A driver trains in St. Louis. (St. Louis Community College via YouTube)
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Four Missouri educational institutions will receive $5.9 million in truck driver training funds — part of $30 million given to 19 organizations through workforce training grants awarded by the state department of economic development.
Gov. Mike Parson, who announced the American Rescue Plan Act Workforce Training Grant awards Jan. 24, said, “From day one, our administration has made it a top priority to ensure employers have the workers they need to expand and grow. A stronger workforce means a stronger tomorrow, and this program will go a long way in ensuring Missouri workers can meet the demands of the future.”
The goal of the grant program, launched last August with funds from ARPA, is to help Missouri companies address workforce shortages by recruiting and training thousands of residents, especial those who are at-risk and low-income individuals.
Although grants went to a variety of applicants to train workers in child care, health care, broadband deployment and manufacturing, funds for trucking-related training will go to the Junior College District of St. Louis, the Community College District of Mid Missouri and two workforce training organizations.
Receiving the highest award ($2.5 million) for trucking-related training was Meet The Need Inc., which will use the money to train 350 people for Missouri Class A and B commercial driver licenses, forklift operation, computer coding and shipyard welding in 11 counties.
Spending more than $2.1 million exclusively for trucking training, JCD will train 196 students in St. Louis city/county and Jefferson County in CDL Class A and B as well as in hazardous materials endorsement. JCD oversees St. Louis Community College, which educates 30,000 students on three campus and four extension centers.
Also using the grant only on CDL training, the Community College District of Mid Missouri plans use its $999,000 award to train 330 people in 14 areas to obtain CDLs.
“This program is going to help employers in critical industries find the workers they need to propel our economy forward,” said Maggie Kost, acting director of the Department of Economic Development. “At the same time, it will equip real people with job skills that improve their lives, provide for their families, and benefit their communities.”
Missouri Department of Economic Development
Ozark Action Inc. was awarded $300,000 to train 43 people for careers in trucking, health care and manufacturing.
“Our team has worked hard to make the Workforce Training Grant Program as efficient as possible in helping Missouri’s workforce recover from the impact of the pandemic,” said Kristie Davis, director of Missouri One Start, the state’s workforce recruitment, training and upskilling division. “This program is advancing our goal of helping workers develop their skillsets while ensuring companies can recruit the talent they need.”
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