More than half-a-million Missourians have lost their jobs in the wake of the COVID-19 health crisis. As the state works toward a strong recovery, Missouri lawmakers have passed legislation to help create more flexibility in the state’s workforce and enable greater career mobility.
House Bill 2046 has been sent to Gov. Mike Parson following final votes in the Missouri House of Representatives and Senate. The bill makes changes to the state’s occupational licensing laws, allowing skilled professionals who are already licensed in another state to come to Missouri and enter the workforce. In addition, the legislation enhances apprenticeships in the state by making it possible for apprentices to obtain industry licenses as part of an apprenticeship. Both of these provisions are included in Uniting for Recovery: A COVID-19 Economic Response Agenda, a plan created by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Another important component of the bill will help people with past criminal convictions who are seeking to reenter the workforce.
“In the aftermath of COVID-19, it is clear that flexibility is an advantage when it comes to workforce. While systematic shocks at the scale of what we are experiencing in 2020 will hopefully continue to be rare, Missouri must work to build a flexible, modern workforce training and licensing system to ensure workers can prosper and businesses have access to the skilled employees they need. This legislation is very timely for today’s challenges as we look to rebuild our economy and get Missourians back to work,” said Daniel P. Mehan, president and CEO of the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry. “We thank the Missouri General Assembly for continuing to prioritize workforce issues during this shortened legislative session.”
House Bill 2046 was sponsored by Rep. Derek Grier, a Republican from Chesterfield, and handled in the Senate by Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, a Republican from Jefferson City. Both are 2019 Missouri Business Champions.