SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — The Ozarks Technical Community College campus in Springfield approved funding for two building projects during their monthly meeting on Monday.

The two building projects will aim to help students who enter the healthcare field and the plumbing industry.

Both career fields are facing worker shortages.

According to a study by Mercer, by 2025, there will be a shortage of more than 445,000 health home aids and almost 30,000 nurse practitioners.

The board approved more than $1.4 million to build a new practical nursing lab and improve the college’s surgical technology program inside Lincoln Hall on the Springfield campus.

With the addition of the new nursing lab, OTC will be able to graduate 24 nurses annually.

According to a Missouri Hospital Association workforce report, there was an 8% increase in vacancies for staff nurses.

The surgical technology changes will double the size of the program’s laboratory facilities, which means OTC can increase its student capacity by 30%.

Most of the funding for the lab and other improvements inside Lincoln Hall comes from a grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

OTC will pay for upgrades in lighting and other maintenance to the corridor. The building exterior will not change.

OTC’s new plumbing program that’s debuting in 2024 would help train workers for one of the Ozarks’ fastest-growing professions.

The technical college approved nearly $1.8 million to build a new classroom, a lab and offices for the new plumbing program.

The plumbing program will be located on the southeast corner of the Industry Transportation Technology Center.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development will provide $1.3 million of funding for the project.

OTC will begin construction on both of these building projects later this spring.