Missouri Business Headlines

Bridging the gap between business and education

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Business professionals who want to share their knowledge in Missouri classrooms today face a lengthy, costly teacher certification process.

However, legislation sponsored by Rep. Kathy Swan, a Republican from Cape Girardeau, would make it much easier for business leaders to teach special workforce courses being offered in several communities across Missouri.

The change would help boost CAPS programs in Missouri. These programs give high school students the opportunity to test drive possible career options before they graduate. Rep. Swan has filed House Bill 1665 this year that would allow business professionals to teach these courses without having to acquire a full teaching certificate.

Rep. Swan said the legislation would help students and improve the state’s workforce-preparedness efforts.

“Many students have not made a firm decision as to what they would like to do,” she said. “This gives a jumpstart to high school students and allows them to have some experience in an area to determine if that is truly an area of interest.”

Under House Bill 1665, business professionals could receive a one-year visiting scholar certificate if they complete an application and a background check. The certificate could be renewed twice.

Rep. Swan praised the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the organization’s longstanding support for the idea. This year, a broad spectrum of business and education groups testified in favor of the bill during a hearing on Jan. 9.

“We’ve had this legislation for a few years and we’ve gained considerable support for it… and hope to get it across the finish line this particular session,” said Rep. Swan.

The bill is part of the Missouri Chamber’s 2018 Legislative Agenda.

“We believe that business professionals can bring a unique perspective into Missouri classrooms and can play an important role translating the knowledge learned in classrooms to practical job skills,” said Ryan Stauffer, Missouri Chamber director of workforce and education policy. “I’d like to thank Rep. Swan for her leadership on this issue and we look forward to advocating for her bill as it moves through the process this year.”

For more information, contact Stauffer at rstauffer@mochamber.com or 573.634.3511.

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