GOCAT 2020 News Stories

MSU-WP putting pieces in place for new advanced fabrication/welding technology program

The program is expected to debut in the 2021 fall semester.


Officials at Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP) are moving quickly to create the advanced fabrication and welding technology program for the 2021 fall semester. This includes hiring new personnel, upgrading manufacturing and maintenance programs and finding a location for the welding lab.

“We believe these changes will help us diversify and develop more industry and skills-based training opportunities,” said Director of Workforce Development Sheila Barton. “It will also be a resource for our employers who need additional assistance for training both new and incumbent employees.”

ROY CROUCH, education and employment outreach specialist at Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP), demonstrates the VRTEX 360 virtual reality (VR) welding training simulator. This new piece of equipment will give students the ability to practice various welding methods in a realistic setting as displayed in the VR goggles he is wearing. Students can simulate specific welds, techniques and processes while the system tracks their progress, helping them learn when to adjust their techniques and be more prepared when they use actual welders. (MSU-WP Photo)

Upcoming changes

Garland Barton has been hired as the fund research and employer engagement manager. Garland Barton has worked with MSU-WP since the inception of the Greater Ozarks Center for Advanced Technology (GOCAT) facility. He served as chair of the South Central Workforce Investment Board for more than 20 years, and is currently serving as a member of the Missouri Workforce Development Board.

As the employer engagement manager, Garland Barton will report to Interim Dean of Academic Affairs Dr. Michael Orf and will support area employers. His primary duties will be consulting on their training needs, developing registered apprenticeship opportunities, re-establishing the area’s employer consortium to unite the efforts of multiple employers, and reaching out to funding sources for financial assistance with training costs.

Roy Crouch, education and employment outreach specialist, will concentrate his efforts on recruiting both high school and adult students for training programs. Crouch also recently completed Lincoln Electric welding certifications through NC3 and will act as a part-time welding lab assistant, working with Larry Noller, technology program specialist.

University officials are actively looking to hire a new full-time fabrication/welding instructor.

The welding lab is currently at the GOCAT facility, but plans are underway to renovate the Broadway Building on the MSU-WP campus proper and permanently locate the lab there.

“We want to begin transitioning our workforce efforts to be more than just the training of our students, but a support system to our employers for their workforce needs,” Sheila Barton said. “Our students need to see their education and training as an entry into the workforce, giving them the tools they need to be successful and competitive in the workplace.”

Program details

The advanced fabrication/welding technology program will prepare students for careers in the manufacturing field by focusing on such skills as structural design and fabrication, automated systems and robotic arc welding.

The program can be completed as a stand-alone, 25-credit-hour certificate program in two semesters or as an option of the Associate of Applied Science in Technology degree in two years.

The program also will include the MRW Work Ethic Certification Program developed through the mikeroweWORKS Foundation and WSU Tech. This program will ensure that the next generation of skilled workers have the employability skills to be successful in their jobs long term.

“We are very excited to include this training within our manufacturing technology programs,” Sheila Barton said. As an NC3 Leadership Center, the university can administer the MRW Work Ethic Certification through NC3. Students who complete the program will receive an industry recognized certificate.

For more information about the advanced fabrication/welding technology program or to enroll, contact Sheila Barton at 417-255-7784 or sheilabarton@missouristate.edu.

​​​​​​​MSU-WP Receives $960,000 Grant for Advanced Fabrication Technology Program​​​​​​​

Missouri State University-West Plains will receive $960,000 in Workforce Opportunity for Rural Communities WORC) grant funding to support its new Advanced Fabrication Technology program.

The grant, announced Tuesday, Sept. 29, by U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO), was awarded through the partnership between the U.S. Department of Labor's 9DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) and the Delta Regional Authority's (DRA) Delta Workforce Program.  The grant runs from October 2020 through June 2023.

For full story, go to: