Conference marks official launch of Certified Work Ready Communities

Certified Work Ready Communities (CWRC) in Missouri is a voluntary initiative guided by key community leaders (local elected officials, economic development, business leaders, chambers, educators, and workforce development). Whether a town is large or small, the community will be able to attract, retain, and develop a workforce with the education and foundational skills to succeed in the 21st century by utilizing the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC).

By strengthening the local workforce your community can prosper and grow together.  A certified Work Ready Community means a local county has job candidates in the pipeline with high-demand skills proved by the National Career Readiness Certificate. It also shows that local employers care about hiring the best and brightest your region has to offer.

CWRC got its official launch at the Missouri Governors Conference on Economic Development that concluded today in St. Louis.  The opening session of the conference featured a panel discussion featuring statewide business leaders.  One of the breakout sessions provided detailed information on launching CWRC in local areas.  Gov. Nixon referenced CWRC in his remarks to the conference on Friday.

Missouri’s statewide Workforce Investment Board (MoWIB) officially endorsed the CWRC and NCRC.  Chairman Keith Gary provided information on MoWIB’s role in accepting recommendations and making the designation approvals as part of the CWRC process.

Michael Holmes and Jasen Jones represented TEAM as ex-officio members of the DWD’s statewide CWRC leadership team.  As local workforce development is a required local partner for each county’s entry into CWRC, local WIBs and one-stop career centers have an important role in this initiative.  The partnerships of WIBs and one-stop centers, in collaboration with local colleges and tech-ed centers, provide the key delivery system for NCRCs in Missouri.

A wealth of information on CWRC, including the application and help in getting started, may be found online on the official CWRC website.  A printer-friendly brochure may be downloaded as well.


Input sought for new state workforce plan

The State of Missouri’s Workforce Integrated Plan for Program Years 2012 through 2016 is now available for public comment online.  According to the Division of Workforce Development, this plan was developed using the instructions given in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration’s (DOLETA) Training and Employment Guidance Letter Number 21-11, “Requirements for 2012 State Workforce Plans.” The plan addresses specific planning elements for programs funded under Title I of the Workforce Investment Act and the Wagner-Peyser Act, as well as other DOLETA-funded programs.

On July 13, 2012, the Missouri Workforce Investment Board voted to recommend to the Governor that this new plan be approved and submitted to DOLETA following a 30-day public comment period.

The Division urges workforce professionals to share the communications about the plan with chief local elected officials, local workforce investment board members, service providers and any other interested parties, including organizations representing the diverse populations. Comments on the plan may be forwarded to Anita Henry at by August 14, 2012.

Online healthcare career exploration portal launched today

Today, at Goodwill Industries’ International Spring Advocacy conference, the Department of Labor (DOL) Assistant Secretary Jane Oates announced the launch of the Virtual Career Network (VCN), an online portal for career exploration and training for healthcare occupations.

“Health care continues to be one of the bright lights in our improving economy,” said Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis. “In order to sustain this positive momentum, we must do everything we can to ensure that our workforce is equipped with the skills and experience that meet the needs of this growing industry. This exciting new platform will help connect people with the knowledge and training they need to qualify for available health care jobs.”

The National Association of Workforce Boards (NAWB) and other organizations partnered with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), which had received a grant from DOL to develop the VCN. NAWB conducted research on healthcare occupations and education and training programs to populate the site, and partnered with Jobs for the Future to develop and deliver training on its use.

“Our members understand the demand for healthcare workers across the United States. Having a skilled healthcare workforce is essential to a community’s growth and infrastructure,” said Ron Painter, Chief Executive Officer at NAWB. “We have worked extensively with AACC and other partners to ensure that jobseekers have a comprehensive one-stop portal of information to enter and excel in the healthcare field. We hope that all WIB staff will share this tool and use it to get jobseekers into this growing industry.”

Jobseekers can use the VCN to:

  • Explore over 80 healthcare occupations, 11 of which require less than one-year of education and 37 that require a two-year degree;
  • Assess their interest, aptitude and readiness to pursue a healthcare career and complete the education and training needed to obtain a job;
  • Determine whether any gaps exist in their academic preparation or prior work experience that they would need to fill to prepare for their healthcare career;
  • Take foundation education and training online through the VCN to prepare them for enrollment;
  • Locate and enroll in a training or instructional program that will qualify them for a job; and
  • Access tools that will help them locate and apply for job openings.

The VCN allows users to set up a career management account and store career preferences and information. In addition, users can find national and local information about healthcare careers and see job listings in their area.  Also of interest to workforce professionals is the affiliation of VCN as a proud partner of America’s Job Center Network.


Summit marks launch of healthcare jobs program

The Missouri Community College Association’s MoHealthWINs grant office hosted a summit recently at Camden on the Lake in Lake Ozark for state workforce officials, local workforce investment boards and community college leaders. The statewide consortium grant partners came together to implement activities in support of the $20 million MoHealthWINs grant. [Read more…]

TEAM adopts policy position on workforce system reform

Members and officers with the Training and Employment Administrators of Missouri officially adopted a policy position on workforce system reform at its January and February meetings.  Re-Inventing the Workforce System is the title of the white paper that delivers the recommendations endorsed by TEAM members as the WIBs that administer the WIA Title 1 program in Missouri’s 14 local workforce investment areas.

The practical approach for improving the quality and effectiveness of employment and training services, builds on the success of the current system, address inefficiencies, and focuses on increasing direct services to customers.  Download the PDF white paper online from TEAM.

DWD report chronicles a unique year

The 2011 Annual Workforce System Report from the Missouri Division of Workforce Development chronicles the challenges faced this year and the successes in rising to those challenges.  In addition to regular features like performance attainment, business services, and job seeker services, the report profiled the Disaster Recovery Jobs Program and the Next Generation Career Center initiative.

Disaster jobs program launches throughout Missouri

Workers who are unable to work due to the floods that occurred in Southeast Missouri or the tornado that struck the Joplin area on May 22 can apply for temporary jobs to restore those communities.

The jobs will focus on clean-up and humanitarian efforts, such as clearing and removing debris. Under the Missouri Disaster Recovery Jobs Program, the first priority will be to employ workers who lost their jobs because of the tornado or floods. Second priority will go to workers who are unemployed for other reasons.

Safety training and equipment will be provided for each worker, in addition to vaccinations or other preventive medical procedures necessary to work in the disaster area.

The following Missouri counties have been approved for Public Assistance:  Barry County, Bollinger County, Butler County, Cape Girardeau County, Carter County, Christian County, Douglas County, Dunklin County, Howell County, Iron County, Jasper County, Madison County, McDonald County, Miller County, Mississippi County, New Madrid County, Newton County, Oregon County, Ozark County, Pemiscot County, Perry County, Polk County, Reynolds County, Ripley County, Saint Francois County, Sainte Genevieve County, Scott County, Shannon County, Stoddard County, Stone County, Taney County, Texas County, Washington County, Wayne County, Webster County, and Wright County.

To apply for a job under the Missouri Disaster Recovery Job Program…

  •  You must be registered to become eligible for the program by going to You can register now. This is not an application, but will speed your application process when the time comes.
  • Visit the career centers in the following regions:
    • Central region—Camdenton, Fort Leonard Wood, Jefferson City, Lebanon and Rolla
    • Ozark Region—Branson and Springfield
    • South Central Region—West Plains and Poplar Bluff
    • Southeast Region—Cape Girardeau, Caruthersville, Kennett, Park Hills, and Sikeston
    • Southwest Region—Joplin and Monett

Gov. Nixon dedicates June as Workforce Development Month

Noting that a well-prepared workforce is “vital to the success of our state,” Gov. Jay Nixon proclaimed June 2011 “Workforce Development Professionals Month” in Missouri. The proclamation specifically honors the staff of Missouri Career Centers, regional workforce boards, and state community colleges. Gov. Nixon’s declaration was announced June 2 at the annual conference of the Missouri Association for Workforce Development.

Further celebrating the contributions of the workforce system, the recent Missouri Association for Workforce Development recognized hard work within their community. MAWD held their conference in Osage Beach June 1-3.

Jaydean Miller, Welcome Team Leader at the Missouri Career Center—Springfield, was recognized as MAWD’s Workforce Professional of the Year. Audrey Matranga, who joined the labor-exchange team at the St. Charles County Missouri Career Center in 2010, was recognized as the outstanding “New Workforce Professional of the Year.” Marsha Nagel, Executive I with the Division of Workforce Development’s Financial Management staff, was the first recipient of the “Workforce Keystone Award,” created by MAWD to recognize internal support of the workforce development professional community.

Career Readiness Day marked by statewide summit, official proclamation

An official proclamation signed by Governor Nixon designating March 17, 2011 as “Career Readiness Day,” and a statewide summit of workforce and education practitioners will herald Missouri’s launch of a new National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC). NCRC is a new initiative administered by the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Division of Workforce Development (DWD) that will help the state’s businesses and workers be more competitive.

The proclamation calls development of a well-prepared workforce “vital to the future success of our state, its people and its businesses,” and outlines how usage of the NCRC will make it easier for businesses to access talented workers.

Issued by ACT (American College Testing) and offered through the state’s 43 Missouri Career Centers and network of community colleges, the NCRC is a portable evidence-based credential that measures essential workplace skills and is a reliable predictor of workplace success. Job seekers can achieve a certificate in one of four levels — bronze, silver, gold and platinum — by successfully passing a series of skills assessments. Businesses can then consider the certificate among applicants’ résumé and other qualifications to select the employee who will have the best skills match for the job.

“States that best address their workforce training issues are states that are in the best position to move their economies forward,” said David Kerr, Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “Under Governor Nixon’s leadership, Missouri has demonstrated an increased commitment to job training, as illustrated by the millions of dollars our administration has invested into training and education. The NCRC is another example of our commitment to a well-prepared workforce.”

An NCRC Summit held Thursday at the Governor’s Office Building in Jefferson City brought together leaders and practitioners from all of Missouri’s community colleges and workforce investment regions to strategize how to use the certificate to prepare a 21st century workforce for employers. The Summit featured practical implementation advice from the leader of the state of Michigan’s highly successful NCRC efforts. The Southwest and Jefferson-Franklin WIB regions presented local best practices through panel presentations.

Missouri’s NCRC initiative is being led by Molly Tallarico of DWD, the agency that administers the Missouri Career Center system in cooperation with the state’s 14 workforce investment boards. To learn more about the NCRC, visit the official website at or call the nearest Missouri Career Center at (888) 728–JOBS (5627).

Popular summer jobs program returns for 2011

Gov. Jay Nixon visited Finger Lakes State Park December 30th to provide details for the return in 2011 of the highly successful State Parks Youth Corps (SPYC) program, which the Governor initiated last February. In 2010, the SPYC program, a cooperative partnership between the Division of Workforce Development, local WIBs, and the Division of State Parks, provided employment for young people performing vital maintenance, restoration and research projects to enhance Missouri’s 85 state parks and historic sites.

The State Parks Youth Corps and Gov. Nixon were recognized in September with the President’s Award from the National Association of State Parks Directors for the innovative program. The Governor said the SPYC program carried several benefits, and that its return in 2011 would again be a boost for youth employment and for Missouri state parks and historic sites.

“At a time when it has been particularly difficult for young people to find employment, the SPYC program put money in the pockets of working families and helped further beautify our outstanding system of state parks and historic sites,” Gov. Nixon said. “I look forward to the next group of SPYC workers building on the success of the first year, and encourage anyone interested to apply online, beginning in February.”

At Finger Lakes State Park, the Governor saw examples of the work done by the SPYC team. Last summer they assisted parks staff in building the Kelley Branch Trail, a 2.25-mile loop trail for mountain bikers and hikers that is expected to open in spring 2011. SPYC workers returning next year will enhance and maintain the trail. While mountain biking has been allowed on the off-road vehicle trails throughout Finger Lakes, this will be the first trail open to hikers.

The Governor said that the 2011 State Parks Youth Corps will employ Missourians between ages 17 and 21, and will run between April 1 and Nov. 30. Applications will be accepted online beginning Feb. 1; a link to the application and information about the program will be provided on the state of Missouri website,

“The State Parks Youth Corps was a tremendous benefit for our state parks and historic sites,” said Bill Bryan, director of the Division of State Parks. “They brought a new energy to our state park system and, most importantly, they helped us enhance and improve our facilities for everyone to enjoy.”

In 2010, State Parks Youth Corps members did a variety of tasks from routine maintenance work and trail construction to interpretation and social media efforts. Examples include painting buildings and repairing roofs and windows; planting trees and maintaining landscapes; building and maintaining trails; inventorying historic artifacts and native plant species; assisting in offices and visitor centers and providing seasonal interpretation.

Throughout the year, SPYC workers put in more than 187,500 hours at the parks, including roofing 25 buildings; painting structures using 2,000 gallons of paint; signing and blazing almost 650 miles of trail in 58 parks and sites; and developing 145 videos for the state park website.

The State Parks Youth Corps has been compared to the Civilian Conservation Corps, which developed much of the Missouri state park system in the 1930s. Many of the buildings the State Parks Youth Corps repaired this year were built by the CCC.

“There are many benefits to this program but those who benefit the most are the people who come to visit Missouri state parks,” Gov. Nixon said. “Missouri state parks are truly a treasure, and we must do what we can to preserve and protect them for future generations.”