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ARPA funding to boost local training, recruitment

by Cameron Gerber | January 25, 2023 at 4:01 a.m. | Updated January 26, 2023 at 12:45 p.m.

Local companies were among the groups awarded workforce training grants by the state this week.

BioSTL, Meet The Need Inc., Practical POCUS LLC, The Community College District of Mid Missouri and Curators of the University of Missouri are all recipients of funds from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Workforce Training Grant Program that serve the Cole County area.

"As we continue to invest in our workforce, we're excited to announce the recipients of the Workforce Training Grant Program," Gov. Mike Parson said in a statement Tuesday. "From day one, our administration has made it a top priority to ensure employers have the workers they need to expand and grow. A stronger workforce means a stronger tomorrow, and this program will go a long way in ensuring Missouri workers can meet the demands of the future."

BioSTL, an international nonprofit focused on the region's innovation economy, was awarded $2.08 million to recruit candidates for the biotechnology and biomanufacturing workforce within the healthcare industry. Meet The Need, meanwhile, received $2.5 million for shipyard welding, commercial driver's license (CDL), computer coding and forklift operating programs. The Charleston-based organization was established during the COVID-19 pandemic to work with those in need throughout the state and is now working toward a work-skills training and education program.

Practical POCUS (short for Point of Care Ultrasound) LLC, an education provider for healthcare professionals, was awarded $2.9 million as a continuing education credit as for healthcare providers, specifically focused on emergency medicine. The Community College District of Mid Missouri was awarded $999,000 for State Fair Community College's CDL training program. State Fair has several satellite campuses across the state, including in Eldon and the Lake of the Ozarks, and serves 14 counties including Cole County.

Finally, the University of Missouri Board of Curators was awarded $843,697 to recruit and train unlicensed assistive personnel and certified nurse assistants.

The program doled out $30 million total in this round of funding, according to a news release.

"This program is going to help employers in critical industries find the workers they need to propel our economy forward," said Maggie Kost, acting director of the Department of Economic Development (DED). "At the same time, it will equip real people with job skills that improve their lives, provide for their families and benefit their communities."

The program launched in 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic's economic impact and makes use of federal pandemic funds. Awards are geared toward training for several industries, including child care, health care, broadband deployment and manufacturing.

CORRECTION: This article was edited at 12:45 p.m. Jan. 26, 2023, to correct the location of Meet the Need Inc.

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