The State Fair Community College Foundation recently received $250,000 from Russell and Julie Childers for its capital campaign to help build the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center.

The new building will expand the college’s capacity to meet the growing demand for technical workforce training and strengthen the communities it serves.

The Childers are owners of RAC-JAC Properties, Inc. in Sedalia, a real estate investment company they formed more than 30 years ago.  They own and manage Stone Creek Apartments and Townhomes, 10th & Thompson Car Wash, and several self-storage facilities.

“We truly appreciate Russell and Julie’s support and generous gift to the college,” said Mary Treuner, SFCC Foundation executive director. “I know how much the opportunities the community has given them over the years means to them, and this level of support demonstrates just how much they love and are committed not only to SFCC but also to our community.”

Born in Jefferson City, Russell moved to the Sedalia area when he was two-years old. He graduated from Otterville High School and attended the SFCC vocational technical school during that time. At 19, he began buying real estate and worked for the railroad for 22 years. Julie, a Sedalia native, graduated from Sacred Heart High School and attended SFCC. She worked in the banking industry until 1991 when their son Devin was born. He is a personal trainer for Genesis Health Clubs in Overland Park, Kansas. Their daughter Brianna is a writer for the “Topeka Capital-Journal.”

“Julie and I both attended SFCC, and we recognize and appreciate the value that the college brings to Sedalia and the surrounding area,” said Childers. “As business owners, we very much appreciate our relationship and feel very blessed that we are in a position to help SFCC achieve its capital campaign goal to construct the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center.”

The campaign, Stronger Workforce, Greater Community: A Capital Campaign for the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center and Center for Excellence was launched last year. The college broke ground on the new center in December 2020 on the site of SFCC’s original buildings, affectionately known as Plywood U.

The Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center and the Fielding Center for Excellence will increase the college’s capacity to deliver workforce training by 200 percent and increase enrollment by at least 120 percent in career and technical areas. The new workforce training center will provide expanded lab and classroom spaces for training in welding, precision machining, industrial technology, leadership and supervisory skills and logistics. It also will house a new pre-apprenticeship program. Renovations to Fielding will provide a Center for Excellence that includes a climate, refrigeration and energy control (HVAC) lab and an advanced manufacturing and robotics lab.

For more information about the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center and SFCC’s commitment to workforce training, visit www.sfccmo.edu/OHWIC.

In the photo: Russell and Julie Childers recently donated $250,000 to SFCC’s Stronger Workforce, Greater Community capital campaign. From left, Mary Treuner, SFCC Foundation executive director; Steve Ellebracht, SFCC Foundation Board of Directors vice president; Dr. Joanna Anderson, SFCC president; and the Childers.  

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