with Commissioner mulligan
In this episode of MoTalent, Commissioner of Higher Education Zora Mulligan and Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon provide an overview of the final recommendations that have come about through the Talent for Tomorrow and Best in Midwest initiatives. These initiatives included an assessment of the current workforce and how well it matches needs, a deep dive into our current workforce strategy, and as a result, is fundamentally resetting our approach to meeting the state’s workforce needs. Over the past year, state leaders have engaged more than 3,000 citizens and identified opportunities to transform Missouri into a top state for economic and workforce development.
On Jan. 16, Governor Parson delivered his State of the State Address outlining his policy and budget priorities. Several Talent for Tomorrow and Best in Midwest recommendations were included in his agenda. Some of these recommendations will require statutory changes and/or state appropriations to implement.
Missouri deserves the best. We’re not there yet, but we will be.
Director Dixon begins the conversation by describing the “why” that created the need for change.
Missouri’s economy is growing, but we lag our peers in every measure. Among our 14 peers, Missouri ranks:
There’s also a talent pipeline issue when it comes to the number of Missouri students who complete high school and move on to enter college. To become the best, Missouri needs to open doors of opportunity to help people get the training and education they need.
Governor Parson announced a major reorganization of state government involving four state agencies in an effort to improve economic and workforce development across the state.
Transforming the Department of Economic Development
The new Department of Economic Development will be laser focused, regionally targeted, customer centric, and data driven. This will include creating new divisions within the department that are structured around the customer rather than around programs and processes. Two key parts of this transformation are establishing a Deal Closing Fund within the existing Missouri Works program to help win more jobs for Missouri and implementing Missouri One Start which will deliver tailored workforce solutions that shorten the time to market and make businesses more competitive.
Aligning Missouri’s public workforce system with higher education
Technically this is a reorganization, but Commissioner Mulligan characterizes it more as a fundamental reset of the state’s approach to workforce development. This change will allow the state of Missouri to communicate with citizens about the full range of postsecondary options – from apprenticeships to certificates to doctoral programs – all under a single strategic umbrella.
This move, along with a few other tools highlighted by the Governor, will be especially transformational.
Missouri is in it to win it
To achieve the results that we see in top states, it means taking action and making bold decisions that will help move Missouri forward. This includes a complete overhaul of Missouri’s economic and workforce development strategies and better alignment of existing state agencies.
Governor Parson’s top two priorities are workforce development and infrastructure and these are being addressed throughout his administration. Commissioner Mulligan and Director Dixon also discussed some of the work that’s being done in other state departments, including:
MoTalent is a series by the Missouri Department of Higher Education focused on hearing real voices talk about economic and workforce development. This podcast is part of the Best in Midwest and Talent for Tomorrow initiatives.