By BRENT MARTIN
St. Joseph Post
Missouri Western State University stands to benefit from the state budget approved by the legislature and awaiting Gov. Mike Parson’s signature.
Missouri Western President Elizabeth Kennedy says this legislative session has been a good one for the university.
“Very grateful for Gov. Parson proposing a 5.4% increase to our core state appropriations which is really wonderful. That has gone through the House and the Senate now. That’s been approved,” Kennedy tells host Barry Birr on the KFEQ Hotline. “So that will help our baseline, if you will, in terms of what the state is giving us. It’s a bigger increase than we got last year.”
The budget boost comes after a 3% increase last year, providing Missouri Western with a healthy increase in its state appropriations. It now awaits Gov. Parson’s signature.
Legislators approved a record $45 billion state budget, swelled by an influx of federal coronavirus relief and stimulus funding. Lawmakers agreed to distribute some of the state American Rescue Plan Act funds to state agencies and colleges with a focus on capital improvement projects.
Missouri Western will use a $5 million appropriation to help pay for a new Convergence Technology Alliance Center. The center, which will prepare students for careers as diverse as construction and robotics, is being built on the St. Joseph campus in cooperation with North Central Missouri College of Trenton. Its total cost will be approximately $10 million. Kennedy says the university is reaching out to others, such as Buchanan County, to complete the financing.
Kennedy says Missouri Western will work with North Central as well as the Hillyard Technical Center to prepare students for the jobs available locally and regionally.
“Maybe a business industry has some workers that they’d like to just upscale a little bit, provide some specialized training to, like I said, the high school student who did the youth apprenticeship in the school district and now has moved on to an employer who says, hey, we’d like you to continue your education,” Kennedy says.
Missouri Western State University is signing a dual admission agreement with North Central Missouri College. North Central is located in Trenton, but will soon have a satellite campus in Savannah.