Author Archive for Kris Baldwin

Official WIOA Plan Modification June 2019

Official WIOA Plan Modification June 2019

Consistent with the “sunshine” provisions of WIOA sec. 107(e), the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri posts the “SW WIB Local Plan Modification” for public comments.  Any public comments concerning the plan may be sent to Sherri Rhuems, Executive Director at

Build My Future Expo SWMO WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!!

(Pictured are students from Franklin Technology Center)

Close to 500 students got their HANDS-ON Build My Future SWMO!

The Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri, along with our sponsors and partners, is proud to have offered the Inaugural Build My Future in Southwest MissouriExpo!!!  This event was held on April 11th at the Newton County Fairgrounds in Neosho from 9:30am to 4:30 PM.

The morning session featured the expo portion of the event where exhibitors connected with the region’s high-school and tech-school students to share aspects of what they do on-the-job, as it relates to the building trades.  This included construction, electrical, plumbing, engineering, concrete, welding and much more.  

Employers and training providers that participated in Build My Future in SWMO 2019:

  • Branco Enterprises
  • Crossland Construction
  • Crossland Heavy Contractors
  • Crowder College
  • Double Down Asphalt Service
  • Joplin Carpenters Union
  • LIUNA Laborers local 319
  • Missouri Welding Institute
  • Spire Energy
  • Twin Oaks Custom Cabinets
  • and more…

SAVE THE DATE – APRIL 2nd, 2020 – Build My Future in SWMO II


If you are interested in sponsoring some aspect of the expo or more importantly – demonstrating, please contact Leslie Abram at or 417-206-1717  ext. 2107. 

You do not need to be a building-trades company to participate or be a sponsor. 

This a free event for the regions’ students, but school & employer registrations are required.  Exhibitors will not be selling any items at this event.

We look forward to your participation and seeing you!


Special Thanks to the following:



Inclusion Forum 2018

You won’t want to miss this year’s Inclusion Forum set for Oct. 2 at the Joplin Public Library!

We invite you to attend to hear excellent speakers and gather new resources related to our theme of “Opening Our Eyes to Unseen Disabilities.”

This year, the Inclusion Forum will include the inaugural presentation of the WIOA Partners Southwest Missouri Inclusion Award.  This award will be presented to a local business that demonstrates outstanding performance of inclusion in the areas of recruiting, hiring and retaining employees as they relate to people with disabilities and other minority groups.

Scheduled presenters are experts in their fields and include Elizabeth Wente, partner & attorney at law at Spencer Fane LLP, who will explain what we legally can and cannot ask about unseen disabilities and what we should do when an unseen disability is disclosed.  There will be Q&A time and SHRM credit is available for this session.

Sheila Hart, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner with Ozark Center, will help us understand the importance of recognizing and assisting employees with mental illnesses, including anxiety and depression.  How do we start that conversation to help employees get the help they need?

Dr. Shelly Farnan is the director of diversity enhancement and director of clinical training at Burrell Behavioral Health in Springfield, MO.  She will explain the importance of recognizing mental health and substance abuse issues at the workplace and how doing so (or not doing so) impacts your business and co-workers.

Check in and networking begin at 11 a.m.  The program will begin at 11:30, with the award luncheon starting at 11:45.  The day will wrap up at 3:30 p.m.  A registration fee of $20.00 covers all event materials and a hot lunch.

Come hear best practices from peers and gather resources to help you, your company and your employees succeed!

For questions, please contact Leslie Abram at 417-206-1717 Ext. 2107 or

Click below to register.

2018 Inclusion Award

Do you know a business or organization that has gone above and beyond to recruit, hire or retain people from minority groups?  If you answered “yes,” then you’ll want to nominate them for the first ever Southwest Missouri Inclusion Award.

The WIOA Partners Southwest Missouri Inclusion Award recognizes and honors a business or organization in Southwest Missouri that demonstrates outstanding performance of inclusion in the areas of recruiting, hiring and retaining employees as they relate to people with disabilities and other minority groups.  The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) partners strive to help individuals improve their skills and obtain and maintain employment.

A business or organization is eligible for this award if it is located in either Barry, Barton, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald or Newton counties and hires employees directly.  There are a few other requirements, which you can check here.

The award will be presented at the third annual Inclusion Forum set for Oct. 2 at the Joplin Public Library.  The deadline to submit a nomination is Aug. 31, 2018.  To nominate a business or organization, please click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Leslie Abram at or 417-206-1717 Ext. 2107, MORelay 711.

Eligibility Criteria: Click Here

To Nominate Someone: Click Here

Registration Open for Internal Workplace Investigations Workshop

Registration is now open for a special human-resources related training called “The Who, What, When, Where, and Why of Internal Workplace Investigations.”  This half-day training, set for June 7 at the Joplin Public Library, is sponsored by the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri to help HR professionals, managers, supervisors, business owners and anyone who may need to conduct an internal workplace investigation.

Conducting an internal investigation can be a difficult task.  Any investigation has the potential to be costly, disruptive and time-consuming.  It also can lead to a variety of other unexpected complications if it is not conducted with the utmost care and confidentiality.

Whether it is employee misconduct, a performance problem, harassment, discrimination, theft, a workplace accident, or some other critical workplace issue, the objective of an internal investigation is to discover facts from which to make a sensible and lawful decision to help resolve the problem, and hopefully prevent it from occurring again.  Accomplishing this often depends upon the quality of the investigation that has been conducted.

This workshop will provide a framework of legal and best-practices knowledge to build the confidence, skills and techniques needed to conduct an effective investigation that is prompt, thorough and lawful.

Topics to be addressed include:

  • Gathering necessary documents for the investigation
  • Identifying the necessary parties to include
  • Tips for interviewing
  • Proper documentation to create during an investigation
  • Assessing the potential risk with the concern raised
  • Communicating with leadership regarding conclusions
  • Communicating the outcome of the investigation to the parties involved
  • Acting to prevent retaliation issues

The presenter will be Elizabeth Wente, attorney at law, with Spencer Fane, LLP in St. Louis.  For more information about the presenter or to register, click the link below.

This training program will last from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Cost is $50 and includes lunch and training materials.  There is a discount available for participants from non-profit organizations.  See online registration form for more information.

Official WIOA Plan Modification April 2018

Official WIOA Plan Modification April 2018

Consistent with the “sunshine” provisions of WIOA sec. 107(e), the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri posts the “SW WIB Local Plan Modification” for public comments.  Any public comments concerning the plan may be sent to Sherri Rhuems, Executive Director at

Official WIOA Plan Modification August 2017




Notice  to DWD 8-17

Notice to DWD 10-17

MOU – TANF program

DWD Plan Modification Acceptance Letter 11 2017

Consistent with the “sunshine” provisions of WIOA sec. 107(e), the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri posts the “SW WIB Local Plan Modification” for public comments.  Any public comments concerning the plan may be sent to Sherri Rhuems, Executive Director at

Inclusion Forum Scheduled for September 29th

Join us on September 29th at the Joplin Public Library for a morning of learning how to better recruit, hire and retain people with disabilities! Several partner agencies are coming together again for a second year in response to employer questions and needs for more information about making accommodations during the hiring process and on the job.  The event will begin at 10AM.

Learn more about assistive technologies via presentations, demonstrations and hands-on opportunities.

Gather HR resources including professional contacts, services and vendor information.

Scheduled speakers:

  • Yvonne Wright, Missouri Vocational Rehabilitation
  • Susan Adams, Joplin Workshops
  • David Baker, Missouri Assistive Technology, Kansas City
  • Brittany Stovall, Independent Living Center, Joplin
  • Paul Lenhart, Mercy Hospitals, St. Louis

The afternoon will include a reverse job fair for people with disabilities.  This is the first time for this unique event in our area!  A reverse job fair showcases job seekers at the tables, with employers walking around to the tables to meet the job seekers.  The job seekers are ready to work and are prepared to interview on the spot.  Job seekers at this event are participating by invitation only and have been working with partner agencies to prepare for this event.  They have a wide range of skills and experience in many different fields.

If you are unable to attend the morning Inclusion Forum, employers are welcome to attend just the job fair.  When registering just to attend the job fair, please use FAIRONLY as the promo code, so you will not be charged.

A $5.00 registration fee for the forum includes lunch and forum materials.

Please click the button below to register for the forum and/or the job fair.

Register Now!

Governor Eric Greitens announces business expansions in Joplin and Troy; expected to result in the creation of 180 new jobs in Missouri

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Governor Eric Greitens announces business expansions in Joplin and Troy; expected to result in the creation of 180 new jobs in Missouri

Today, Governor Eric Greitens announced that two Missouri companies operating in the state’s robust food and beverage industry will embark on expansions in their respective communities and create a combined total of 180 new jobs in the state.

“We’re making Missouri a better place to grow jobs, and it’s working,” said Governor Eric Greitens. “Businesses are creating jobs again. Today, I’m proud to announce two major expansions in two corners of the state. In Joplin, Jasper Products is investing $26 million and creating 75 new jobs. In Troy, Witte Brothers Exchange is investing $8 million and creating over 100 new jobs. We’re taking Missouri in a new direction, with more jobs and higher pay.”

two corners

“Missouri has been growing and transporting food to customers around the world for generations,” said Rob Dixon, Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “We believe there is a renewed sense of confidence in our economy because businesses know that we support them and want to help them grow.”

Witte Brothers Exchange, Inc. offers transport service for temperature-controlled products nationwide from its centrally located office and warehouse. The company utilizes next-generation mobile communication, web-based shipment updates, electronic data interchange capabilities, and much more to the 48 contiguous states it serves.

“We are excited about this project, as this expansion will allow us to offer additional services to our existing customers, along with new customers that will be forthcoming,” said Brent Witte, President of Witte Brothers Exchange, Inc. “This expansion will also allow us to offer great career opportunities to the talented people in our community. We are proud to be growing within Troy, and with the great state of Missouri.”

“I am very excited to see economic and job growth in Troy. Jobs are the number one concern I hear about from constituents as I travel the district,” said Senator Jeanie Riddle. “They want to make sure their families can stay in their communities, and that there are more jobs closer to home. With this expansion at Witte Brothers, over one hundred new jobs will be created, Lincoln County and the city of Troy will prosper, and families will have more quality job opportunities in their community.”

The state is also supporting road improvements near Witte’s operations through a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) of up to $800,000. The grant was awarded to the City of Troy which will use the CDBG for much needed public infrastructure improvements to the Mennemeyer Road, where Witte and other companies operate. The company is designing a new 80,000 sq. ft. consolidation model and warehouse facility to serve all customer sectors and their new challenges and demands.

“The City of Troy is excited to get this grant for improvement to Mennemeyer Road. This project would not be possible if it weren’t for the expansion of Witte Bros. Exchange and the jobs they are creating,” said Mayor Mark Cross of the City of Troy. “I want to thank Governor Greitens and the Missouri Department of Economic Development for making this investment in Troy. These road improvements will open this area up for even more business and job creation.”

Jasper Products, LLC, is an industry-leading manufacturer of extended shelf life and aseptically packaged nutritional beverage products serving both private label and contract customers. The company’s $26 million-expansion includes adding processing and production line capacity to meet the companies growing market share and customer base. As part of its expansion, the company will add 75 new jobs to its current workforce of 550. Jasper Products attributes its year-over-year growth successes to a current and productive food processing workforce, strong regional transportation systems and positive growth oriented customer relationships.

“This is exciting news not only for Jasper Products, LLC, but also for Jasper County. I’ve watched the company grow since my time as mayor of Joplin, and I’m glad they have the faith in the city and in Southwest Missouri to expand and continue to strive to be the premiere beverage manufacturing facility in North America,” said Senator Ron Richard.

“The people of Missouri spoke out in the last election saying they wanted real economic growth, more jobs, and better pay and the legislature and executive branches responded,” said Representative Bill White. “In my district, growth like the multi-million dollar expansion of Jasper Foods creating 75 well paying jobs shows Missouri is getting it right and that we are open for business.”

“Jasper Products’ recent expansion continues its position as a leading employer in the region and a leading company in its sector nationally. We appreciate the company’s continued commitment to growing in Joplin,” said Rob O’Brian, President of the Joplin Chamber of Commerce.

More on CDBG:

The CDBG program, administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, provides grants and loan funds to cities with a population under 50,000 and counties under 200,000 to assist in a variety of public works and economic development projects.

To see a full list of businesses embarking on expansions in Missouri, visit

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