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August 18, 2021

MDHEWD kicks off Missouri Job Center Connect Town Hall & Community Engagement Series in Columbia

Members of the Missouri Office of Workforce Development (OWD) within the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) hosted a community event in Columbia this morning.

Local workforce development professionals and employers in the community attended the event, at the Courtyard Marriott in Columbia, to discuss ways to improve the state’s public workforce system and engage stakeholders in the department’s strategic plan for higher education and workforce development.

“Job Center Connect is focused on bringing all of us together and saying: How do we get more efficient for the customer – our citizens?” said Dr. Mardy Leathers, director of Workforce Development. “How do we align our services and education programs with the needs of employers? And how do we level our infrastructure to make this work?”

Today’s event was the first 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.

“We believe that coaching is a really important strategy to help understand what’s going on in people’s family dynamics, understand the challenges in their lives, so that we can help them find the best opportunity,” said Darin Preis, executive director of Central Missouri Community Action, during the small-group discussion.

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

August 19 – St. Charles (8:30 to 10 a.m.)

Embassy Suites – 2 Convention Center Plaza

August 20 – Kansas City (9 to 10:30 a.m.)

Bruce R. Watkins Cultural Center – 3700 Blue Parkway

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.