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MEDIA ADVISORY: With Engagement Week 2020, University of Missouri System promotes 21st Century Missouri Workforce


Austin Fitzgerald

To see the video available with this advisory, click here.


The University of Missouri System Engagement Week 2020 will move online this year from Oct. 26-30. This year’s focus — in partnership with the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry — explores workforce development needs, efforts and impacts in communities across the state. Business, government and educational leaders will discuss how to build momentum to support and enhance Missouri’s 21st century workforce and a vibrant, competitive economy.


Engagement Week will feature several events and speakers, including:

Keynote address: “Always Growing“

Wednesday, Oct. 28

10:55 a.m. – noon

Speakers include:

  • Jones Loflin, internationally recognized author, speaker, corporate trainer and coach. The address will focus on how leaders can motivate, develop and empower those around them and work together to achieve remarkable results, regardless of the circumstances. Loflin, author of “Always Growing”, will offer insights for personal and professional growth in any season.

Click here to register (select “General Attendee”)

All Things Missouri: Workforce Development & 21st Century Needs

Thursday, Oct. 29

8:30 a.m. – noon 

State, government and university leaders will discuss Missouri’s future economic competitiveness and workforce development needs and opportunities. How do we build a workforce prepared for the demands of the 21st century? What are workforce challenges — including the impact of COVID-19 — that are affecting the economy? In sessions featuring keynote speakers, guests, panels and breakout room discussions, participants will learn how to support, coordinate and enhance statewide and local workforce development, as well as college and career readiness efforts.

Click here to register (select “General Attendee”)

Speakers include:

Abernathy is the managing partner of Economic Leadership LLC, a consultancy that works in more than a dozen states to develop economic and workforce strategies. He is an expert in the future of work, trendspotting the future and organizational leadership.

Productive partnerships for a stronger Missouri

This discussion with state Rep. Kip Kendrick and state Sen. Caleb Rowden will be moderated by Marshall Stewart, MU vice chancellor for extension and engagement and UM System chief engagement officer.

Workforce development panel: Trends and challenges

Speakers include:

  • Amanda Cooper, vice president of Corporate Services, MFA Incorporated
  • Peter Callan, director of talent acquisition development, MU Health Care
  • Jeannette Hernandez Prenger, CEO, Ecco Select
  • Valerie Patton, senior vice president, inclusion and and talent attraction, and executive director, St. Louis Business Diversity Initiative

Special guests: Workforce training and educational opportunities

  • Chris Chinn, director, Missouri Department of Agriculture
  • Rob Dixon, director, Missouri Department of Economic Development
  • Daniel Mehan, president and CEO, Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
  • Brian Milner, president and CEO, Missouri Community College Association
  • Zora Mulligan, commissioner of higher education, Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development

Regional breakout discussions (in Zoom)

Participants will brainstorm how to identify and support local and regional workforce development initiatives and impacts.

Note: Registration is required. Members of the public who would like to register for a session can do so here. Members of the media should register by contacting Austin Fitzgerald at 573-882-6217 or

Reviewed 2020-10-26