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Registration for Third Annual SWMO Apprenticeship Forum Now Open!

Join us for the 3rd Annual SWMO Apprenticeship Forum

Friday, November 15th from 9:30am to 12:30pm

Holiday Inn, Conference Center in Joplin, MO


This year’s forum includes presentations from SUZANNE RICHARDS with the Missouri Registered Apprenticeship Program, TRACE LAUGHERY with the US Department of Labor – Office of Apprenticeship, TRACY ROBERTS, Human Resources Director with Mercy Hospital, DR. OSCAR CARTER with DESE,  HOLLEY GOODNIGHT and ELSIE MORRIS with the local technical centers in Carthage & Joplin.

Attendees will gain information on how to develop and effectively leverage registered apprenticeship training opportunities to bring employers and the community together to take advantage of these valuable programs.


Who should attend?

High School/Tech Center Educators, Economic/Workforce Development Professionals, Industry Leaders, Business/HR/Training Managers



A $15 registration fee ($20 after 11/8) includes lunch and forum materials.

Space is limited! Advance registration preferred. Register today by clicking HERE.



AGENDA for the 3rd Annual SW MO Apprenticeship Forum

9:00 to 9:30 AM: Registration

9:30 to 9:35 AM: Opening Remarks

9:35 to 10:10 AM: Apprenticeship Training Setup and Information

SUZANNE RICHARDS – Apprenticeship Training and Development Specialist, Missouri Registered Apprenticeship Program

TRACE LAUGHERY – Apprenticeship Training Representative, US Dept. of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship

10:10 to 10:20 AM: Break

10:20 to 11:30 AM: Registered Youth Apprenticeships in SW MO

HOLLY GOODNIGHT – Director, Carthage Technical Center

ELSIE MORRIS – Vocational Special Services Coordinator, Franklin Technology Center

DR. OSCAR CARTER – Director, Skilled Technical Services, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education

11:30AM to 12:00PM: Lunch

12:00PM to 1:00PM: Adult Registered Apprenticeships in SW MO

TRACY ROBERTS – Human Resources Director, and VICKY MCCLEARY Executive Director, Patient Care Services, Mercy Hospital

1:00PM: Closing Remarks

MARDY LEATHERS – Director, Office of Workforce Development, Missouri Division of Higher Education and Workforce Development



A $15 registration fee ($20 after 11/8) includes lunch and forum materials.

Space is limited! Advance registration preferred. Register today by clicking HERE.



Free track counters

Fourth Annual Inclusion Forum Award Winner Selected!

Congratulations to Logan’s Roadhouse of Joplin for receiving the WIOA Partners Southwest Missouri Inclusion Award this past Thursday during the fourth annual Inclusion Forum coordinated by partnering agencies of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act . The award recognizes outstanding performance of inclusion in the areas of recruiting, hiring and retaining employees with disabilities and/or other minority groups.  Other nominees for the award included Casey’s General Store, W. 32nd St. in Joplin; Country Market, Pineville; Fair Acres Family YMCA, Carthage; Goodyear Auto Service, Joplin; Modine Manufacturing Company, Joplin; McAlister’s Deli, Joplin; and Trinity Circle Horses Healing Hearts, Neosho.

This year’s forum focused on “Including LGBTQ Employees in Your Workforce.” The two featured speakers were Karis Agnew, field director of PROMO in Springfield, and Jaimie Hileman, executive director of Trans Education Service, LLC in St. Louis. Their presentations included foundational information and terminology used with the LGBTQ community, as well as data regarding organizational standards and best practices companies can utilize.

PROMO is a statewide organization advocating for LGBTQ equality, including in the workplace. Founded in 1986, PROMO actively participates in legislative action, grassroots organizing, and community education. Trans Education Service, LLC provides resources to organizations and employers to improve inclusion and engagement with transgender and LGBTQIA+ people. TES engages cultural competency training, policy development, and other activities to promote accepting environments and inclusive work spaces.

To sign up for future inclusion and diversity event announcements, click HERE.

We hope to see you next year!!!

2019 Inclusion Award Nominations

Call for Nominations: W.I.O.A. Partners, Southwest Missouri Inclusion Award

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Inclusion Award

If you know about a business in Southwest Missouri that has gone above and beyond to recruit, hire or retain people from minority groups, it’s time to nominate them for the second annual WIOA* Partners Southwest Missouri Inclusion Award!  Last year’s recipient was the Joplin Olive Garden.  Finalists were Simple Simons Pizza in Joplin and Stangs Travel Center in Anderson.

We would love to receive your nominations of Southwest Missouri businesses that actively recruit people with disabilities, provide training for staff to improve awareness of mental illnesses and substance use disorders, conduct activities to make their workplaces more inclusive for minority cultures, or any number of possibilities that promote inclusiveness of minority groups.

A business or organization is eligible for this award if it is located in any of the following counties: Barry, Barton, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald or Newton. There are a few other requirements, which you can check by clicking below.

The deadline to submit a nomination is Aug. 30, 2019. You can submit a nomination by clicking the link below.

The award will be presented at the fourth annual Inclusion Forum set for Oct. 3 at the Holiday Inn in Joplin. The Inclusion Forum will take place in the morning and will include breakfast.  It will conclude by noon, so that you can get back to the rest of your day. Forum registration will open in September. If you would like to receive an email alert as soon as registration opens, click the appropriate link below to let us know. 

* The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) partners strive to help individuals improve their skills and obtain and maintain employment.

Click here for the Nomination Criteria

Click here to Submit a Nomination

Click here to get an email alert as soon as registration opens

Official WIOA Plan Modification June 2019

Workforce Investment Bureau of Southwest Missouri

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

2019 SW MO Economic Profile & Targeted Industry Analysis

magnifying glass laid on top of various charts

The WIB recently completed a preliminary examination of the region’s economy and targeted industries to help inform its upcoming four-year operations plan.  The report examines population and job trends, population characteristics, underemployment, commuting patterns, industry and workforce characteristics, and more.

Individual counties and partner regions are also examined, including those within the service areas of the WIB, the Harry S Truman Coordinating Council, and the MOKAN economic development partnership, as well as the Joplin MSA and the Barry/Lawrence County region.

Click HERE to access the report, or for more information on the WIB’s research services.

Underemployment Examined in SW Missouri

word cluster with jobs related terms like career, work, job, skills, underemployment

The provision of labor market information is one of the many business services available to employers through the local workforce system in Southwest Missouri.  Oftentimes businesses are in search of wage information in an effort to remain competitive and ensure their recruiting is effective. The Workforce Investment Board is able to provide detailed and timely data on both entry-level and experienced wages, as well as a variety of other elements by municipality, county, drive-times, and more.

The unemployment rate is often a topic of discussion, especially with such low levels in recent years. Less often discussed is underemployment, which can mean different things to different people.

The underemployed can refer to those who are in need or in search of additional employment, to those who are employed at less than full-time status, and to degreed individuals who are employed in non-degree positions. The underemployment data below is specific to the latter, examining college graduates aged 22-65 working in jobs that don’t require a college degree as of the 4th quarter of 2018.

chart measuring unemployment and underemployment

Across all occupations, 7.2% of the jobs in Southwest Missouri are held by graduates working in non-degree positions. Those with the highest percentages of underemployed include Protective Service (17.8%); Arts, Entertainment, & Media (16.3%); Office/Administrative Support (13.2%); and Sales (12.6%) occupations. Those with the lowest underemployment include Education, Training, & Library (2.3%); Construction & Extraction (3.4%); Farming, Fishing, & Forestry (3.9%); and Maintenance (4.0%) occupations.

For more information, contact Sherri Rhuems.

Source: JobsEQ®

Build My Future Expo SWMO WAS A HUGE SUCCESS!!

Build my future in southwest missouri Group of students posing with build my future sign(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!

Build My Future flier for April 2, 2020 event


Special Thanks to the following:

Crossland Construction Company
Crossland Heavy Contractors
Crowder College
Missouri Welding Institute



Labor Turnover Examined in SW Missouri

desk and chair with a vacancy sign

The provision of labor market information is one of the many business services available to employers through the local workforce system in Southwest Missouri.  Oftentimes businesses are in search of wage information in an effort to remain competitive and ensure their recruiting is effective.  The Workforce Investment Board is able to provide detailed and timely data on both entry-level and experienced wages, as well as a variety of other elements by municipality, county, drive-times, and more.

One data element that has recently become available is turnover, and the ability to examine it by industry and other elements.  While the data is not as recent as would be desired, it does offer some insight into the local labor market and job churn.  The figures below detail local labor turnover in Southwest Missouri by industry, age, and education level from the 2nd quarter of 2015 to the 2nd quarter of 2016.

 Bar graph showing Turnover by Industry 2015-16

Industries with the highest turnover rates included Administrative Support & Waste Management/Remediation (22.9%), Accommodation & Food Services (19.4%), Retail Trade (11.9%), and Construction (10.2%).  The lowest rates were in the industries of Educational Services (5.6%), Public Administration (5.8%), and Finance & Insurance (6.7%).

Chart indicating turnover by age 2015-16

As far as age, individuals aged 14-18 held the highest turnover rate (29.0%), followed by ages 19-21 (22.7%), 22-24 (18.0%), and 25-34 (11.7%).  The lowest rates were held by those aged 55-64 (5.3%), 45-54 (6.2%), 65+ (7.3), and 35-44 (8.1%).

Chart indicating turnover by education level 2015-16

As far as educational attainment, those for whom data was unavailable (those aged 24 or younger) held the highest turnover rate (21.7%).  Individuals with less than a high school diploma (9.4%), those with a high school equivalency (7.7%), those with some college or an associate’s degree (7.6%), and those with a bachelor’s or advanced degree (6.9%) all had rates below the overall 9.5% rate.

For more information, contact Sherri Rhuems.

Source: JobsEQ®

Registration Now Open for January 15th Healthcare Exposition & Hiring/Resource Event

Healthcare career expo from 2:00 to 4:00 pm at MSSU End Zone

Are you an employer, educator, or other resource interested in connecting with high school and tech center students looking for careers in the healthcare industry?  If so, you should mark your calendar for January 15th, 2018, as Mercy, Freeman Health System, and the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri will be hosting the region’s 1st Annual Healthcare Exposition & Hiring/Resource Event at MSSU’s End Zone.

The morning will feature exhibits and demonstrations from local employers and educators on various activities, followed by a hiring and resource event in the afternoon to connect interested students with hiring employers in the industry.

EMPLOYERS, please click HERE to register, or email Bubba Evansco at for more details.

Download the flyer HERE.

2nd Annual Apprenticeship Forum Attracts Employers from Across the 4-State Region

workshop participants

The 2nd Annual Apprenticeship Forum was held this past Friday, and the event did not disappoint – more than fifty employers and education stakeholders were in attendance to learn more about the apprenticeship training model from a variety of different experts.

Employers were provided a wealth of information on different tax incentives and wage reimbursement options from Suzanne Richards who works as a training and development specialist with the Missouri Department of Economic Development.  Educators learned about how their districts and campuses could implement different programs and how to market them to their local businesses from Dr. Oscar Carter, Director of Skilled Technical Services with the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.  And municipalities and other government jurisdictions heard from Richard Kindberg with the Center for Municipal Excellence and Keith Stewart with the City of Edmond, Oklahoma on how the city was able to save hundreds of thousands of dollars via the implementation of a registered program tailored to their public works department.

Click HERE to read more on KSN’s coverage of the forum, and click HERE to download a copy of the event’s presentations.  For more information, please email Frank Neely at