JEFFERSON CITY - Five Southeast Missouri companies are among those to receive funding from the Missouri Department of Economic Development and its Division of Workforce Development to help offset costs associated with training and upgrading the skills of their employees.
A grant of $11,500 was awarded to Himmelberger-Harrison in Morehouse for 76 workers; Noranda Aluminum will receive $28,750 to train 100 workers; and Pepsi MidAmerica in Sikeston will train 50 workers with its $22,405 grant. Also Ames True Temper in Bernie was awarded $5,750 to train 25 workers and Arvin Meritor in Dexter will receive $46,000 for training 630 workers.
DED Director Joseph L. Driskill, who announced the award of nearly $4 million in customized training funds statewide, said the companies will use the money to facilitate classroom training and on-the-job training. The funds are the first round of training grants to be released in the state's current fiscal year that began July 1.
The Missouri Job Development program assists new or expanding businesses in their efforts to train employees in newly created jobs and to retrain or upgrade skills of existing employees. The purpose of the program is to increase and improve the quality of the state's workforce through training initiatives so that Missouri companies can be more competitive.
"One of the most important factors in determining Missouri's future success will be the education and skill levels attained by our workforce," Driskill said. "We must make solid investments in the education of our workforce so that our companies and our workers can remain competitive in a global economy. The Customized Training Program is one of the primary tools the state administers to help increase job training opportunities.
Driskill said these training programs should continue to raise Missouri workers' productivity, which is already about 9 percent above the national average, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce. "In turn, that productivity attracts economic opportunities to the state and enables Missourians to increase their earnings potential and better support their families."
The training grants were made to fewer companies and in smaller amounts than in previous years, due to substantial budget cuts passed by the General Assembly. Compared to FY 2001, the current year's appropriation is 41 percent less.
The program is offered through DED's Division of Workforce Development in cooperation with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Community colleges and area vocational technical schools will provide training locally with cooperation from local workforce investment boards.