The State Fair Community College Foundation recently received $100,000 from Steve and Karen Ellebracht for its Stronger Workforce, Greater Community 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.

Steve Ellebracht, a retired senior global research and development director for Dow Chemical Company and a principal stakeholder in a number of start-up companies, joined the SFCC Foundation Board of Directors in 2016. He and wife Karen retired and moved to Sedalia from Michigan and have five adult children, two grandchildren and two more on the way.

“The SFCC Foundation is very grateful to Steve and Karen for their generous gift to the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center,” said Mary Treuner, SFCC Foundation executive director. “I also appreciate Steve’s involvement and leadership on the foundation board as vice president and co-chair of the Stronger Workforce, Greater Community capital campaign. In recognition of their gift, a welding classroom, where many future SFCC students will be able to gain skills and knowledge that will strengthen our workforce and community, will be named the Ellebracht Welding Classroom."

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. A live feed link of the ongoing construction is available to the public at

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 and precision machining.

Renovations to Fielding Technical Center will provide a Center for Excellence for industrial technology, leadership and supervisory skills and logistics training; space for the new pre-apprenticeship program; and 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

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