Sen. Dave Schatz’s Legislative Column for Oct. 3, 2019

Workforce Development and Career Training: Critical to Growing Our Economy

This week, MoDOT Director Patrick McKenna announced new job numbers for the state’s ongoing transportation infrastructure projects. Despite gaining 2,300 construction jobs, a survey of contractors across Missouri report 80 percent are having trouble finding qualified workers—with many recruiting out-of-state in order to close the gap.

This worker shortage highlights how critical workforce development and career training are to growing our economy. By passing Senate Bill 68, we created the Missouri One Start program, which re-focused our economic development incentives on job training and created the Fast-Track Workforce Incentive Grant program to help working Missourians acquire advanced job skills in high-demand fields. Contractors today, for instance, are paying Missouri tech school graduates upwards of $60,000 to $80,000 per year.

Four-year degrees aren’t for everyone—Missourians can enjoy respectable, family-supporting careers without the crushing debt that often accompanies a traditional college degree program. It’s up to all of us to ensure students understand all of their educational opportunities. Our economy is growing, and it’s more important than ever to train Missourians to fill those jobs.

It is an honor to serve you in the Missouri Senate. Please do not hesitate to contact my office at (573) 751-3678 or by email at if you have any questions.