Hulshof Introduces Plan to Develop Missouri's Workforce

Press Release

By:  Kenny Hulshof
Date: Sept. 3, 2008
Location: Columbia, MO


Hulshof Introduces Plan to Develop Missouri's Workforce

Initiative calls for new teachers and enhanced training

As Missouri's economy becomes increasingly dependent on new technologies, Kenny Hulshof is introducing a plan to develop Missouri's 21st century workforce.

Hulshof's plan includes the following proposals:

1) The state will help hire 1,500 new math and science teachers

2) Enhanced distance learning opportunities

3) Missouri Fast Track - Pre-employment training to increase marketable job skills

"Missourians have always been known for their outstanding work ethic," Hulshof said. "When that work ethic is combined with appropriate math and science skills, and strong workforce training, Missouri will be poised to be a leader in the global economy."

Hulshof's plan is designed to attract 1,500 new math and science teachers to Missouri by providing a $2,000 - $4,000 subsidy to each teacher in the form of enhanced salary or student loan repayment.

To improve distance learning opportunities, Hulshof will work with the leaders of Missouri's technical schools and community colleges to establish online classes in every career field these institutions serve. He will continue to fund these programs until Missourians have online opportunities in all degree areas.

Employers who consider Missouri for potential investment want to know that our state has a skilled workforce. With Missouri Fast Track, Hulshof will further enhance training opportunities for Missouri workers by creating groups of ready-to-hire employees. In turn, this training will increase a worker's prospects of finding a newer, higher-paying job.

"Tomorrow's opportunities require commitment today," Hulshof said. "These reasonable investments will help position Missourians for the quality careers of the 21st Century."

Developing a 21st Century Workforce

Kenny Hulshof will take assertive steps to ensure that Missouri's workers are properly trained for the quality career opportunities of the 21st century. Under Kenny's leadership, Missouri will place an emphasis on these necessary skills at all stages of education and job training. He will do that by assisting in the hiring of new math and science teachers, enhancing distance learning opportunities and expanding training programs for those already in the workforce.

I. 1,500 New Math and Science Teachers

The challenge: Some of the greatest potential for growth comes within the science and technology fields. In order to help Missouri's students compete, more focus must be put on math and science. In 2007, Missouri eighth graders ranked 32nd in the country on the National Assessment of Educational Progress tests - well behind the scores of neighbors Kansas, Iowa, and Nebraska.

The solution: To help Missouri students learn the skills they need, Kenny Hulshof is putting forth a plan to help hire 1,500 new math and science teachers in our state.

· Phased in over a five year period with 300 new teachers gaining access each year. The program will require an initial investment of $600,000.

· Kenny's initiative will build upon the Missouri Teaching Fellows Program, an initiative modeled after "Teach for America" that Sen. Jeff Smith (D) successfully passed into state law in 2007.

· 150 of these teachers will be reserved for the Missouri Teaching Fellows Program to serve in districts of need as determined by student test scores. The remaining 1,350 teachers will be eligible to serve anywhere in the state.

· Standards of excellence to ensure quality.

What this means to the average Missourian: At least one new math and science teacher in every participating high school.

II. Distance learning

The challenge: There are many Missourians who are unable to take advantage of Missouri's effective and affordable technical schools and community colleges. For some, it is a matter of cost. For many, it's simply a matter of geography - the school with a relevant degree program is not nearby.

The solution: Kenny Hulshof believes that every Missourian with the willingness to work and a desire to learn should be given every opportunity to succeed. He will work with the leaders of Missouri's higher education institutions to develop online classes in every career field these institutions serve.

· Kenny will invest $3 million in targeted funding to establish these programs and will continue to fund them until Missourians have online opportunities in all degree areas.

What it means to the average Missourian: Rather than choose from local tech schools or community colleges, a student will be able to choose from the large assortment of higher education opportunities throughout the state.

III. Missouri Fast Track

The challenge: Employers considering Missouri for potential investment want to know that our workforce is skilled.

The solution: Kenny Hulshof will further boost training by creating Missouri Fast Track, a training program designed to create pools of ready-to-hire employees.

· Mo Fast Track will be run through Missouri's community colleges with the help of the Department of Economic Development.

· An initial investment of $6 million will be made in the program.

· New employers will team with participants to create training classes for new employees. In exchange for help with training, companies will agree to create a specified number of quality jobs for a determined period of time.

· Similar programs in states across the nation have proven successful. Georgia Quick Start, for example, has delivered more than 600,000 new jobs to nearly 5,200 start-up projects over 40 years.

What it means for the average Missourian: As an individual's job status changes, opportunities will exist to learn additional skills in a reasonable period of time. These skills will increase a worker's value on the job market and enhance their prospects of finding newer, higher-paying jobs.