Gov. Jay Nixon visited Marshall today to congratulate Saline County for being designated a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC). The Governor said Saline County’s successful efforts to strengthen its workforce training program and certify its workers will help attract and support growing companies by connecting them with a pipeline of talent.
The announcement of the designation was made at local manufacturer Coreslab Missouri, a supporter of CWRC and a national leader in the manufacturing of pre-cast and pre-stressed concrete. Gov. Nixon also announced today that Coreslab has expanded its footprint in Marshall and expects to grow its workforce by more than 60 employees; the company already has hired three workers through the CWRC program.
“Bridging the gap between the skills businesses need and the talents of the local workforce is critical to strengthening our economy, and I congratulate Saline County for successfully connecting educators and employers to achieve this goal,” Gov. Nixon said. “I am glad to see the Certified Workforce Ready initiative making its way throughout Missouri and for local businesses like Coreslab Missouri benefit from this pipeline of talent.”
In 2012, Missouri was selected as one of the first four states to participate in the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative by American College Testing (ACT). The initiative aligns workforce training programs with the economic development needs of communities; matches appropriate applicants to jobs based on skill level; and strengthens businesses by strengthening the workforce. Jasper County, Missouri was named the first Certified Work Ready Community in the nation, and Missouri has 62 counties that are actively participating in the Certified Work Ready Community initiative and 17 fully certified counties.
“Our designation of becoming a Certified Work Ready Community could not have been achieved without full support from our community,” said Stan Moore, director of the Marshall-Saline Economic Development Corporation. “In addition to the 40 local businesses that supported this initiative, we are also partnering with the Saline County Career Center, several community banks, the two school districts, and the Missouri Valley College to screen our students and assess their work readiness.”
Coreslab Missouri was originally founded in Marshall Missouri in 1948 and has since grown and been acquired by Canadian company Coreslab Structures, a major supplier to the construction industry. The Marshall plant currently operates on 48 acres but because of increased demand for its products, Coreslab Missouri has expanded by an additional 62 acres to allow more space for production and storage. The expansion has made it one of the largest of the Coreslab plants in terms of size, capacity and volume.
“The opportunity the state offers, coupled with current economic conditions, accelerated our plans to invest in our expansion and will most likely create a significant increase in our workforce,” said Michael Saint, Vice President and General Manager of Coreslab Structures Missouri. “This will ultimately boost the local economy enough to add additional complementary jobs within our Marshall community,”
As a partner to CWRC, Coreslab Missouri utilizes the program to recruit qualified candidates for its open positions. They have already hired three new employees who earned National Career Readiness Certificates and possess the skills Coreslab needs to compete in this growing industry. The company currently employs 212 people in Missouri and is one of 17 Coreslab facilities in North America.
By participating in ACT's Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, Saline County is:
- Helping workers understand what skills are required by employers, and how to prepare themselves for success;
- Helping businesses effectively communicate their workforce needs to area education and workforce training programs;
- Providing educators with the tools needed to close the skills gap by establishing career pathways for students with stackable industry-recognized credentials; and
- Equipping economic development organizations with an on-demand reporting tool to promote the quality of their workforce.
To assist Coreslab Missouri with its expansion, the Missouri Department of Economic Development has offered a strategic economic incentive package that the company can receive if it meets strict job creation and investment amount.