Among the Legislature’s priorities this year is something that has already proven to be valuable. Fortunately, it comes at a time when our state is in desperate need of qualified employees.
The Missouri Senate spent part of last week discussing Senate Bill 672, which is also referred to as the Fast-Track bill. Fast-Track is a reference to the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant program, which the Missouri General Assembly helped create in 2019. Fast-Track provides financial aid to adults who return to school for career education. This program was originally scheduled to sunset later this year, and the governor specifically asked for it to be renewed. In addition to extending the program, SB 672 expands eligibility for apprenticeships. During discussion on this measure on the floor of the Missouri Senate, additional provisions were added to limit the program to people who have lived in Missouri for at least two years, with exceptions for military personnel and their families.
This is one of those programs that has proven its worth. In my opinion, Fast-Track has expanded opportunities for Missourians and helped non-traditional students transition to good-paying jobs in health care, education, computer sciences and other competitive fields. Senators spent a lot of time going over Fast-Track’s value during discussions last week, and we were able to come up with what I believe are good ways to keep the program going, without denying qualified people the right to join the program and not only benefit themselves, but our state, rather than take what they have learned and move somewhere else.
I hope we can move SB 672 to the Missouri House of Representatives and they can “fast-track” this legislation to the governor. Maybe this could be the first bill he signs from this year’s legislative session. I think this will prove to be a great asset to our state and help get more Missourians into a competitive workforce.
As always, please feel free to call, email or write with your ideas or concerns. My Capitol office number is (573) 751-1415, my email is email@example.com and my mailing address is Room 332, State Capitol Building, Jefferson City, MO 65101.