Welcome to your Missouri Workforce News!

What's New in the World of Workforce
March 1, 2021

A Letter From the President

The Missouri Association for Workforce Development has made the decision to not hold a conference this year. We are looking forward to being able to come together again in 2022 at the Branson Convention Center.

In the meantime, the MAWD Board is working hard to provide valuable professional development in the upcoming year and we hope our members will take advantage of these opportunities. In order to have access to these opportunities, you must be a current member of MAWD. A Membership year runs from July 1st to June 30th and only costs $25 a year. If you need to renew your membership, please visit the MAWD website. If you have questions about your membership, please contact our Membership Chair Samantha Terry at: samantha@job4you.org.

Tracy Polk, Board President


Annual Conference

The National Association of Workforce Development Professionals (NAWDP) is hosting its 2021 Annual Conference virtually on May 17-19, 2021. For more than 30 years, workforce development professionals have attended NAWDP’s Annual Conference to enhance and maintain their skills through continuing education, share ideas and experiences about promising practices, and discover new and innovative programs, products and services.  

Professional development workshops will be offered along with a keynote speaker and annual award presentations. The annual conference will be centered around five learning tracks:

  • Excelling in a Virtual Environment
  • Strategies for Workforce Professional Self-Care
  • Fiscal Responsibility and Oversight
  • Diversity and Inclusion
  • Educating and Training Our Future Workforce

Attendees will also be able to take advantage of several different networking opportunities through NAWDP’s virtual conference platform. For additional information regarding costs and registration, please see below under Annual Conference Continued

Career Coaching Virtual Academy

Hot off the press! NAWDP is bringing back its Virtual Academies in 2021 with the Career Coaching Academy March 29-31 featuring trainer MaryAnn Lawrence of St. Louis, Mo. With 40-plus years of experience in providing professional development in the workforce development field, this is an event you do not want to miss so save the date!

More information will be released in the next two weeks for the Career Coaching Virtual Academy on NAWDP’s Virtual Academy webpage at https://www.nawdp.org/page/VirtualAcademies2021.

House Spotlight –

A Close Look at a MAWD Partner:

Rehabilitation Services for the Blind

1. The Game: Briefly describe an overview of services offered by your agency?

RSB helps eligible blind and visually impaired persons achieve personal and employment success. Services are provided with the belief that with the right training and resources each blind or visually impaired person will be able to achieve this goal.

Through the services provided in the following programs, you will learn how we can help you develop the skills and abilities for employment and independence:

  • Vocational Rehabilitation (VR)
  • Business Enterprise Program (BEP)
  • Children’s Services (CS)
  • Prevention of Blindness (POB)
  • Independent Living Rehabilitation (ILR)
  • Independent Living- Older Blind (ILR-OB)

2.  Who are the Players: Who can or does your agency serve?

RSB serves blind or visually impaired individuals of all ages. Individuals with progressive eye condition may be eligible prior to being considered legally blind. Though we have 6 service programs, Vocational Rehabilitation is our flagship program to assist individuals in obtaining, maintaining, or advancing in employment.

3. Aces Up Your Sleeve: What’s your best kept secret about your agency?  

RSB’s rehabilitation team works individually with each blind/visually impaired person in their home to determine what services will best help them reach their personal employment goal.  Most services, with the exception of Prevention of Blindness, have no financial eligibility requirements.

4. Show Me the Money: What funding services should MAWD members be aware of?

Vocational Rehabilitation services may include:

  • Diagnosis and Evaluation: Your counselor may request vocational and other assessments to determine eligibility and services needed.
  • Counseling and Guidance: RSB’s team assists in assessing interests and abilities so a suitable vocational goal can be selected.
  • Training: Whether it’s daily living activities or vocational training to prepare for a specific job or career, RSB services are provided to meet individual needs. RSB may also help pay for college or other vocational training services.
  • Transition Services: Assist blind or visually impaired youth (age 14+) to transition to college and work. RSB may attend Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meetings. They may arrange for job exploration, work experiences, or college prep programs, as well as other skills to help youth transition to college and work
  • Job Placement/Post-Employment: RSB counselors will help in job-seeking efforts. RSB counselors are also available to provide consultation for those having difficulty maintaining employment due to decreased vision. RSB may also assist with self-employment goals of individuals starting their own business.
  • Rehabilitation Technology: There are many aids available to assist a blind individual’s ability to work. These items help a visually impaired person by magnifying, reading text, and the help identify objects. RSB personnel are knowledgeable about these aids and can assist in selecting and providing the appropriate equipment for the job.
5. Dealer’s Choice: What’s one thing we should know about your agency?

RSB is one of the top performing blind vocational rehabilitation agencies in the nation. Out of four federal performance measures, RSB ranked 1st, 3rd, 4th and 6th in the nation among blind agencies.

Office of Workforce Development Corner


Missouri’s Office of Workforce Development (OWD) launched a new initiative in July 2020 entitled Job Centers of the Future (JCF). This initiative seeks to transform Missouri’s Public Workforce System by directly connecting job seekers, employers, training providers and education opportunities and expanding sustainable employment. This initiative remains in the learning phase of the project by absorbing job seeker, employer, and front line staff survey and focus group information, understanding customer journey maps from both the job seeker and employer’s perspective, and comparing Missouri’s Public Workforce System to peer states.

OWD is engaging with stakeholders across the state on various aspects of the public workforce system to host policy workshops. On March 23rd the JCF Taskforce will meet to consider policy recommendations and investments in technology. Implementation of JCF will occur in phases over the next several months and years. Please check out bestinmidwest.com for more information and upload any policy ideas.


WorkforceGPS - Online technical assistance resource sponsored by the US Dept. of Labor. Hosts a wealth of webinars and othe resources useful for all WIOA partners!

Local Excellence in Partnership 2019 Winner Update

Submitted by June O'Dell and Linda Fitzgerald, Workforce Development Board of Southeast Missouri

Before the COVID Pandemic, our vision of how we would use MAWD’s Local Excellence Award in Partnership (LEAP) award funds was quite different. Originally hosting an Opioid Awareness Community Partnership Conference seemed like a simple task.  Then suddenly the MAWD conference canceled; as was most all in-person conferences and event travel!

As the MoWorks Together Grant (MWT) participants learned to find a “new normal” under the pandemic rules, our concept of hosting an event that would shed line on the Opioid crisis, build partnerships and strengthen community awareness, did as well.

We are planning a unique hybrid event that will include a small gathering of local employers as well as a region-wide virtual audience. Scheduled for April 7th, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., the Southeast Workforce Development Board and MWT is partnering with the University of Missouri Extension to provide Opioid community education. Workplace Response to the Opioid Crisis—Partnering for Solutions is targeting small to mid-sized employers and will feature such speakers as Doug Swanson, MU Extension Field Specialist in Labor and Workforce Development, and Kristen McDaniel, HR Manager for Havco Lumber Products. Also included will be presentations concerning the legal aspects of a recovery-supported workplace and the medical response to the Opioid Crisis. You can join this event by registering at www.job4you.org/rsvp.

Annual Conference Continued

The NAWDP Events Committee has approved a $50.00 discount for MAWD members to attend the 2021 Annual Conference.  With MAWD's inability to host a conference this year, due to the ongoing pandemic, this is one way that NAWDP can ensure Missouri Workforce Professionals don't have to miss out on professional development. Those who register now can save even more with the early bird discount. To take advantage of the early bird discount, you must register and PAY by March 31.

Registration Rates:

  • Early Bird Members: $475
  • Early Bird Non-members: $575
  • Members after March 31: $525
  • Non-members after March 31: $625

Those who would like to register should contact Jackie Roberts at jackie@nawdp.org. Jackie will verify your NAWDP membership status and ensure you receive the best rate possible. Please include the following information with your registration request: 

  • First and Last Name
  • Email Address
  • Organization
  • Do you want to receive a free NAWDP Conference Kit by mail?  Yes or No
  • Mailing Address
  • Billing Address, if different from above.

For more information, visit NAWDP’s Annual Conference webpage.