Apprenticeships are booming in Missouri as a vital tool to help build a strong workforce while preparing displaced and underemployed workers for hard-to-fill tech jobs. Missouri employers shared this message with US Secretary of Labor Eugene Scalia during a roundtable discussion in St. Louis on Oct. 29.
Several of Missouri’s leading technology companies — including Cerner, World Wide Technology, Jack Henry, Fishtech and CyberUp — are part of a $6 million tech apprenticeship grant awarded to the Missouri Chamber Foundation by the US Department of Labor. The funding helps expand and promote the use of apprenticeships to grow the state’s technology talent pool and upskill displaced workers. Over the next 4 years, nearly 5,300 apprenticeships will be developed across Missouri and beyond to address critical needs in computer programming, network support, cyber security and other IT/Technology shortage areas.
“We know that businesses across the state are struggling with workforce right now. Today’s talent gap is especially concerning for businesses in our state’s fast-growing technology industry. We need to do everything we can to make sure our state is poised to take advantage of the influx of technology jobs that are being created in Missouri,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who took part in the Roundtable. “We would like to thank the U.S. Department of Labor for investing $6 million in our state’s tech workforce. This funding is a gamechanger for Missouri’s tech industry. It will provide an important boost for our existing technology businesses and also help position our state globally as an attractive place for growth.”
A key employer partner in the grant is CyberUp. Executive Director Tony Bryan attended the Roundtable and discussed the work his organization is doing to advance apprenticeships in cybersecurity.
“CyberUp is honored to be part of the team who brought $6 million dollars to the State of Missouri to expand the availability of careers and training in cybersecurity. We have an opportunity to make the state a national leader in apprenticeship. Thank you to the DOL for their belief in our work,” Bryan said.
According to the Missouri Chamber Foundation’s Technology 2030 Report, Missouri is projected to be among the top 10 states in tech job growth over the next five years. In order to meet the demand, Missouri will need support innovative ways to help employers find the talented workers they need. Part of the grant focuses on improving reach into underserved populations and military veterans.
Expanding apprenticeship programs was an important topic during the roundtable. Secretary Scalia also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the region’s economy with business leaders during the Roundtable.