Business Notebook: High school seniors make educational, career decisions

May 1 is the traditional date by which most high school seniors are asked to notify a college of their plans to enroll and so the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development has created a program called "Decision Day" to mark the occasion.

Decision Day events activities take place on or near the beginning of May and celebrate plans of high school seniors to continue their education, serve in the military or enter the work force.

Zora Mulligan

"This year, more than ever, it is important to celebrate the accomplishments of our high school seniors," commented Zora Mulligan, Missouri's commissioner of higher education, in a statement Friday from the state's Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development. "We want students to know that even in these uncertain times they should continue to explore their options for further education and training."

Mulligan said Decision Day helps high school seniors understand their options and take steps to make informed decisions about their futures.

"Decision Day is really a jumping off point for students to take steps to figure out what's next for them," she said. "We want Missourians to understand all of their options, whether it's an apprenticeship or work-based learning program, associate degree, bachelor's degree or beyond, there is value in all forms of education and great jobs at every education level."

Decision Day was inspired by the NCAA's National Signing Day, when student athletes sign letters of intent to play college sports. Missouri launched its Decision Day program in 2016.

Students are encouraged to announce their plans throughout the summer via social media using #MODecisionDay.

SEMO starting new programs in child care, child development

Southeast Missouri State University has announced the launch of two new online degree programs starting this summer for students interested in advancing their education in child care and child development.

The degree programs, an Associate of Arts in child care and guidance and a Bachelor of Science in family studies with a child development option, will provide a pathway for students to earn a credential in as little as two years while continuing their education at Southeast toward a bachelor's degree.

The programs are designed for those who work with young children, those already working in child care centers and those who cannot complete a degree program on campus.

More information is available by contacting Chelsea McNeely, director of Southeast Online, at or (573) 651-2766.

Walmart reaches hiring goal, issues pay bonuses

Walmart has reportedly reached its goal of hiring 200,000 new associates nationwide over the past month and a half, including 6,300 new employees in Missouri.

According to an email last week sent on behalf of Walmart by The Hauser Group in St. Louis, the retailer's hiring initiative was aimed at providing jobs and helping Walmart better serve its customers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the jobs are temporary and serve as a "bridge for Missourians to get through this difficult time, while others will convert to permanent roles," the email stated.

In addition to the hiring announcement, it has been reported Walmart associates in Missouri received bonuses totaling $4.15 million in their paychecks last week.

Nationwide, Walmart issued $180 million in bonuses to its employees last week. When combined with $365 million announced in early April, the company has committed close to $$550 million in bonus payouts in recent weeks.

Banterra cap sales benefit veterans

Banterra Bank, which has a branch on North Kingshighway in Cape Girardeau, is helping This Able Veteran (TAV) during May and June by promoting and selling TAV ball caps at its 40 branches throughout Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky and Indiana.

Founded in 2011, TAV is dedicated to helping veterans who suffer from psychological and physical injuries as a result of their service. The program teaches trauma recovery skills and provides a specially-trained service dog as a working partner.

This is the sixth year Banterra Bank has selected This Able Veteran for a company-wide campaign beneficiary. Over those years, the bank has raised more than $60,000 toward the cause.

People on the Move

Cheryl Ellis

Cheryl Ellis has joined the staff of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce as the organization's executive assistant.

Ellis has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and customer relationship development and has a background in event planning and fundraising. Among the events she has organized has been an American Cancer Society Gala at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport that raised more than $150,000 and had record attendance. She worked 15 years for the Southeast Missourian, and during that time, she created the award-winning Southeast Missourian Jr., was part of the team that developed Flourish magazine and was responsible for numerous advertising projects.

She has been involved in several community organizations and currently serves on the SALT (Seniors and Lawmen Together) coalition.

Award and recognitions

Southeast Missouri State University has recognized a faculty member and an academic adviser with the university's third annual Outstanding Academic Advisor Awards.

Slavica Kodish

Slavica Kodish, an associate professor of communication studies and director of internships in the university's Department of Communication Studies and Modern Languages, was nominated by students on the basis of her support, encouragement and dedication to their academic and personal success.

Dana Daniel

Dana Daniel, a member of the university's academic adviser staff, was also nominated by a student for what she described as Daniel's hard work, care and determination to provide the best guidance through her academic journey at Southeast.

Kodish and Daniel, both of whom have achieved the Master Advisor designation at Southeast, were selected from among 51 Southeast faculty and staff members who were nominated during the fall semester by students, faculty and staff. Southeast plans to nominate Kodish and Daniel for the National Academic Advising Association's Outstanding Advising Award.

Chamber notes

Although Missouri will still only be in the first phase of its "Show Me Strong Recovery" campaign by then, the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce plans to move forward with its 28th annual golf tournament set for May 29.

According to a social media post Friday, the Jackson chamber and Kimbeland Country Club will be able to meet all social distancing guidelines for the event, although special arrangements will be made for the tournament's lunch and registration process.

All proceeds from the tournament will go toward COVID-19 relief efforts.

For more information about the event, contact the Jackson chamber, (573) 243-8131.

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