Missouri Business Headlines

Expanding on-the-job training for licensed occupations

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Rep. Grier presents HB 1688 to a House committee

Today, nearly one in four occupations require licensure. And obtaining an occupational license in Missouri requires hundreds of hours of education, which can be a costly and time-consuming barrier for many Missourians who want to enter a licensure-based profession.

Rep. Derek Grier, a Republican from Chesterfield, is proposing an alternative pathway to licensure that would allow individuals to take advantage of on-the-job training and stay in the workforce as they learn.

“How can we help people who want to go through the training, to get the skills and obtain those skills without having to actually remove themselves from the workforce to go through often very expensive training?” was the question Grier posed to the House Committee on Workforce Development on Feb. 3.

His answer: Expand apprenticeship opportunities. His House Bill 1688 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.

Expanding on-the-job training is one of the recommendations made in the Missouri Chamber Foundation’s 2018 Workforce2030 Report. And a subsequent 2019 Missouri Chamber Foundation poll of business leaders found that Missouri job creators’ biggest obstacle to growth remains a lack of skilled workers.

Kara Corches, Missouri Chamber director of legislative affairs, testified in support at the bill’s hearing.

“We are second in the nation in new apprentices and second in the nation in completed apprenticeships…we are leading the nation in apprenticeships, so we really want to continue on this momentum,” said Corches.

Supporting efforts to alternative career training pathways is also a 2020 legislative priority of the Missouri Chamber Federation, a grassroots network of over 165 local chambers of commerce around the state.

In 2019, an identical bill earned strong bipartisan support, but the clock on the legislative session ran out before it could receive final passage.

This year Grier, a 2019 Missouri Business Champion, is also sponsoring legislation to make it simpler for out-of-state professionals with occupational licenses to come to Missouri and fill open jobs.

Questions about this workforce issue? Contact Kara Corches at (573) 634-3511 or kcorches@mochamber.com.


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