JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Senate has given initial approval to a proposal merging the state’s workforce training incentives, one of the Governor’s priorities.

Sen. Wayne Wallingford’s SB 184 has been referred to fiscal review, receiving widespread support in the Senate — it received unanimous consent in committee and no one spoke against the bill on the floor.  

“In Missouri, we need a plan to simplify the state’s workforce training incentives into one easy system. This does that,” Wallingford said during perfection.

The measure was unveiled by Gov. Mike Parson in January as part of his focus on workforce development priority. In his budget recommendation, Parson proposed a $10 million increase to Missouri One Start — consolidation of the Missouri Works program.

Wallingford’s bill is aimed at addressing the widening skilled labor force gap and attracting businesses to the state.

“Missouri is falling behind in attracting businesses…we need to do what is necessary to train and retrain for the jobs of today. There is a lot of workforce challenges out there and SB 184 helps solve that,” said Wallingford.  

The proposal renames the Missouri Works Training Program as the Missouri One Start Program. The Department of Economic Development would have the ability to require a business to repay all benefits if they fail to maintain the new or retained jobs within five years of approval of benefits or if such business leaves the state within five years of approval of benefits.

It also requires the Department of Economic Development to consider such factors as the potential number of new jobs to be created, the amount of new capital investment in new facilities and equipment, the significance of state benefits to the qualified company’s decision to locate or expand in Missouri, the economic need of the affected community, and the importance of the qualified company to the economic development of the state.

“Part of the reason we do everything we do on economic development front is to attract business which attracts people, which grows population, which provides new resources for our economy and the state,” said Floor Majority Leader Sen. Caleb Rowden. “I think the bill Sen. Wallingford passed and the other workforce initiatives the governor is pushing helps us do that. It is all connected.”

Another one of Parson’s workforce development priorities, the Fast-Track grant program, moved another step forward in the progress on Wednesday. The Senate Education Committee vote out Rep. Kathy Swan’s HB 225. The Senate version of the adult scholarship program stalled during the perfection debate and currently sits on the Senate informal perfection calendar.