BRANSON MO NEWS: Legislation passed this week by the Missouri House of Representatives and now headed to the Senate is seeking to ensure that the state’s system of higher education is meeting its workforce and education needs.The bill is meant to address the lack of skilled workers in certain fields throughout the state by allowing a community college to apply to the Coordinating Board of Higher Education to offer a four-year degree in a field that is underemployed.”During the last four or five weeks of the 2016 legislative session, the lawmakers received a lot of requests,” MAC president, Dr. Steve Kurtz said. “There were community colleges interested and lawmakers interested in community colleges being able to offer the Bachelor of Applied Science degree (BAS).
According to Kurtz, companies prefer hiring employees who have earned their BAS degree.”Over the last decade or so, there’s been a trend for the BAS degree to be offered at community colleges across the country,” he said. “The other side of the story is that Missouri State University’s enrollment is booming. There’s been a push with Missouri State offering some programs that would compete with the University of Missouri system.”At the same time, both our senators and representatives received requests. Southeast Missouri State University (SEMO) wants to offer an engineering degree. There’s already programs out there, but they want to offer their own.”Kurtz explained that all the requests being made of legislators led to a letter being sent in March 2016 from Speaker of the House Todd Richardson and Rep. Stephen Cookson, Higher Education Committee chairmen, to Leroy Wade, interim commissioner of the Coordinating Board for Higher Education (CBHE). Richardson asked that CBHE, along with the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE), hold a meeting with representatives from the state’s public two and four-year colleges and …
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