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May 18, 2020

MDHEWD pivots to COVID-19 recovery efforts to help Missouri workforce return strong

The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development’s Office of Workforce Development is shifting focus beginning today, May 18, to help Missourians skill up and get back to work. Members of the department have been assisting the Department of Labor with unemployment insurance claims for the past eight weeks, but staff will pivot to recovery efforts for citizens and businesses as part of Gov. Mike Parson’s “Show Me Strong” Recovery Plan.

Job Center staff will return to helping Missourians find meaningful employment, refresh their resumes, find training opportunities, and understand available benefits. They will also recruit for contact tracing, and other employment opportunities directly supporting Missouri’s COVID-19 response. As part of the department’s Return Strong recovery efforts, MDHEWD will highlight short-term training opportunities offered through Missouri’s higher education institutions.

“We want Missourians to enter the workforce better prepared and more skilled than when they left,” said Mardy Leathers, director of the Office of Workforce Development. “Although we hope most layoffs are temporary, some will likely be permanent. Our team is ready to help Missourians take this opportunity to skill up, and get back to work.”

The Office of Workforce Development wants to prepare Missourians for the day their unemployment benefits may expire. There are federal funds available to provide short-term training for many of these job seekers.

The second piece to MDHEWD’s Return Strong efforts is to develop a plan to safely and responsibly reopen Missouri’s public workforce system. Job Centers throughout the state have been closed to the public since Gov. Parson closed state office buildings on March 20. A set date has not been established for the reopening of Job Centers. The department is working alongside the Regional Workforce Development Boards, the Office of Administration, and local health departments to determine a regional approach to reopening the centers.

“The safety of our staff and the public is top priority as we work through a plan that makes sense for each community we serve,” Leathers said.

The department has been able to move most services online and assist customers via phone.

Visit www.jobs.mo.gov/return-strong or call your local Missouri Job Center to learn more about job opportunities and COVID-19 recovery efforts for job seekers and employers.


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.