Missouri allocates $30M in federal ARPA funds to 19 organizations for workforce training

(The Center Square) – Republican Missouri Gov. Mike Parson announced Tuesday the distribution of $30 million in federal American Rescue Plan Act funds to 19 organizations throughout the state.

The funds were included in House Bill 3020, approved by the legislature last year. The funding will provide over 15,000 people with training or continuing education at an average of $1,984.78 per student or apprentice, according to information provided by Missouri’s Department of Economic Development. Application requirements showed the minimum grant was $50,000 and the maximum was $4 million.

On Monday, Parson announced grants worth $261 million for broadband development throughout the state.

Organizations competed for funds to train workers in a number of industries, including child care, health care, broadband deployment and manufacturing. Grants were provided to help those most in need and encouraged organizations to focus on low-income populations and those at-risk for becoming unemployed.

The Missouri Chamber Foundation, Practical POCUS LLC and the Sikeston R-6 Community School District each received $3 million grants.

“From day one, our administration has made it a top priority to ensure employers have the workers they need to expand and grow,” Parson said in a statement. “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 Missouri Chamber Foundation will spend its funds on a Health Care Apprenticeship Accelerator, according to the DED report. The project will train approximately 1,430 to become medical assistants, emergency medical technicians, processing technicians, billing and coding specialists and several other positions.

Karen Buschmann, vice president of marketing and communications for the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the new health care project was modeled after a similar apprenticeship program used for training information technology workers. The health care apprenticeship will support six hospitals throughout Missouri.

“When ARPA funds came available and there was a specific focus on healthcare, we talked to the hospitals about adopting the apprenticeship model,” Buschmann said in an interview with The Center Square. “They were excited about it. We’re believers in the apprenticeship program because the apprentice receives a paycheck on day one. And it opens up opportunities to get to know the person who’s training.”

Buschmann said the grant will span three years and reimbursement is based on qualified expenditures. According to the Chamber Foundation’s IRS Form 990 filed for 2021, it reported $2.1 million in revenue and $1.8 million in expenses.

The grant to the Sikeston School District will fund the “Sikeston Future Workforce Expansion.” Information from the DED stated 162 students will receive welding instruction, which comes to $18,519 per student.

Sikeston School District’s budget for fiscal year 2023 was $42.2 million.

Practical POCUS LLC will create the Missouri Ultrasound Training Initiative with its grant, according to the DED. It will provide continuing education credits in “Point of Care Ultrasound” for emergency medicine and other healthcare workers. It expects to train 7,0000, totaling approximately $429 per person.

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