WIB director embraces new role with ACT

Since arriving in 2003 as director of the Southwest Missouri Workforce Innovation Board, Jasen Jones built a team of volunteers and staff on a mission to change lives and make prosperous communities through workforce strategies. Jones is embarking on a new chapter of his own career adventure. Effective April 24th, Jones is joining ACT as a Senior Program Manager for ACT’s Work Ready Communities program.

“I am so thankful for the support and guidance from our staff, board, and other stakeholders,” Jones noted. “I will never forget these positive experiences and will stay devoted to paying it forward.”

The Board of Directors named Sherri Rhuems as the new acting director to oversee a reorganization of WIB staff and functions during the transition of management. Rhuems served the WIB since 2006 and currently holds the role of Operations Manager. The board is expected to make this a permanent role by the end of June.

Jasen, the board, and staff led the WIB on its rise of local, state, and national prominence since 2003. The WIB survived and thrived through difficult transitions, economic recessions, even natural disasters. Much of that success is recognized by the following awards and accomplishments.

Jones new role with ACT covers outreach and development for new communities and regions to join WRC with a focus on the eastern half of the U.S. Another Missouri WRC champion, Cheri Tune, also joins ACT in April covering the western half of the nation. Jones joins a team of seasoned leaders with ACT WRC, including Suzanne Conquest, Fred McConnel, Tony Garife, and Mary Lewis. While not on the road for WRC, Jones will maintain a home-based office in Joplin as a field-based team member with ACT.

While not on the road for WRC, Jones will maintain a home-based office in Joplin as a field-based team member with ACT. He plans to assist the WIB on a volunteer basis to provide technical assistance with the transition, SectorReady career pathways, and the websites managed by the WIB.

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 www.workforcezone.net/plan.

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

OR

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)

Construction Trades Apprenticeship finishes strong

The WIB’s first-ever Construction Trades Pre-Apprenticeship finished strong with ten graduates recognized at a ceremony held Friday, March 17th at the Joplin Job Center. Funded by Catholic Charities together with a special apprenticeship grant to the WIB from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, other partners included Crowder College Training and Development Solutions, IBEW, and the Carpenters Union. The ceremony included several inspirational presentations on the challenges the participants overcame and the improvements gained in their personal and vocational pursuits.

Pre-Apprenticeship Skilled Trades 2017 from WIB on Vimeo.

What’s Next

While some of the grads already secured private sector employment, other completers will stay on with Catholic Charities for additional paid work experience. The social enterprise effort from Catholic Charities helps refurbish local residences for those in need. A special hiring event is set for April 5th to connect grads with employers in the construction sector. Download this printer/tablet friendly flyer for additional information on the hiring event.  The WIB and its stakeholders are currently evaluating outcomes of the training program for future offerings. For more on future apprenticeship efforts, contact Sherri Rhuems at the WIB.

Background

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

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.

 

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 WorkforceZone.net as well.

ASE helps brand employers for success

Competition among employers is on the rise after the boost of economic growth following the recession and Joplin’s disaster recovery momentum. Today’s human resource professional needs to put his or her best foot forward to keep candidate pools flowing. That’s why the WIB and its workforce partners are pleased to announce the All-Star Employer (ASE) program.

Helping Employers Stand Out

Employers of Choice need stronger ways to get their message to potential job seekers. Candidates wanting more than just a job can focus on long-term career advancement and other benefits offered by ASE companies. Communities can also recognize local firms that support local causes and routinely give back. The ASE approach helps increase awareness of job opportunities within growth-driven economic sectors. ASE promotes employer champions as advocates that help propel workforce and economic development strategies that improve the entire region.

How ASE Works

To earn the All-Star Employer designation any local firm can meet a portion of quality criteria. Employers make application directly to the WIB or may be nominated by local Chambers of Commerce, economic development organizations, sector associations, education partners (such as career tech schools or colleges/university training providers), or employees.

Other Employer Benefits

The WIB designed ASE to provide recognition and public awareness for leading employers. ASE holders would be prominently featured at the entry points at the Joplin, Monett, and Neosho Job Centers. Participating employers can be profiled through the new career pathway tools and videos at the new SectorReady.org. Plaques or window decals may be displayed by employers to showcase their ASE achievements. The WIB can also make official presentations at special events on site through the employer or other community venues. For outreach and recruitment events at the Job Centers, All-Star Employers would receive the highest priority consideration. As economic developers routinely seek to promote local employers as economic assets, the ASE designation helps power the marketing outreach conducted by growth-minded communities.

In addition to vast promotional benefits, ASE firms can qualify for special discounts for employer events such as Job Fest and the Workforce Summit. Employers using WorkKeys Job Profiles or other testing services can also use ASE for discounts or fee waivers. All ASE employers will receive complimentary WorkforceZone subscriptions by mail.

Quality Criteria

The WIB plans to debut the official ASE entry guidelines and criteria in March.  To qualify, employers would meet some or all of the following quality elements.

Skills Based Hiring

  • National Career Readiness Certificate
  • SectorReady Credentials
  • ProveIt Technical Skill Tests
  • Integrated GED Training with Credentials
  • WorkKeys Job Profiles

Work Based Learning

  • Apprenticeship
  • On-the-Job Training through Job Center
  • Internships
  • Job Shadowing

Targeted Opportunities to Overcome Poverty

  • Veterans
  • FutureLink Youth
  • Ex-Offenders
  • Families receiving public assistance
  • Accommodations for those with disabilities
  • English Language Learners/Legal Immigrants

Career Pathways

  • Opportunities for Advancement
  • Internal training program in place
  • Tuition Assistance
  • Families receiving public assistance
  • Accommodations for those with disabilities
  • Apprenticeship or Job Center OJT

Removal of Barriers to Work and Learning

  • Substance Abuse Recovery or other employer-based mental health assistance
  • On-site or employer-sponsored child care
  • Transportation Assistance

Where ASE Happens

To introduce the All-Star Employer network, the WIB targeted its service area to include the counties of Barry, Barton, Dade, Jasper, Lawrence, McDonald, and Newton. However, employers from neighboring counties in Arkansas, Kansas, and Oklahoma are encouraged to apply as part of the larger Four-States Labor Market. The WIB plans an extensive public service campaign through local TV, radio, print, and social media throughout the Joplin media market.

Importance of the Employer Brand

Business brand strategy concept background.

According to Wikipedia, employer brand is the term commonly used to describe an organization’s reputation as an employer, and its value proposition to its employees, as opposed to its more general corporate brand reputation and value proposition to customers. Likewise, the marketing disciplines associated with branding and brand management have been increasingly applied to the human resources and talent management community to attract, engage and retain talented candidates and employees, in the same way, that marketing applies such tools to attracting and retaining clients, customers, and consumers.

The term was first used in the early 1990s, and has since become widely adopted by the global management community. Employer brand is “the image of your organization as a ‘great place to work’ in the mind of current employees and key stakeholders in the external market (active and passive candidates, clients, customers and other key stakeholders). Therefore, the art and science of employer branding is concerned with the attraction, engagement, and retention initiatives targeted at enhancing your company’s employer brand.”

How to Begin

The WIB is excited to expand services to local firms to boost their employer branding efforts. The All-Star Employer network aims to launch in March together with the debut of new career pathway tools atSectorReady.org. For more information, or to discuss ideas, contact Jasen Jones at the WIB, jjones@sectorready.org, or by phone to 417-206-1717, Extension 106.

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.

 

 

Important changes coming to WorkKeys NCRC

ACT remains steadfastly committed to the workforce market and its mission to help people achieve workplace success. This commitment is reflected in the unprecedented investment ACT is now making in our WorkKeys program. This investment will ensure the continued progress of WorkKeys to best help you achieve your goals for years to come.

In the summer of 2017, ACT will launch new updated versions of the ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) assessments and credential, as well as the aligned curriculum, test prep and job profiling products and services.

Specific enhancements, in direct response to customer feedback, include:

  • New and updated skills and item content to better reflect today’s jobs
  • New and improved assessment delivery platform to be more stable, faster
  • New Locating Information scale scores and improved item presentation
  • Improved holistic approach to calculating certificate levels
  • Fully aligned curriculum to better support skill development and test prep

The updated assessments will continue to measure the same core set of broadly relevant career readiness skills that have historically been measured by the NCRC assessments. The updated credential will continue to be a reliable signal of career readiness, trusted by job seekers, employers, and educators domestically as well as internationally.

All WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate assessments and credential will be updated to ensure ongoing relevance and alignment to the changing skill requirements of today’s jobs. The updated assessments will be delivered on a new modernized delivery platform for stability, security and a better user experience. Available June 2017:

  • ACT WorkKeys NCRC Assessments
  • ACT WorkKeys Applied Math (formerly Applied    Mathematics)
  • ACT WorkKeys Graphic Literacy (formerly Locating Information)
  • ACT WorkKeys Workplace Documents (formerly Reading for Information)
  • ACT WorkKeys National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC Credential)

In order to continually pursue our mission of helping people achieve education and workplace success, ACT must occasionally prioritize development and support of solutions based on the potential for national and international impact.

As part of this effort, a number of ACT WorkKeys assessments will no longer be offered. These product sunsets were a necessary part of the increased commitment to the WorkKeys program. We are very proud of the value that customers have found in each of our assessments and recognize that this change will be disruptive. However, these changes will allow ACT to focus resources on the next generation of career and workforce solutions.

The products will be discontinued in two phases. Phase 1 in June includes Listening for Understanding, Listening and Writing Performance, and Teamwork.  Phase 2 in June 2018 includes Applied Technology, Business Writing, Observation, and Workplace Observation.  Follow the latest WorkKeys news online at pages2.act.org/workkeysnews.html.

Navigator portal connects aid to those in need

Southwest Missouri has dozens of organizations ready to assist those in need.  However, finding up-to-date contacts and information on resources can sometimes be like finding the needle in a haystack.  The new Resource and Referral Navigator tool is coming soon to the new SectorReady.org.  The portal seeks to remove much of the hassle of connecting local solutions and services to customers through an easy-to-use online system.

Benefits of the Portal

  • No registrations or passwords to track 
  • Search by location, category, or keywords
  • Mobile-friendly and tablet-friendly
  • No cost to agency or customer
  • Results geared to local providers without getting lost statewide or out-of-region
  • Integrated with career and training tools

How You Can Help

  • Provide information to help build the online directory profile withinSectorReady.org
  • Walk through the directory with your customers and encourage future usage
  • Share the new directory with partners and other stakeholders
  • Use the contact form (optional) to help facilitate tracking and follow up
  • Update referral forms with key fields to help fellow providers track and follow up:
    The Missouri Job Center system recommends core fields for effective hub referrals 
    Source:  DWD Issuance 24-2015, jobs.mo.gov

Organizations interested in listing services may contact Frank Neely, frank@sectorready.org, or 417-206-1717, Extension 108.

Categories of Aid Available; Navigation

Work:  Help Find Work, Career Planning, Skills and Training, Supported Employment, Volunteering, Help Pay for Work Expenses, Equal Opportunity

Money:  Financial Assistance, Government Benefits, Financial Education, Tax Preparation

Community:  Peer Support, Volunteering, Faith-Based Groups, Arts and Culture, Animals

Care:  Adoption and Foster Care, Daytime Care, End of Life Care, Navigating the System, Residential Care, Support Network

Food and Household Goods:  Community Gardens, Emergency Food, Food Pantry, Free Meals, Help Pay for Food, Nutrition, Baby Supplies, Clothing, Home Goods, Medical Supplies, School Supplies

Housing:  Emergency Shelter, Help Find Housing, Help Pay for Housing, Housing Repair, Weatherization, Miscellaneous

Emergency:  Disaster Response, Emergency Payments, Emergency Food, Emergency Shelter, Help Find Missing Persons, Immediate Safety, Psychiatric Emergency Services, Emergency Cash

Education:  GED/AEL/HiSet, English Language, Basic Computer Skills, Help Find Schooling, Help Pay for School, Preschool, Screening and Exams, Skills and Training, More Education Resources, Translation & Interpretation, Citizenship Skills, Credentialing, Transfers and Articulation

Transportation:  Transit Services, Help Pay for Transit, Vehicle Repair Assistance

Health:  Addiction and Recovery, Dental, Vision, Family Physician, Specialists, Navigating the Healthcare Exchange

Legal:  Ex-Offender Transition, Advocacy and Legal Aid, Mediation, Notary, Representation, Immigration

Population Served:  Layoffs, Young Adults (16-24), Veterans, Persons with Disabilities, Older/Retirement-Age Workers, Welfare, Ex-Offenders/Parole

Directory Fields:  Description, Details, Contacts, Location Details, Site Hours, Cost, How to Enroll, Languages Available, Additional Requirements (Eligibility), Category

 

WIB announces staffing changes

The WIB extends its best wishes to Jerri Phillips.  Previously an Employer Services Representative (ESR) with the WIB, Jerri recently joined Crowder College Training and Development Solutions.  The WIB welcomes Starla Payton to the ESR role, bringing a wealth of experience from the private staffing agency sector.  The WIB also welcomes Rob Copher as the new Fiscal Manager to replace Bob Shryock.  The WIB bids farewell to Bob, who is retiring after serving since 2010.

Public policy perspectives needed for a jobless era

Assumptions around modern-day employment are increasingly anachronistic in the face of rapidly evolving technologies that are upending traditional job categories and occupations. In order to establish a more viable and adaptive model of employment in the near- and long-term future, which helps workers achieve personal fulfillment while also contributing productively to society, it is necessary for policymakers and leaders to reimagine how the working world will look and function. In a world characterized by rapid change that suggests new applications for our labor, how will we go about preparing for the future?

A thorough analysis of the current state and future of work cannot be fairly entertained without first establishing a basic understanding of what it is we currently know about jobs, how we measure and account for structural changes in employment, and the recognized limitations of how these definitions and measures are used to guide the decision-making of policy-makers.

Most often, policy analysts rely on data points such as the unemployment rate, labor market participation rate, employment-to-population ratio, and monthly job creation reports to inform their view of the current state of employment in the United States and to guide their policy-making choices. It is their fixation on these outcome metrics that discourages policy-makers from grappling with the fundamental shifts that are occurring as part of the evolution of jobs and work. Furthermore, by ignoring the changing circumstances of work, leaders overlook alternative strategies that may have greater public benefit, but might negatively affect these traditional measures of our overall economic health.

The paper includes in-depth analysis on the scarcity of good jobs; Reduction of the Psychological, Social, and Economic Benefits of Work; the Problem of Today; Trends for Tomorrow; Proactive Policy Making and Public Leadership.  Policy considerations for the future include:  New Metrics for Understanding Jobs and Work; Alternative Sources for Family Income; Tax Structures and Social Benefit Delivery; Rethinking the Purpose of Education and Job Training; and More Jobs May Not Be the Answer

Check out the full white paper in the Social Innovations Journal from Josh Copus in collaboration with the National Association of Workforce Boards.  The full paper is online.