With the help of Gov. Mike Parson, State Fair Community College announced on Tuesday afternoon that it received a $500,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development (MoDED), in partnership with the City of Sedalia.

The announcement was made in front of well over 200 people gathered in the Thompson Conference Center on the SFCC campus.

The State of Missouri also approved $250,000 in Neighborhood Assistance Program (NAP) tax credits for the SFCC Foundation that will help with economic development.

Missouri businesses can claim 50 percent (and sometimes 70 percent) credit against Missouri's income tax for donations to approved NAPs.

Parson called Sedalia "an outstanding community," referring to the generosity of the State Fair City.

"When you see the things that people here in this community do to support one another, there's a lot of hard work and generous people here," the governor said.

"I think those basic fundamental work ethics are what is so important to the state of Missouri," Parson said, referring to his own early years turning wrenches and stick welding.

"In today's changing economy, additional levels of training and education are more and more necessary to fill the jobs of the future," Parson noted. "And community colleges, like State Fair, play a critical role in this."

The governor stated that Missouri was the top state in the US for international investment in 2018. "We don't have to be at the end of the pack no more," he said. "Missouri is in the heart of the United States of America. We have every opportunity to do better. But we also have to be able to make sure that we prepare the workforce of tomorrow."

Parson also noted that Missouri is second in the US for apprenticeship programs.

Dr. Joanna Anderson, president of SFCC, said the funds will help expand the school's workforce development programs and directly benefit students laboring under low and moderate incomes.

She noted that other programs will be expanded as a result, including:

Robotics, Industrial Maintenance, Leadership, Logistics, Supervisory skills, Apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs.

In addition, State Fair will now be able to build a new workforce development center, thanks to a sizable monetary gift from the Olen Howard Charitable Foundation.

That announcement was made by Howard's daughters, Darlene Bradbury and her sister Shirley Rowden. Howard, who ran a very successful construction business, died in 2014. Bradbury is a 1971 graduate of State Fair. She noted that the Workforce Innovation Center (WIC) will be located on the same site as the campus she attended 50 years ago.

The proposed 35,500-square-foot facility will expand classroom and lab spaces for welding technology and precision machining technology utilized by the CTC, college credit programs and workforce training through LearningForce.

Other members of the Howard family attended Tuesday's event as well, in addition to SFCC administrators and board of trustees, business leaders, city, county and state officials.

Joe Fischer, SFCC Foundation Board of Directors president, announced the generous donation as one of the largest in the foundation’s history and introduced  Bradbury and Rowden.

“We are so pleased and delighted with the opportunity to be a part of this building,” said Bradbury, a graduate of State Fair Community College and SFCC Foundation board member. “This college has always been very close to my heart.”

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