This week was a combination in-district and in-D.C. week. On Monday, I had the pleasure of visiting Hickman High School in Columbia to tour the new Career Center classrooms which opened this year. Principal Tracey Conrad was kind enough to show me how Hickman is helping to prepare all students for future careers.
The new Career Center provides students with vital job-ready skills in critical fields such as graphic design, culinary arts, and vocational agriculture. Students learn the skills needed to hit the ground running if they enter the workforce directly upon graduation. If they pursue college, the state-of-the-art training gives them a running start to furthering their education and advancing their careers.
I was very impressed by all I saw and was glad to visit Hickman High again. I did part of my student teaching at Hickman when I was a senior at Mizzou before going on to teach vocational education for 11 years. The students have changed and the building has expanded, but the quality of education remains with dedicated teachers, caring administrators, and motivated students.
While in Columbia, I also had the opportunity to visit the site of "The Broadway" - a future DoubleTree hotel that is being built in the downtown area. This construction project, which is scheduled for completion in January, is a tremendous job creator. The 114-room hotel, with convention meeting space, is part of a trio of major downtown developments, with the hotel being the economic catalyst for the revitalization effort. This project has created 75 construction jobs. 80 permanent jobs will be created once the hotel opens its doors in the new year. I am always eager to welcome economic development and job creation to Missouri and look forward to future projects slated for our district.
In Washington, the House overwhelmingly passed important legislation that provides critical funding and oversight to our waterways and infrastructure system. The Water Resources Development Act is of major importance for both industry and agriculture in Missouri and across the country as investments in aging infrastructure are needed to ensure a reliable system of inland waterways and ports. Red tape has delayed many improvement projects and kept them from moving forward. Our bill will make it easier to maintain and modernize this country's inland waterway transportation system to allow commerce to continue flowing. Cost-effective transportation from factory or farm to market is essential for American business and agriculture, and this legislation will help to ensure that outcome.
In addition, I was pleased to vote this week for a bill reauthorizing the Adoption Incentives Program through Fiscal Year 2016. The legislation, which passed unanimously, encourages adoption and reduces the number of children who are in foster care and waiting for a permanent home. Its provisions include incentives to encourage states to do everything possible to link loving families with children in need of a home. It adds new provisions to increase the rate of adoption of children above the age of 14. The original law, approved by Congress in 1997 as part of the Adoption and Safe Families Act, served as a model for the legislation I championed while I served as a State Representative in Jefferson City. I have long been an advocate for adoption and want to continue to do everything possible to link children in need of a home with their "forever family.'
It is very appropriate that this important reauthorization of the Adoption Incentives Program passed the U.S. House as we head into November, which is National Adoption Month. I encourage anyone who wants to share their love and home with a child to learn more about adoption through the Children's Bureau within the Department of Health and Human Services. The website is: https://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/nam/#twtr=pro.
Have a great week.