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Seven local companies received grants from the Missouri Department of Economic Development to assist in training employees, the department announced Monday.

The Missouri Customized Training Program awarded $5.1 million to 186 companies statewide. The grants will help businesses across the state grow, according to a news release from the department.

Command Web General Manager Chris Huckleberry said the commercial printer with a facility off Algoa Road in Jefferson City will use about $30,000 from the program to train 40 employees on two new presses to be installed in January. The company also may use the money to train entry-level machine operators, Huckleberry said.

"Training is very expensive," Huckleberry said, "especially when you bring in outside people."

Carla Dowden oversees the human resources division of Holts Summit-based food-service company PFS Brands. PFS Brands received $25,000 to put about 80 of its 140 employees through financial literacy courses.

PFS also will use the money to show employees how to use machinery, Dowden said, and wants to give employees skills they can use in and out of the office.

"We use that money to elevate our employees' skills, which can help them outside the work environment," Dowden added.

ABB makes electrical transformers at its Jefferson City factory. Company spokeswoman Melissa London said in an email ABB will use its $25,000 grant to put about 15 employees through professional training classes. The rest of the money will be used to train welders and new coil winders, London said.

In all, the grants will train 17,090 workers statewide — about 1,200 new employees and 15,888 existing employees, according to the DED news release

Modine Manufacturing, ALPLA and Scholastic also received grants from DED. Quaker Windows and Doors in Freeburg was the final Mid-Missouri company to receive a grant from the program.

Gov. Mike Parson said in the DED news release that the grants will help Missouri employers build better workforces.

"By helping businesses train new and existing workers, we're helping them stay competitive and remain here in Missouri," Parson said.

Huckleberry said the state makes an investment in its workforce when it awards the Customized Training Program grants.

"We're promoting jobs in Missouri, and we're training Missourians," Huckleberry said. "That leads (employees) to higher-paying jobs."

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