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Heather Hardinger joined CAEL’s Workforce and Economic Development Team in 2020. Her background spans the public and nonprofit sectors, from city government to politics to community affairs.
Hardinger previously was a workforce strategist for an economic development agency at a Chamber of Commerce where she specialized in implementing workforce development and talent attraction strategy, advocacy for the development of affordable workforce housing, and served as a community advisor on equity, diversity, and inclusive policies. She also has experience coordinating employer collaboratives for a regional workforce board and developing talent pipelines for major employers through higher education partnerships in mainland U.S., Puerto Rico and around the globe.
A Springfield, Missouri resident, Hardinger is active in her local community where she often speaks to various groups on diversity, equity & inclusion, workforce and pay equity, economic and social justice, and multigenerational trends. She was appointed by the governor of Missouri to the Census 2020 Complete Count Committee and also serves as vice chair of the board of directors with Bread for the World, a Washington, D.C.-based organization dedicated to advocating for a world without hunger.
Hardinger holds a bachelor’s degree in International/Multicultural Studies from Evangel University and a master’s in Political Science with an emphasis on Public Policy. She also has completed coursework in various economic development concentrations from The University of Oklahoma’s Economic Development Institute (OUEDI).