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Missouri: Skilled Workforce Initiative brings workforce programming up to speed October 5, 2006

Posted by Tom in Community, Economic Development, Innovation, Workforce.
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The Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri blog (This WIB has a blog!  Nifty!) reports the results of the second round of grant awards for the State of Missouri’s Skilled Workforce Initiative, which looks to have mechanics very similar to Illinois’ Critical Skilled Shortage Initiative and the Indiana Strategic Skills Initiative.  In essence, these programs do not just fund programming but use existing Federal workforce funding streams as angel capital – leveraging monies out of the private and non-profit sector to make the end results even stronger.  By and large, these programs emphasize incorporation of the latest workforce research and (emphasis intentional) INNOVATION in workforce programming.  Oh – and alignment with economic development is generally given top priority.
This blog entry is a great primer on the latest trends in workforce programming.   If you want to know where the action is at, take a look at this clip:

The Skilled Workforce Initiative consists of seven components: One Stop Career Center Enhancements; Regional Skills Gap; Incumbent Worker Skill Shortages; Youth Skill Shortages and Capacity Building; Business Retention Services; Micro Enterprise Training and Support and Community Workforce Solutions for Low Income Populations. Proposals were competitively solicited from LWIB and scored based on specific criteria: project design and innovation; strategic partnerships; planned performance outcomes and budget sustainability.

I got into this workforce business from the world of Chambers of Commerce because I thought that the Strategic Skills Initiative would finally institutionalize the importance of workforce in economic development planning.  By and large, I’m satisfied that it has happened.   If anyone is interested in the concepts of this blog, they really owe it to themselves to look into this fresh approach to workforce planning.

(Interesting note: These grants were issued by the Missouri Department of Economic Development, of which the Division of Workforce Development is just that…a Division.  Not a department to itself. Fascinating!)

Congrats to the WIB for receiving their grant!

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