GOCAT is a partnership between Missouri State University-West Plains, South Central Career Center (SCCC) and the City of West Plains to bring advanced technological training to area residents. Missouri State-West Plains and SCCC will pool their resources to offer the University's Associate of Applied Science in Technology degree with options in either Alternative Energy or Advanced Manufacturing. Certificate programs in these same two study areas also will be offered. In addition, customized training programs will be provided on an as-needed basis through the center to area businesses and industries.
A team of 12 AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) members recently participated in community service from Jan – March 31 working with the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT).
GOCAT is joint project between the City of West Plains, Missouri State University-West Plains, and the West Plains School District/South Central Career Center to bring advanced technological training to area residents. The refurbished 16,000-square-foot Center provides state-of-the-art training for not only traditional education, but also key technology skills that are in demand by manufacturers. All three partners share the common goal of keeping and creating jobs in the West Plains area.
The students from nine states and Sweden, worked on multiple projects including painting, cleaning, and installing drywall that supported the renovation of the GOCAT facility. There help to get this facility ready for use was invaluable and they all learned new skills as well.
“We can’t thank this team enough for what they have meant to the GOCAT and our efforts to get the facility up and running. We could never have met our deadline without them and we are eternally grateful”, said GOCAT Project Manager, Sheila Barton.
Prior to coming to West Plains, they served with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Durango, CO and their next project takes them to Kansas City to work with youth within the inner city. This team will graduate from the 10-month program on July 14, 2017.
Name: Chrisy Barnes
Hometown: West Plains / Caulfield, Missouri
Currently Resides: Pomona, Missouri
Occupation: Manufacturing Engineer III
Family information: Married for 15 years to my high school sweetheart, Matt Barnes (also an alumni of Missouri State University, received AAS in Telecommunications from Linn Tech). We have two children, Broc who is 11 and Brylee who is 8.
- Bachelor of Arts in Science (BAS) in Technology Management, Missouri State University;
- Associate of Arts General Studies (AA),
- Associate of Applied Science (AAS) Industrial Technology – Mechanical Drafting,
- AAS-General Technology, Missouri State-West Plains
Chrisy Barnes, Pomona, never expected to reach her career goals, but Missouri State University-West Plains not only gave her the education she needed, but also the experiences and life skills to rise to the challenge.
Barnes, who is a Manufacturing Engineer III at Regal-Beloit in West Plains, said, "I am currently in a position—engineering lead—that I thought was unattainable. Careers take on some of the same characteristics as college. Apply yourself, be persistent, always be willing to learn new things, be willing to work with all you encounter and overcome challenges. As you become successful in each of these areas, you will grow as a person and as an employee. They will be rewarded."
She chose Missouri State-West Plains for three reasons: Cost, and with it the ability to use her A+ scholarship to help pay for her education; proximity to home, as she had decided to stay in the West Plains area after graduating high school; and an interest in drafting she had pursued since eighth grade. Later on, after earning her Associate of Applied Science degrees in Industrial Technology-Mechanical Drafting and General Technology, she utilized Missouri State Outreach to complete her bachelor's degree in Technology Management, a degree she has great pride in.
“It is a great mixture of technology, engineering, business and management,” Barnes said. "It reminds me of the phrase 'jack of all trades, master of none,' but this degree allows you to be a master of whatever you choose from all of these different fields but still be able to know some of the others."
"I had given up at one point in my education," Barnes said. "I knew what I wanted, but it seemed impossible to achieve with (what I thought at the time was) my lack of talents. After talking with my advisor, Cathy Proffitt-Boys, I was able to redirect my attention from the lack of talents to what talents I do have and how to apply them to a degree that suited me, not vice-versa. Missouri State-West Plains has the resources to help you become a successful student and have a successful career, but you have to be willing to use these resources—all of them."
To prospective students, Barnes suggests: "Win. Respect. Learn. All careers have obstacles. Your job is not only to overcome these challenges, but to do it with respect to all and to learn from every experience."