The state’s workforce development and higher education initiatives are getting $125 million in coronavirus relief, or CARES Act, funding. During a press conference at the state Capitol, Missouri Higher Education and Workforce Development Department Commissioner Zora Mulligan says about $80 million will be used to help public institutions reopen this fall.
“That $80 million can be used for a variety of purposes,” says Mulligan. “It’s very similar to the conversation we’ve been having since March – we know that we need PPE. We know that we need to modify our physical spaces. We know that we need testing capability. We know that we need resources to comply with local health orders.”
Another $23.6 million is designated for staffing, infrastructure and technology to support distance education, among other things. Mulligan says roughly $10 million will also be used to help them expand their capacity for remote learning.
“This $10 million will give our colleges and universities an opportunity to address both short and long term needs – to make sure that students have access to the internet and also that institutions have the hard and software they need to do so successfully,” she says.
About $9.7 million will help train Missourians for high-demand jobs in information technology, train unemployed workers, and boost the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant.
“We all know we have a lot of fellow Missourians around the state who continue to be unemployed,” says Mulligan. “Many of them are going to be using this time to seek training and take advantage of the opportunities available to them.”
Gov. Mike Parson has included $1 million to the Office of Workforce Development and Local Workforce Development Boards to support Missourians safely resuming in-person job searches at job centers across the state. Most of Missouri’s 29 job centers remain closed to in-person traffic. However, job seekers and displaced workers can still get help by phone at 1-888-728-5627, or online at jobs.mo.gov.
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