JEFFERSON CITY — A grant program which would pay for job training for adults seeking employment in “high-demand” industries passed out of the House Workforce Development Committee on Monday, clearing another hurdle.
The $22 million Fast Track Workforce Incentive grant program, proposed by Gov. Mike Parson, would cover up to four semesters of workforce development training in fields where there is a “skills gap”— a situation in which employers cannot find enough qualified employees to fill all of the job openings.
The bill to create the Fast Track program was approved unanimously by the committee, which consists of 10 Republicans and four Democrats. Next, it would go to the House floor for debate.
The specific industries targeted have yet to be determined, which caused some resistance in the Senate Committee on Education ’s public hearing on the program Jan. 29, according to previous Missourian reporting.
The House Workforce Development Committee also held a hearing on House Bill 470, which would make it easier for potential workers in fields that require professional licensing to complete their training through an apprenticeship rather than a classroom.
The bill states that if a person has completed eighth grade, finished an apprenticeship program that meets federal guidelines and passed their licensing exam, the state must grant them a professional license.
The idea of the legislation is to open the door for people to complete job training in smaller, local businesses instead of going to a school, said Rep. Derek Grier, R-Chesterfield, who sponsored the bill.
“(Apprenticeships) provide an alternative path so that rather than paying thousands of dollars and leaving the workforce to complete the education, workers can get hands-on experience and learn the necessary skills, and in many cases, get paid for that training,” Grier said.
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