SEDALIA, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today visited Maxion Wheels, a global leader in automotive wheel manufacturing, to highlight the continued resurgence of Missouri’s automotive manufacturing industry and applaud Pettis County for earning a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC) designation. The CWRC designation recognizes successful efforts by community, education and business leaders, working with the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, to strengthen workforce training and development to meet the economic development needs of the business communities.
“Maxion Wheels’ longtime presence in Sedalia is a perfect example why a highly trained workforce is the key to competing and winning in today’s global economy,” Gov. Nixon said. “Companies today can take their jobs and investments anywhere in the world, so a trained workforce is critical to keeping our competitive edge. I applaud Pettis County for working in a collaborative way to demonstrate that its workers are trained and ready to compete worldwide by earning the Certified Work Ready designation.”
Gov. Nixon’s efforts to revitalize Missouri’s auto industry have made the Show-Me State a national hub for next-generation vehicle manufacturing. Since 2010, when the Governor signed the Missouri Manufacturing Jobs Act, Ford, General Motors and automotive suppliers have invested $2 billion and created thousands of jobs across the state. In addition, Missouri employers created 44,700 jobs in 2014, the highest annual job growth total in 17 years.
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) and ranks second in the nation in the number of fully certified counties. 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 52 counties that are actively participating in the Certified Work Ready Community initiative.
“Pettis County is a great place to do business, and we are proud to be part of Missouri’s strong and growing automotive supply chain,” said David Garcia, Plant Manager of Maxion Wheels. “The Certified Work Ready designation confirms what we’ve known for decades: the workforce here in Pettis County is skilled, hard-working and competitive. Thanks to the skills and dedication of our workers, we can look forward to serving our worldwide customer base from right here in the heartland for many years to come.”
To support Pettis County’s efforts to achieve this important certification, local employers and organizations worked together, including local school districts, educational institutions, chambers of commerce, workforce development and economic development organizations.
By participating in ACT's Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, Pettis 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.
Maxion Wheels, formerly Hayes Lemmerz International, manufactures steel wheels for passenger cars and light trucks in Sedalia, and began operating there in 1978. Hayes Lemmerz International was recently acquired by Iochpe-Maxion and is the largest wheel manufacturer in the world with 24 locations in 15 countries.
In 2012, Gov. Nixon led a trade mission to Brazil, where he and a delegation including state Sen. Mike Parson, whose district includes the Sedalia area, met with senior leadership of Iochpe-Maxion to discuss growth opportunities for this outstanding global company in Missouri.