Senate approves critical workforce bill
A bill passed by the Missouri Senate is aimed at helping employers confront a growing talent shortage.
Championed by the Missouri Chamber and passed into law in 2019, this financial aid program fully covers tuition and fees for degrees, credentials and certificates in high-demand fields when combined with other federal and state financial aid. Individuals who are 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 for Fast Track.
Bill sponsor Sen. Lincoln Hough, a Republican from Springfield, called the program “wildly successful” and has pushed for its extension. It will expire this year without this legislation. Sen. Hough’s bill would also expand Fast Track, allowing it to be used toward apprenticeship programs.
According to a recent Missouri Chamber poll, more than half of business leaders say talent is the top issue impacting their profitability. Furthermore, nearly 70 percent of Missouri employers say workforce is either the first or second biggest factor impacting their growth. Both of these percentages are large increases over previous years, indicating the workforce shortage is becoming more severe.
Extending and expanding the Fast Track program is just one component of the Missouri Chamber’s legislative plan to bolster workforce efforts in the state.
The Missouri Chamber is also supporting several additional bills related to workforce, including legislation to:
- Upskill existing Missouri workers
- Help students create career plans
- Give students school credit for participating in on-the-job opportunities
- Reform unemployment benefits
- Expand access to high school diplomas
- Encourage incarcerated Missourians to prepare for work after release
For more information, contact Kara Corches, Missouri Chamber vice president of governmental affairs, at email@example.com or 573-634-3511.