WIB goals for Monett

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

There may be good news for the Missouri Career Center in Monett.

Last fall, there was discussion among Workforce Investment Board (WIB) of Southwest Missouri leaders about the possibility of shutting down the Monett office and offering a one-day-per- week mobile site for area residents to utilize.

With the appointment of Barry County Presiding Commissioner Cherry Warren to the WIB, discussions are now taking place between the City of Monett and the WIB to keep the Monett facility in operation despite state funding cuts.

"I've been appointed to the board in a position that covers a seven-county area," Warren said. "We are making a strong effort to keep the Career Center open in Monett. I feel it is important to keep it open."

Jasen Jones, executive director of the Southwest Missouri WIB, indicated discussions were underway with city leaders to implement a two-year solution to the budget cuts that have threatened the Monett Career Center.

"The WIB has a powerful array of workforce incentives that help reduce cost and risk for new and expanding businesses," Jones said. "The National Career Readiness Credential is a tool that several Joplin employers are using to reduce turnover and increase the quality of new hires. Working with the city, we hope to have larger space for testing to offer more services of this nature to Monett-area employers."

Warren, who is new to the WIB, said he is learning the ropes but has been in discussions with local industry leaders who consistently utilize the Career Center to seek qualified employees.

Warren is also president of the Southwest Association of Commissioners, whose members have been offering input aimed at attracting industry to the southwest Missouri area.

"I will do my very best for the people I represent," Warren said of his three-year appointment. "It's important. By talking with industry leaders, I hope to better understand how this works and how we can help them."

Warren represents Barry, Lawrence, McDonald, Newton, Jasper, Barton and Dade counties on the regional WIB.

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