaster, dean of academic affairs at Missouri State-West Plains. “Some of our manufacturers need new workers with these skill sets now, and others may need their current workers to increase their skills in specific areas. This is an ideal opportunity for these workers to learn how they can be ready to meet these changing demands on the plant floor.”
“As an employer, officials at Missouri State-West Plains have developed curriculum which will meet the continuously changing needs of industry,” said Garland Barton, senior director of human resources at DRS Land Systems in West Plains. “To ensure they are delivering what industry needs, they asked, developed, got feedback, modified as needed and are now putting that curriculum to use. Graduating from one of these programs will provide workers with the skills they need for an entry level position as a manufacturing technician.”
A Variety of Courses are Offered
According to Sheila Barton, manager of Missouri State University-West Plains programs at the GOCAT, courses in electricity, electronics, biofuels, solar and wind energy, welding machining, PLCs, CAD and CNC programming are offered at the facility.
“What we heard from our industry partners as we developed the GOCAT and our programs was that they needed workers to have foundational skills in all of these areas, not just one area,” she explained. “Today’s industrial environment is increasingly dependent on technology-focused and technology-enabled manufacturing. To put it simply, this isn’t the assembly line work of the past; this is cutting edge stuff, and it’s exciting stuff, too.”
Enrollment Information Will Be Provided
In addition to tours of the facility and visits with area manufacturers, those attending the showcase will learn how they can enroll in the courses and programs, apply for financial aid from a variety of sources, and discover how successful completion of these programs can put them on a pathway to certain jobs. Representatives from Missouri State University-West Plains and the Missouri Job Center will be on hand to answer questions.
“Every individual’s goals and needs are different,” Sheila Barton noted. “While you might not be eligible for financial assistance from one source, you may be eligible from a different place. And while you might not be interested in ‘Career Path A,’ you might find ‘Career Path Z’ is a great option, and that you can start down that path at the GOCAT.”
Although the showcase is being offered in a “drop-in” format, those planning to attend are encouraged to RSVP by calling 417-255-7955. Refreshments will be served.
For more information about Missouri State-West Plains GOCAT programs offered, call the GOCAT office at 417-255-7784 or email Barton at SheilaFBarton@MissouriState.edu.