Economic Development

Kaysinger Conducts Region-Wide Workforce Study

Kaysinger contracted with O’Brian and Associates LLC to conduct a workforce study for its seven-county service area. This study occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic which created an ever-changing workforce landscape, particularly during the times of interviews and surveys as noted in the methodology. Conversely, after the initial uncertainty and impact of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, the regional economy rebounded and was relatively stable through the remainder of the year and into 2021. Unemployment rates saw a brief spike into the 6% range, about half of Missouri’s rate, in the spring of 2020 and then settled back to approximately 5%. By late spring of 2021, unemployment had returned to the mid 3% range, similar to 2019 pre-pandemic numbers. Interviews and surveys were conducted in late 2020 and into the spring of 2021.

While the study addresses the potential labor availability for new and expanding firms, the KBRPC wished to dig deeper into trends impacting employment and the region’s position relative to those trends. Some of these trends, like automation, are longer-term trends that have been accelerated nationally and globally by the pandemic. Others, such as greater work flexibility and remote working, emerged more strongly during the pandemic and were added as areas of focus to the study. There are also the demographic trends in the U.S. that impact the seven-county region, and which were also considered. In considering all of these factors, the KBRPC’s plans to address ways to strengthen the current workforce to assist employers but also to create better recovery and resiliency in the workforce so both employers and residents can better recover from future disasters.

Click here for the full study.

Benton County Housing Study








In 2020, Benton County leaders began a process to determine why there is no balance in the housing market and how this affects its residents. Through community engagement, interviews, community tours, and market analysis, the process unveiled the market gaps and desires of residents and stakeholders. The results of this study can be found here: Benton County Housing Study

Regional Planning Commission Asks Area Residents For Input on Jobs and Training

For Release March 4, 2021

Whether you are working or not, if you are between the ages of 18 and 69 the Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission wants to hear from you.  Kaysinger Basin, which covers seven counties including Bates, Benton, Cedar, St. Clair, Vernon, Hickory, and Henry Counties, is currently conducting an in-depth study of jobs, training, and education as a key step to help the greater Kaysinger region attract new jobs and develop a strong workforce pipeline for existing employers.

“This survey is especially important in helping us help local businesses grow and expand and in attracting new job opportunities to the region.  We really encourage residents to take the survey today,” KBRPC Executive Director Sheridan Garman-Neeman said. 

“We want to know if people are satisfied in their current jobs and feel like their talents and skills are being put to good use. We are also asking about their education and training, both before they went to work and, on the job,” Garman-Neeman added.

Even if you are not working, KBRPC still wants you to take the survey.  Garman-Neeman noted that some people may have lost their job or voluntarily left due to COVID.  Other people may not be working right now for other reasons but want to get a job in the near future if there is a good opportunity.  “If you are not working right now but have an interest in going back to work in the future, we want to hear from you. Even people not considering going back to work should participate, since it helps us better understand our regional workforce which, in turn, helps improve our business climate,” noted Garman-Neeman. 

The survey takes less than five minutes and can be found online at:

It can also be found on the Facebook page of the Kaysinger Basin Regional Planning Commission (

For questions please contact KBRPC staff at: Phone: (660) 885-3393

Current Economic Developers

Teresa Heckenlively, St. Clair County Economic Development Director
Teresa Heckenlively is the St. Clair County Economic Development Director.
She moved to St. Clair County in 2011 with her husband and two youngest sons after visiting on vacation in 2009. The great school systems, beautiful country, and relaxed atmosphere had them sold on the area. They started a small business and have been able to provide for their family and a service to their community. She looks forward to helping others do the same.
To contact Teresa: call (417) 309-1786; email; or follow her on  and check out the St. Clair County Economic Development website


Ben Vickers, Vernon County Economic Development Director

Ben Vickers grew up on a family farm in Vernon County and attended high school in El Dorado Springs. He’s a recent graduate from Missouri State University in Springfield, with a Bachelors’s degree in Political Science, a minor in music, and a certificate in Small Town Planning and Development. “Nevada has an incredible amount of potential for development, and because this area is my home I want to make it happen. I want to make a positive difference for my community.”

Visit the Vernon County Economic Development website or to contact Ben call (660) 492-2993 or email

Jo Ann Lane, Benton County Economic Development Director

“Benton County is my home and I want to see continuous growth.” Jo Ann moved to Benton County over 30 years ago with her husband and four children. While all the children have graduated and moved to different areas, Benton County is still her home. “Benton County has seen many changes in the last 30 years and will continue to see further progress. I am excited to be able to work in the county and support the local business community. Each town in Benton County is unique and has a great deal to offer.”

To contact Jo Ann, call (660) 492-3402 or email her at and like and follow her on