First tri-state Work Ready region emerges

Tri-State Marker of Missouri, Kansas, and OklahomaContinuing the legacy of firsts for regional workforce innovation, the Joplin Tri-State Region is the first in the nation to achieve Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) status that crosses the borders of three different states with the attainment by Ottawa County.  As investors often put their top priorities on workforce, having CWRC is a big step for the Joplin labor market that pivots outward from the Tri-State Marker (pictured right) of Missouri, Kansas, and Oklahoma.

Ottawa County celebrated its new status at a reception August 11th in Miami that KODE-TV profiled in its evening newscast. Planning is underway for CWRC ceremonial events in McDonald and Labette Counties that also hit the 100% goal mark.  Lawrence County leaders held their celebration June 9th in Aurora (pictured below).

lawrence county C.W.R.C. june 2016We are excited to officially become an ACT Work Ready Community,” said Shannon Walker, director of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce and head of the local CWRC initiative. “Lawrence County has much to offer businesses that are already established in our area, and now this addition strengthens the county’s workforce and economic opportunities.”

Interstate 44, which runs through Lawrence, Jasper, Newton, and Ottawa Counties, is a big advantage economically because it means easy access for businesses to be able to move products by truck from one area to another. The CWRC designation complements local efforts to further develop and grow the region’s transportation and logistics sectors.

The ceremony was held at the Aurora Community Center, with many supporters of CWRC efforts in attendance. Just a few supporting employers include AFB International, Service Vending Company, T&C Stainless, BCP Ingredients, Inc., Kemin Nutrisurance, Teletech, Jack Henry & Associates and more.  Watch the full Lawrence County CWRC ceremony online at

As illustrated in the map (below) of counties served by the WIB and the Joplin Regional Partnership, Dade is the only remaining county to achieve CWRC.  The latest results show Dade at 78% of the CWRC goal.  WIB officials anticipate Dade County’s completion by the end of 2016.

C.W.R.C. map of counties