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NEMO community celebrates 'Work Ready' distinction

Knox County, Mo. is awarded the ACT 'Work Ready' distinction.

A northeast Missouri community works to keep its residents and attract new ones.

Knox County, Missouri hopes to spark new economic development through a group called Grow Knox County.

And now that organization has a new distinction to help make that possible.

Two of the Grow Knox County founders tell KHQA that the community's population is quickly shrinking.

What was once a community of nearly 14,000, has declined to about 4,000.

That's where the organization Grow Knox County comes in.

Edina Resident Leslie Cardwell helped found Grow Knox County.

"We're tired of seeing all of our young people feel like they have to leave to find meaningful employment and that the opportunities are not here to stay," said Cardwell.

The nonprofit organization meets regularly to think of ways to attract more people and business to the area.

Wednesday night's meeting was especially important--the county received a 'work ready community' distinction.

Knox County High School Principal Brian Brown says students and members of the workforce were tested in three categories to analyze their workforce readiness.

"It really allows us to show off the skills of our workforce within a county. So when businesses are looking to expand or relocate to Knox County, the first thing they'll look out is what kind of workforce that community or that county has," said Brown.

"I think this shows the business world that Knox County has been prepared. We're doing what we need to do. We've got our education system on board," said State Rep. Craig Redmon of Missouri’s 4th District.

"We want to create the opportunity for young people to stay here and raise their families here," Cardwell said.

Knox County will hold its 'Work Ready' distinction for two years.

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