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Education news and issues in the Ozarks.

OTC Grant to Help Create New Apprenticeships in High-Demand Fields

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Photo courtesy of OTC

A new, $75,000 grant will support students at Ozarks Technical Community College through apprenticeships within the manufacturing and healthcare sectors.

The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Labor ApprenticeshipUSA State Expansion Grant program.

In a press release issued Wednesday, OTC said the grant will help the college develop and implement strategies that support the expansion of registered apprenticeship programs. Specifically, it will create a full-time, 16-month apprenticeship specialist position to focus on creating new registered apprenticeships within the manufacturing and healthcare sectors. These will be sought throughout the college’s 12-county service region. OTC said both sectors have high-demand and are high-wage jobs.

“As we continue to see decreased funds from the state, our ability to receive grants is critical,” said Dr. Hal Higdon, chancellor of Ozarks Technical Community College. “Apprenticeships allow our students to earn a salary while learning the skills necessary to succeed in the high-demand careers of healthcare and manufacturing. When these highly skilled workers graduate and enter the workforce, that’s economic development.” 

OTC, as well as other two and four-year state schools suffered major hits to their budgets this week after Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens withheld $68 million from higher education. It was part of a $146 million restriction due to a projected state revenue shortfall.

At OTC, the loss for the current fiscal year is $1.1 million, according to Media Relations Coordinator Steve Koehler. He tells KSMU those dollars will be made up through major “belt-tightening,” noting cuts to things like travel. The college is currently in a hiring freeze, he says, with only essential personnel vacancies being filled. Koehler added that it is unclear how the school will handle potentially long-term cuts, which could be revealed when Greitens outlines his proposed budget next month. 

The apprenticeship specialist position, which is grant-funded, will be filled immediately. The job posting will be listed online at by Friday, Jan. 20.

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