Dade County Nears Certified Work-Ready Designation from ACT

When an area receives the Certified Work Ready Community designation from ACT, it means they have received independent, third-party validation of the quality of their local workforce. Sitting at 83% complete, Dade County is poised to become the most recent addition to the CWRC community in Southwest Missouri.

The initiative, a national effort led by ACT, provides a framework for communities to strengthen their economic development efforts by using a community-based approach grounded in certifying counties as “work ready.” ACT awards this certification when counties achieve established goals of individuals in the workforce earning the ACT National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC™) and businesses recognizing, preferring, or recommending the NCRC.

The different workforce categories include Emerging (high school and college students or recent graduates), Transitioning (currently unemployed or or current/recent adult education program participants), and Current (currently employed incumbents in the public or private sector).

To help meet the Transitioning requirement (only 14 more), the local Missouri Job Center is offering to pay eligible individuals $40 to take the assessment. Jobseekers can use their NCRC to help demonstrate the range of their skills and abilities to local employers who are in need of qualified candidates. Interested individuals can register by calling their local Job Center at 417.629.3000, the Greenfield Public Library at 417.637.5334, or the Lockwood Public Library at 417.232.4204. For more information, click here.

The Certified Work Ready Communities initiative is a voluntary effort to align workforce and education to meet the economic needs of the state and local communities. It began in January 2012 with Missouri, Oregon and South Carolina participating, and has grown to include 25 states with state or county-led efforts. The common certification criteria, community goals, and monthly workforce skill data are available online at

New Registered Apprenticeships in Southwest Missouri

Southwest Missouri recently saw the addition of two newly developed apprenticeship programs registered with the US Department of Labor – MSW, Inc in Webb City and Cooper Gear & Manufacturing in Anderson.

Registered apprenticeship programs are a proven training model businesses can employ to help develop stable and predictable pipelines of skilled workers, and reduce turnover and increase productivity.  Employers can partner with local community colleges, tech schools, and other state and federal workforce system partners to develop customized training programs specific to their needs.

The Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri offers related, short-term pre-apprenticeship training options specific to a variety of industries.  This training includes drug screens, WorkKeys NCRC credentialing, soft skills training, resume preparation, mock interviews, computer skills, and financial counseling in addition to industry specific curriculum.  Pre-apprenticeship training helps students and jobseekers get a jump-start on their training and careers, and helps employers screen and recruit qualified candidates.

Business interested in learning more can contact Frank Neely at .

Mt. Vernon Hiring Event on January 9th (Date Change)

The City of Mt. Vernon is hosting a hiring event to help connect job seekers and employers on January 9th. The focus of this job fair will be to provide extra support for those affected by the recent layoffs of Positronic in Mt. Vernon and Dexter Solutions in Aurora, but the event is open to anyone. The event will be held at the MARC at 822 W Mt, Vernon Blvd from 1:00pm to 3:00pm.

The event is free to both job seekers and employers. Employers who’d like to register a table, please click here.

Click here for more information, or call 417.235.7877.

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

Apprenticeship Forum Scheduled for November 17th

Make plans to attend the upcoming Apprenticeship Forum on November 17th at the Joplin Public Library to learn how to develop and effectively leverage apprenticeship training opportunities in your area!  As businesses continue to experience skill gaps and other mounting training woes, apprenticeship options are well poised to develop the skills and abilities of our communities’ emerging workforces and help meet the training needs of our region’s employers.  The event is scheduled to begin at 10:00am.  

Learn more about how to develop registered apprenticeship programs with local technical schools, and how to leverage related, short-term options to meet more immediate needs.

Presentations are scheduled from the following speakers:

  • Mike Smith, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Apprenticeship
  • Suzanne Richards, Missouri Department of Economic Development
  • Dr. Oscar Carter, Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education

The speakers will be followed by a panel of area employers engaged in apprenticeship training options and lunch.  A $5.00 registration fee for the forum includes lunch and forum materials.  Check-in and networking begin at 9:30am.

Please select the link below to register.

Register Here

More information

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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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.

Public Notice for Plan Modification

The Workforce Investment Board of the Southwest Region, Inc. (DBA Workforce Innovation Board), the oversight body for the delivery of employment and training services to the Missouri Counties of Barry, Barton, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, and Newton, is submitting a modification for the region’s official Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) Plan.

The plan and proposed modifications will be available during normal business hours to anyone for inspection at the offices of the Workforce Innovation Board, 420 Grand Avenue, Joplin, Missouri, 64801. Additionally, the plan will be available for review on the WIB’s internet website at

Interested parties may comment or may petition for disapproval by sending written notice to:

Sherri Rhuems
Workforce Innovation Board
P.O. Box 1706
Joplin, MO 64802-1706


Planning and Research Section
Division of Workforce Development
P.O. Box 1087
Jefferson City, MO 65102-1087

Request may be based on the failure of the plan to address the needs of the area, a significant client interest, or the violation of statutory requirements.  Missouri Relay:   1-800-735-2966 (TDD) 1-800-735-2466 (Voice)