Missouri has more open jobs than unemployed workers, according to Lt. Gov. Mike Kehoe, but that doesn’t mean people aren’t still looking for new employment.

During a presentation at Continental Siding Supply in Independence, Kehoe on Tuesday described these individuals as “the under-employed,” those working at a job but seeking employment at a higher level.

“What we’ve found in Missouri is that we have a great work ethic and great people who are committed to working for companies,” he said. “But at some point in time either their career path changed and they’re an adult who needs to be retrained into a specific area … or they could be a young person who says, ‘I’m not really sure what to do.’”

The need to educate and train people for higher level jobs is a tenet of the “BuyMissouri!” initiative, which Kehoe was promoting. BuyMissouri, sometimes shortened to “BuyMO!,” was created by his office to promote Missouri-based businesses and products to other states. Continental Siding Supply was one of the latest to sign on to the initiative. In addition to listing participating companies on the BuyMissouri! website, the campaign is organizing future events such as trade shows to showcase participating companies.

According to Kehoe, cooperation between educational systems and local manufacturing or other types of business is key, helping trainees transition to local jobs easily. He gave the example of a welding company in Ozark, Mo., which was not eager to hire students graduating from a local welding program. By changing its practices to match the company’s preferred methods, Kehoe said the school saw more students enter local jobs from its program.

“Find out exactly what it is they have a need for and work with the neighboring educational institution,” Kehoe said. “The legislative effort has been to encourage that … to try and start helping youth and adults either get trained or retrained to meet the needs in our workforce.”

Businesses interested in taking part in the BuyMO! Initiative can sign up on its website, www.buymissouri.net.