February 23, 2024 Less than a minute read

Missouri Chamber backs expansion of Fast Track program

Proposed changes to a program supported by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry would allow more adults in the state to receive funding for postsecondary education and training.

HB 2278 is sponsored by Rep. Dane Diehl (R-Butler). If approved, beginning January 1, 2025, the bill would increase the maximum gross income for Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant eligibility from $80,000 to $100,000 for taxpayers who are married, filing jointly and from $40,000 to $50,000 for all other taxpayers. The amounts would be adjusted annually based on inflation.

“Put simply, this fix would allow more people to utilize the program,” Diehl explained to members of the House Workforce and Infrastructure Development Committee.

Lauren Mustoe of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce added that statistics from Ozarks Technical Community College, the largest user of the Fast Track program, showed that this change would allow 40,000 more Missourians (ages 25-54) to qualify for this important workforce development program.

The Fast Track Incentive Grant was championed by the Missouri Chamber and established by lawmakers in 2019. In 2022, legislators approved a change that allowed students to apply funding to an expanded list of training providers and registered apprenticeships as long as the programs are within the Office of Workforce Development’s Eligible Training Provider System.

Diehl said that 658 students utilized the program last year, up from 391 in 2022.

Kara Corches, vice president of governmental affairs for the Missouri Chamber, testified in favor of the proposed changes and talked about the success of Fast Track over the years. “This is a last dollar scholarship program. So that means federal aid is applied first before Fast Track funds and that’s a good government measure that’s put into this program.”

Corches also noted that the majority of those participating in Fast Track are women, with computer science and nursing programs most highly utilized.

For more information, contact Corches at kcorches@mochamber.com or (573) 634-3511. To learn more about Fast Track and the eligibility requirements, visit mofasttrack.com.


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