Governor highlights successes and asks for business input
Governor Mike Parson visited the Chamber on November 12 to meet with regional business leaders and discuss legislative successes, priorities for the upcoming session, and challenges currently impacting the business community.
The roundtable discussion brought together board members from both the Chamber and Springfield Business Development Corporation to discuss opportunities and challenges the business community is facing and ways the state can support employers.
The governor began the discussion by highlighting several long-term priorities passed during the 2021 legislative session. These included a substantial investment in transportation, enactment of an internet sales tax, establishment of a prescription drug monitoring program, COVID-19 liability protections for business and more.
He also reviewed positive Missouri rankings in comparison to other states:
- 1st for on-the-job training participants
- 3rd in apprenticeships
- 3rd in pandemic-related business resiliency
- 4th in new manufacturing
- 5th for low cost of doing business
- 7th in relocation
- 7th in tech manufacturing
- 10th for new business expansion
Find the full list of Missouri rankings here.
Even with the strong competitive standings and the many successes passed by the legislature in 2021, a significant part of the discussion was focused on the workforce challenges impacting a vast majority of employers.
Parson said Missouri has more than 100,000 job openings across the state, with only 15,000 Missourians receiving unemployment benefits. This lack of available qualified workers, along with ongoing supply chain disruptions and access to training, continue to challenge businesses.
However, the governor noted there are several state programs designed to help mitigate these challenges, like the Fast Track Workforce Incentive Grant – designed to skill-up adults over 25-years old by providing financial aid for training in a high-need area – and Missouri One Start, which streamlines business interaction with the state. The southwest Missouri region has tapped heavily into both programs.
Parson also noted some successes of the Fast-Track program, including that overall, 80 percent of the program users are women and that the in-demand area of healthcare training has been the largest industry usage. These types of programs, combined with investment in infrastructure and broadband, all fit together to attract businesses and workers and are key to Missouri’s competitiveness with surrounding states.
“We have to make sure we’re marketing who we are, and ensure that we’re all highlighting the same successes,” Parson said.
Parson also overviewed the large influx of funding from the American Rescue Plan Act that the state will be able to utilize. He asked business leaders to consider ways the state can invest this for future growth and competitiveness, including finding ways to partner with the public sector.