Missouri One Start, the state’s workforce recruitment, training and upskilling division, continues to gain in popularity among companies looking to build or maintain their workforce. A well-established program, it has trained more than 815,000 workers and assisted over 7,000 companies to date. In spite of the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, it trained 47,000 employees across 234 companies in 2020. One Start’s programs are highly flexible and are designed to work in lock-step with eligible companies to address their unique workforce challenges. Companies within the program can choose to utilize training funds via One Start’s network of community colleges and tech schools, or they can utilize industry or in-house experts, either at their facility or via an industry-recognized training facility. One Start’s program ensures businesses have employee training and upskilling to remain competitive, reduce turnover and excel in the marketplace.
Recruitment services were understandably popular in 2020 and have only become more popular in 2021. Originally developed as an extension of the program’s dynamic online portal to recruit COVID-19 healthcare workers, and the job board for essential businesses that followed, One Start’s white-glove recruitment is now one of the program’s most requested offerings.
Since the spring of 2020, they’ve been providing services similar to an ad agency. One Start develops a custom microsite branded to each company’s unique look, voice and color palette, with a unique URL. It then promotes the job openings with paid social media, marketing to potential employees within a radius of the business’ location. A link to the microsite puts interested workers within one click of the job information and one additional click from applying. For large corporations, with multi-location job listings that require sorting and filtering, this two-click path knocks down barriers that might otherwise frustrate applicants or prevent them from applying. Graphics, copy, media plan and an analytics report are provided free of charge to eligible companies in One Start’s program.
The fact that Missouri takes workforce development seriously can be seen in the expansions of One Start’s partner community colleges and tech schools’ centers of excellence across the state. Ozarks Technical Community College broke ground in November 2020 on their Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Springfield. The college’s 120,000-square-foot Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing will be dedicated to serving as the regional hub for all advanced manufacturing and technology-related education and training. In Kansas City, Metropolitan Community College is renovating their Advanced Skills Institute to house workforce training programs in computer-integrated machining, industrial technology and construction management, among others. Renovation of the 101,108-square-foot building is underway and completion is expected near the end of 2021. And State Fair Community College broke ground on the Olen Howard Workforce Innovation Center in Sedalia in December 2020. The 38,500-square-foot facility will more than double the pipeline of students pursuing high-demand careers such as robotics and logistics, and provide for leadership/supervisory training and apprenticeships. A $500,000 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Missouri Department of Economic Development in a partnership with the city of Sedalia, was part of the Workforce Training Initiative. College officials hope to open the center in spring 2022.
To help unemployed Missourians upskill, the state’s Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development offered free access to 3,800 Coursera courses, giving Missourians a pathway to earn professional certificates from companies like IBM and Google, preparing them for entry-level careers in IT. Signaling the state’s commitment to tech training, it continues to offer complimentary CompTIA training to applicants that meet the program’s requirements.
Rounding out the talent pipeline is Apprenticeship Missouri; ranked #2 in the nation for completed apprenticeships. In September 2020, The Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry worked in collaboration with the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development to launch Missouri Apprentice Connect. This partnership provides a free portal to match Missourians with opportunities, as well as matching businesses with the apprenticeship program. Since launch, the Missouri Chamber Foundation was awarded a $6 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to create nearly 5,300 tech industry apprenticeships.