From Missouri Development Guide 2021

Right from the Start

Missouri One Start offers a variety of services to help employers with recruitment and training.


One of the primary concerns in any site selection process is how a company will find and train their workforce. Fortunately, Missouri One Start, the state’s premier workforce development division, offers customized services ranging from pre-employment screening and recruitment to designing job-specific training, both during and after the onboarding process. 

Missouri One Start’s goal is to ensure businesses have employee training and upskilling to remain competitive, reduce turnover and excel in the marketplace.

We recently spoke with Missouri One Start Director Kristie Davis about how her team helps businesses. 

How would you describe Missouri’s workforce and its talent pipeline to a business considering the state for a new location or expansion?

Kristie Davis: Well for starters, our workforce is strong, resilient and ready to work. Maintaining our workforce pipeline is a key priority for the State of Missouri and we’ve made substantial investments and legislative enhancements to ensure its strength.

Whether that’s through Missouri One Start’s training, our nationally ranked apprenticeship program (Second in the nation for completed apprenticeships), or our Fast Track workforce incentive grant that covers tuition and fees for eligible adults, we’re leveraging our resources as a state to meet the current and future workforce needs of Missouri businesses.

What are some of the ways Missouri One Start helps businesses in their training efforts?

Davis: In a business landscape where one size does not fit all, Missouri One Start offers some of the most customizable workforce development options in the nation. From the moment we start working with a company, it’s about understanding their needs and creating a strategy that best satisfies that need. That’s why we say it’s “Your Team Trained Your Way.” Resources provided through Missouri One Start let the businesses choose how best to deliver training to their workforce: via any combination of preferred training vendors, in-house staff or Missouri One Start’s statewide network of training professionals.

This allows businesses to tailor training to their unique needs. At the end of the day, Missouri One Start is here to assist companies in training Missourians so that everyone excels.

If a company has large-scale recruitment needs, what can Missouri One Start do to help?

Davis: Our success around large-scale recruitment projects can be attributed to the personalized approach we take with each company.  Our team of experts meet with key stakeholders from the business to gain a thorough understand their unique workforce challenges. From there a recruitment plan is developed in collaboration with the business, outlining key timelines that include a wide range of strategies, including customized screening tools and pre-employment training to ensure employees have the skills needed to be productive on their first day.  In fact, our white-glove approach to recruitment is one of our most requested offerings. One strategy that has been particularly successful has been our social media recruitment campaigns. Since the spring of 2020, we’ve been providing these services that are similar to an ad agency. Our marketing team follows a format to get hiring messages into the market quickly, which includes developing a custom microsite branded to each company’s unique look, voice and color palette. They then promote the job openings with paid social media, marketing to potential employees within a radius of the business’s location. A link in the ad puts interested workers within one click of the job information, and only one additional click to apply. For large corporations, with multilocation job listings that require sorting and filtering, this two-click path knocks down barriers that might otherwise frustrate applicants or prevent them from applying. Graphics, copy, media plan, and an analytics report are provided to eligible companies receiving our services. All of this is at no cost to the business. 

How should employers approach training their workers to ensure growth in today’s business climate?

Davis: I think agility and frequency in training is vital to remaining relevant. The economy over the past year has been volatile and we’ve seen businesses respond swiftly and in a variety of ways. Whether the business implemented new technology or had changes to their processes and procedures, many had to retool in order to keep pace with demand. But retooling and implementing new technology also requires training and upskilling. At a time when everything is evolving at a very quick pace, being able to provide frequent training opportunities for employees is essential.

What primary industries does your organization support, and how many companies have you helped over the years? 

Davis: We serve a dynamic range of companies in industries such as advanced manufacturing, ag-tech, automotive, bioscience, aerospace, geospatial, logistics and distribution, financial services, plus others. In terms of history, our highly experienced workforce development team has trained over 815,000 workers in more than 7,000 company training projects. This year we are on track to train another 40,000 workers.  

Connecting the Dots to Apprenticeship and Employer


by Savannah King

Missouri Apprentice Connect is a free easy service available to companies that want to match with qualified Missouri apprentices.

Launched in September 2020, The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry created the new statewide service that helps employers with registered apprenticeship programs find aspiring apprentices.

“We finished the year last year second in the nation only behind California for new apprenticeships,” said Dr. Mardy Leathers, Missouri’s Director of Workforce Development. “That means new people starting apprenticeship programs and people completing those programs.”

The service makes it easier for Missourians to take advantage of career opportunities that apprenticeships provide and will enhance Missouri’s leadership role in using apprenticeships to help train the state’s workforce.

“While we continue to have more than 12,000 registered apprentices in our skilled trades, we’re now adding three and four-thousand apprentices a year in areas like IT and education and advanced manufacturing,” said Leathers. Health care is another key area for apprentices.

Missouri’s apprenticeship program helps businesses find quality job candidates and helps workers find good-paying jobs. For apprentices who finish their program in Missouri, 83 percent of them are still employed with the company that sponsored their apprenticeship, nine months after completion.

In February 2021, the Office of Workforce Development launched an initiative to fund pre-aprenticeship programs throughout Missouri. The $1 million investment will be used to create new pre-apprenitceship opportunities and support pathways to Registered Apprenticeships.

For the second year in a row, Missouri ranks second in the nation for completed apprenticeships. In FY 2020, Missouri saw 3,388 Registered Apprenticeships completed — more than any other state except California. The state also has more than 13,700 active apprenticeships currently in more 400 registered programs.

Savannah King
Managing Editor of Custom Content

Savannah King

Savannah King is managing editor of custom content for Conway Inc. She is an award-winning journalist and previously wrote for The Times in Gainesville, Ga. She graduated from the University of West Florida with a degree in Broadcast Journalism and lives near Atlanta.


Missouri's strengths are only getting stronger as the state builds momentum, reduces red tape, encourages entrepreneurs and builds a better workforce — all for the benefit of business in the Show Me State.

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