February 1, 2023 Less than a minute read

Missouri Chamber testifies in favor of training fund bill

A bill that the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry has deemed “critical to give employers more tools to build and retain a skilled workforce” recently had its first hearing before a House committee at the Capitol in Jefferson City.

HB 417, sponsored by Rep. Mike Henderson (R-Bonne Terre), would create a short-term upskill credentialing program. This is a grant program – not a tax credit – that would reimburse employers who help their employees earn short-term upskilling credentials in vital areas for Missouri’s economy – technology and health care.

During a hearing before the House Special Committee on Small Business, Henderson said some examples of short-term credentials that could likely be eligible in this program include manufacturing technology, cybersecurity, blueprint reading, medical assistants, pharmacy technician and medical records coding.

“The employee gets higher wages, and the employer gets upskill credentials,” Henderson told the committee. “We look at the economic distress of a qualifying employer’s region, so if we have a region that’s really struggling, we’re going to try and work with them first.”

Missouri Chamber Vice President of Governmental Affairs Kara Corches said, “We know that we do not have millions of new residents moving into Missouri annually. As of December 2022, Missouri had 67,000 online job postings, and health care and technology are among the most prevalent job postings. If we aren’t increasing our state’s population, we must focus on upskilling the workforce we have today to build our own talent.”

Joining the Missouri Chamber in support of HB 417 was Columbia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Matt McCormick. He told the committee that their members have said there has to be growth of skilled labor in their area.

“It’s not simply a matter of finding people willing to work. There is a gap between the available labor force and the skills necessary to perform in-demand jobs,” McCormick said.

The Missouri Chamber is also supporting the companion bill in the Senate, SB 53, sponsored by Sen. Karla Eslinger (R-Wasola).

For more information, contact Corches at kcorches@mochamber.org or call (573) 634-3511.

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