Missouri Minute: Cerner announces vaccine mandate; Arch Grants funds 35 startups in largest class yet

Hello, MBA readers,

The federal government did not shut down last week, with lawmakers striking a last-minute deal to continue funding operations. But that doesn’t mean Missouri federal workers are out of the woods yet: Partisan divides in Congress mean another standoff is likely, which would lead to furloughs and missed paychecks for federal workers across the country. The Kansas City metro area alone — housing offices of the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Environmental Protection Agency, Small Business Administration and Department of Agriculture — has more than 28,000 federal employees who would be out of work. In the private sector, Cerner announced Friday that it will require all its U.S. workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The health care technology company is the largest private employer in the Kansas City area, and the decision will affect more than 13,000 employees. And, in St. Louis, Arch Grants has announced funding for the largest startup cohort in its history. The organization, which awards $50,000 grants to startups through a competitive process, doled out a total of $1.9 million to 35 early-stage companies on Friday.

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Downtown St. Louis CID set to expire
The taxing district brings in millions each year for cleaning and public safety, but has yet to garner the signatures necessary to renew for next year. (St. Louis Business Journal)

Federal workers still at risk despite averted government shutdown
Experts say that growing political divides will continue to cause shutdown scares, placing federal workers in jeopardy. (The Beacon)

Many Missourians unfazed by gas tax hike
Friday’s 2.5-cent-per-gallon increase had little initial impact on prices across the state, according to online price trackers. (Missouri Independent)

Cerner announces vaccine mandate

The Kansas City area’s largest private employer, with over 13,000 employees in the region, will require all its U.S. employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by early December. (Kansas City Business Journal)

Say that again

“It’s something that we wake up thinking about, it’s something that we think about all day, and it’s something we go to bed thinking about — the overall wellness and ability of our providers to have all the resources they need to provide really good care.”

That’s Jeremy Fotheringham, president of eight SSM Health hospitals in the St. Louis area, where about 80 of the system’s 5,500 nurses are leaving each month. In 25 years of health care, Fotheringham said, he hasn’t seen anything like what workers are dealing with now, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. Burnout from a year and a half of dealing with COVID-19 cases is leading nurses to seek out other career options, such as higher-paying travel nurse positions and lower-stress urgent care jobs, leaving hospitals with shortages of professionals.

Go figure

$271 million

That’s the size of the Kansas City Police Department’s budget. However, Kansas City leaders say it’s not clear where that money goes because the department won’t say, The Kansas City Star reports. While the police department provides its appropriated budget on its website, there are discrepancies between that document and the KCPD’s practices in areas like staffing. And some say the department is spending too much money on petty drug cases when most Kansas City residents are concerned about violent crime.

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Arch Grants, a St. Louis organization that funds early-stage businesses through a competitive grant process, on Friday announced its largest class yet. The group distributed $1.9 million to 35 startups, giving $50,000 to each company, plus an additional $10,000 to out-of-state businesses to relocate to St. Louis. Arch Grants cohorts typically consist of 15 to 20 startups. Fifteen of this year’s companies are based in St. Louis. In its 10-year history, the organization has awarded funds to 208 companies, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

Hello, my name is


This Kansas City company developed sustainable packaging that caught the attention of Grammy award-winning artist Ciara, Startland News reports. On Thursday, the company announced that the fashion line LITA by Ciara will use its packaging to ship products. Biolo has been working for years to create the packaging, which is 100% biodegradable.

Word to the wise

Demographic winter
In the past year and a half, more people in Missouri died than were born, constituting a “demographic winter,” St. Louis Public Radio reports. COVID-19 has contributed to the situation, but experts say the pandemic has merely accelerated pre-existing conditions. It’s a trend happening in 24 states across the country that could send shockwaves if it continues, changing local economies and altering the electoral map.

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