Governor Mike Parson has appointed Leonard Toenjes, CAE, president of the Associated General Contractors of Missouri, to lead the Missouri Workforce Development Board. The board serves as an advisory council to the Governor and the Division of Workforce Development on employment and training needs of Missouri businesses.
Toenjes, who started his career as a journeyman carpenter, led the AGC of St. Louis from 1994 to 2015 when it merged with AGC of Missouri to become the state’s largest commercial building and highway construction industry association. Under his leadership both organizations have hit numerous milestones, including AGC of St. Louis being named Chapter of the Year twice, in 2000 and 2006, by AGC of America and winning numerous national awards. Last September, AGC of America honored the Missouri Chapter with the AGC of America Workforce Development Award, presented at the National Chapter Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. In both 2019 and 2020, AGCMO also received that organization’s national Diversity & Inclusion Excellence Award for being champions in advancing diversity and fostering a culture of inclusion within their workforce, supply chain and in the communities they serve.
“Workforce development is at the heart of what we do,” said Toenjes. “Missouri’s hospitality, retail and not-for-profit sectors have been hit particularly hard by the pandemic. Missouri’s entire workforce system is in a state of flux as it transforms to a new service model. Delivering training and services online is a top priority. At the same time, a large portion of Missouri’s workforce needs to be re-trained quickly to fill future job needs. The jobs will be there, but we need to re-tool in order to get the right people on the bus.”
Toenjes, who attended University of Missouri-St. Louis, believes the state’s public universities, community colleges and trade schools will play a key role in the state’s future economic vitality. “Our association and member contractors have had good success working with educational institutions around the state to accelerate construction training and have successfully doubled the number of AGCMO student chapters. Working together, government, education, industry and business can help meet the workforce challenge, but it takes innovation and flexibility from all parties. I look forward to helping to play a role in building a system that will work for everyone.”
AGCMO is the leading voice of the construction industry in Missouri, representing over 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms in 110 counties throughout Missouri. www.agcmo.org