Workforce summit seeks answers to skills gap

By Doug Wilson, Courier-Post Managing Editor
Posted: Sep. 18, 2019 2:28 pm

HANNIBAL — Employers, educators and community leaders hope that a workforce summit next week will map out how local job seekers can get the skills that are in demand in this labor market.

The Hannibal Regional Economic Development Council and Hannibal Area Chamber of Commerce are sponsoring the 2019 Workforce Summit from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, at the Clover Road Christian Church, 785 Clover Rd., in Hannibal.

"What we hear from employers is there’s a skills gap. There’s a very tight labor market and employers are having a more difficult time finding workers than a few years ago," said Corey Mehaffy, executive director of the HREDC.

"We hope the summit will give us some training opportunities and educational opportunities for the job applicants."

The event is designed to engage area employers, educators and community leaders in discussions about the changing skill sets needed within the workforce.

McKenzie Disselhorst, executive director of the Hannibal Chamber of Commerce, said finding qualified workers is a challenger that nearly all employers face.

"I hope we have good participation so employers can talk about what’s working for them and what things need to change. We hope they’ll help let our educators know what’s needed to prepare students for the work force," Disselhorst said.

Presentations will be held on the Missouri Registered Apprenticeship program and Certified Work Ready Communities. In addition, attendees will participate in a roundtable discussion with area employers and educators to help design curriculum to fit the jobs available in this labor market.

In addition to the roundtable, this year’s summit will include breakout sessions by sector to further identify workforce needs and training solutions. Breakout sessions include manufacturing/welding, automotive/transportation, customer service and health care.

"We know there are unique challenges in each of those sectors. That’s why we wanted to have breakout sessions this year," Mehaffy said.

Area employers, educators and workforce development stakeholders are especially encouraged to attend the summit. Registration may be handled by email to

HREDC works to promote financial investment in Hannibal, and Marion and Ralls counties. More information on the organization is available at


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