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June 15, 2021

Strategic planning for higher education and workforce development underway
MDHEWD explores strengths, weaknesses, threats, and opportunities to help Missourians


The Coordinating Board for Higher Education and the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development kicked off its strategic planning process today by engaging stakeholders and partners in a conversation about goals and opportunities for the future.

The primary focus of the strategic planning process will be developing a mission statement, big goals, and strategies for the department. The work will also include identifying a small number of high impact best practices to begin implementing in January 2022.

“We’re taking a hard look at where Missouri stands nationally, in comparison to our midwestern peers, and some of the changes we’ve seen during COVID-19. The data will drive conversations about opportunities to help more Missourians get the skills and education they need to be successful in the workplace,” said Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education. “The data shows we’ve made great strides in some areas, and have room for improvement in others. In cooperation with our partners and stakeholders, we plan to develop goals, understand the numbers we need to hit to achieve those goals, and identify initiatives and their impact to move us in the right direction.”

The kickoff meeting included a review of Missouri’s overall higher education and workforce landscape, including strengths, weaknesses/threats, and opportunities. Data focused on the system itself, how to get more people working, and how to help them get the skills and training to be more productive.

Developing a strategic plan is of top priority for the MDHEWD in order to accurately reflect the department’s overall footprint. On Aug. 28, 2019, the Missouri Department of Higher Education, the Division of Workforce Development, and the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center transformed to become one department as a result of Executive Order 19-03. With the executive order, Governor Mike Parson realigned Missouri’s workforce development systems through a major restructuring of state government.

“Developing a new plan for higher education and incorporating workforce priorities is the next logical step after the restructuring of the department,” said Joe Cornelison, chair of the Coordinating Board. “We’re now better equipped to serve all Missourians with education and training opportunities beyond high school. We look forward to engaging in conversations about ways to help prepare more Missourians to achieve their goals.”

Missouri's current plan, Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education, was adopted in 2015. Department staff will spend the next several months gathering feedback, drafting goals, priorities, and measures to meet those goals. The new strategic plan will be presented to the Coordinating Board for approval in December 2021.

Those interested in following the strategic planning process can subscribe to receive updates at https://dhewd.mo.gov/strategicplan.php.

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.