Serving as a non-profit organization sponsored and supported by the Missouri AFL-CIO, the Missouri Works Initiative is strategically positioned to address the state’s changing workforce needs, whether those needs are:

  • Creating healthy and recovery friendly workplaces
  • Connecting laid off workers with job-search or upskilling resources for future employment
  • Or collaborating with community partners to offer innovative points of entry to traditional apprenticeship opportunities.

Our expert team, network of labor professionals, and community-based organizations stand ready to work toward the shared goal of creating economic opportunities for all Missourians.

Missouri Works Initiative program coordinators

Our programs include:


Jake Hummel

Jake Hummel

Reginald Thomas

Reginald Thomas

Vice President
Merri Berry

Merri Berry



Greta Bax

Greta Bax

Executive Director


BA – Drury University 2010, Master of Public Affairs – University of Missouri 2017, Juris Doctor – University of Missouri 2020, in good standing with the Missouri Bar


Missouri State Workforce Development Board

I am proud to be a team member of the Missouri Works Initiative because when we work together, we can identify and address the challenges faced by Missouri’s working families to create a more inclusive workforce that provides a variety of entry-points for life-sustaining careers.

Amy Phillips

Amy Phillips

Operations Coordinator

Education: Bachelor of Arts in English from Truman State University and a Secondary Education teaching certification from the University of Missouri – St. Louis.

Amy previously served as a coordinator for the MO AFL-CIO Dislocated Worker Program, a Labor Liaison for the United Way of Greater St. Louis, and an assistant at the St. Louis Labor Council, AFL-CIO.

Amy Phillips is proud to be a team member of the Missouri Works Initiative where collaboration with community partners creates real change and significant opportunities for individuals.
Dr. John S Gaal

Dr. John S Gaal

Worker Wellness Director

Industry Credentials:

MO Certified Community Health Worker
CHW Certificate – Mental & Behavioral Health
MO Certified Peer Specialist
QPR Suicide Prevention Trainer
NWI Certified Wellness Practitioner & Trainer

I am proud to be a team member of the Missouri Works Initiative because together we can assist workers across Missouri address the need to develop work-life balance. In an “always on” technology-driven economy, one must be able to access and understand their organization’s wellness program in order to personalize a well-being routine that focuses on the mind, body, and spirit.


Post-Doctoral Project – Harvard University (Trade Union Leadership)
Doctor of Education – Organizational Leadership
BT – Architecture
AAS – Construction Management

Professional Experience:

Consultant / Researcher / Author
University Professor
Fulbright Specialist Scholar (Tokyo & Toronto)
Former Director of Training & Workforce Development (STL-KC Carpenters RC)
Journey-level Carpenter (US-DOL)

Jim Kolve

Jim Kolve

Dislocated Worker - Statewide Coordinator


Bachelor’s degree, Missouri Valley College

I am proud to be a team member of the Missouri Works Initiative because when someone loses a job, there is no replacement for providing one-on-one assistance to connect a laid off worker to the necessary resources to either get back to work or find available training opportunities through the state’s network of American Job Centers.

Pat Dolan

Pat Dolan

BUD STL Program Facilitator

DOL Approved United Association of Pipe Trades Apprenticeship Program and 47-year member of Sprinkler-fitters Local 268, having served as an apprenticeship coordinator with the Missouri AFL-CIO and a BUD Facilitator since the program’s inception in 2014

I am proud to be part of an outstanding, innovative program that has evolved into one of the premier life-changing career-building opportunities in Missouri and the nation. It is extremely humbling and rewarding to witness the unparalleled success of BUD graduates securing life-sustaining careers in the construction trades.

Rudy Chavez

Rudy Chavez

Missouri Apprentice Ready - Kansas City Coordinator

Rudy Chavez completed the Kansas City Electrical Joint Apprenticeship sponsored by IBEW Local 124 & NECA in 1989. Since that time he has performed in the field as a journeyman, foreman, and union steward. During the past 20 years has served as an officer, trustee, and business representative. He has more than 14 years of experience serving on the electrical apprenticeship committee where he advocated for building diversity within the apprenticeship. His wife Jennifer, now retired, completed the Kansas City Electrical Joint Apprenticeship in 1989.

Aurora Bihler

Aurora Bihler

Building Union Diversity - St. Louis Coordinator

Aurora Bihler is a journeyman Ironworker and serves as an officer on the Examining Committee of Local 396. Aurora has been involved in many labor organizations such as St. Louis City Labor Legislative Club, the Missouri Democratic Party Labor Caucus, and Missouri Women in Trades. In her spare time, she enjoys playing pinball, vermiculture, and gardening.

Education –
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Sculpture – Southern Illinois University
Construction Industry Credentials –
Journeyman Ironworker
Welding Certifications: SMAW-A1; A7-n; FCAW-S B1a, B6a, C2
Safety credentials: OSHA Sub-Part R, OSHA 10, 30, & 510; Scaffold Erector/Dismantler, Crane Signaling/Rigging
Austin Fox

Austin Fox

Missouri Apprentice Ready - Springfield Coordinator

Education: Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education from Drury University- Masters in Educational Administration from William Woods.

I am a proud member of the Missouri Works Initiative because I enjoy connecting workers in Missouri with life-changing career opportunities. We address the needs of all Missourians in the workforce and continue to build a diverse and prosperous workforce in the construction industry. It is rewarding to witness people have success through an opportunity and that is what Missouri Works Initiative is achieving.