CAPE GIRARDEAU COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Missouri Governor Mike Parson stopped by a packing and paper factory in Jackson Friday March 8, to show his support for the ‘Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant Fund.’
The proposed legislation moving through Jefferson City would offer more money for adults over the age of 25 who want to go back to school but can’t afford it.
The goal of the fast track program is to educate more Missourians so they can fill jobs opening in industries like education, healthcare and manufacturing that need more skilled labor.
Parson says this program is essential to moving the state economy forward.
"The reality of it is you need more than a high school education to move up in today's society,” Parson said. “It is just a fact. Now you have to be more tech savvy you have to have more skills. By doing that, once you move up in your skills. That means somebody else has got your job, your old job and we put more people to work."
Jibrel Haneef is the plant manager at Signature Packaging and Paper in Jackson.
He says there are a lot of job openings in advanced manufacturing but not everyone has the skills to do it.
“We are going through ten to twelve people to find one person. One person,” Haneef said. “But not only just at Signature. You’ve got businesses around here, Rubbermaid, Mondi, Procter & Gamble, and we are looking for talented individuals to come improve our process.”
Steve Langdon is President of the Southeast Health College of Nursing & Health Sciences,
He says Southeast Missouri also has a shortage of Registered Nurses.
"I haven't seen a hospital in this region that does not have a list of RN openings for people who are well prepared," Langdon said. “
The president says extra grant money from the state could help plow through the roadblocks people face when looking for a new career.
"They've got bills, they've need a job, they may be married, they may be a single parent, they may be taking care of their own parents at home,” Langdon said. “And a lot of these grants now are focusing on those career changers trying to help them find ways to come back and to learn more because we need them."
Haneef sees the new grant proposal for adults as an opportunity to improve business and change lives.
"That person is investing in themselves and they are investing in our company, so its a win win,” Haneef said. “Communities like Jackson and Cape, this is what we need. It has to go through.”
The fast track grant proposal has passed the Missouri House and right now is being discussed in the senate.
Governor Parson says he will continue working with lawmakers to push the new law through.
On Friday Gov. Parson also visited Parkland Health Center in Farmington, and St. Charles Community College in Cottleville.