Missouri Creating College Access Advisory Committee

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Missouri Department of Higher Education announced in June it is creating a College Access Advisory Committee.

The committee will work with schools and students across the state to get more Missourians college degrees. According to MDHE, 46 percent of Missouri residents have a college degree or a certificate from a career school. The committee's main goal is to get 60 percent of Missourians to have a college degree or certificate, because MDHE said, in the future, this will be critical for workforce needs.

The director of marketing for the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE), Julie Meyer, is in charge of creating this committee and will help pick members.  Meyer said she is looking for college professors, people involved in financial aid, and high school guidance counselors.

MDHE said it is going to focus on helping low income students and families. Meyer said, "When you look at who is achieving credentials and who isn't...most definitely low income families and students are not achieving. And in fact, the gap has been widening."

Meyer said students are now worried about student loans and the cost of four-year universities, but there are other alternatives for them such as community college and career schools. She said career schools and other certificates are options to save time and money.

Regional Economic Development, Inc. (REDI) has been talking with businesses in Columbia to make sure employees are properly trained and have the right education.

REDI Executive Vice President Bernie Andrews said businesses in Columbia and across the state are requiring the National Career Readiness Certificate to make sure employees have correct job skills.

Andrews also said businesses in Columbia have come together to create a class called "Mechatronics." The class will be given at Moberly Area Community Colleges, and is another tool to make sure employees have the proper mathematical, industrial, mechanical, and technological skills.