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February 16, 2023

MDHEWD honored for Midwest Equal Opportunity Summit
Annual event offers training on diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility

The National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA) honored the Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEW) with the prestigious William J. Harris Equal Opportunity Award on Feb. 15 at the 2023 Winter Policy Forum in Washington, D.C., presented by the Equal Opportunity (EO) Committee. This award recognizes a state demonstrating excellence and innovation in the area of equal opportunity.

MDHEWD received the award for hosting its second Midwest EO Summit, which was held Nov. 16-18 in Independence. The summit brought together state and local EO Officers, One Stop Operators, state and local boards, directors, and other leadership staff in workforce development to create awareness of the requirements in the nondiscrimination section (section 188) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

During the summit, over 120 attendees received training on diversity, inclusion, equity, accessibility, and the nondiscrimination requirements of WIOA.

“Missouri’s successful EO Summit serves as an excellent innovation for other states to copy,” NASWA President and CEO Scott B. Sanders said. “This initiative helped educate attendees on the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion while helping develop new partnerships and resources.”

MDHEWD interim commissioner Leroy Wade said the department is humbled and excited to receive the William J. Harris Equal Opportunity Award.

“It is through a commitment to diversity, inclusion, equity, and accessibility that the summit was able to provide training and information to attendees from 20 different states,” Wade said. “The department would especially like to recognize State Equal Opportunity Officer Danielle Smith and her fellow NASWA EO Committee members for their hard work in making the summit a success.”

For more information, visit NASWA’s Winter Policy Forum and Equal Opportunity Committee webpages.