Economic Development is not obvious. In fact, it can be quite confusing. Most people consider the definition of economic development to be business attraction, industrial growth, home building or some other type of construction within your community. Other folks talk about job creation as a vital part of economic development. How many of you realize that workforce development plays a key role in economic development as well?
There is a lot of “economic development” going on in Moniteau County. A 40,000-sq. ft. expansion is happening right now at Burger’s Smokehouse in California and a $2 million expansion by Martin Energy into the old Tipton Environmental Building east of Tipton, just to name a couple. But, to go back to something mentioned in the previous paragraph, workforce development plays a key role in these developments. You see, without a developed workforce there will be no economic development and without economic development there will be no workforce. They both go hand in hand.
The business world is boosted by the students coming from our local high schools in Moniteau County. We can all take pride that the three high school districts in our county have joined together for a career fair this coming fall. Juniors from both Jamestown and Tipton will be able to participate in California’s Career Fair in October where they will be presented with panels from several career paths that might spark their interest. Couple that with sessions on how to interact with others in the workplace and we will be on the way to helping give all young people in the county the best information on succeeding the workplace possible.
Another way the business world is intersecting with education is the opportunity for our seniors to take the National Career Readiness Certificate. This certificate will allow those students, that do not plan to attend college, a way to show potential employers that they can step into certain levels of jobs with little or no training. This gives them a leg up on other applicants in most hiring settings. Those students who choose to go to college will have a leg up as well if they study hard and work at obtaining all the skills they can for the career path they have chosen.
So, the construction and new buildings going up in the county are awesome, but it’s imperative that we have the skilled workforce to fill the new jobs that comes with these expansions. Current statistics show that there are over 5,000 jobs open in the United States right now. They are open because employers cannot find the skilled workers to fill these jobs. Here in Moniteau County we are on the right track towards skilling up our young people to fill these jobs.