Archive for Events

Registration Open for 2018 Apprenticeship Forum

As businesses continue to experience skill gaps with new employees, apprenticeship training options are well poised to help develop the necessary skills and abilities of our communities’ emerging workforces to help meet the growing needs of our region’s employers.

The WIB’s annual Apprenticeship Forum is a great resource for business leaders, HR managers, economic & workforce developers, and educators to learn more about the apprenticeship training model and how to leverage related, short-term options to meet more immediate workforce needs.

Our featured presentation this year is from the City of Edmond, Oklahoma and the Center for Municipal Excellence – they will be sharing details on the development of their field services professional training program for public works employees, the first of its kind in the nation.  The program has helped them save hundreds of thousands of dollars by utilizing in-house talent to accomplish what would have previously required the hiring of numerous contractors.

Learn more about the apprenticeship training model from them, as well as Suzanne Richards, the state of Missouri’s apprenticeship development specialist, and Dr. Oscar Carter, the director of Skilled Technical Services at the Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education.

Register Now!

For registration questions, please call (417) 206-1717 extension 2107.  For more information on the event itself, contact Frank Neely at (417) 380-9626.  Download the flyer HERE.

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.

Building Trades Hiring Event Scheduled for September 5th

A hiring & resource event for the Building Trades Sector is scheduled for Wednesday, September 5th at Joplin Memorial Hall.  The event will coincide with completion of the work experience portion of the most recent building trades pre-apprenticeship training offered by the Job Centers in Joplin, Monett, and Neosho.  Students of the training will have recently completed a short-term work experience program with Catholic Charities, gaining valuable experience before being connected with other hiring employers and related resources in the industry.

The event will be open to the public from 2:00pm to 4:00pm, with business team staff on hand to explain other available services and programs.  Employers wishing to reserve a table can register for free HERE.  Hurry – space is limited!!!

Download the flyer here.

Newton County Announces Certified Work Ready Communities Summit on August 8th

Newton County county business owners, human resource managers, and education and economic development stakeholders are set to meet and discuss how to utilize and leverage the county’s upcoming recertification as an ACT Certified Work Ready Community on August 8th.  The meeting will take place from 9:00am to 11:00am at the Wright Conference Center in the Arnold Farber Building of Crowder College’s campus located at 601 Laclede Ave in Neosho.

The county first met all of the requirements for certification in 2015, and has since managed to accomplish both the additional goals as well as the supplemental criteria required for recertification.  Communities that have received the Certified Work Ready Community status from ACT can leverage the designation as an indication of the quality of their workforces.  More information about Newton County’s CWRC program and the upcoming summit can be accessed at the links below.

Crowder College Expands Area Apprenticeship Opportunities

On June 27th at the new Joplin Advanced Training and Technology Center, Crowder College formalized a partnership with Bill’s Electric on development of a full time, four-year electrician apprenticeship set to begin in August.

With more and more experienced workers retiring, the need for fresh talent is apparent – apprenticeships like these are one way businesses can engage with education, economic, and workforce development stakeholders to develop a pipeline of emerging workers equipped with the skills and abilities required by our region’s employers.

The development of this program adds to the area’s list of such opportunities, as Crowder College already has an ongoing construction apprenticeship with Branco Enterprises established in 2015.  Shorter term pre-apprenticeship programs help to prepare participants to meet the basic qualifications for entry into registered apprenticeships or other employment opportunities, and are available to eligible jobseekers through the Workforce Innovation Board of Southwest Missouri and the local Job Centers in Joplin, Monett, and Neosho.

WorkforceZone Winter 2017: Workforce Strategies On-Track Amidst Change

The Winter 2017 edition of the WorkforceZone, the region’s quarterly journal for workforce development, features the theme of Workforce Strategies On-Track Amidst Change. The 14-page magazine-style format may be downloaded as a printer-friendly and tablet-friendly PDF. Check out individual articles online here at as well.

Pre-Apprenticeship: Five Weeks to a better career

The Missouri Job Centers at Joplin, Monett, and Neosho are pleased to announce a new fast-track training program designed to equip job seekers to enter the electrical and construction sectors. Offered in partnership with Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, the Carpenters Union, and IBEW, the program includes four weeks of training followed by paid work experience opportunities.

The Skilled Trade Pre-Apprenticeship begins February 13th. Those interested are invited to a trainee information meeting on Monday, February 6th at the Joplin Job Center. The first session is offered at Noon with a repeat at 6:00 p.m. For questions or more information, call the Job Center at 417-625-3618. Download this single-page, printer-friendly flyer with additional info. 

Training Covered

The first week of training covers soft skill expectations of employers, resume preparation, and the National Career Readiness Certificate. Week two digs into construction with worksite safety and basic construction skills. Electrical training happens in week three with electrical safety and basic electrical work. The final (fourth) week covers safety and medical training such as OSHA-10, first aid, CPR, and forklift operation. Weeks five and beyond (up to 12 weeks total) features the paid internship for participants to put their skills to work.

More on Pre-Apprenticeship

Quality pre-apprenticeship programs contribute to the development of a diverse and skilled workforce by preparing participants to meet the basic qualifications for entry into one or more Registered Apprenticeship programs. Through a variety of unique designs and approaches, pre-apprenticeship programs can be adapted to meet the needs of differing populations being trained, the various employers and sponsors they serve, and specific opportunities within the local labor market.

Pre-apprenticeship training is a great way for participants to explore and learn about exciting careers; qualify to meet the minimum standards for selection to employment and training programs to help advance; benefit from classroom and technology-based training; get a start on career-specific training with viable career pathway opportunities; build literacy, math, English, and work-readiness skills employers desire.



Job Fest 2017 helps nearly 1,000 career seekers

Nearly 1,000 career seekers connected with 60+ exhibits at Job Fest 2017. Held January 31st at the Joplin Convention & Trade Center, Job Fest remains the Four-States’ largest hiring and resource fair.  The WIB appreciates the sponsorships of leading employers that make Job Fest possible. CFI is this year’s Platinum Sponsor, with Teleperformance at the Gold Level. Silver Sponsors include Owens Corning and Indigo Sky Casino.

For the listing of this year’s exhibiting employers and services, visit the Job Seeker page at For a recap of Job Fest, visit any of these news media links below.

The Job Genie hosted the 2nd annual Job Fest: The Workshop at the Missouri Job Center, 8th & Wall, Joplin.  Job seekers found out what it takes to succeed from local participating Employers. Full video of the workshop is provided below.

Job Fest THE WORKSHOP 2017 hosted by The Job Genie (Troy Roland) from WIB on Vimeo.

Happy Exhibitors and Attendees

The WIB collects extensive data on customer satisfaction for Job Fest, for both employer and job seeker customers.  Job seekers consistently rank the event as helpful with 91% of seekers reporting helpfulness.  Just under half of the attendees are currently employed with 14% working part time and 32% working full time.  Nearly a quarter of seekers aim for manufacturing as their career sector interest with remaining sectors noted above.

Employers were overall pleased as well with 97% rating the event either good or excellent.  Even with job seeker volume down somewhat due to tightening of the labor market, employers remain satisfied with the volume of seeker attendees as noted in the chart above.  Exhibiting employers also gave high marks to the quality of job seekers with 92% reporting either good, very good, or excellent ratings.  Additional survey results are available as a PDF online.


Thanks to our Sponsors



Teleperformance high res logo[1]






WorkforceZone Fall 2016: Expanding the Labor Market with Opportunities for All

wfz-cover-fall-2016The Fall edition of the WorkforceZone, the region’s quarterly journal for workforce development, features the theme of Expanding the Labor Market with Workforce Opportunities for All. The 16-page magazine-style format may be downloaded as a printer-friendly and tablet-friendly PDF. Check out individual articles online here at as well.

Save the Date and Register for Job Fest 2017

job-fest-2017-logoRegistration is now open for the 2017 Job Fest. The region’s largest hiring and resource event happens January 31st at the Joplin Convention Center, located near Range Line and Interstate 44.

Register Now Online

Sponsorship recruitment is underway with CFI confirmed as 2017’s platinum sponsor. Teleperformance is a gold level sponsor along with Owens-Corning as a silver sponsor. For more information on sponsorship opportunities, contact Tom “Bubba” Evansco at the WIB, 417-206-1717 or by email.

More than 60 employers and exhibitors took part in last year’s Job Fest. Job Fest organizers implemented more research tools that provided insights on the success of the event.  Over 95% of attendees said Job Fest was helpful.  Greater than 35% of participants are currently employed either full or part-time, confirming the degree of under-employment throughout the region.  Employers rated JobFest as 90% good to excellent.  More than 70% of exhibitors gave high ratings with the volume of attendees.