MAC Included in Consortium to Lure Boeing’s 777X Production
Hundreds of rural southeast Missouri workers are familiar with daily commutes to St. Louis, and there might be more commuting in the future, if the state wins production of the Boeing 777X. And Mineral Area College would likely be training many of those workers.
The fight for the Boeing 777X, for which the company is expected to decide in mid-January, is seeing competition from other states like Alabama, Utah, California and Washington. Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is part of the major recruitment effort in this state, recently announcing the formation of the Missouri Aerospace Training Consortium that will train thousands of workers for advanced manufacturing jobs. Mineral Area College is part of the consortium.
MAC Vice President and Dean of Career & Technical Education Gil Kennon said training for high-wage, highly-skilled jobs is what happens every day at MAC, and the caliber of technical education has only increased on the Park Hills campus since the advanced manufacturing lab expanded in 2008 and the federal-grant-funded MoHealthWINs technical programs were instituted in 2012.
“MAC is very pleased to be a part of this exciting opportunity for Missouri and we are fortunate that over the last several years the college has dedicated resources to being prepared for this kind of opportunity,” he said.
According to a formal statement recently released by the Gov. Nixon’s office, Boeing will base part of its decision on the availability of high-skilled training.
“Especially in high-tech industries like aerospace, we're seeing once again that Missouri's human capital is one of our most precious and marketable assets. With a strong public education system and an outstanding network of community colleges, this is an area where Missouri already has a competitive edge and the Missouri Aerospace Training Consortium will capitalize on this strength,” Nixon was quoted as saying. “By training thousands of workers in the areas of aerospace and advanced manufacturing, this consortium will fill a pipeline of highly-skilled workers ready to hit the ground running in these high-paying jobs on Day One."
In addition to Mineral Area College, the other community colleges in the consortium include East Central College, Jefferson College, St. Charles Community College and St. Louis Community College.
The MAC Advanced Manufacturing Lab in the North College Center offers testing stations that teach students in the areas of robotics, automation, and machining, and with MAC’s UniTec partnership, welding.
According to information released by the governor’s office, in addition to the training consortium, Nixon called the General Assembly into a special session to pass legislation to provide additional capacity of up to $150 million annually for large-scale aerospace projects under four of Missouri's performance-based economic development programs: Missouri Works, Missouri Works Training, Missouri BUILD, and the Real Property Tax Increment Allocation Redevelopment Act. The total amount of benefits Boeing could earn under these programs would be based on the number of new jobs created and the wages of those jobs, the amount of new capital investment, and the cost of training workers to build this next-generation aircraft.
State responses to Boeing's RFP were due by Dec. 10, with a decision by Boeing expected by mid-January.