Missouri will strive to be the best among other Midwestern states in educational attainment and labor force participation by 2030.

Building Missouri's Future: A strategic plan to provide pathways and reduce barriers to educational attainment and workforce participation, is Missouri's new strategic plan for higher education and workforce development. Adopted in December 2021, the plan will guide initiatives and priorities in Missouri for the next three to five years. The plan was created using data to determine statewide needs and compare Missouri to other Midwestern states. It outlines a comprehensive plan for education, training, and the public workforce system in order to encourage economic growth and personal success among Missourians.


In order to meet workforce demands and continue to help our citizens compete in a global economy, Missouri will strive to be the best among other Midwestern states in educational attainment and labor force participation by 2030.


A skilled, prepared, and motivated workforce is necessary to attract and retain businesses in Missouri. The department recognizes all training opportunities beyond high school as highly valuable. Apprenticeships and on-the-job training, short-term certificates, associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, and beyond all contribute to the economic health of the state.


Demand for workers with some form of postsecondary credential remains higher than the number of Missourians with those credentials. About 40 percent of jobs require some education and training beyond high school, but less than a bachelor’s degree. Another 20 percent of jobs require a bachelor’s degree or higher.


The benefits of increased education go beyond a paycheck. Postsecondary credentials continue to be good for communities as a whole – contributing to better health, a more engaged citizenry, lower incarceration rates, among others. Creating opportunities and removing barriers to education and training will help the state fill skills gaps and support the economy.


Three main goals were established as part of the new strategic plan. To reach 60 percent educational attainment, 70 percent labor force participation, with equity goals aligned for both, and a third internal goal to be the Best Place to Work in state government.


Several indicators for each target will be tracked each year to see if Missouri is moving in the right direction toward meeting its goals. Read more about the current status of those indicators, as well as the 2022 initiatives set to kick off this work in the full strategic plan.



Educational Attainment Target: 60%. 2023 Status 50.5%. The current equity status is 31.9% Black, 35% Hispanic, and 30.8% Rural. The Labor Force Participation Target is 70%. The Current Status is 63%. The current equity status is 63.5% Black, 64.8% Hispanic, and 55.5% Rural


Best Place to Work infographic. The top paragraph reads: "MDHEWD has set an internal goal to be teh best place to work in state government. The department strives to create an environment where staff can grow and thrive. A culture of teamwork and collaboration results in increased retention and productivity, helping staff to better support programs, build strong partnerships, and deliver excellence to Missourians." Underneath, there is a section labeled "Current Targets", with sections for "Increase Quarterly Pulse Survey scores in key areas.", "Increase retention rates of MDHEWD Staff", and "Maintain high engagement on department newsletter."




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2023 Update