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Expanding opportunities for Missouri workers to obtain industry licenses through apprenticeships

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From cosmetology to plumbing, a whole span of industries require licensure. Obtaining a license in Missouri requires hundreds of hours of education, which is a costly and time-consuming barrier for many Missourians.

Rep. Derek Grier, a Republican from Chesterfield, wants to address that issue.

“Expanding the access to those apprenticeship programs provides an alternative path so that rather than paying thousands of dollars and leaving the workforce to complete the education, workers can get hands-on experience, learn the necessary skills and, in many cases, get paid for that training,” he said.

Grier’s House Bill 470, which a House committee heard on Feb. 4, would enable an applicant with an 8th grade education or higher who has completed a federally approved apprenticeship program and passed any necessary examination to obtain an industry license.

“Particularly for younger and lower-income individuals, this can have a really, really huge impact — and employers also benefit,” Grier said. “Studies have shown that businesses receive a larger return on their investment from employees who have completed an apprenticeship program and apprenticeship training.”

Expanding apprenticeship opportunities is one of the recommendations made in the Workforce2030 Report commissioned by the Missouri Chamber Foundation prior to the legislative session. Matt Panik, the Missouri Chamber’s vice president of governmental affairs, said the bill would help employers close the workforce skills gap and give employees opportunities to access higher-paying jobs.

“A lot of employers have jobs, but they can’t find the qualified people to fill them. This bill will help more Missourians find apprenticeships and find licensed professions they can get into,” said Panik.

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