“Highlights with Hegeman” for the Week of July 18: Focusing on Workforce Development

Missouri is set to have a new law in place to help employers find and retain the best people for the job. Unfortunately, Missouri continues to see workforce shortages statewide. According to the Missouri Workforce Employer Survey Report, the largest shortages statewide continue to be in skilled trades, patient care, manufacturing and maintenance. One of the primary reasons is the inability to find those with the expertise necessary to do the job.

Employers continue to face a variety of barriers to expanding employment. The largest barrier to expanding employment continues to be a shortage of workers with knowledge and skills, with nearly one-half of employers stating it is a challenge. In order for Missouri to meet the workforce and economic needs of today and the future, it must have Missourians with the skills necessary to fill its high demand occupation areas.

There were more than 96,000 new online job postings in Missouri in June 2022. Four of the top five advertised occupations are in fields that can be served by the Fast Track Incentive Grant program, including nursing, software development, computer occupations and management. In Missouri, approximately 500,000 adults who earn less than $40,000 have some college and no degree. Fast Track is an opportunity for them to pick up where they left off and remove the financial burden that might be standing in the way.

Senate Bill 672 will allow eligible individuals who are participating in an apprenticeship to have education-related costs covered, which will remove a potential financial barrier; expand the program to a new population of adults who are participating in high-demand occupation training programs; continue to ensure that Fast Track participants are committed to Missouri with at least a two-year residency requirement; and extend the program’s sunset requirement to allow future Legislatures to assess its impact to ensure taxpayer dollars are well-invested, or extend the life of the program to provide confidence in its longevity for prospective participants.

As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is dan.hegeman@senate.mo.gov and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.

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