It is important for a region to have a strong workforce to grow their economy. We have the tools in place to assist communities with workforce needs to not only assist current businesses but attract new ones.

The local workforce is renowned for their Midwest work ethic, loyalty, and skill. The region also benefits from strong educational and training institutions to ensure a solid pipeline of talent for the future. Kaysinger is home to the nationally ranked Cottey College, Crowder College, Midwest Welding Institute, and the Nevada Regional Technical Center. State Fair Community College also has a large satellite campus located in Clinton. Six of our counties are certified ACT Work Ready Communities as well.

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.