Agencies' Rapid Response softens economic woes
July 15, 2009

Joplin's economy is dynamic, companies here are diversified. These were reasons Jasen Jones executive director of the Workforce Investment Board, pictured at left, gave for Joplin's unemployment numbers remaining lower than the state or national averages. However, in spite of that, unemployment is creating hardship here. To counter that the Workforce Investment Board of Southwest Missouri partnering with the Missouri Career Center has launched an awareness program to help encourage continued economic recovery in the area. To do that requires assistance to both employers and employees through services that develop sound business strategies and create job training commensurate with the needs of the business community.

Jasen Jones, Workforce Investment Board executive director, is shown cutting a ribbon to inaugurate the new Rapid Response program his agency and the Missouri Career Center have initiated. He is surrounded by members of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce and business leaders. (Photo by Vince Rosati)

The Missouri Career Center's Rapid Response program provides employers and employees who are affected by business closings or cutbacks with strategies to help alleviate the economic distress that results. Although the program focuses on business with the rationale that's where the demand is created, workers are assisted with a skills training assessment, information on educational opportunities and how to register for statewide job openings at the Missouri Career Source or how to register for 26-week initial unemployment checks.

One thing that may give an unemployed worker a "heads-up" is obtaining a Career Readiness Certificate. A W.I.N. Career Readiness Courseware test measures the ability to retrieve information and to apply mathematics. Gold, silver or bronze certificates are given out as a measure of one's ability in those areas.

The suggestion that the Rapid Response team provides a warm, fuzzy feeling for laid-off workers was praised by the business leaders attending the chamber lunch that took place July 14, 2009 in Joplin.

The Workforce Investment Board office is at 105 Range Line Rd., Joplin (in the east lower level of the US Bank branch at the Northpark Mall). Phone: (417) 206-1717. The Missouri Career Center is located at 730 S. Wall, Joplin. Phone: (417) 629-3000.

For information for employers go here or for job-seeker services go here.

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