Governor Eric Greitens announces business expansions in Joplin and Troy; expected to result in the creation of 180 new jobs in Missouri

Biz Announcements Header

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 https://ded.mo.gov/business-announcements.


Help us spread the news through Facebook and Twitter! If you’re looking for a great place to visit, live, get an education, or start a business, you can find resources and information at mo.gov or ded.mo.gov.

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.

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.