Momentum 2020 Results: Businesses plan for growth across Ozarks despite hiring struggles

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3/KSPR) - More than 400 businesses, nonprofit organizations, government, healthcare, and educational institutions from across the Ozarks weighed in, taking the Momentum 2020 State of the Workforce Survey.

The survey reviewed what the state of the workforce is excelling in and struggling with. The survey asked questions about expansion plans, recruitment and hiring difficulties, skills and training, employee retention, and workforce readiness.

Of the survey results, some of the key takeaways included more than half of the companies surveyed said they would be hiring full-time employees within the next year. Another 62% of companies reported they were likely to expand over the next year, 69% of them saying they were “very unlikely” to expand elsewhere.

One business that has had offers to expand is the Park Central Market. Owner Scott Cotton has owned several businesses in the downtown Springfield area since 2011.

He said he has seen this area grow a lot since he first started and hopes that growth continues. Cotton had some advice and encouragement for those looking to open up shop.

"Springfield is very welcoming, Springfield is always looking for something new," he said. "Even if it an old idea, if you can put a new spin on it, it can be something really interesting that people seem to really love."

Some of the downfalls highlighted in this report included 71% of businesses saying they struggle filling open positions, adding there is a lack of qualified applicants. For the third year in a row, the report also showed businesses and employers feel their employees lack motivational and interpersonal skills.

Katherine Trombetta with the Missouri Job Center said they're focusing on helping alleviate those issues through workshops, open forums, and job fairs.

Trombetta hopes the survey encourages others to open their businesses in the Ozarks.

"We have lots of resources available, whether through the City, through the Job Center, through the Chamber of Commerce, whatever," she said. "We are very engaged in training a highly skilled workforce to meet those demands."

To get a complete look at the Momentum 2020 Survey results, follow the link included in this story.