West Plains area residents needing to increase their employ-ability skills to meet the demands of today’s manufacturing industries are encouraged to attend the “GOCAT Showcase” between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 10, at the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT), 125 North Howell Ave., in West Plains.
Sponsored by Missouri State University-West Plains and the South Central Career Center (SCCC), the GOCAT Showcase will provide attendees the opportunity to tour the newly-renovated facility and its training equipment, speak one-on-one with instructors, check out the varying types of equipment students will use in their training, and find out more about how the skills embedded in the programs offered at the GOCAT are needed by area industries, many of whom are currently hiring.
“The GOCAT training programs have been developed hand-in-hand with local manufacturers,” according to Dr. Dennis Lancaster, dean of academic affairs at Missouri State-West Plains. “Our primary goal in developing the programs has been to benefit both students and our area industries. And with some of our manufacturers needing new workers with these skill sets now and some who are needing their current workers to increase their skills in specific areas, this is an ideal opportunity to learn how to be ready to meet these changing demands on the plant floor.”
SCCC Assistant Director Josh Cotter agreed. “With as many job openings for skilled welders in south-central Missouri and elsewhere, this is the perfect time for anyone interested in a good, high-paying job to get the training they need to be considered for these positions,” he said. “You can find out all you need to know about the training program and how to enroll if you attend the GOCAT Showcase.”
The GOCAT, a partnership of the City of West Plains, SCCC and Missouri State-West Plains, houses the equipment and classroom areas used by Missouri State-West Plains and the SCCC in their respective and jointly-offered programs. According to Sheila Barton, GOCAT project manager for Missouri State-West Plains, these include courses in electricity, electronics, biofuels, solar and wind energy, welding automated manufacturing, materials and processes, safety, and supply chain, quality and project management.
“What we heard from our industry partners as we developed the GOCAT and its programs was that they needed workers to have foundational skills in all of these areas, not just one area,” Barton said. “And the reason is that 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.”
Those who attend the GOCAT Showcase will have a chance to see the equipment on which they will, at some point, be using to learn these skills. They also will hear about how they can enroll in the courses and programs, how they can apply for financial aid from a variety of sources, and how successful completion of these programs can put them on a pathway to certain jobs. Providing this information will be representatives from Missouri State-West Plains and SCCC, but also from the Missouri Job Center and from other agencies.
“Every individual’s goals and needs are different,” 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 be find ‘Career Path Z’ is a great option, and that you can start down that path at the GOCAT.”
While attendees may drop in to the GOCAT Showcase at any time between 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., they are encouraged to RSVP by calling (417) 255-7955. Refreshments will be served.
For more information about the GOCAT and its programs, visit the GOCAT webpage at gocat.wp.missouristate.edu, or contact the Missouri State-West Plains admissions office by calling 417-255-7955 or toll-free at 888-466-7897 or by emailing WPAdmissions@MissouriState.edu. To find out about programs offered by the SCCC, phone 417-256-6152 or see the SCCC webpage at www.zizzers.org/Domain/8.