Economic Development News
Gov. Nixon celebrates Cole County earning Certified Work Ready Community status; announces expansion by local business that is expected to create 50 new jobs
Published: Monday, August 8, 2016
By: Scott Holste, Missouri Department of Economic Development
National designation from ACT will help community retain jobs and create new ones, including positions soon to be created by Modern Litho Print Co.
Jefferson City, Mo. – Gov. Jay Nixon today was at Modern Litho Print Co, a full-service print shop, to congratulate Cole County leaders for being designated a Certified Work Ready Community. Gov. Nixon said Cole County’s successful efforts to strengthen its workforce training program is helping support growing companies like Modern Litho, as well as provide pathways for workers with barriers access to employment.
Gov. Nixon also announced that Modern Litho will embark on a $10 million expansion to its Jefferson City operations, which is expected to create 50 new jobs in the area over the next few years.
“There is a lot to celebrate here in Missouri and in Cole County,” Gov. Nixon said. “This community’s efforts to expand work skills and validate the quality of its local workforce are already paying big dividends. I’m pleased to recognize Cole County for achieving this national distinction and to celebrate Modern Litho’s significant investment and job creation in the community it calls home.”
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). 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 78 counties that are actively participating in the Certified Work Ready Community initiative and 34 fully certified counties.
By participating in the Certified Work Ready Communities initiative, Cole 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.
Through this initiative, ACT has also awarded more than 77,000 National Career Readiness Certificates (NCRC) to workers in Missouri, including more than 6,520 certificates to Missouri veterans. NCRCs are accepted by more than 10,000 employers nationwide to verify individuals’ work skills.
Founded in 1937, commercial printing company Modern Litho produces magazines, marketing collateral, direct mail, and general commercial printing for national customers as well as small businesses and associations. With a location in St. Louis, the company employs 190 individuals in the state and has its flagship production facility in Jefferson City. Modern Litho will expand its building located at Stertzer Road by 21,600 square feet to house additional production and warehousing, bringing its total square footage to more than 93,000. As its third expansion at this location, the project will increase current production capacity as well as allow for greater efficiencies related to coating and jobs that require more than four color process inks. The expansion is expected to be completed November of this year.
Modern Litho is a supporter of the CWRC program, and plans to consider candidates that have earned NCRCs for the available positions.
“As we approach Modern Litho’s 80th anniversary, we’d like to recognize the support the Jefferson City community has provided over the years,” said Darrell Moore, President, Modern Litho. “The Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce and our local and state governments have come alongside us on more than one occasion to invest in our business and our people. As a result of these partnerships and our dedicated employee group, we are a nationally-recognized leader in our industry and we are proud to call Jefferson City home.”
Various agencies along with dozens of businesses throughout the county joined together to make this designation possible for Cole County, including the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, Jefferson City Public Schools, Nichols Career Center, State Technical College, City of Jefferson City, the Missouri Department of Corrections, and the Missouri Job Center in Jefferson City.
“The NCRC is a valuable resource for existing businesses because it verifies that prospective employees have the fundamental skills to be successful on the job,” said Shelle Jacobs, Business and Industry Relations Director for the State Technical College of Missouri. “It is also an important economic development tool by qualifying our local workforce, something that is very attractive to developers who are looking at Jefferson City to locate their business.”
Unique to Cole County was the strategy to offer the program’s workplace training assessments to offenders living in the Transitional Housing Unit at the Algoa Correctional Center in Jefferson City to help them obtain employment upon being released from the prison system. Since the start of the pilot project at the center in March of 2015, 219 of the 235 offenders completed the assessments and have earned National Career Readiness Certificates that can verify their workplace knowledge in a variety of areas to prospective employers. Made possible by a partnership between the Missouri Department of Corrections, the Cole County Certified Work Ready Community Committee, and the State Technical College, 84 percent of the certificate holders from the last part of 2015 have since obtained employment.
“I commend the leaders in Cole County for their dedication to building up all aspects of the local labor force, including those transitioning from incarceration,” Gov. Nixon said. “By providing offenders a path to secure employment, we can reduce recidivism and help families find financial stability.”
Due to the success of the program, the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, the State Technical College, and the Missouri Department of Corrections are looking to emulate the initiative at other correctional facilities throughout the state.