One of the biggest priorities of the Missouri Senate during the 2019 legislative session is workforce development. Several bills have been filed that create or expand education and career readiness programs that would bolster our state’s ability to develop workforce. As a result, I have introduced Senate Bill 318, which establishes the “Expanded Workforce Access Act of 2019.” This legislation would require each state licensing authority to grant a license to any applicant who has successfully completed the eighth grade, completed an apprenticeship approved by the Missouri Division of Professional Registration or the U.S. Department of Labor and has passed an examination, if one is required by the Division of Professional Registration. The Division of Professional Registration must establish a passing score for any examination, not to exceed the passing score for any non-apprenticeship license, and the number of working hours required for an apprenticeship should not exceed the number of educational hours required for a non-apprenticeship license.
I believe this legislation has the potential to help young and low income Missourians, who do not have a high school diploma, by giving them the opportunity to work in a trade or other vocational field. This bill allows these individuals to work in an apprenticeship program, while giving them the ability to support themselves and their families.
Senate Bill 318 would open the door for so many Missourians to receive the necessary skills and on-the-job training needed to excel in a specific trade. Other states have passed similar legislation and have found that wages and employment increased and government dependency decreased as a result of this policy. This legislation has the potential to bring more people into the workforce to fill the numerous job openings in Missouri. This issue is extremely important to my constituents, and I look forward to the opportunity to discuss SB 318 with my fellow senators.
Please visit Sen. Burlison’s official Missouri Senate website at www.senate.mo.gov/burlison for more legislative and constituent resources.