MARCH 19, 2019
Jefferson City — – The major restructuring of four state agencies has moved to the next phase, signaling another step forward in Governor Mike Parson’s agenda to improve economic and workforce development in Missouri.
Monday marked the end of the 60-day period in which the legislature could vote to oppose the proposed changes announced by Governor Parson through a series of executive orders issued in January.
The next two phases of the restructuring occur on July 1, when the state’s fiscal year begins, and August 28, when the executive orders take effect. In the interim, the state agencies will continue working together to ensure that these vital services will continue without interruption.
“We greatly appreciate the support of the legislature throughout this process,” Governor Mike Parson said. “They’ve been engaged all along the way, and it’s an honor to work with these leaders as we set out to become Best in Midwest.”
What is changing:
- The Division of Workforce Development and Missouri Economic Research and Information Center will move to the Department of Higher Education to establish a single resource in state government for all postsecondary education options.
- The Division of Energy will return to the Department of Natural Resources.
- The Office of Public Councel and the Public Service Commission will join similarly structured Tier III regulatory agencies at the newly named Department of Commerce and Insurance.
- The Missouri Arts Council will be elevated to the Office of the Lt. Governor.
- The Department of Economic Development will shift to have staff based across Missouri in order to better meet the unique needs of each economic region and will form a new division that will specifically help businesses address workforce needs as they hire and train workers for large expansions.
The reorganization comes after months of research and the involvement of thousands of Missourians, the results of which were shared during the Governor’s Conference on Economic Development last fall.
The research delved into the complexity of Missouri’s economic development agency, finding that the Department of Economic Development has more employees and houses more functions than any of its Midwest peers. In addition, the research showed that other states outperform the agency in nearly every measure—including those pertaining to workforce development.
What state leaders are saying about the changes:
“I completely support the Governor’s and Director Dixon’s efforts to focus the Department of Economic Development. An important role of the Lt. Governor is to be a champion for tourism and the arts and these changes formalize this important function while allowing DED to focus exclusively on economic development,” Lt. Governor Mike Kehoe said. “This is a significant occasion, and I look forward to helping promote the importance of the arts throughout Missouri.”
“Transferring the Division of Energy back to the Department of Natural Resources will benefit the State of Missouri by expanding our Department’s ability to balance a healthy environment with a healthy economy," Carol Comer, Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources said. “We look forward to focusing our efforts on an affordable and reliable energy strategy for the State of Missouri.”
“When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority,” Rob Dixon, Department of Economic Development Director said. “We saw that in the data. We see it in our agency, and with the support of thousands of Missourians across our state, we’re doing something about it. This is a historic moment, and we’re excited to move forward with the transition, knowing we have the support of our partners and legislators across the state.”
“We’re happy to officially welcome the Public Service Commission and the Office of Public Counsel to our department,” DIFP Director Chlora Lindley-Myers said. “As we become the newly named Department of Commerce and Insurance, we’ll continue to work diligently to protect the consumers of our state and provide a level playing field for the industries we regulate.”
“This change gives Missourians a resource for the full range of postsecondary options – from apprenticeships to certificates to doctoral programs,” Commissioner of Higher Education Zora Mulligan said. “This is consistent with national trends toward recognizing the value of shorter-term, lower-cost programs, and through this bold move Governor Parson will be positioning Missouri as a thought leader in this area.”