Wade: Columbia needs more adult education, job training

Thursday, April 30, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Columbia and Boone County need to develop new and better strategies for making sure residents have access to the kinds of education that can help them land jobs in the area, Fourth Ward Councilman Jerry Wade said.

During a joint meeting Wednesday of the City Council, the Boone County Commission and the Columbia School Board, Wade shared the concerns of an "ad hoc group of people" about the lack of adult education and job training in the area.

Wade pressed for more adult technical education. He said Boone County is limited in its ability to compete for businesses or provide for the future success of established businesses.

"Columbia has no tradition of workforce development," Wade said.

He said a system needs to be in place that allows close collaboration between employers, training programs and local educational institutions such as Moberly Area Community College, Columbia College, Linn State Technical College and MU.

As an example, Wade said the skills people need to work for a company such as 3M in north Columbia or at the various industries in Centralia should be taught locally. The ultimate goal is to improve Columbia's ability to compete with other technology- and industry-heavy communities.

"Our competition is not Lee's Summit or St. Joe and St. Charles and so forth," Wade said. "Our competition is the research triangle. It's Lafayette, Indiana, it’s Lincoln, Nebraska, it’s San Diego, California, it’s Austin, Texas. … As a community, we may have a few successes, but we will lose that competition if we continue to have a huge void.”

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Traci Wilson-Kleekamp April 30, 2009 | 10:14 a.m.

I agree... these two bodies together could really do some great things together in the pursuit of more adult education and training opportunities. What about the recruitment of more high-tech, light industrial companies to the Columbia and greater-Columbia area>

(Report Comment)
sam clemens April 30, 2009 | 12:10 p.m.

It would be a great idea except, the neither City of Columbia officials nor the Boone County Government have provided any real support for the attraction of any industrial or technical employers in Columbia. If an all out push to attract new industry to Boone County started immediately, it will take years to undue the governmental negligence of the past years.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr April 30, 2009 | 3:47 p.m.

City Council would rather build bike trails,parks and share lanes for bikes than work hard to bring industry into this area.

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