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Work-ready program to boost business prospects

Work-ready program to boost business prospects

April 18th, 2018 by Michelle Brooks in Local News

Moniteau County has received the ACT Workkeys National Career Readiness Certificate.

After years of working toward the goal, Executive Director Mike Kelley announced the news at the Moniteau County Regional Economic Development Council's annual meeting April 12 at Burgher Haus.

Moniteau County has 198 certificate holders, meaning potential employees who have passed the Workkeys test. Twenty-three local employers support the initiative.

The community status is a significant piece to outside businesses looking to relocate, he said.

"The future is looking brighter than ever," Kelley said.

The officers for the 2018-19 fiscal year are: Calen Bestgen, chairman; Norris Gerhart, vice chairman; Ryan Cornelius, secretary; and Becky Lawson, treasurer.

Kelley said the organization has developed programs beneficial to both businesses and employees.

"It's leading to successes never seen in this county," he told the 15 members present.

Financially, the organization benefited from the USDA Rural Business Development grant, an Associated Electric Power Cooperative grant and an increase in stakeholders.

The USDA $40,000 grant helped the council market the region as a business location for businesses wanting to take advantage of Co-Mo Connect gigabit fiber technology and it updated its website.

The cooperative's grant was part of creating the Startup Moniteau program, focusing on local entrepreneurship. It included business mixers, hosting LaunchU with the help of State Fair Community college and the U.S. Small Business Administration, and a "pitch" competition rewarding the top entrepreneur plans with community-donated financial and business service packages.

Five Moniteau County entrepreneurs and one from Sedalia attended the six-week LaunchU. The top two winners in the "pitch" competition are near to opening their businesses.

"That program really pushed us forward in letting our organization be known," Kelley said.

The council is preparing standards for the Moniteau County Manufacturing Apprenticeship Program, thanks to an $88,000 grant from from the state through the Central Workforce Investment Board.

Burgers' Smokehouse and Cargill will be the first business participants and the first year will have seven apprentice slots.

"Workforce is a key issue," Kelley said.