The city of Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development received a $17.5 million federal grant to be used toward industry-led workforce training partnerships.
U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo announced today that Springfield is one of 32 grant recipients among 509 applicants. The federal department’s Economic Development Administration awarded the grant to the city for a workforce training program to support the region’s health care, trucking and education industries. According to a news release, local officials say the grant, which provides funding for three years, is one of the largest ever awarded to the city.
The grant establishes the Quadra-Regional Workforce Alliance, composed of four workforce regions encompassing 51 counties in southern, south-central, central and southeast Missouri, according to the release. The QRWA will target unemployed, underemployed or incumbent workers within the designated regions focusing on historically underserved populations to provide job training and placement.
According to the EDA website, Springfield has secured commitments to work with program applicants from local employers, including CoxHealth, Jordan Valley Community Health Center, Proffer Wholesale Produce Inc. and Penmac Personnel Services Inc. In partnership with organizations such as Truck Dynasty Driving Academy LLC, Missouri State University and the Missouri Hospital Association, the program will train over 2,800 people with a focus on communities of color, women and people with disabilities.
“We are incredibly grateful for this opportunity to positively impact the workforce in nearly one-third of the state by creating career pathways and placement in the areas of health care, transportation and logistics, distribution and education services,” said Sally Payne, workforce development director for the city of Springfield, in the release. “The need for skilled workers in these areas is critical to easing supply chain demands and bolstering local economies.”
Additionally, the city is leveraging $3.8 million in outside funding and has secured several letters of support from local organizations, according to the EDA website. Of that total, CoxHealth has pledged to serve and train 1,235 QRWA grant participants, valued at nearly $2.5 million.
“Through this funding to the Quadra-Regional Workforce Alliance in Springfield, more Missourians will be given the chance to receive top-tier training in three crucial industrial sectors – health care, trucking, and education,” said Missouri Gov. Mike Parson, in a separate news release. “Missouri is committed to supporting these industries and ensuring workers have access to training and education programs. This grant is a great addition to our efforts to accomplish just that and build a strong state and local economy.”
Jobs for the Future, a national nonprofit, will play a central role in employer engagement and technical assistance by providing labor market analysis and an economic impact report at the conclusion of the grant, according to the release.
The grant is part of the $500 million Good Jobs Challenge funded by President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The federal program seeks to expand opportunities for more Americans to access and secure jobs by investing in innovative approaches to advance worker-centered, industry-led workforce training partnerships.
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