Fiber-Ready + Work-Ready = McDonald County

One of Missouri’s newest Certified Work Ready Communities also attained its Fiber-Ready designation. McDonald County business and community leaders celebrated the accomplishments in ceremonies held September 30th at the Crowder College campus in the Jane/Pineville area.

“Today’s announcements serve as milestones in McDonald County’s strategic efforts to strengthen and grow its economy,” said Mike Downing, director of DED. “A talented workforce and state-of-the-art infrastructure are absolutely necessary in all corners of Missouri—from the rural areas to the urban areas—for the state’s economy to grow and thrive.”

The fiber-ready certification shows that the Pineville and Anderson communities are capable of serving world-class clientele, such as Wal-Mart, which has a large digital storage presence in McDonald County.

“As of today we have over 700 connections on our fiber network with new customers joining daily,” said Aaron Gent, Vice President of McDonald County Telephone & Internet companies. “Our crews have been working for the past five years on fiber to the home (FTTH) infrastructure, which is ideal for businesses as well. Our team is determined to get super-fast internet to anyone who wants it.”

Because career readiness factors into national high school rankings, McDonald County High School has recently seen a boost and was ranked one of the nation’s top high schools by U.S. News & World Report. The school saw a boost when its high school students tested for National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRCs), which are part of the CWRC certification.

“McDonald County R-1 schools are very proud of our work ready partnership with the McDonald County Chamber of Commerce,” said Angela Brewer, Assistant Superintendent of the McDonald County R-1 School District. “Our goal is to graduate college- and career-ready citizens: Every Child, Every Day, Whatever It Takes! This partnership is one more evidenced example of our commitment to that goal.”

The CWRC designation, made by American College Testing (ACT), aligns workforce training programs with the economic development needs of communities, matches appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill level and strengthens businesses by strengthening the workforce.

“McDonald County leaders have been working diligently to achieve certified status,” said Dr. Jennifer Methvin, President of Crowder College. “With this designation, I am proud to say Crowder’s nine-county service region is either participating or already a certified community. The college’s role in providing educational needs to close the skills gap is the foundation to building a solid workforce.”

The state’s southwest workforce region is making incredible strides in certified work readiness, with all seven of its counties participating in the initiative. McDonald County leaders are also building partnerships with counties in Arkansas and Kansas to build the entire region’s resilience and prosperity.

“Cooper Gear saves time and money in training and turnover and reduces waste by having a way to match the potential employee with the level of skill needed to perform the job,” said Shawn Cooper, owner of Cooper Gear & Manufacturing. “Cooper Gear is utilizing this program as one means of ensuring employees have the skills needed to perform the job.”