SPRINGFIELD – Baby Boomers are retiring at an increasingly higher rate each year, and as they stop working, it has caused a ripple effect of gaps in the workforce.
An emphasis on the employment rate is always one of the factors of a thriving nation. Yet as the United States moves into a new era of technology and society, a new issue regarding employment has risen. It’s something Ryan Mooney, with the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, has kept his eye on for some time. 

“There are a significant number of people leaving the workforce, just by the makeup of generations falling into the workforce, there aren’t many people,” Mooney says. “(There’s) Not enough to fill the vacancies that our economy is creating.”

Specialized jobs are left open now, as a Baby Boomers continue to retire. It’s an issue that has been recognized not just in Springfield, but throughout the nation. Governor Mike Parson is trying to help influence Missouri citizens to take specialized education courses.

“We’re trying to figure how do we give them skills they need to be successful in high demand jobs,” Parson says.

“We’re seeing all industries suffering from a lack of available workers and that’s not specific to Springfield, its national,” Mooney explains.

The nursing industry noticed this trend years ago, and there are fears that the situation will get worse before it gets better. Celeste Cramer works with recruitment and retention at CoxHealth, and says the remedies to try and fix this are continually changing. 

“Our overall recruiting strategy evolves on a daily basis, depending on what’s happening with the daily market,” Cramer says. “One of the things that we’re the most passionate about, is growing talent locally. We work with a lot of different colleges to help expand programs. Recently, Missouri State has changed, and is expanding its nursing program. Cox College is almost doubling their capacity in nursing students. So we think that will have a big impact on ability to fill those positions.”

“It’s not all about ‘finish your education and get a job’, it’s more a process about how you can continually learn, and changing your skills,” Mooney says.

Hannah Reilly is a specific example of this situation. She’s in her fourth semester in Cox College’s nursing program. For her, it’s a career path she’s always wanted to follow, but understands the need that is required. 

“People are living longer,” Reilly says. “We are able to cure and treat diseases that ten or 20 years ago, we couldn’t manage. So people are living longer and healthier, so I would say it’s even more important now that we have the nurses to support that. It’s a little daunting that there is a shortage because that can impact some of the patient care, or being able to provide the best patient care that we can.”