State announces $300,000 for GOCAT, the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology

July 22, 2016
West Plains, MO - Gov. Jay Nixon today was joined by local business and university leaders in West Plains at the site of the future Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology, GOCAT, to announce $300,000 in state funding for the new training center. This fall, students will be able to begin advanced manufacturing and technology courses at the center through a partnership with Missouri State University-West Plains. Today’s announcement follows the most recent Mid-America Business Conditions Index survey ranking Missouri first in the Midwest for manufacturing growth.

“Missouri leads the Midwest in manufacturing growth, and the investments we’re making in GOCAT will help train even more Missourians for good jobs in this growing industry,” Gov. Nixon said. “And, because of our strict fiscal discipline and growing economy, the tuition freeze we’ve put in place will ensure that students enrolling at GOCAT won’t pay a penny more in tuition next year.”

Advanced manufacturing is one of the key industries identified in Gov. Nixon’s Strategic Initiative for Economic Growth, which marked its five year anniversary this past April. Since 2010, advanced manufacturing employment has grown by more than 26,000 jobs.

For the second consecutive month, the Mid-America Business Conditions Index survey reported that the state’s purchasing manager’s index (PMI) is the highest index compared to Midwestern states west of the Mississippi. Missouri’s PMI in June was 54.0 percent, topping the national average, which was 50.1 percent for the month. A state’s PMI measures the economic health of the manufacturing sector using a combination of factors like new orders, production, supplier delivery times, backlogs, inventories, prices, employment, import orders and export. Any PMI figure over 50 represents an expansion in the manufacturing sector.  

This latest funding in GOCAT is one of many achievements made for public higher education and students through Gov. Nixon’s leadership:

  • The Show-Me State has led the nation in holding down tuition increases for in-state students at Missouri’s public universities over the past seven years, and an agreement between Gov. Nixon and college and universities will keep tuition flat again for the next 2016-2017 school year. That affordability has resulted in a 36 percent increase in the number of Missouri students – some 50,000 – earning a higher education degree since Gov. Nixon took office;
  • In 2015, the General Assembly following the Governor’s recommendation by passing the most significant state bonding investment in higher education in more than 20 years. The “Building Affordability” initiative is putting more than $200 million in building projects on college campuses throughout the state, including a $12.2 million renovation of the Wilson C. Morris Science Building on the UCM campus;
  • Since 2009, funding for scholarship programs has increased, including for Fiscal Year 2017 an additional $4 million for Access Missouri, an additional $2.5 million for A+ Scholarships, and an additional $500,000 for Bright Flight. Missouri’s A+ programs also has expanded by more than 250 high schools to become available in more than 99 percent of public high schools in the state; and
  • Targeted strategic initiatives such as Caring for MissouriansMoHeathWINS and MoManufacturingWINS have produced more graduates to help meet the ongoing need for skilled professionals in high-paying and fast-growing career fields.