The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development will now focus on recovery efforts for citizens and businesses impacted by the coronavirus.

The Department’s Office of Workforce Development is shifting focus today to recovery efforts for citizens and businesses after assisting the Department of Labor with unemployment insurance claims for nearly two months. 

Job Center staff will return to helping residents of Missouri find employment, refresh their resumes, find training opportunities and understand available benefits, the department announced today. 

Staff will also recruit for contact tracing and other employment opportunities directly supporting Missouri’s COVID-19 response. The department will highlight short-term training opportunities offered through Missouri’s higher education institutions as part of its Return Strong recovery efforts.

“We want Missourians to enter the workforce better prepared and more skilled than when they left. Although we hope most layoffs are temporary, some will likely be permanent. Our team is ready to help Missourians take this opportunity to skill up, and get back to work,” Director of the Office of Workforce Development Mardy Leathers said. 

The department of higher education and workforce development is also developing a plan to safely reopen Missouri’s public workforce system. Job Centers throughout the state have been closed to the public since Missouri Gov. Mike Parson closed state office buildings on March 20.

A set date has not been established for the reopening of Job Centers. The department is working alongside the Regional Workforce Development Boards, the Office of Administration and local health departments to determine a regional approach to reopening the centers.

“The safety of our staff and the public is top priority as we work through a plan that makes sense for each community we serve,” Leathers said.

The department has been able to move most services online and assist customers by phone. Residents can visit www.jobs.mo.gov/return-strong or call (573) 364-7030 to reach the Missouri Job Center Rolla location to learn about job opportunities. Residents can also call 1-888-728-JOBS (5627) to talk with Job Center staff.