Putting adults on a fast track to skilled jobs
It’s never too late to earn a degree. However, for some adults, it can simply be too costly.
That will change for many Missourians thanks to the new Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant. This new financial aid program addresses workforce needs by encouraging adults to pursue a certificate, degree, or industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need. Fast Track is designed to ensure that tuition and fees are fully covered, when combined with other federal and state financial aid. Individuals who are ages 25 or older or those who have not been enrolled in any school within the last two years and who meet certain income requirements are eligible to apply for Fast Track.
Missouri is home to more than 2.6 million adults without a postsecondary degree, which made this program a key priority of the Missouri Chamber’s advocacy efforts during the 2019 Legislative Session. The legislation enabling the grants was ultimately included in Senate Bill 68, which Gov. Mike Parson signed into law in July.
The Missouri Chamber’s focus on preparing the workforce stems from Gallup research revealing only 44 percent of the state’s employers are satisfied with the availability of skilled employees. Furthermore, only 15 percent said they think Missouri high school graduates are prepared for the workforce.
The Fast Track program poises our state to compete for business investment like never before, while also giving our workforce greater opportunity to access training for in-demand skills needed by Missouri employers.
Employers can play a role in encouraging Missouri adults to continue their education and obtain needed skills for high-demand jobs by spreading the word about this grant opportunity. To learn how you can take a few simple steps to help promote Fast Track to potential students, click here.