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By Laura Lee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

Even during the pandemic, finding and hiring good people is a struggle. The problem is getting worse as baby boomers leave the workforce, taking their skills and tribal knowledge along with them, making it even more important for manufacturers to attract qualified replacements in a tough workforce environment. But finding those good folks is only part of the issue; retaining the workers you get is even more important.  Every employee you retain is one you don’t have to replace. And when you have gained a reputation for high employee retention, word gets out that yours is a good company to work for, making your hiring experience easier.


Hiding deep in the tall grass of profits are opportunities to better attain more profitability. If leadership recognizes this fact, they can ensure each area in manufacturing operations contributes to overall profitability. Supply Chain can tighten relationships with ever-improving suppliers that bring competitive advantage with them. Engineering can design and execute parts rationalization strategies to reduce material and labor costs, as well as provide a quickly available outstanding product.

By Amy Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communications Manager

Jimmy Story, Missouri Enterprise Business Programs Manager that serves the state’s agriculture growers and producers, recently attended a graduation ceremony for eight individuals who completed a workforce training program and hope to soon be employed following the completion of their time at the Southeast Correctional Center in Charleston, Mo.

By Dr. Sean Siebert, creator, Adopt an Innovator Program and member of the Missouri Enterprise Board of Directors

Workforce, workforce, workforce. Society’s migraine? Workforce. Where can we find people, good people, qualified people, reliable people for our jobs? Unfortunately, as a country, our workforce issues have been nearly forty years in the making. From a community perspective, to think that this matter can be resolved within ninety days is simply not rational. But, I do believe it can be addressed and show substantial progress within the next three years. To do this, we have to think differently. As I am quick to tell people, “Our processes are not organic. Getting the right people, with the right skills and education, in the right jobs, is strategic, not organic.”

By Amy Susan, Communications Manager

This year, I attended two separate business-related events. At both occasions, the workforce skills gap took much of the focus. Many speakers provided current statistics on the lack of skilled workers in the face of the growing demand from companies.  All agreed - something needs to be done. I know I’m not the only one who feels the weight of the world on my shoulders when the open-ended question “what ARE we going to do about it?” is left on the podium, with no solution in sight.

By Amy N. Susan, Missouri Enterprise Communication Manager

Full disclosure, this is a "perspective" piece. After more than ten years working in government, I am fresh out and now writing for the non-profit manufacturing-focused consulting firm, Missouri Enterprise. Before working stateside, I was a news reporter. What this means… is that I promise to provide qualifiers and stats galore as well as actionable information. (close-up shot) Reporting live on the "Body Gap", Amy N. Susan, Missouri Enterprise News

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

As a Lean Practitioner, I’ve spent considerable time working with clients applying Lean tools to improve processes within the company. We reduce batch sizes to improve flow. We enhance machine reliability to ensure that equipment is ready when needed. We improve housekeeping and organization to instill discipline, make the workplace safer and increase efficiency.

By Jeanne Wagner, US Army Veteran and Missouri Enterprise Chief Financial Officer

A soldier's view today may look a bit different compared to mine 41 years ago. Like everything else, technology has resulted in significant advancements to weaponry, logistics, communications, etc. But even though the landscape has changed as have the faces, thanks to a growing interest from females to serve our country, there are certain values that will forever remain the core of those who step into an American uniform and make the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.

By Michael Gantner, Principal, nthimpressions: Your Marketing Pulse

When speaking with a manufacturer about marketing, I usually begin with, “So, tell me about your company…what do you do?”.  Everyone can answer that one in great detail, often expounding on their product and service virtues for as long as I will listen to them. 

By T.H.L. Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Abstract: Strategy without implementation has only one purpose – to convince the stakeholders that there is a future in the organization.  For Top Management to hold the “strategy” in their heads is a dangerous indulgence.  Organizations need a direction for the future that is both understandable and achievable - Let’s face facts, if you only aim for Rolla it is unlikely that you will ever sit on the beach in Hawaii! 

Gary Harrell has done everything in manufacturing from welding to fabricating to regional sales management, which serves him well in his role as the Area Business Manager for Southwest Missouri and Metropolitan Springfield.  Here are a few of his thoughts on manufacturing in Missouri, workforce and expectations for the new year.

By Jennifer Jarosz, Manufacturing Day Coordinator for Missouri Enterprise

Thank you to Missouri Manufacturers and Community Supporters!

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager (and a woman in manufacturing)

Ask any little girl what she wants to do when she grows up, and odds are that she will not say, “I want to work in manufacturing!”. (Granted, that answer may also be far down the list for little boys, somewhere behind firefighter or professional athlete.)

By Thomas Gordon, CFPIM, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

An earlier newsletter in this series addressed responsibility and authority, (ISO 9001:2015/AS9100D:2016 §5.3).  At a management and/or supervisor level it is straightforward to do this; however, looking at what Marx termed “the alienation of the worker from the product of labor”, it is rather more difficult to push this down to the shop floor, where the traditional structure is Operator -> Inspector.

By Rick Wilson, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

We hear about the workforce problems of Missouri manufacturers every day, as they struggle to find the skilled labor they need, and fight to keep their good people on board.

By Thomas Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

Section 5.3 of ISO 9001:2015 is about the Holy Trinity of ‘Organizational Roles, Responsibilities and Authorities”.  When contemplating the underlying meaning of these words I am reminded of a common ‘trick’ question utilized by British Army instructors to sort out ‘leaders’ from ‘followers’ in a batch of young officer candidates:

By Jennifer Jarosz, Manufacturing Day Coordinator for Missouri Enterprise

Each year, Manufacturing Day℠ (MFG DAY) promotes the importance of manufacturing to our local communities and as a critical part of the American economy.  MFG DAY gives manufacturers the opportunity to reach out to their communities and show what manufacturing is, and just as importantly, what it isn’t. 

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager


Line Operator.  $9-9.50 and hour.  Candidates must be able to pass drug screen, background screens and math testing.

Engine Assembler.  Duties:  Final Inspection of Parts.  Assemble parts.  Remove engine from stand and load onto mono rail to dyno.  Work environment:  Exposure to oil, grease, dirt, chemicals, varying temperatures and loud noises.

Assembly Position.  Well established, growing manufacturing business has full time assembly position available.  Fully paid benefits, paid vacation, 401K, EOE.  NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE.  Apply online at: xxx.

By Mike Shew, Missouri Enterprise, Area Business Manager

One of the most significant issues facing Missouri manufacturing today is its workforce. We live in a global economy and many times it’s the effectiveness of our employees which provides our competitive advantage.

By Tracey Kelly, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

Earlier in this series, we spoke about how businesses can embrace the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) program to greatly improve their hiring success, and how employers can get on board to help their county become a Certified Work Ready Community (CWRC).  This final article in the series focuses on why your company should fully embrace the program and ask for the ACT NCRC® work skills credential when soliciting and hiring job applicants. (Find links to parts I and II below)

By LauraLee Rose, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager and Six Sigma Black Belt

When “Joe” walked into the office to interview for a frontline manufacturing job, he didn’t need to say a word.  His actions and body language had already spoken volumes.  He plopped into a chair, leaned back with his feet out in front of him and crossed his arms over his chest.  His posture alone answered most of the questions we were going to ask.  Yes, in the first 30 seconds, before a single question had been asked, he had earned himself a “Thanks, but no thanks” handshake, followed by “Next!”

By Tracey Kelly, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

The first article in this series spoke about the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC) program and how businesses can embrace the program to greatly improve their hiring success.  (

By David Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

The available employee pool has presented many of our Missouri manufacturers with a significant challenge:  Finding good people who will grow with us as we grow the business.

By Thomas Gordon, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager

We have heard lately about bringing jobs back to depressed areas.  However, there is a huge difference between having a job and working.

By Tracey Kelly, Missouri Enterprise Area Business Manager

One of the things I hear frequently on my client visits is the constant workforce issues that prevail for our manufacturers.  “I can’t find qualified, motivated, skilled workers,” they tell me.  Unfortunately, I hear it almost daily as I’m in the field meeting with Missouri manufacturers.

By Dave Goebel, Missouri Enterprise Project Manager 

If I could just get those darned employees to think on their own. If my employees would just show a little initiative. Ever muttered those words? Did you ever think that your employees were the root of all evil? Maybe they are. Then again, maybe they’re victims of incompetent management. How would you rate the overall capability of your management staff? Let’s consider the way managers are selected, their ability to communicate, and their ability to train workers.