Missouri officials have announced the start of a new statewide apprenticeship matching service, that helps employers with registered apprenticeship programs find aspiring apprentices.

Apprentices involved in the Work Able Missouri Registered Apprenticeship pilot program train at southwest Missouri’s Dogwood Canyon Nature Park in Lampe (photo courtesy of Becky Dunn from the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development)

The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development and the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced the service’s launch. Missouri’s workforce development director, Dr. Mardy Leathers, says this is key for businesses and workers.

“We finished the year last year second in the nation only behind California for new apprenticeships. That means new people starting apprenticeship programs and people completing those programs,” Leathers says.

Dr. Leathers says the site makes it easier for Missourians to take advantage of career opportunities that apprenticeships provide.

Officials say the launch of the new service will enhance Missouri’s leadership role in using apprenticeships to help train the state’s workforce.

“So while we continue to have over 12,000 registered apprentices in our skilled trades, we’re now adding three and four-thousand apprentices a year in areas like IT and education and advanced manufacturing,” says Dr. Leathers.

Leathers says health care is another key area for apprentices.

He also notes the service is helping both business and labor. It helps businesses find quality job candidates and helps workers find good-paying jobs. He also says that for apprentices who finish their program, 83 percent of them are still employed with the company that sponsored their apprenticeship, nine months after completion.

Dr. Leathers says apprenticeships are an efficient way to build a skilled workforce.

“For every dollar a business puts into training an apprentice, the return of productivity back that business is over $1.40,” Leathers says.

Governor Mike Parson signed an executive order in late 2019, creating an Office of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, within the state Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

“Through this office, we will continue working to increase apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities,” Governor Parson said at the November 2019 Columbia event. “We have some of the hardest-working, talented individuals in the nation right here in the state of Missouri.”

The governor says apprenticeships play a critical role in developing a workforce that’s prepared to meet future demands.

Click here to learn more about the new statewide apprenticeship matching service.

Dr. Leathers also says the Missouri Chamber Foundation has been awarded a $6 million federal grant, to create 5,300 tech industry apprenticeships.

Click here to listen to Brian Hauswirth’s full five-minute interview with Missouri workforce development director Dr. Mardy Leathers, which was recorded on September 4, 2020:

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