February 22, 2023 2 min read

Legislators look to grow number of internships and apprenticeships in Missouri

Missouri lawmakers are considering a bill that would offer businesses an incentive to create new internship and apprenticeship opportunities.

HB 1038, sponsored by Rep. Brad Christ (R-St. Louis County), creates the Intern and Apprentice Recruitment Act. This would allow businesses to claim a tax credit for new interns or apprentices hired. Businesses would only be able to claim the tax credit for interns or apprentices hired in addition to the company’s historic average number of interns or apprentices.

During a hearing in the House Economic Development Committee, Rep. Christ said there is currently an internship gap in Missouri that this proposal would address.

“We have tremendous universities in our state that create a strong pipeline of in- and out-of-state undergraduates,” Christ said. “However, we are a net exporter of many undergraduates. The data shows we lose roughly 20,000 every year out of state from those universities. The top two metros, St. Louis and Kansas City, have lower internship participation rates than our surrounding competitive Midwestern peers.”

Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber, said the legislation is a vital tool in encouraging both large and small business to consider offering internships and apprenticeships.

“We need all the tools in our toolbox when it comes to our workforce issues, and we think that incentivizing more internships and apprenticeships is a really good thing,” Corches said. “When we look at our declining birth rate – and we’re not seeing millions of people move into Missouri – we need to hopefully capture students and apprentices and keep them here in the state.”

While Missouri has an internship gap, Christ said, the state already has strong apprenticeship programs that he’d like to double down on. Missouri ranks among the top 10 states in several apprenticeship categories, including completed apprenticeships and new apprentices.

“As more businesses turn to apprenticeship models, we think the state should continue that momentum and leadership in apprenticeship development,” said Adam Kazda, director of government relations for Greater St. Louis, Inc.

Several companies, such as Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, also testified in support of the legislation.

A companion bill, SB 637, is sponsored by Sen. Nick Schroer (R-St. Charles County) in the Senate.

For more information, contact Corches at kcorches@mochamber.com.


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