East Central College is beginning its search for new leadership at its Center for Workforce (CWD) Development with the recent departure of the program’s executive director, Mardy Leathers.

The Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED) announced Leathers will be joining the Division of Workforce Development, effective Oct. 30, late last week.

Leathers played a key role in developing the statewide Community College Workforce Development Network and oversaw the EEC’s business and industry training efforts, community education and health care career certification program.

Leathers was hired at East Central in 2014 to lead the CWD. ECC President Dr. Jon Bauer said Leathers would be missed at East Central and lauded his significant work in developing the CWD program.

“We hate to see him leave because he’s done a good job at East Central, but I see why the state is interested in him because of that,” Bauer said.

Leathers said he is honored to be joining Gov. Eric Greitens’ workforce development team.

“I’m honored to be joining the team at such an exciting time,” Leathers said. “Having a skilled workforce is critical to growing our state’s economy, and I’m looking forward to working with the state’s businesses to develop programs that will meet their specific needs.”

At the department, Leathers will oversee the services that the state provides for businesses and job seekers through Missouri Job Centers and jobs.mo.gov. He also will work with a number of strategic partners to “skill-up” Missouri’s workforce to meet the ever-evolving needs of business and industry.

“Mardy has an extensive background in workforce development and organizational leadership. He is laser focused on connecting workforce programs with the needs of the business community,” Rob Dixon, Acting Director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, said. “He’s a tremendous leader and will be a great addition to our team.”

Bauer said the college has started advertising for a new executive director for the CWD program. He said the college hopes to fill the position as soon as possible.