Conference presentations and recap


Thanks to all our sponsors, presenters, exhibitors and attendees for making the 2016 MAWD Conference the best ever!  Mark your calendars for the 2017 conference…May 10-12 at the Lodge of Four Seasons in Lake Ozark, MO.

Session lineups coming together for MAWD conference

Missouri's Got Talent! The 2016 annual conference for MAWD is set to prove it. Conference organizers are close to finalizing the conference lineup, but paused to provide a sneak peak for members and future attendees. The final schedule is subject to change, but the initial session plans can help attendees take the step in finalizing their registrations.

Professional Development

  • Lose the Excuses and Live a "But"-Kickin' Life, Linda Henley-Smith
  • Dealing with Trolls, Linda Henley Smith
  • Missouri's Got Talent! And so do you, Ann Merrified
  • Food for Thought, Jeff McGoy
  • Piece by Piece the Puzzle Comes Together, Jeff McGoy

Serving Customers

  • Building a Case Management Partnership, Beverly Ford
  • Career Pathways in Missouri, Kristie Davis
  • Case Management 101, Robert Baker
  • Communicating with DWD, Lisa Johnson
  • Cyber Resume...New for 2016, Frank Alaniz
  • Missouri Re-Entry Innovations, Belinda Lyons
  • Motivating the Unmotivated, Beverly Ford
  • RESEA & METP Program Updates, Robert Ruble
  • Scholars at Work and Youth Innovations, June O'Dell
  • Service Delivery Outcomes with Youth Common Measures, Rick Record
  • University Extension Programs for Job Center Customers, Mary Paulsell
  • Using Google to Find Your Next Job, Frank Alaniz
  • WIOA 101, Yvonne Wright and Melissa Woltkamp
  • WIOA Service Delivery in Missouri Job Centers, Steve Reznicek
  • Youth Common Measures and Transitioning to WIOA, Rick Record

Regional Leadership/Business Services/Economic Development

  • Board Member Roles in Regional Leadership, Mary Ann Rojas and Jasen Jones
  • Business Services Under WIOA, Ann Merrifield
  • Industry Engagement Through Roundtable Discussion (Ozark Region), Mary Ann Rojas, Megan Short, and Josh Klien
  • New National Center for Workforce Advancement and CWRC/NCRC, Cheri Tune and Jasen Jones
  • Show-Me Heroes, Michelle Matthews
  • Show-Me Heroes Employer Marketing, Alan Smith


ACT creates center to support workforce advancement

ACT_logoACT today announced plans to create the Center for Workforce Advancement to better position ACT as a national and international leader in workforce and career solutions. The Center will support large-scale workforce and career advocacy efforts at the national level.

The developments are very positive for areas within Missouri that fully leverage ACT's workforce tools to grow regional economies. MAWD President Jasen Jones serves as a workforce development rep for both Missouri's State ACT Organization and as well as a Midwest District workforce rep for ACT's National Steering Committee of State Organizations.

In addition to creating the Center, ACT will merge its Work Ready Communities (WRC) initiative with its state-based ACT State Organizations to expand its work with local grassroots organizations, businesses, and chambers of commerce.

“College and career readiness is more important than ever, but the ‘career’ side has not been given the attention it deserves,” said ACT Chief Executive Officer Marten Roorda. “The country needs career readiness to take equal billing with college readiness and become an equivalent part of the goal to which all education and training efforts point.”

The initial goals for the Center include:

  • building industry and government acceptance of verified work skills credentials,
  • creating industry-recognized competency models, and
  • advancing policies that promote innovative standards and practices for workplace credentialing.

Through the Center, ACT will implement partnerships to support career readiness initiatives and publish original research and policy positions to support career and workforce advocates and thought leaders in their efforts.

“ACT has long had a presence in career solutions, and the Center is designed to propel ACT to the next level of engagement,” said ACT Vice President Scott Montgomery. “Our data on workforce readiness can help businesses address pressing issues with talent acquisition. We want to assist individuals’ efforts to enter the workforce and be an asset to business and industry.”

The Center will leverage resources from ACT’s Community and Economic Development (CED) unit and build on the extraordinary work of the Work Ready Communities initiative that has helped build sustainable workforce development systems in 23 states.

Several staff members from CED will move to the new Center to support national engagement programs and the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board (NWSAB), while others will continue to support the WRC initiative in its new collaboration with the ACT State Organizations unit.

“We’re grateful for the work of the National Workforce Solutions Advisory Board and its desire to address the needs of the business community,” said Montgomery. “We’ve also heard from our State Organizations that connecting education and business in meaningful partnerships is critical. This effort will connect K–12 and postsecondary education with the workforce, creating a pipeline that we expect will pay huge dividends for individuals and employers.”

Staff members will begin transitioning to their new roles on March 1. Both the Center and the WRC/State Organizations merger will become fully operational in early April.

ACT is a mission-driven, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping people achieve education and workplace success. Headquartered in Iowa City, Iowa, ACT is trusted as the nation’s leader in college and career readiness, providing high-quality achievement assessments grounded in more than 50 years of research and experience. ACT’s uniquely integrated set of solutions provide insights that empower individuals to succeed from elementary school through career. To learn more about ACT, go to

FAQ on Transitions:  Center for Workforce Advancement and Work Ready Communities

What are ACT State Organizations?

ACT’s State Organizations are state-­based membership groups comprised of users of ACT solutions. Many of the members of ACT’s State Organizations serve in K-­12 and postsecondary positions in their states that utilize ACT’s solutions. They are also committed advocates and champions for ACT. The State Organizations have played many roles during ACTs history but are currently engaged in activities to help further college – and especially – career readiness efforts among the education community.

Why is ACT creating a new Center for Workforce Advancement?

ACT has long championed workforce and career initiatives but has often found our efforts to support workforce efforts dispersed in several areas of the organization. Through the creation of the Center, ACT will bring all of our national policy and thought leadership efforts together in one unit with a sole mission to expand and enhance ACT’s footprint in the national career and workforce advocacy space.

Why is ACT merging Work Ready Communities with State Organizations?

ACT’s mission is to help people achieve education and work place success. In addition, ACT seeks to provide additional support to communities who have completed the ACT WRC Academy and are actively engage in the ACT WRC initiative. In recent meetings, the ACT State Organizations have communicated a desire to provide greater connection of their college and career readiness efforts to local workforce and career readiness initiatives. In reviewing the desired collective goals of these two organizations, it makes sense to connect these efforts to provide stronger grassroots support for organizations, further link education and workforce development, and align to economic development efforts in local communities.

How will this impact my current Work Ready Community effort?

As ACT’s transitions to this new structure the organization will continue to support these efforts and bring leadership of these two organizations [ACT WRC/State Org] together. The work of both the Center and expanded State Org/WRC effort will both be part of ACT’s Policy, Advocacy and Government Relations unit who will help build the right relationships and strategies for these two groups as they merge together. We will work to create common agendas that support successful workforce development for their communities, regions and states.

My county/region is currently engaged in ACT Work Ready Communities Academy. How does this change impact our current engagement?

The current process for engaging in ACT WRC is through the ACT WRC Academy. Those counties, regions and states engaged in Academy efforts will continue the program as is. As we transition to new structures ACT will continue to support each county/region as they complete the Academy program and launch their county or regional efforts. We will begin integrating their membership teams with the new WRC/State Org infrastructure and continue to provide meaningful support to their efforts to become a certified and then maintained ACT Work Ready Community.


Higher ed priorities find synergy with workforce innovations

DHE Bluepring2016More Missourians than ever before are earning a postsecondary credential; however, more must be done to provide all students with opportunities to acquire the skills and knowledge they need to be successful in a rapidly changing world. Those opening words included in the Executive Summary for Missouri's new Blueprint for Higher Education point toward the agency embracing post-secondary credentials in the workforce of the future.

To help meet Missouri’s growing higher education needs, the Coordinating Board for Higher Education has adopted a new coordinated plan for the state’s postsecondary education system. Preparing Missourians to Succeed: A Blueprint for Higher Education, focuses on five key goals and includes strategies to achieve each goal.

Goal 1.1 of the blueprint has high synergy with Missouri's WIOA strategies for career pathways. Implement new policies and initiatives that help all students earn a degree or certificate in less time and at less cost, while enabling graduates to enter the workforce sooner. Tactics (italics added for emphasis of workforce alignment) include:

  • Eliminate remedial education in favor of co-requisite models and similar proven methods.
  • Develop clear and lower-cost pathways to degrees and certificates.
  • Expand agreements to support the seamless transfer of academic credits.
  • Expand alternative modes of delivery, including early-college programs, online, credit for prior learning, and competency-based education.
  • Organize an information campaign to encourage students to seek full-time enrollment (defined here as 15 credit hours a semester).

To view the full plan, visit The blueprint's 28 individual tactics span across five different categories of strategies.

  • Attainment: Missouri will increase the proportion of working-age adults with high-quality, affordable postsecondary credentials to 60 percent by 2025.
  • Affordability: Missouri will rank among the 10 most affordable states in which to obtain a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2025.
  • Quality: Missouri will produce graduates with high-quality postsecondary degrees and certificates that are valuable and relevant to individuals, employers, communities and the state.
  • Research & Innovation: Missouri will be a top 10 state for investment in academic research by 2025.
  • Investment, Advocacy & Partnerships: Missouri will promote greater investment in a culture of postsecondary education through increased advocacy and powerful partnerships with education, business, government and communities.

Frontline training = business performance

developing-frontline-workers-89-percentMissouri's emerging strategies for career pathways, sector partnerships, and credentialing for WIOA can find affirming advice in new research from the by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp).  Together with the Aspen Institute's UpSkill America, i4cp found that while 89% of organizations currently offer development opportunities to frontline workers, and 98% of these indicate plans to maintain or grow these programs, the vast majority of respondents (73%) indicate that they either don't know how many frontline workers take advantage of development opportunities or that their organizations don't track that metric. Fifty-nine percent (59%) also do not measure and reward managers for developing these workers.

These findings are significant when compared to the study's most important finding: when frontline workers take advantage of development opportunities, it has a high correlation to the market performance of the organization. Learn more in the report, Developing America's Frontline Workers, available now online.

Insights assembled to connect young adults to employment

It is estimated that nearly 6.7 million young adults are out of school and out of work, and service providers are working hard to help these young adults secure employment. But little is known about what types of assistance help young adults access employment, what employment characteristics influence whether a job is a good fit for a young adult, and what opportunities service providers find and leverage in their work, both with employers and with young adult job seekers, to improve the odds that a young adult will succeed in work.

Connecting Young Adults to Employment, the latest report from the Workforce Strategies Initiative at the Aspen Institute, sheds some light on these questions. This report captures the insights of a variety of service providers helping young adults access employment and equipping them with the skills and connections needed to succeed in today's labor market. The report documents the results of a survey in which close to 400 service providers, representing 340 organizations nationwide, described their experiences serving young adults. These providers offered valuable insights on:

  • What is considered a good employment outcome for their young adult clients;
  • Strategies for connecting young adults to good employment opportunities; and
  • Challenges in connecting young adult to good employment opportunities.

Connecting Young Adults to Employment also offers considerations for practitioners and policymakers seeking to assist the large and growing population of disadvantaged young adults pursuing meaningful connections to work in today's labor market.

WIOA panel returns for 2016 conference

Missouri's top leaders make their way back to the 2016 MAWD conference for the super session panel on WIOA. One of the most popular features of last year's conference, the WIOA panel provided a glimpse in Missouri's implementation of the decade's most important federal workforce legislation.

One year into WIOA's implementation, this panel session and the conference as a whole will tackle issues like overcoming challenges and seizing new opportunities. Panelists confirmed are Amy Sublett, Missouri Division of Workforce Development, Julie Gibson, Missouri Family Support Division, Tom Robbins, Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, and Keith Roderick, Rehab Services for the Blind.

The WIOA Super Session Panel happens the morning of Friday, May 13th at the MAWD conference. Missouri's Got Talent is the theme for the 2016 MAWD conference happening May 11-13 at the Lodge of Four Seasons, Lake Ozark, MO. Registration opens in early February.

Missouri joins CMT’s Empowering Education

PrintCMT continues to add partner colleges to its CMT Empowering Education initiative with the addition of 15 schools across rural America, including the participating schools of the Missouri Community College Association. The program aims to increase the number of residents with postsecondary credentials including degrees and certificates in economically-depressed communities. For the first time, CMT Empowering Education will expand into Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oregon and Texas, bringing the total reach of the program to 25 colleges across 17 states.

“Although the number of available jobs is on the rise nationally, many go unfilled to the lack of applicants with the necessary skills or credentials, Rural areas are among those which struggle the most,” said Folk. “Through this initiative, we’re working in smaller communities to highlight the available tools and resources to earn degrees and certificates. In less than two years we’ve nearly doubled our reach, but there’s still much more to do.”

CMT-EmpEduCMT first announced the community college initiative in 2014 at the Clinton Global Initiative-America meeting. Working in collaboration with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), CMT Empowering Education experienced early success as the 10 pilot partner schools hosted local events, bringing star-power and helping to put a face on education by highlighting success stories of students. Prospective students learned about solutions to some of the biggest obstacles they face, including financial aid and part time programs.

Hazard Community & Technical College (HCTC) in Hazard, Kentucky was the first to host such an event, and spotlighted coal miners who returned to school and found success re-training for different careers. Since HCTC held its CMT Empowering Education event in 2014, the school has added additional programs to accommodate increased demand.

Larry Jeffers, a coal miner for more than 17 years before being laid off, said “Through education and completing [the radiologic technology program at Hazard], I now have a job that provides me with opportunities for future employment as well as retirement. You can have success through education and with hard work and determination.”

Goals and Dimensions of Employer Engagement in Workforce Development Programs

Employer engagement is an important strategy for workforce development programs. Federal grant programs and philanthropic initiatives have increasingly pushed workforce organizations to be more responsive to the industries that might hire program graduates. This brief provides a framework for understanding the goals and challenges of employer engagement in workforce development programs as well as strategies for engagement and deeper partnership. This framework can help workforce organizations sharpen their thinking about employer engagement and their goals for such partnerships.



Federal K12 bill mandates workforce system alignment

american-flag-businessThe long-awaited replacement of No Child Left Behind passed the house this week with optimism of Senate approval and a Presidential signature. This bipartisan, bicameral bill to replace NCLB and improve K-12 education is known as the Every Student Succeeds Act (S. 1177).

According to the National Association of State Workforce Agencies (NASWA), the legislation fosters better alignment between workforce development and education programs.   Some of the key features relating to workforce include:

  • State education goals are aligned, where possible, with the state’s workforce development plan and state career and technical education initiatives to ensure that students develop the skills necessary for the state’s current and future workforce needs.
  • Includes career and guidance counseling programs as well as training on local workforce needs and various options for postsecondary and career pathways as an allowable use of funds under the Student Support and Academic Enrichment grants in Title IV.
  • Allows the use of local education funds that lead to industry-recognized credentials that meet the quality criteria established by the State under section 123(a) of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
  • State educational agencies must prepare a state plan that is coordinated with programs that partner with in-demand fields and ensure career readiness skills are aligned with the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.

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