A sizable crowd of employers, civic leaders and others were on hand Tuesday at Crowder College for the Newton County Workforce Initiative Summit.

A sizable crowd of employers, civic leaders and others were on hand Tuesday at Crowder College for the Newton County Workforce Initiative Summit.
The summit's guest speaker was Rob Dixon, acting director of the Missouri Economic Development.
The purpose of the summit was to present the workforce climate in Newton County as well as to share progress being made strategically as a Certified WorkReady Community.
"It (workforce) is a topic that is really important in terms of our state's economy and certainly in the region here in Southwest Missouri," said Dixon. "Having a skilled and quality workforce is the top driver in growing our economy, whether it is at the community level of the state, it's an national issue so it is really important that we have this conversation to really look forward in terms of developing our skilled and quality workforce here."
Dixon told the group two major items.
"Number one, that we understand that this is an issue," he said. "And number two that the state of Missouri certainly the department of economic development look forward to working together with Crowder College, with Southwest Missouri communities, and working together on this initiative."
Dixon said the workforce initiative has been around for a while.
"This topic in particular about workforce development has really been - for the last several years at least - has been a key topic in economic development," said Dixon. "There is an old saying in economic development, 'that prepared communities win' and I think that it is important that here in Neosho we are sitting down and having this conversation to talk about how this community can prepare to win economic development."
Dixon noted there are a lot of factors for the initiative to work.
"You have got the educational committee, you have the business community, you have economic developers, you have civic leaders, everybody coming together to ready to roll up their sleeves and work together on this issue," said Dixon. "And that is really what it takes. It takes everybody bringing their different perspectives on it to insure in particular that the business community has input into what the education system is providing and that the education providers are talking with business that their  graduates are ready for the workforce.
"Workforce development is kind of complex issue, it involves K-12 education, and higher ed(ucation) and the workforce system itself. There is training that goes on in the companies. So we have to align all of these initiatives, really pointed toward the same direction winch is delivering the quality workforce that our business community needs."