Workforce Development Alliance

new_horizontal orangeThe St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce, St. Joseph Public School District, Hillyard Technical Center, Missouri Western State University, the United Way of Greater St. Joseph and local businesses form the St. Joseph Workforce Development Alliance. The purpose of the alliance is to coordinate local training and educational initiatives to support a prepared and engaged workforce, leading to successful local businesses.

Bringing together the key organizations that provide education and training in St. Joseph allows those involved to focus on what is needed and what programs and initiatives are necessary to fill the gap in workforce development. While there is much being done statewide and by the individual educational entities, this initiative focuses on the needs of St. Joseph employers.

The alliance meets monthly and focuses on issues such as early childhood preparedness to learn, student assessment and career preparation, training and educational programs to support the needs of local business and engaging businesses in workforce development efforts. Those involved in the alliance are committed to preparing students for future careers in St. Joseph and supporting the needs of local business.

Our People are Our Greatest Resource – And Yours.


St. Joseph workers have gained a well-deserved reputation for hard work, high productivity and low rates of turnover. Since St. Joseph is the largest city in the region, it draws from a large pool of employable workers from surrounding counties.

Many members of our workforce have longstanding generational ties to agriculture and manufacturing in the surrounding rural communities, and are proud to build their careers in St. Joseph.



Workforce Characteristics

Civilian Labor Force: 65,270

St. Joseph Employment: 63,003

Unemployment Rate: 3.5 percent

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics, March 2018

St. Joseph Labor Basin Labor Analysis – 2015

The St. Joseph Labor Basin includes eight counties in Missouri and Kansas: Andrew, Atchison, Buchanan, Clinton, DeKalb, Doniphan, Holt, and Platte. This report assesses the “Available Labor Pool” in this labor basin. The “Available Labor Pool” represents those who indicate they are looking for a new job or are interested in a new job given the right employment opportunities. You can download the report here.


Manufacturing (MFG) Day

MFG Day Logo

Manufacturing Day is a national day set aside to recognize the importance of the manufacturing industry and the diverse, highly-skilled jobs that are available in our community. On Friday October 7th, community organizations and companies will come together to lift up the industry and the possible career paths available. – Learn more here.


Work Ready Communities

Buchanan County is a Work Ready Community, which means it is working to transform its economy by developing a workforce that will enable existing business to expand and attract new businesses to the community. This is a program that is offered through the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

Work Ready Communities recognize the National Career Readiness Certificate (NCRC), which is an assessment of an employee’s math, reading and locating workplace skills.  For more on the program visit this website.

Manufacturing Technician Certification

The Manufacturing Technician Certification (MT1) Program was originated by the Manufacturing Skills Institute, a program of the Virginia Manufacturers Association. MT1 is a highly-specialized training program based on manufacturing skills and the techniques and interrelationships found in advanced manufacturing. The St. Joseph Workforce Development Alliance was determined that it would offer a course of study to address necessary skills for those seeking employment in manufacturing or production in St. Joseph.

The MT1 certification is taught over two semesters at Hillyard Technical Center with professors from Missouri Western State University and the Innovation Stockyard. Coursework includes training in math and measurement; spatial reasoning and manufacturing technology; and quality and business acumen. Graduates have immediately found jobs in the manufacturing field in St. Joseph.

For more on what a Manufacturing Technician is, see this page.

Registered Apprenticeship Program

The St. Joseph School District and St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce in 2018 celebrated the new Registered Apprenticeship Program with its first signing day for the first group of apprentices at Hillyard Technical Center.

Twelve students and their parents, along with the four local companies, signed a letter of agreement to join the apprenticeship programs in the St. Joseph Manufacturing Community. Industry partners included Lifeline Foods, Triumph Foods, I&M Machine and Fabrication and Reardon Machine Co. in St Joseph, Missouri.

A grant from the Missouri Department of Labor provides additional support for the program, which is the second registered apprentice program in the state. The program was open to students in Northwest Missouri, who had the opportunity to tour job sites and learn about the employers, then complete an application and interview process before being chosen for the apprenticeships.

Apprenticeships will be in machining, welding and industrial maintenance. These students will begin their apprenticeships junior year with job shadowing throughout the school year, will continue the apprenticeships senior year with on-the-job training and complete the apprenticeships during their first year out of high school.


The data contained in this website is for information purposes. Although steps have been taken to guard its accuracy and up-to-date nature, the St. Joseph Chamber of Commerce assumes no legal responsibility for the informational content contained herein.