Missouri Business Headlines

Committees consider workforce development package

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Sen. Cunningham

On the heels of a sweeping workforce package passed last session, the Missouri Legislature is keeping the momentum going this year with another workforce development bill which would give schools more freedom to innovate and help students explore various higher education and career pathways.

The legislation is contained in Senate Bill 830 and House Bill 2174, sponsored by 2019 Missouri Chamber Business Champions Sen. Mike Cunningham (R-Rogersville) and Rep. Bradley Pollitt (R-Sedalia) respectively. The bills were considered in committees on March 10 and now await votes to proceed.

The package would:

  • Allow schools to apply for “innovation waivers” to create initiatives to achieve goals like improving student readiness for employment, higher education or technical training, and improving educator attraction and retention
  • Require students to develop an individual career/academic plan before 9th grade and review it once per semester throughout high school, declare post-high school plans, and complete the FAFSA before graduation to increase awareness of financial aid and postsecondary education opportunities
  • Help ensure high school students enrolled in Career and Technical Education programs can complete an application for financial aid through the U.S. Dept. of Labor Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, which provides funding to students who qualify for a variety of workforce training programs.

Availability of workforce continues to be a top concern of Missouri businesses, and the Missouri Chamber is on an aggressive workforce development mission, guided by our Missouri 2030 strategic initiative and its companion report, Workforce2030.

“We believe workforce development doesn’t just begin when you enter the workforce — it actually begins much earlier. So we really appreciate this bill’s emphasis on workforce development in our K-12 system,” said Kara Corches, Missouri Chamber director of legislative affairs.

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