The WIB seized the opportunity to bid on a four-year contract for the Joplin/Southwest region to run the employment and training components of TANF known as the Missouri Work Assistance (MWA) program. Through its proposal, the WIB recommended key reform strategies, such as full integration and resource leveraging for all three of the region’s Job Center locations at Joplin, Monett, and Neosho. The proposal also seeks to align short-term training and credentials to help families receiving temporary public assistance to get on the fast-track for work experience, job placement, and career pathways. Another key endeavor proposed is the use of a Child Care Sector Academy that combines micro-enterprise development and training to provide job growth for MWA/TANF recipients. The academy would also help fill the gap in the region’s shortage for child care providers for more working families and communities region-wide. Grant awards are expected by March with new MWA operations to begin in April.