Home » News » News Item

August 27, 2021

St. Louis event engages local workforce partners during Job Center Connect Town Hall Series

Local workforce partners and employers shared ideas today to help get more Missourians into the workforce, and stay in the workforce during the fourth town hall event in a series offered by the Missouri Office of Workforce Development (OWD) within the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD).

Today’s event was held on the Harris-Stowe State University campus, and was hosted by the Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis (ULSTL). The Job Center Connect Town Hall events are focused on engaging communities in conversations about improving the state’s public workforce system and troubleshooting barriers and solutions to sustainable employment.

“These conversations are about connecting all the support systems together, in a unified way, so we can all be focused on one outcome – helping Missourians go to work and stay in work,” said Dr. Mardy Leathers, Director of Workforce Development. “We have to work together with intention to help Missourians get on a path to sustainability.”

Emerging themes from today’s event included increased awareness for Job Center services and increased access points in public spaces, streamlined information in one place, increased access to broadband, wrap-around support services such as transportation, child care, and digital literacy.

“When we look at the workforce around the state, as regions we have got to be in tune with what the state is doing,” said Michael Holmes, ULSTL Regional Executive Vice President of Workforce & Economic Development. “And we need to help the state plan to make decisions on how we’re going to look two, three, and five years from now. It’s important for St. Louis to be at the table and for the state to hear from locals in this workforce space.”

The St. Louis event was the fifth of nine Job Center Connect Town Hall meetings scheduled between August and October. 

Each event includes a look at regional workforce data and small-group style discussions to gather ideas and feedback.

Four more stops throughout the state are scheduled for the following dates and times: 

October 13 – St. Joseph (8:30 to 10 a.m.)   Stoney Creek Hotel 1201 N Woodbine Rd.   October 14 – West Plains (8:30 to 10 a.m.)   West Plains Civic Center 110 St. Louis Street   October 15 – Springfield (8:30 – 10 a.m.)   DoubleTree by Hilton 2431 N Glenstone Ave.  

October 20 – Cape Girardeau (8:30 to 10 a.m.)

Drury Inn 3351 Percy Dr.

OWD has been evaluating the public workforce system over the last year in an initiative called Job Centers of the Future. This initiative aimed to create a statewide approach to promoting workforce development services to the public by comparing Missouri to its 14 neighboring Midwestern states on key workforce data elements, strategies, and policies, while customizing delivery methods to best serve different regions. Job Center Connect, the second phase of this initiative, will finalize policy recommendations and establish implementation.

Learn more about OWD’s work with Job Center Connect at bestinmidwest.com.

About the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development: The department works to empower Missourians with the skills and education needed for success. More information about MDHEWD can be found at https://dhewd.mo.gov or on Facebook and Twitter @MoDHEWD.