February 8, 2023 Less than a minute read

Lawmakers look to ensure Missouri’s energy industry has necessary workforce

Missouri legislators are considering a plan to support the training and education of the next generation of utility workers.

On Feb. 7, 2023, the Senate Commerce, Consumer Protection, Energy and the Environment Committee held a hearing on SB 140, sponsored by Sen. Jason Bean (R-Holcomb). The bill would allow electric and gas companies to recover a portion of workforce development investments made over the next decade.

“Our nation is experiencing a labor shortage. With Baby Boomers retiring and not enough young workers ready to take their place, it is more important than ever to educate the next generation of utility workers,” Bean said. “Our infrastructure relies on these jobs, so we must use every tool available to enhance training, skill building and local opportunities for those entering the workforce.”

The Missouri Chamber’s commitment to workforce development extends beyond legislative support. Through initiatives like the Chamber Benefit Plan, we also aim to ensure that businesses across Missouri can offer their employees essential health benefits, contributing to a healthier, more productive workforce. The bill would benefit companies like Ameren Missouri, which currently has three skilled craft pipeline programs.

“When we look at this bill, this would provide the resources that would allow the energy companies across the state to expand, synergize and build upon the work that we’re all doing on our own and come together to help Missourians with the workforce that we’re going to be needing for skilled trades in the future,” said Kimberly Erskine, manager of workforce development strategic partnerships at Ameren.

Heidi Geisbuhler Sutherland, director of legislative affairs for the Missouri Chamber, also testified in support of the bill at its hearing.

“We know it is essential to have a skilled workforce to build and maintain our utility infrastructure, and that in itself is essential for businesses to run throughout the state,” Sutherland said.

A companion bill, HB 874, is being sponsored by Rep. Doyle Justus (R-Troy) in the House.

For more information, contact Sutherland at hsutherland@mochamber.com or 573-634-3511.


Related Resources