OTC and CFO Announce Workforce Challenge Grant

Ozarks Technical Community College and the Community Foundation of the Ozarks announce a new $50,000 challenge grant initiative beginning today, June 1, to support OTC’s workforce development programs for training and retraining workers across the Ozarks for the new economy.

The Community Foundation of the Ozarks will match $1 for every dollar raised by the OTC Foundation, up to $25,000, by Nov. 30, 2010. The OTC Foundation will use the challenge grant funds for the Center for Workforce Development, Transport Training Institute.

The CFO initiated this new challenge grant as part of the 2010-11 Springfield Metropolitan Grantmaking cycle in response to its emphasis on addressing high-priority community needs – or “red flags” – identified in the 2009 Community Focus Report for Springfield and Greene County.

The 2009 Community Focus Report notes local income and wage issues as “red flags” and also cites stalled job growth, regional unemployment and funding challenges for OTC as emerging issues for the community.

“Although Ozarks Technical Community College (OTC) plays a critical role in training and retraining regional employees to meet employers’ needs, it continues to face major funding challenges,” the report stated. “OTC has the third-highest enrollment of any community college in the state, yet ranks last in state funding.”

“Working with the Community Foundation on this challenge grant provides us with an opportunity to build our workforce development resources and expand the job training we are able to offer,” said Hal Higdon, president of Ozarks Technical Community College.  “We have begun the process of detailing how this grant will be used to enhance the Transport Training Institute, one of our many programs that quickly prepares workers for immediate job placement.”

The workforce development programs also address the Community Focus Report’s “red flags” of wage rates and per capita income that aren’t keeping up with comparison cities. 

“The CFO is committed to applying our Springfield area discretionary grantmaking dollars to the most important needs of the community and workforce development certainly ranks at the top,” CFO Executive Vice President Brian Fogle said. “We think this challenge grant partnership with OTC’s Foundation will better position Springfield for economic recovery with more workers trained for new and expanded job opportunities with our local employers.”

 For more information on making fully tax-deductible contributions to the Workforce Development Challenge Grant, contact Stephanie Brown at (417) 447-2653 or browns@otc.edu.

The Community Focus Report is available at: www.springfieldcommunityfocus.org.

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