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      In Eldon, big boost for higher education

      Tuesday was a big day for Eldon Career center. Current students, faculty, and area employers gathered for the grand opening of State Fair Community College's newest Eldon Campus. The new campus will open in the Eldon Career Center, which will also assume fiancial responsibilty for some of the Career Center's current programs.

      In addition, the school will offer several new programs. Along with those offerings, the school will offer new opportunities for young people living in Eldon. "They're going to learn industrial technology. They will learn industrial maintainence," said Director of Industrial Technology Steve Snodgrass. "They're going to learn the skills of operating and maintaining manufacturing equipment in a modern industrial facility."

      The new offerings include an associate's degree in industrial technology, professional certificates in industrial maintainence, several skills certificates in manufaturing technology, and practical nursing certificates starting in 2014. The programs aim to prepare students for work close by with employers like Johnson Controls.

      "This is a big milestone for us here in Eldon. We've had a long-standing problem having access to technology education for our employees.", said Johnson Controls Plant Manager Don Smith.

      "As for students here in Eldon - it's great to be able to hire them intp oisitions that can handle the increasing technology the business has to offer now."

      The school says with the new campus, it expects to add up to 50 new students over the next few years. Right now, 13 are already enrolled in classes for the fall. State Fair expects to add more as high-schoolers make some important decisions about college.

      By preparing local high shcool students with skills where they can obtain local jobs, State Fair Community College is also enabling more young people to stay in Eldon instead of having to relocate elsewhere for jobs."It means I can stay local, and still be near my friends and family and things like that when I go to do my two years at State Fair," said soon-to-be high school junior Nick Parks.

      With more young people working and going to school locally, educational leaders say the town of Eldon now has a valuable new resource to help keep the community together.