Buchanan County earns Certified Work Ready Community designation

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Gov. Jay Nixon

Gov. Jay Nixon

Governor Jay Nixon visited St Joseph on Thursday to contratulate local leaders in Buchanan County for being designated a Certified Work Ready Community. Buchanan County is the 35th county in the state to receive the designation.

The initiative is an effort to align workforce training with the economic development needs of communities. It also matches applicants to jobs based on skill level.

“You’ve got employers working regularly with education to tell them what they need,” Nixon says, “and you have the Work Keys program, which is a verifiable test that students are now taking that shows what their skill sets are.”

“This is especially important, not only in getting PhD’s, it’s important in some of the technical jobs that you can varifiably prove core competency in areas for technical jobs that exist out there that pay more.”

Nixon told a gathering of government, business, education and community leaders that Missouri leads the nation in job-creation per-capita. There were 16% more new businesses created in the state in 2013 than the year before, according to the latest data available.

In a news release, the governor said that by taking part in the Certified Work Ready Commuinities initiative, Buchanan County is:
* Helping workers understand what skills are required by employers, and how to prepare themselves for success.
* Helping businesses effectively communicate their workforce needs to area education and training programs.
* Providing educators with the tools needed to close the skills gap by establishing career pathways for students with recognized credentials.
* Equipping economic development organizations with an on-demand reporting tool to promte the quality of the workforce.

The event was held at Boehringer Ingelheim Vetmedica. The company’s vice president of operations, Dr. Bernd Eichenmueller such qualified employees with the skill sets in scientific and technical fields are paramount to the success of manufacturing and supplying the company’s line of animal vaccines.

About 80 people attended the event, including officials from the City of St Joseph and Buchanan County, as well as the St. Joseph School District, Missouri Western State University, the Chamber of Commerce, and several local businesses.