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August 20, 2021

Kansas City Job Center Connect Town Hall event engages partners to explore workforce solutions

Local workforce partners and employers shared ideas today to help get more Missourians into the workforce, and stay in the workforce during the third 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).

The Kansas City event was hosted by Senator Barbara Washington, and was held at the Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center. 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.

“Job Center Connect is about accessing work and staying in work. Sustainable employment is the goal.” said Dr. Mardy Leathers, director of Workforce Development. “So how do we get there? Employment outcomes matter, but only the right mix of inputs can get us there.”

Emerging themes from today’s event included increased investments in transportation, broadband, child care, holistic services during job transitions, and veterans support. Work-based learning and apprenticeships, internships, and increased awareness of options were also highlighted as needs for the area.

“I’m proud to have partnered with the department to bring in and educate our workforce partners in the Kansas City area on what it is that we do as a state and what resources we have to get them educated, trained, and to work.” said Senator Washington.

The stop in Kansas City was the third 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.

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

August 26 – Hannibal (9 to 10:30 a.m.)

Rialto Banquet Hall 601 Broadway

August 27 –St. Louis (9 to 10:30 a.m.)

Harris Stowe State University 3026 Laclede Ave.

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.