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Economic development leaders tout Missouri One Start

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Missouri One Start is a bold plan to simplify the state’s workforce training incentives into one easy system that’s friendly to job creators.

During a Senate committee hearing on the idea, state and local economic development leaders said Missouri One Start could bolster their efforts to build a flexible, skilled workforce that will attract investment.

Missouri One Start would give the Missouri Department of Economic Development flexibility to address the unique needs of a business looking to expand or grow in the state.

“We know that this is going to be a successful part of our economic development strategy,” said Rob Dixon, director of the Missouri Department of Economic Development. “It’s been proven around the country.”

The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry supports the proposal, said Kara Corches, Missouri Chamber director of legislative affairs. Corches said Missouri One Start will reinvigorate the state’s job training efforts and help more people access these programs.

“Missouri One Start will greatly increase the number of businesses who can utilize this program and this expansion will have a very positive impact on our workforce,” Corches said.

Local economic development leaders are also lining up to support Missouri One Start.

“There are few things that are more top of mind to businesses these days than the issue of workforce development,” said Matt Morrow, president and CEO of the Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce. “The ability to find, train and retrain qualified workers is the biggest impediment to their growth, which is of course the biggest impediment to growing our economy as a state as well.”

Brian Gerau, director of the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce, agreed, saying that Missouri One Start would be a “tremendous tool” to help his community fill openings for skilled jobs.

These comments came during a Senate committee hearing on Senate Bill 184 by Sen. Wayne Wallingford, a Republican from Cape Girardeau. Sen. Wallingford said his bill is a “prime example of an enhanced effort to provide a welcoming business climate.”

Senate Bill 184 now awaits a vote in the Senate Economic Development Committee. A similar bill in the House of Representatives, House Bill 469, passed through a House committee on Feb. 11.

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