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Opinion: Benefits of higher education found in refinement, earning potential

Evangel University president Mike Rakes: "Every student deserves the opportunity to experience the blacksmithing of a degree journey. This will equip them with the vocational and life skills necessary to enter their chosen career field ready to be innovative and compassionate leaders."

Amber Howard and Pam Hedgepeth: "While (competency-based learning) started with the intention to reimagine and redefine the testing and accountability systems within our schools, the benefits to this approach to business and beyond are vast."

Custom Creations Landscaping & Lawn owner Kevin Runyon: "By combining the artistic vision with practical demands, a qualified landscape contractor can ensure that the beauty and functionality envisioned on paper are fully realized."

Throughline Architecture owner Layne Hunton: "Whether it’s through the use of traditional vernacular, emphasizing the unique characteristics or incorporating modern techniques with materials derived from historic uses, Ozarks architecture will continue to evolve while hopefully remaining rooted with a firm cultural commitment."

Spencer Fane attorney Ben Shantz: "Business owners must be certain that they protect themselves through good contract drafting and stay informed about changes in Missouri law."

Certified financial planner Kenny Gott suggests building survivors' guide.

Columnist Paula Dougherty: "Like many aspects of divorce, managing your finances after splitting up with your spouse can feel complicated and overwhelming."

Mostly Serious LLC's Sarah Nenninger: "The digital world is changing at a rapid pace. So, what does it mean for you? Stay aware of the trends and evolve as needed, but keep in mind the reason you do what you do: your customers."

Consultant and author Marlene Chism: "When long-term employees tell you they’re leaving for higher pay or career advancement, take a 20,000-foot view of the culture, department by department, to see if there is avoidance, disruption and unresolved conflicts contributing to unwanted turnover."

People Centric Consulting Group CEO Don Harkey: "There are a lot of complex issues to be solved in the health care arena, but it’s important to not take our eyes off the people."

FORVIS LLP's Dan Prater: "Although the organizations differ in size and purpose, nearly all of them share a similar struggle: finding enough employees to fill critical positions."

Habitat Communication and Culture's Paige Oxendine: "Our entire community is enmeshed with our nonprofit sector. These organizations and their leaders need support as they adapt and innovate."

People Centric Consulting Group owner Don Harkey: "Treat your people like they will be successful, and most will be. It’s too hard to truly develop a workforce if you dislike the people you are developing."

Springfield Economic Vitality Director Amanda Ohlensehlen: "The vision of Forward SGF is aspirational and demonstrates the impressive inventory of natural and cultural assets that are prevalent in our region."

Certified financial planner Kenny Gott: "You don’t need to outguess the stock market for it to grow your money."

Attorney Andy Peebles: "Choosing the right trustee is a critical decision in the establishment and administration of a trust."

Attorney Stephen F. Aton: "Each situation is different and can only be evaluated as part of an overall plan for your estate."

Springfield Contractors Association's Megan Herzog: "While the importance of preparing physically for extreme weather is important, contractors are responsible to find ways to focus on employees and project deadlines. Weather days are expected in the industry, but contractors must make a point to put employees first."

Campaignium's Ryan Simmons: "The imminent arrival of SGE represents not just a challenge but an opportunity – to refine our SEO strategies, embrace new technologies and prepare for a future where AI is integral in how we search for information online."

Springfield Sports Commission Executive Director Lance Kettering: "Promoting a city or region as a destination for sports requires commitment, consistency and intentional marketing. By investing in these areas and building upon relationships in the sports industry, Springfield can be most successful in being a top destination for sports."

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