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MAC plans Industry and Technology Center grand opening

Mineral Area College will unveil its Industry and Technology Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday at 11 a.m. on Dixie Kohn Drive in Park Hills, near the Leadington exit on U.S. 67. (Kevin Jenkins)

Mineral Area College has announced it will be hosting a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration at 11 a.m. Thursday for the Industry and Technology Center. The new 80,500-square-foot building is located on Dixie Kohn Drive on the college’s Park Hills campus.

The ceremony will begin at the building’s front entrance, with building tours to follow immediately after. The ribbon cutting will be held in conjunction with the Park Hills-Leadington, Farmington Regional, Desloge, and Bonne Terre Chambers of Commerce. The event is open to the community, and food trucks will be on-site for those who’d like to have lunch.

According to MAC President Dr. Joe Gilgour, the Industry and Technology Center was made possible by support from the state of Missouri, and he added that it is reflective of Gov. Mike Parson’s prioritization of workforce and education in the state.

“We are so grateful for the support and assistance in securing state funds for this facility,” Gilgour said. “Representatives Mike Henderson, Dale Wright, and House Budget Chair Cody Smith played a crucial role in pushing for the inclusion of this initiative in the state budget. We also could not have made it happen without the support in the senate from Senator Elaine Gannon and, of course, Gov. Parson.”

Gilgour is confident the Industry and Technology Center will help MAC meet the demands of area employers and provides post-secondary students with opportunities to receive specialized technical skills training close to home. Designed with the input of local industry leaders, the facility has five shops outfitted with equipment to provide hands-on training, 12 classrooms and multiple computer labs.

“The new programs and facility at MAC will allow local students who complete courses at one of our career center partners to continue their education right here in St. Francois County,” Gilgour said. “The facility will also provide opportunities for non-traditional students who want to improve their skills or explore a new career path.”

The building will initially house six MAC Tech Industry and Technology programs — Engineering Technology—Design Drafting; Engineering Technology—Manufacturing; Electrical/Electronics Technology; CNC/Machine Tool Technology; Industrial Maintenance; and Construction Building Technology. A Computer Networking-Fiber Optics program is also in development.

Built with the future in mind, the facility also includes an Innovation lab and classroom space, which gives MAC the flexibility to bring in new programs to meet the future needs of local industry.

“Our innovation space is available for local industry to send employees for customized training they might not have the space to host themselves,” said Gilgour. “The space is versatile and able to accommodate large groups for multiple training sessions”

MAC’s Workforce Development team will be based in the Industry and Technology Center, and Director of Workforce Development Michele Shore is excited about the opportunities the facility will provide for local industry.

“The dedicated space and additional equipment will allow us to better serve our community employers’ needs by allowing larger class sizes, more flexible scheduling, and access to new course topics that we’ve never been able to offer in the past,” Shore said.

The Industry and Technology Center is being called the cornerstone of the MAC Tech Complex, which along with the William Dickerson Welding Technology Center and HVAC Technologies Center, gives Mineral Area College nearly 100,000 square feet of facilities to prepare post-high school students for their transition into the workforce.

“This project has been the dream of many for over a decade,” Gilgour said. “We are excited to be able to complete this project and expand our ability to bring high-quality career and technical training to the Parkland for generations to come.”

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