The Missouri Chamber Foundation has been awarded $6 million to expand apprenticeships in support of our state’s fast-growing technology industry.
This Industry Driven IT Apprenticeship Grant comes from the U.S. Department of Labor. On Feb. 18 the department announced 28 grants totaling nearly $100 million through the Apprenticeship: Closing the Skills Gap grant program. The $6 million awarded to the Missouri Chamber Foundation is one of only three public-private partnerships to be awarded maximum funding.
The funds will allow the Missouri Chamber Foundation to expand and promote the use of apprenticeships as a way to help grow the state’s technology talent pool. Over the next 4 years, nearly 5,300 apprenticeships will be developed across Missouri and beyond to address critical needs in computer programming, network support, cyber security and other IT/Technology shortage areas.
“We know that businesses across the state are struggling with workforce right now, with the technology industry being one of the areas hit the hardest. We need to do everything we can to make sure our state is poised to take advantage of the influx of technology jobs that are being created in Missouri,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We would like to thank the U.S. Department of Labor for investing $6 million in our state’s tech workforce. This funding is a gamechanger for Missouri’s tech industry. It will provide an important boost for our existing technology businesses and also help position our state globally as an attractive place for growth.”
The Missouri Chamber’s focus on apprenticeships is part of its Missouri 2030 strategic initiative. When creating the initiative, the Missouri Chamber hired Gallup to study the most important issues employers face. Workforce was identified as a leading challenge. The issue is especially severe in our state’s fast-growing tech industry. In 2018, the Missouri Chamber Foundation published the Technology 2030 Report, which projected Missouri to be among the top 10 states in tech job growth over the next five years.
The Missouri Chamber Foundation’s application for apprenticeship funding through the U.S. Department of Labor is an innovative approach to help tech companies find the workforce they need to grow in Missouri. The Missouri Chamber is also working closely with the State of Missouri to develop the Missouri Apprenticeship Connect service that will make it easier for businesses to share apprenticeship opportunities and find potential workers. Missouri Apprenticeship Connect is modeled after the successful Missouri Intern Connect service launched by the Missouri Chamber in 2019.
“The Missouri Chamber recognizes that workforce is a critical issue in our state and we are bringing innovative solutions to Missouri,” said Mehan. “We believe that apprenticeships are an important part of the solution and we look forward to utilizing this funding to help Missouri employers use apprenticeships to find the talented workers they need.”
Get involved: Contact Katie Kirwan, Missouri grant outreach and project manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (573) 634-3511.