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Bill would give Missouri adults chance to earn high school diploma, open door to more job opportunities

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A new adult workforce diploma program could become part of the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education’s toolbox with a bill proposed by Rep. Jon Patterson.

A House committee held the initial hearing for the legislation, House Bill 2325, on Jan. 24.

“What this bill seeks to do is provide an avenue for them to again go back and attain that high school diploma so that they can have a chance at having a better job or getting a raise, maybe even getting employer-sponsored health care and just improving their work prospects,” explained Rep. Patterson, a Republican from Lee’s Summit.

The Missouri Chamber went on the record in support.

“We know that we need to do everything we can to upskill all available Missourians right now,” said Kara Corches, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs. “We don’t have a huge population boom coming into the state, so we need to be making the most use of every single Missourian available and we think this program is another way to train our workforce.”

A multi-faceted workforce development approach, including programs like this, is needed to truly address Missouri’s workforce skills gap.

“We specifically appreciate all of the various short-term stackable credentials that are enacted within this legislation because we know that a lot of times, people just need to have a short-term credential to get skilled up for a certain job — whether that’s computer skills or whether that’s some hands-on training,” said Corches.

For more information, contact Corches at kcorches@mochamber.com or 573-634-3511.

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