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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.

People at a job fair talking to employers

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

Pie charts indicating the Employment Sector Interest of Job Seeker Attendees and Employer Satisfaction Volume of Job SeekersThe 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]






Missouri improves in Rankings that Matter

The annual State of the States report from Site Selection magazine includes the third edition of  Rankings that Matter. Along with legislative, demographic, economic and education data points, the publisher also ranks all 50 states on elements relevant to corporate location decision-makers. Two of the six rankings cover workforce quality: Rank in total ACT National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) earned per capita among working-age adults (as of December 2016) and College Attainment with the percent of working-age population ages 18-65 holding a two-year degree or higher (using Summer 2016 data from the Lumina Foundation). With the NCRC, Joplin remains the best performing metro in Missouri.

With a 20% improvement in Missourians with the NCRC now surpassing 80 thousand, Missouri ranks 20th nationally on the NCRCs per capita. Neighboring Kansas and Arkansas have similar NCRC rankings at 23rd and 24th, respectively. Oklahoma, a long-time champion of NCRC, ranks 7th in this measure.

NCRCs Per Thousand

For local comparison, the WIB generated NCRC Per Thousand rankings of Missouri’s six metro areas and the totals overall for Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, and Oklahoma. Joplin’s ranking of 49 NCRCs Per Thousand is four times the U.S. index overall, three times the index for the Show-Me State, and six times better than Missouri’s largest metros of St. Louis, Springfield, and Kansas City.

Bar graph indicating Work Readiness Index of NCRCs Per Thousand, by city

The WIB computed this index of each area’s population and the NCRCs recorded by ACT’s Work Ready Communities initiative (as of December 31, 2016). Metro populations are based on 2015 estimates while state populations are 2016 estimates.  Joplin’s MSA includes Ottawa County in Oklahoma together with the Missouri counties of Jasper and Newton. The St. Louis MSA includes additional Illinois counties and the Kansas City MSA includes additional Kansas counties.

Other Rankings That Matter

Other rankings in the report include Rank in the Tax Foundation’s 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index (Oct. 2016), Rank in 2015 Higher Education R&D Expenditure (Total in $000s in parentheses), Rank by Lowest Industrial Electric Power Cost (¢/kWh), and Fiscal Condition Index (Mercatus Center at George Mason University, June 2016). The online version of the report indexes each state profile as a downloadable/viewable PDF. In the print edition of the magazine, the report begins on page 94.


Joplin’s Vision 2022 connects job growth and literacy strategies

The Joplin Globe newspaper provided strong coverage of Joplin’s Vision 2022 efforts, including WIB perspectives on education and job growth. Today’s edition featured Vision 2022’s Job Growth team that kicked off Tuesday night.

Update on Monday, January 30th:  Joplin Globe covered the second meeting of the Job Growth Team with analysis of occupation growth projections and economic factors that might affect projections and outcomes.

The goal of the Job Growth team is to support the citizens’ desire for a vibrant economy with a thriving workforce by growing the job market. The group’s first meeting Tuesday examined labor market and sector trends with discussions around key priorities. The group meets again January 26th to dig deeper on skill gap trends and issues. Globe journalist Jordan Larimore interviewed Job Growth Team co-chair Ryan Melton, Adam Bokker of Home Instead Senior Care, and Jasen Jones with the SW MO WIB.

The Education team met Monday, as noted in a separate article from the Globe. This team has two components of K-12 and adult education (including post-secondary). This team’s mission is to support the citizens’ desire for Quality Schools by developing a community of learners rooted in strong communications, collaboration, critical thinking, and creative thought to ensure an engaged and informed community.

More about Vision 2022 is available online or through their Facebook page. KCGS-TV at Missouri Southern State University also covered Vision 2022 in its Newsmakers program with video available online as well.  Other teams within Vision 2022 include Governance, Healthy Living/Wellness, Positive Marketing/Branding, and Quality of Life.




MWA reforms proposed

The WIB seized the opportunity to bid on a four-year contract for the Joplin/Southwest region to run the employment and training components of TANF known as the Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program.  Through its proposal, the WIB recommended key reform strategies, such as full integration and resource leveraging for all three of the region’s Job Center locations at Joplin, Monett, and Neosho.  The proposal also seeks to align short-term training and credentials to help families receiving temporary public assistance to get on the fast-track for work experience, job placement, and career pathways.  Another key endeavor proposed is the use of a Child Care Sector Academy that combines micro-enterprise development and training to provide job growth for MWA/TANF recipients.  The academy would also help fill the gap in the region’s shortage for child care providers for more working families and communities region-wide.  Grant awards are expected by March with new MWA operations to begin in April.

Impact and performance of the Workforce System: February 2017

The WIB routinely publishes performance indicators on customers served, NCRCs, and impact on employment, retention, wages, and credentials for customers.

NCRCs by County

The overall percentage of goal attainment reflects NCRCs for emerging workers (students), current and transitioning workers, as well as supporting employers.  Results are posted up to January 31, 2017.  Goals in green are fully met for that county’s category.  All but Dade and Jasper Counties are currently in re-certification phase.  Monthly progress for each county may be tracked with the mapping tool at

Chart indicating N.C.R.C. by county

Customers Served and Total NCRCs by County

Customers served by county covers the period of July 2016 to present.  NCRCs awarded reflects 2006 to January 31, 2017.

Chart indicating customers served and N.C.R.C.s by county

WIOA Program Performance

All individual metrics scoring 80% or higher are judged as meeting the mandated workforce system performance established for Southwest Missouri by state and federal authorities in negotiation with the WIB.  Due to system limitations in year one of WIOA, Adult and Dislocated Worker Credential rates are unavailable.  Period is July 2016 to present.

Chart indicating the W.I.O.A. measures percentages and earnings by categories

KODE-TV showcases progress at new training center

Gretchen Bolander with KODE-TV reported on progress at Joplin’s new Advanced Training and Technology Center during Monday evening’s newscast. Gretchen interviewed Rob O’Brian with the Joplin Chamber and Bubba Evansco with the WIB on the developments. The WIB’s regional headquarters took residence at the Center in October and tenants are beginning to fill in business incubator portions as an extension of the Newman Innovation Center. Additional work continues on a new parking lot just south of the building along with the arrival and installation of new equipment. Crowder College is set to begin classes at the center in August. Check out the full article and video online from KODE-TV.

National partnership expands workforce credentials

The American Council on Education (ACE) and Credly officially announced that participants in ACE’s College Credit Recommendation Service (CREDIT®) will now be able to issue digital credentials through Credly, making it easier for working professionals to request academic credit for workplace training and to share evidence of their achievements online.  As a result of the collaboration, organizations that offer training recommended for college credit will be able to issue secure, portable, and data-rich digital badges that recognize professional and academic achievements in addition to an ACE  transcript.  Read more online.

Jones wins re-election to ACT State Orgs National Steering Committee

ACT State Organizations provides opportunities for diverse groups of education and workplace professionals to connect, allowing ideas and issues to intersect as members learn from one another and unite in purpose. The National Steering Committee for State Organizations includes representatives from various sections of the nation in the sectors of K-12 education, post-secondary ed, and workforce development.  ACT recently held elections for the National Steering Committee.  Jasen Jones from the Southwest Missouri WIB retained his role representing the Midwest in the workforce sector.  Learn more about ACT State Orgs online.

Joplin adds sweet spot for state economy

The Missouri Partnership for the month of December is looking back at the Show-Me State’s top 31 economic development projects for 2016. Today’s feature includes HS Baking, which selected Joplin for its flagship bakery. On July 20, HS Baking, an advanced manufacturer of baked goods, announced the grand opening of their flagship manufacturing plant in Joplin, Missouri. The facility represented more than $8 million in investment and brought with it more than 60 new jobs to the region.

“This facility has a nearly 70-year history of baking quality products, and it is wonderful to see it coming back into operation so quickly after it was shut down,” said Joplin Mayor Mike Seibert. “We appreciate HS Baking for its investment in Joplin and for its sincere recognition of the proud history of this facility and its people.”

General Mills previously operated the facility and HS Baking cited the abundance of highly skilled and available talent as one of the leading reasons for their choosing of the Joplin site.

“Our whole team is excited to come to Joplin and kick the factory back into high gear with the help of members of the Joplin community,” said HS Baking Plant Manager Max Jones.


Missouri is a center for advanced manufacturing excellence with a robust food production sector supported by a cost-competitive, pro-business and innovative environment, exceptional talent and extensive training programs

“Investments by great companies like HS Baking are the reason why Missouri leads the Midwest in manufacturing growth and our unemployment rate has been below the national average for more than two years,” said Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. “Missouri makes what the world wants, and we are proud to partner with HS Baking as they create new jobs right here in Joplin.”

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.