Making A World of Difference 

September 2022

A Letter From the President

Happy Workforce Development Month!

As a highly-skilled workforce development professional, you provide critical links in your community between businesses looking to hire the pool of job seekers and education, training, and support resources. Each of you is an essential key to the success of Missouri’s Workforce Development system, so please take the time to recognize each other this month.

During the month of September, NAWDP recognizes workforce development professionals who have been nominated by peers and colleagues as workforce heroes for their inspiring work. NAWDP will be featuring your workforce heroes on social media throughout the month of September. Head to their LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages to help celebrate these individuals.. If you missed out on nominating your workforce hero this year, give them a pat on the back on your social media accounts and tag MAWD and NAWDP!

If you are not a member of the National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP), I encourage you to investigate the benefits of being a member. Congratulations to our very own Tracy Polk for being highlighted in the July edition of the NAWDP Advantage Newsletter.

The MAWD Social Media links are provided at the end of this newsletter, so remember to tag and visit us, too.

As always, THANK YOU for all the work you do every day to support job seekers and employers in your communities.

Dana Keller

Making a World of Difference for the Ray Family

Jack and Shama Ray

In January 2022, Jack and Shama Ray walked into the Park Hills Job Center asking about funding resources that could help them cover their tuition for the police academy. They had two children and were currently receiving SNAP benefits. Jack and Shama were both eligible for WIOA and SkillUp funds.

Jack was enrolled in the police academy at Jefferson College. He had already completed a semester and paid for it himself. Shama enrolled in the Mineral Area Police Academy. Both received Pell Grants to help them as well. SkillUp was able to help them with reimbursement for travel expenses which covered the cost for gas. Both Jack and Shama had great attendance and received high marks for the training.

On June 23rd, Jack graduated second in his class. He received awards for the most community service hours and the most ride-along hours. On July 1, he began his career with the St. Francois County Sheriff’s Department.

Shama began her last semester of training in August, and she is on track to graduate in December.

Any day of the year, this is a great success story for our WIOA partners, but that is only part of their story.

On Wednesday, June 8th, an unexpected tragedy occurred. The Ray’s son died in a terrible accident. I received word about it on Friday, June 10. I knew that they would be struggling for the means to pay funeral expenses, never mind enduring the mental stress and unbearable emotions in the coming days, months, and even years. It was less than two weeks before Jack’s graduation.

On Friday evening, I remembered a session that I had attended at the 2022 MAWD Conference in April. Wellness for Warriors was presented by Kerry Miller. I quickly did a search for his website and found a phone number. I contacted his offices, and the person I spoke with took the information about my client’s needs. I was provided Kerry’s personal phone number, so I called him and left a message. Within 30 minutes he called me back.

Over the weekend, Kerry Miller and I were able to work with Jack and Shama to set up a GoFundMe account. Because the Rays are also volunteer firefighters, Kerry was able to reach out to other organizations for donations. In addition to the donations, he set them up with free mental health care. He has also made himself personally available whenever needed. The funeral for Jack and Shama’s son was June 17th.

Jack made it to graduation with the help of an agency that I had connected with through MAWD, Wellness for Warriors is not a required WIOA partner. They are a priceless resource that is willing to partner any time there is a need.

When I walked into the Wellness for Warriors session at the MAWD Conference, I was there because I had an empty slot of time in my schedule. I was interested in the information that was shared. I didn’t know it would make a world of difference for a couple of very special people in just a couple of months.

Billi “BJ” Litton
WIOA/SNAP Case Manager
Park Hills Job Center

Wellness for Warriors

8am-5pm CST, M-F
8am-12pm CST, Sat & Sun

MAWD is Missouri's premier workforce development association.  

Our commitment is to help you become the consummate workforce professional through training and development opportunities, networking resources and helping you be informed on legislative and administrative actions. 

This is all to help you do what you do best, identifying and implementing solutions to meet your business needs.*

Become a MAWD Member

*The MAWD membership year begins July 1 and ends June 30

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline

Speak4MC Logo

If you want to know more about the 2022 MAWD Conference opening keynote speaker, Curtis Capagni, check out his new website,

MAWD Committee Chairs:

Alice Whalen
Public Information

Danielle Briot

Business Services & Marketing

Donna Brake
Professional Development


Governor Mike Parson proclaims
September 18-24, 2022 to be National Adult Education and Family Literacy Week in Missouri

Happy Birthday, DHEWD!

August 28th was the third birthday for DHEWD! We can't wait to see what the future holds and are excited to continue serving Missourians! If you know a DHEWD employee, wish them a Happy Birthday, too.

Since October 2019, Missouri has had 20,285 newly registered apprentices, and 8,140 completed apprenticeships. Missouri currently ranks third in the nation for completed apprenticeships, fourth in the nation for new apprentices, and sixth for active apprentices. Missouri ranks in the top 10 in the nation across four out of five categories for Registered Apprenticeships.

If you or your agency would like to explore apprenticeship, please contact

The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is a financial aid program that addresses workforce needs by encouraging adults to pursue a certificate, degree, or industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. The Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant is a program designed to provide adults with the education and skills needed to enter the workforce in fields that are in high demand.  Changes to the program made during the 2022 legislative session increase the number of eligible training providers and expand the program to include apprenticeships become effective August 28, 2022. For additional details regarding the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant, please visit

NAWDP's Youth Symposium brings together workforce development thought leaders and stakeholders whose focus is providing workforce development opportunities for the youth population. This year we will be offering in-person and virtual attendance options. Join us to network with peers, share ideas and experiences, and discover new and innovative programs, products and services. And, in-person attendees, don't forget to have a free headshot taken by a professional photographer. 

This year's schedule will be focused on the following tracks: 

  • Personal and Professional Growth for the Workforce Professional: As workforce professionals, we constantly need to be re-energized so that we can continue the work of serving others. This track focuses on topics of personal and professional growth. 
  • Recruitment, Engagement, and Retention: Youth programs are only effective if there are engaged youth participants. This track focuses on developing recruitment and outreach strategies and approaches to keep youth engaged throughout the duration of the program. 
  • Closing the Opportunity Gap: "Opportunity gap" implies that, when given the resources and opportunities they deserve, all youth can achieve. This track will focus on innovative strategies, resources, partnerships, etc. that have proven successful in closing the gap. 
  • Improving Youth Outcomes: This track will focus on strategies and promising practices that improve performance measures and youth outcomes. 
  • Developing and Expanding Youth Programs: This track will focus on developing youth programs, exploring and tapping into funding sources, and showcasing innovative youth programs. 
  • Apprenticeship: This track will highlight promising practices and showcase organizations that have successfully implemented apprenticeship programs. **Offered in-person only
More Information