TRCC seeks input from industries on workforce training needs | Schools
POPLAR BLUFF, MO (KFVS) - In an effort to make the region more appealing to industry, Three Rivers College, the City of New Madrid and U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Emerson, organized a gathering to learn just what the workforce needs are.
According to TRCC, more than two dozen representatives of several of the leading industries in Scott, New Madrid and Mississippi counties attended the meeting held Sept. 17. They were made aware of the training programs the college currently offers and were asked to give feedback on the types of training that would help them keep and attract employees.
Having this firsthand account of the area workforce needs is critical, according to Dr. Devin Stephenson, President of Three Rivers College.
“With our upcoming expansion in the Sikeston area through our Eastern Campus, we are learning just how important it is for us to regionalize our efforts in workforce development training,” he said.
Stephenson said the countless hours he has spent in the tri-county area have convinced him that the Three Rivers Eastern Campus, which is planned just south of Sikeston in New Madrid County, will provide a great opportunity to help meet those workforce needs. The Eastern Campus, he said, will provide space for training larger groups, although programs will still be offered in on-site locations if feasible.
“We are all about access and responsiveness,” he said. “Wherever you have a need, we are willing to do the training.”
Needs that Stephenson said he has been made aware of in the past few months, and the College is currently working to address, include programs to train heavy equipment and forklift operators.
In addition to receiving information on training and certificate programs currently being offered by the college, industry representative attending the meeting were asked for their input on how Three Rivers programs can be enhanced or expanded and for suggestions on additional offerings.
“We see a lot of great promise and possibilities here, and we are willing to invest to make it happen,” said Stephenson.
John Gilbert, city administrator in New Madrid, said the proximity of the river, railway, interstate and availability of land create a perfect storm for New Madrid and the surrounding areas to become an ideal location for relocating industries.
“And we have an opportunity today to begin to build a stronger workforce,” he said.
In meetings with potential businesses, Gilbert said there is a recurring theme – the need for skills training in the region.
“We need to train the people we have, and the ones who are coming in for these new and future jobs,” he said.
A training program, Gilbert said, puts the area in a position to grab the companies looking at relocating in the region.
Emerson, who represents the 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives, noted that when she first heard of the needs in New Madrid, she knew Stephenson and Three Rivers College were the ones to call.
“As a community college, they are flexible and nimble,” she said. “Community colleges can do in-house training that four-year colleges cannot.”
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