The COVID-19 health crisis has left 450,000 Missourians out of work and created significant new challenges for employers seeking to reopen their doors. In an effort to aid this recovery, the Missouri Senate has passed an important bill to help create more flexibility in the state’s workforce and provide greater career mobility.
House Bill 2046 is sponsored by Rep. Derek Grier, a Republican from Chesterfield, and handled in the Senate by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, both 2019 Missouri Business Champions. As amended and passed by the Senate, the bill makes changes to the state’s occupational licensing laws, allowing skilled professionals who are already licensed in another state to come to Missouri enter the workforce. In addition, the legislation would enhance apprenticeships in the state by making it possible for apprentices to obtain industry licenses as part of an apprenticeship. Both of these provisions are included in Uniting for Recovery: A COVID-19 Economic Response Agenda, a plan created by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Another important component of the bill will help people with past criminal convictions who are seeking to reenter the workforce.
While these provisions were originally proposed as ways to help fill the workforce shortage that was present in the state before the COVID-19 crisis, they remain very important as the state seeks to recover and get Missourians back to work.
“We believe that Missourians are ready to return to work. We also know that businesses across the state are establishing new safety practices as they prepare to resume operations in the near future. But even as the recovery nears, we can’t ignore the soaring unemployment numbers. We must be realistic that not every job will immediately return looking exactly like it was before. With this in mind, the Missouri General Assembly is wise to pass legislation that will help build more flexibility and career mobility into our state’s workforce. We thank the Missouri Senate for prioritizing this bill and we urge the Missouri House to send it to Gov. Mike Parson,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry.