MERIC NEWS LETTER

MERIC Wins Workforce Excellence Award

The Missouri Economic Research and Information Center and Northwest Skills Gap Planning Consortium are the Winners for the Innovation in Economic Development Award for 2005. This award is presented for innovative approaches to job creation, recruiting, hiring, worker retention, childcare, customized training, or other workforce and/or education activities that have made an economic impact in Missouri.

The Northwest Skills Gap Planning (SGP) Consortium collaborated with the Missouri Economic Research and Information Center (MERIC) to identify and address critical labor and skills gaps in the Northwest Workforce Investment Area. The consortium was appointed by the Northwest Workforce Investment Board (WIB) and represented the 18 counties of this region. After a series of meetings spanning a six-month period, not only was the original goal accomplished, but both the Northwest WIB and MERIC experienced an unexpected evolution of work products and outcomes.

MERIC was able to apply the experience working with the Northwest SGP Consortium to identify the needs and determine methodologies for the development of Career and Industry Grades for all Missouri workforce investment regions. The Northwest SGP Consortium was able to operationalize the skills gap analysis in a manner that maximizes local training resources. The Consortium also ensures appropriate targeted representation on policy development boards, teams, and committees while allowing the workforce development system to be proactive in response to the decline of a manufacturing-based economy. This effort is a clear example of two groups capitalizing on their common interest areas. Both groups gain from this collaboration, which enables them to leverage these benefits for their individual customers.

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