An innovative program spearheaded by the Missouri Chamber Foundation is helping the workforce keep pace with fast growth in the tech industry.
Since its inception in 2020, the Missouri Chamber Foundation’s Industry Driven IT Apprenticeship Grant has attracted 1,565 workers to apprenticeships at tech employers. The Missouri Chamber Foundation created the program after being awarded $6 million from the U.S. Department of Labor. The program is on track to create more than 5,300 tech apprenticeships in the coming years.
“Apprenticeships are a game-changer for Missouri’s workforce — especially in our fast-growing tech industry. At a time when employers across the country are struggling to find staff, our innovative program is showing how the apprenticeship model can be revolutionary for our workforce, training and upskilling workers in two years or less,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
The employers partnering in the Industry Driven IT Apprenticeship Grant program are Bitwise Industries, CyberUp, Cyderes, LaunchCode and Oracle Cerner. The program has been valuable to these employers, but the most significant impact is on the apprentices themselves.
More than 700 apprentices have completed the program to date. More than 95 percent were hired for permanent, full-time jobs with an annual average salary of $61,000. The program has also helped underserved populations access tech careers. More than 640 of the participating apprentices are people of color and 605 are women. The grant has funded 113 apprentices with disabilities and 40 veterans.
Overall, Missouri currently ranks third in the nation for completed apprenticeships, fourth for new apprentices and sixth in active apprentices, according to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.
In addition to the successful grant program, the Missouri Chamber has also been working to spur growth in apprenticeship in Missouri through the development of Missouri Apprentice Connect, a free service helps employers with registered apprenticeship programs find aspiring apprentices. In recent years, the Missouri Chamber has also championed legislation to help expand access to apprenticeship in Missouri via education savings accounts and state workforce training funds.