Missouri Business Headlines

Education package would bring more career pathway awareness to students

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A Senate and House committee each approved bills this week that would help our state gain an edge in the most critical asset for our future — talent.

And while Missouri needs to upskill and reskill workers already in the labor pool, we must also focus on providing our students with a robust education and career pathway awareness.

In fact, in a recent statewide survey, Missouri CEOs ranked the most important workforce priority is to help students, parents and educators understand the value of middle skill jobs. Despite high unemployment numbers during the pandemic, employers still have available positions. The catch? There’s no one with the right skills to fill them.

Senate Bill 265 and House Bill 101, sponsored by Sen. Karla Eslinger and Rep. Brad Pollitt respectively, would help change that.

Language in the bills support educating students early on about career paths that don’t need a traditional four-year degree, including the requirement that students develop an Individual Career and Academic Plan (ICAP) and ensuring that students in career technical education fill out an application for financial aid for federal department of labor funds for various workforce development training programs.

In the wake of COVID-19, workforce development is a top priority of the Missouri Chamber on all fronts — from displaced workers, to students who haven’t yet decided on a career path. The Missouri Chamber is strongly advocating for this legislation as it will allow greater innovation in schools, which will spur stronger workforce preparation for students.

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