Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced that the Department’s Economic Development Administration (EDA) is awarding a $1.2 million grant to East Central College. The funds will be used to create the Regional Center for Advanced Manufacturing and Workforce Training adjacent to ECC’s main campus in Union.
“We are thrilled to receive this federal grant to assist with the renovation of our facility,” noted ECC President Jon Bauer. “These grant funds, combined with institutional resources and money we plan to raise with the help of the East Central College Foundation, will make it possible for us to transform the building into a first class center for technical education for the benefit of our students and the regional economy.”
Bauer expressed his thanks and congratulations to all who worked on the grant application. “This work has paid off in a big way and we are excited to move to the next phase of design and renovation,” said Bauer.
EDA’s investment will support ECC’s renovation of the former Gala Center located just southeast of the campus. The college purchased that property in April for $1.2 million. The facility will allow the college to expand its technical education programs in Industrial Engineering Technology and Precision Machining which are currently housed at Four Rivers Career Center in Washington. The Heating/Ventilation/Air Conditioning program will also be relocated from the main campus to the renovated space. The Center for Workforce Development, as well as labs and classrooms dedicated to workforce training, are also planned for the renovated facility.
“The grant funds will allow us to convert the existing outdoor courtyard and some other exterior areas into usable interior space, expanding the building from its current square footage of 19,807 to 21,829 square feet.” noted Bauer. “Without this EDA funding that would not have been possible.”
Bauer said he expects renovation to begin this fall, with the relocation of the programs expected before the start of 2016 fall semester classes.
“The Obama Administration is committed to helping communities develop a workforce with the skills needed for 21st century jobs,” said Secretary Pritzker. “As part of the Department of Commerce’s ‘Skills for Business’ initiative, the EDA grant announced today will support expanded skills training to meet the needs of Missouri’s burgeoning advanced manufacturing industry.”
The increased lab and classroom space will enable more students to be admitted into these high-demand programs. The building will also support the implementation of new, innovative programs such as tooling and die casting, industrial maintenance, and stick and tungsten inert gas welding, along with two new apprenticeship programs in machining and industrial maintenance.
About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The Economic Development Administration marks 50 years of public service, leading the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.