GOCAT holds media day to showcase opportunities
The Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) held a media day Thursday, Aug. 9 to showcase their 16,0000 square foot facility and talk about the benefits the facility provides to the community.
GOCAT provides the opportunity for students to access unique training for Missouri State University’s Associate of Applied Science in Technology degree, offering options in alternative energy, advanced manufacturing and industrial maintenance. The location includes four classrooms, a computer lab, community conference room and a Fab Lab. In addition, there is a large shop area with six bay doors. The facility is the result of a partnership between the city of West Plains, Missouri State University -- West Plains and West Plains School District and South Central Career Center. The building is owned by the city of West Plains. The high-tech equipment housed at the facility was provided by South Central Career Center and MSU. Representatives from all three entities contribute to the operation of the facility.
The South Missourian News attended GOCAT’s grand opening held in April 2017, just before the flood hit West Plains. Once the flood hit, it was almost back to ground zero and the facility had to make major repairs, like many businesses and individuals in West Plains. Thankfully GOCAT has highly skilled and trained instructors who were able to act quickly and save the equipment.
In the previous article it was stated GOCAT was inspired by the approximately 400 people in the surrounding area that lost their jobs in the fall of 2014 because of a plant being closed that had been operating for more than 40 years, this facility is intended to provide viable education to help prevent such an occurrence.
The media day was held for members of the media to view equipment demonstrations and hear feedback on individuals’ experience at GOCAT. School administrators, county and city officials, college representatives and more, talked about the benefits they’ve seen come from the facility.
“West Plains Schools are excited to be a partner in the growth of GOCAT. The career pathways that are offered through this program is a win-win for all parties involved. This program provides hands-on and future ready skills that allow students to make an immediate impact in our community. Not only do the students benefit from this program, but it is integral to the growth of our community and local business,” said West Plains R-7 Superintendent Dr. Lori Wilson.
“By providing advanced training and key technological skills in demand by manufacturers, GOCAT is a vital asset for the City of West Plains when trying to attract potential investors into our community as well as in expanding existing businesses. Our community, and our region, benefits from having a workforce that have those skills, and GOCAT is going to be a key component for preparing its students for careers in the information age,” added West Plains Mayor Jack Pahlmann.
A success story shared in material provided comes from Chrisy Barnes, manufacturing III engineer at Regal-Beloit. “I am currently in a position – engineering lead – that I thought was unattainable. Career take on some of the same characteristics as college. Apply yourself, be persistent, always be willing to learn new things. As you become successful in each of these areas, you will grow as a person and as an employee.”
To learn more about the facility, visit gocat.wp.missouristate.edu or call 417-255-7784.