photo courtesy of MSU-WP

Cressman joins MSU-WP workforce development office as assistant director

Local resident Trevor Cressman has a passion to help people achieve their dreams and goals, and he plans to put that passion into action as the new assistant director of workforce development at Missouri State University-West Plains (MSU-WP).
"I love this town and I love this area," he said. "I want to see the people of this area succeed and I am determined to make that happen!"
Cressman, whose first day on the job was July 17, spent the past five years as a science and Project Lead the Way teacher at Howell Valley School. Prior to that, he worked five years as the youth pastor and media director at Genesis Church in West Plains. He believes the skills he developed in both positions will help him in his new job at MSU-WP.
"I began my professional career working at Genesis Church. During this time, I became familiar with many different types of technology, including sound, lighting, video, graphic design and IT technologies. During my time as a science teacher, I earned certifications in many STEM areas including robotics, 3D design and modeling, and app creators through the Project Lead the Way Program," he explained.
"I have experience in many of the technical skills that will be necessary to teach and enhance the programs offered through the Workforce Development Department," he added. "This includes knowledge of IT, Adobe and Microsoft Suites, 3D modeling and printing, and many other creative technologies. I also have experience in public speaking, marketing, social media management, and brand creation and management."
These skills will be invaluable as MSU-WP expands education and training opportunities through the Workforce Development Department.
"I want the department to become synonymous with career and technical training in this area," the MSU-WP alumnus said. "I believe this region has needed high-quality professional development in blue collar career fields for years now, and I am excited to help make that happen.
"I also want to help create a Makerspace that becomes the hub for innovation and creative engineering in the southwest Missouri region," he added. "This facility is and should be a center for everyone in the community, not just students at Missouri State-West Plains, to problem-solve, create and engineer anything they can imagine. I want to be able to train and assist people in making things out of metal, wood, plastics and textiles, and I think we can do this with a very high level of excellence."
Cressman says the future of higher education lies in career and technical programs like those offered through MSU-WP's Workforce Development Department.
"There is an influx of students with high-level degrees and not enough good-paying jobs to match. However, there is an entire generation of workers who are reaching retirement age that are vacating careers in the trades. Careers like plumbing, electrical, HVAC, welding, mechanical engineering and more are widely needed, and not enough people are pursuing them. I believe higher education has the opportunity to uniquely meet that need by providing close-to-home and high-quality technical education that can get people into well-paying and needed careers in their communities," he explained.
MSU-WP can best meet those needs by working in concert with businesses and industries in the area to identify the specific skill sets employees need to fill their open positions, Cressman said. "Once we identify those needs, then we can develop the programs and training necessary to prepare those workers to fill those jobs," he explained.
Cressman said he is excited to get to work and help the people of this region and beyond develop the skills needed for fulfilling careers. "For too long, we have seen many of the young workforce in our area leave to find better opportunities and training in other towns and regions. I believe that we can and should begin providing those opportunities here so we can begin developing the next generation of workers in southern Missouri," he said.
Sheila Barton, director of workforce development at MSU-WP, says she is thrilled to welcome Cressman to the team and is looking forward to taking the Workforce Development Department to new heights in educating and training the area's workforce.
"Trevor's background, education and personality certainly fits well with our goals of the department," she said. "He will be an integral part of our efforts to continue our missions and vision of providing a collaborative environment for industry, workforce, civic and educational partners to find real solutions, stimulate innovation and create opportunities for economic, community and personal growth."
For more information about MSU-WP's Workforce Development Department, contact Barton or Cressman at 417-255-7784 or visit
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