Twelve states, including Missouri, have been awarded a federal grant to help people who are out of a job. The $5 million grant will help residents get jobs in certain industries.

Donna Brake, with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development, said the targeted industries include infrastructure, education services, science, technical, hospitality, and environment.

“So, essentially those are the growth the sectors that have been identified with the highest amount of growth,” she said. “After we looked at the data from the businesses that were impacted through the COVID pandemic, and they’re very large very broad sectors that were identified.”

Brake said about 450 Missourians will be directly impacted by the grant.

“The intent is to move folks into high quality employment,” said Brake. “High quality employment are going to be those jobs that are offering a good wage, so family sustaining wages. So, we’re looking at jobs that are paying well above minimum.”

Does the grant signal that Missouri has lower-paying jobs? Brake said no. She said it signals Missouri’s quality of grant application and the project design that went into the application.

How will the grant work to move residents into better-paying jobs? Brake said local workforce development boards will determine what level of training will be covered, but it could range from short-term training to a bachelor’s level. Residents can find out more information at the state’s Job Centers.

“Those boards have training specialists throughout the state who will work with individuals and provide them opportunities to enter post-secondary education and they will help pay for the tuition costs associated with that training,” said Brake.

Brake said the grant will also pay for on-the-job training for workers.

Some of the funds will be used to partner with colleges and universities across the state to help eligible students finish college.

“So many students today experience barriers or hardships, and as a result, they have to drop out,” says Brake.

The funding will also be used for assistance services, such as paying for a test or transportation to and from school.

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