Increased access to job training for low-income Missourians among recommendations of Ferguson Commission
JEFFERSON CITY – The Missouri Department of Social Services will use a $15 million, five-year competitive federal grant to provide low-income Missourians in the St. Louis, Kansas City and central Missouri regions with job training in health-related fields, Gov. Jay Nixon announced today.
“Building on the success of programs like the Summer Job League, this initiative will help even more Missourians unlock their potential and pursue careers in health care,” said Gov. Nixon. “We will continue to invest in job training efforts throughout the state, so that all Missourians have the opportunity to get the training they need to move up the economic ladder and build a brighter future for their families and communities.”
Missouri’s Jobs, Education, Training, and Supportive Services (JETS) program will enroll 1,800 low-income Missourians in St. Louis, Kansas City and mid-Missouri in job training programs over the next five years. To be eligible, the applicant must have an income under 200 percent of the federal poverty level, or $48,500 a year for a family of four.
“All across our state, skilled health care professionals are in high-demand,” Gov. Nixon said. “I applaud Director Brian Kinkade and his team at the Department of Social Services for their work to obtain this grant and train more Missourians for rewarding careers in fast-growing health care fields.”
Over the next five years, the grant will provide $6 million each for the Full Employment Council (FEC) of Kansas City, which covers Cass, Clay, Jackson and Ray counties; and the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment (SLATE), which includes St. Louis City and St. Louis County. An additional $2.25 million will be provided to the Central Region Workforce Investment Board, which covers Audrain, Boone, Callaway, Camden, Cole, Cooper, Crawford, Dent, Gasconade, Howard, Laclede, Maries, Miller, Moniteau, Morgan, Osage, Phelps, Pulaski and Washington counties.
Helping low-income, working Missourians move up their career ladder was among the recommendations in the Ferguson Commission report.
(Forward Through Ferguson, pg 149).
To implement this new JETS program, the Department of Social Services is partnering with the Department of Health and Senior Services, Department of Economic Development, Missouri Community College Association, Missouri Workforce Investment Board, St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment, Kansas City Full Employment Council, Central Region Workforce Investment Board, Local Investment Commission and SSM Health.
The JETS partnership will offer a combination of classroom learning, on-the-job training, and distance learning opportunities to improve access to the necessary skills and knowledge for these health professions. Those currently working as a certified nursing assistant (CNA) or a licensed practical nurse (LPN) or other entry level positions may be eligible for the JETS program and use the training to move to the next level in their profession. Participants will also get support to overcome barriers to employment including child care and transportation needs.
DSS received this funding as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families’ Health Professions Opportunity Grant to Service TANF Recipients and Other Low-Income Individuals.
Increasing access to job training has been a top priority of the Governor’s administration. Gov. Nixon recently announced that Missouri Works Training will help more than 300 companies throughout the state improve the skills of their workers and expand their businesses, creating 970 new jobs.
Over the summer, more than 3,100 low-income youth participated in the inaugural Summer Job League, a workforce development program for Missourians ages 16 to 24 living in the greater St. Louis and Kansas City areas. In addition, Missouri competed for and won a $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to help provide skills-training and employment to thousands of young people in low-income and minority communities in North St. Louis City and County.
Gov. Nixon formed the Ferguson Commission in 2014 and appointed sixteen members to study the underlying issues raised by events in Ferguson and issue a report with specific recommendations. The Governor’s comments about the Ferguson Commission’s final report, “Forward Through Ferguson” can be found here.
The Department of Social Services will continue to review the Ferguson Commission’s report and implement changes and improvements for the betterment of all Missouri communities.