COOPER COUNTY – Central Missouri Community Action conducted their Cooper County Community Conversation at the Isle of Capri Casino-Hotel on Tuesday, February 7. This conversation is a piece of their 2017 Community Needs Assessment process and was facilitated by Angela Hirsch, CMCA's Chief Program Officer and Evan Melkersman, CMCA's Cooper/Howard Community Organizer.

These conversations are taking place throughout CMCA's service region during the month's of February and March.  The feedback gathered through these community conversations will help shape CMCA priorities for the next three years.  

“The conversation was attended by 22 community members and the discussion was great,” Melkersman stated.

During the conversation, the participants were asked a series of three questions and discussed answers to each. They then worked together to select the top three answers to two out of three questions. The last question offered the participants to provided CMCA with suggestions of what the agency can do to address these issues and/or support these opportunities.

"I would like to sincerely thank everyone who participated in the conversation and thank you to the Isle of Capri for hosting,” Melkersman stated.

What are the top three issues surrounding the causes and conditions of poverty in Cooper County?

Low-wage jobs

Loss of manufacturing jobs

Healthcare costs

What are the top three strengths or opportunities that exist to address the causes and conditions of poverty in Cooper County?

Educational system

Service entities

Economic Development

What should CMCA’s role be in addressing these issues and/or supporting these opportunities in Cooper County?

Develop resource guide


Address stigma associated with poverty

Information distribution at schools

Coordinating the resources available in the community

One stop/first stop

Encouraging entrepreneurs/business training


Reach out to other communities in the county