[Nameplate] Mostly Cloudy ~ 75°F  
High: 75°F ~ Low: 58°F
Thursday, Sep. 18, 2014

Help available for improving area workforce

Friday, October 26, 2001

MINER - Though it carries a new name, the task of the Workforce Investment Board remains the same - finding good jobs for Southern Missouri residents.

Ron Swift, president of the Workforce Investment Board, was the guest speaker during Thursday's Sikeston Area Chamber of Commerce membership luncheon. The event took place at Ashley's at the Best Western Coach House Inn.

WIB is the successor to the Southeast Missouri Private Industry Council and has a history of some 20 years of service in 13 counties in Southern Missouri.

Explaining WIB's role, Swift stated, "We work to help folks get and keep good jobs. And we work to help employers get and keep good workers."

Whether the problem is transportation or lack of training, WIB works to help residents enter the workforce.

"We're dedicated to help them make a difference, if they want to make a difference," he said.

WIB has been instrumental in assisting workers in getting to their jobs by providing transportation. Swift said WIB helps workers get to job sites ranging from Dexter and Cape Girardeau to Dyersburg, Tenn. and Piggott, Ark.

"Lately, we've been paying attention to post-employment services," he said. "It is important to get a job but its also important to keep a job."

WIB has been more active in working with employers making use of an "employer breakfast" to gather input on what kind of a workforce is needed. Employer input is crucial toward developing a plan of action.

"But without a plan, we don't know what to do," Swift said. "If you are an employer your input is critical to our success."

A federally-funded organization, WIB receives a sizable budget, Swift explained, adding, "We are looking for good ways to invest that in the workforce.

"We'd like local employers to give us a hand by letting us know your thoughts."

Also during the SACC meeting, Missy Marshall, executive director, gave a report on the Communitywide Clean-up which took place Oct. 20.

"We had 122 requests for clean-up and we had 61 volunteers," she said. "All worked very hard and we're very grateful to all their efforts."

Church youth groups made up a large portion of the volunteers. St. Paul's Episcopal and Concordia Lutheran Churches were well-represented in the clean-up but it was the First United Methodist Church that had the most youth volunteers. Pastor Bill Koch of the First United Methodist Church was presented with a plaque of appreciation from the Chamber of Commerce.

"The kids just really pitched in," Marshall said, "it was really just a great thing to see."

In other SACC business:

* Helen's Florist was honored as the Business of the Month. Helen York, owner, received a plaque from the Chamber of Commerce.

* The Fall Classic soccer tournament is scheduled for Nov. 3-4 with 120 youth soccer teams expected to take part.

* Volunteers are invited to help with the annual SACC membership drive on Nov. 7-8. Those interested can contact the office at 471-2498.

* The Veterans Day ceremony will take place at 9:45 a.m. Nov. 9 at the Sikeston High School Fieldhouse.

* The Chamber will host the annual Farmers Recognition Banquet on Nov. 15 at the Ramada Inn. Tickets are $12.50 each.

* Phil Boyer will be the subject of SACC "Gentle Roast" planned for Nov. 29 at the Sikeston Elks Lodge.

* Thanks to the efforts of Bob Ralph Distributing, the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales will be in Sikeston from Dec. 19-23.