Uncertainty spurs scrutiny of Parson-backed jobs training program

A newly proposed workforce education program backed by Gov. Mike Parson drew scrutiny in a Senate hearing Tuesday over the lack of specifics.

The $22 million proposal, sponsored by Sen. Gary Romine, R-Farmington, would create the “Fast-Track Workforce Incentive Grant.” The program would give Missouri residents grants to pursue training and degrees in “high-demand” jobs.

Department of Higher Education Commissioner Zora Mulligan said the coordinating board has yet to determine which industries will be included in the incentive program, but noted health care and IT as sectors with
“critical needs.”

The bill’s lack of a specified beneficiary group drew criticism from Sen. Bob Onder, R-St. Charles.

“I represent 175,000 stakeholders called taxpayers, and they’d probably like to know whether this is going to train medical assistants or nurses, truck drivers or welders,” Onder said.

In his first State of the State address earlier this month, Parson proposed a similar, $16 million program to “develop and expand employer-driven education.”

Read more: Columbia Missourian

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