Gov. Jay Nixon today announced a new program he says will train more Missourians in technical fields and put them back to work.

He traveled to two Missouri community colleges to announce Training for Tomorrow, a $12 million initiative to educate Missourians in high-tech fields and get them working in growing industries. Nixon says these grants will help Missouri community colleges create or expand training programs to serve additional students.

He announced the new initiative during stops at Crowder College in Neosho and Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff.

“Last fall, I toured many of Missouri’s community colleges to hear directly about the needs of workers and businesses in their areas,” Nixon says. “In those conversations, it became clear that to turn this economy around, more Missourians need access to training programs in high-tech, high-demand fields. Especially in growing industries like health care, technical training beyond high school is absolutely vital, but many of our community colleges simply don’t have the equipment, instructors or resources to meet the needs of Missouri’s workers. Training for Tomorrow will expand these programs quickly and help get Missourians ready to work as soon as possible.”

Under Training for Tomorrow, member institutions of the Missouri Community College Association will partner with the government of the county in which they are located to apply for grant dollars to develop or expand programs to train Missourians in technical fields.

Nixon mentioned several occupations specifically targeted by these funds, including veterinary and pharmacy technicians, nursing aides and skilled craftsmen.

Nixon says 40 percent of those enrolled in higher education throughout Missouri are enrolled at community colleges.

Community colleges applying for competitive grants from Training for Tomorrow will be required to provide a detailed description of the programs they plan to develop or expand, including:

– Outlining the specific actions they will take to expand the capacity of high-demand programs;

– Detailing the market demand for the programs, both by students and employers;

– Identifying partners from business and industry who can help design the programs;

– Aligning the expansion of these programs with local economic-recovery efforts;

– Showing that the expansion will create or add pathways to specific high-demand careers in the local market; and

– Drafting an implementation plan for the programs.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development will administer the Training for Tomorrow program. Funding will come from the Second Supplemental Disaster Recovery Community Development Block Grant, a federal program to assist with economic recovery efforts.

The funds can cover all costs related to developing or expanding high-demand programs, but the funds cannot be used to replace existing salaries, pay for existing overhead costs, or cover “bricks-and-mortar” projects, Nixon says.

Marcia Pfeiffer, president of St. Louis Community College-Florissant Valley and chair of the Presidents and Chancellors Council of the Missouri Community College Association says, “Our institutions play a vital role in preparing Missouri workers for the careers of tomorrow. This funding will help us expand our highest-demand programs, serve more students, and get Missourians working quickly.”

Application materials for community colleges and county governments are available online at Applications are due Feb. 15.

Governor announces Training for Tomorrow in Poplar Bluff [6:01]