Development, training, and retention are the keys behind an upskill credentials bill that became law on Monday, August 28.

Upskill credentials are when employees utilize development opportunities and training programs to improve their existing job skills. The bill sponsor is Speaker Pro Tem Mike Henderson, R-Desloge, says workforce is the biggest driving factors to keep Missouri’s economy going.

“We hear all the time from companies who need workers and then they say they find the workers they may not have all the skills they want,” he says. “What this bill is really about is if you’ve got a worker who comes to work every day, is a big cultural fit, everybody in the company is happy with them, but they don’t quite have the skills that you need to do what your company is needing, this is a chance for these companies to upskill their workers.”

$6 million a year has been appropriated toward a training fund where an employer, regardless of business size, can receive up to $30 thousand in grant funding.

“I’m struggling to find the workers I need. I’ve got two or three workers, they’re really good workers, come every day, but they don’t have all the skills I need for me to take my businesses where I want to,” says Henderson. “Now, they can apply through the Department of Economic Development for some funds to try to send them back to say if they need to upskill their skills in welding, electricity, and many, many other things that you could use.”

Level of economic stress will be prioritized when businesses of all sizes apply.

“Part of this bill for when they apply to the department of economic development is is this employee going to get a raise in wages? That’s actually part of the criteria when they try to apply through the department of development,” Henderson says. “So, the worker’s going to benefit from this, too. If they upskill, they’re going to get more money. So, I think businesses pay more money, but they get the worker they need.”

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