Missouri launches new military workforce development initiative

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.—Today, the Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission (MMPEC) hosted Missouri Military Appreciation Day with an event in the state’s capitol. This day celebrates the significant contributions and sacrifices of this Nation’s Military Service Members and the importance of Military and Department of Defense installations and their significant economic impact on the State of Missouri. Gov. Greitens made the following statement on Facebook today:

Today, on Missouri’s Military Appreciation Day, we launched a new program to help returning veterans find quality jobs. We’re working with businesses and community leaders all over the state to help members of our military get placed in apprenticeships, so that when they come home, they can find great work. I’ve seen the tremendous impact that a job can have on a veteran coming home. Too often, men and women who have served their country return home and can’t find quality jobs—even though they have the skills that so many jobs require. We’re going to fix that, and I’m proud that our state is committed to becoming the best in the country for veterans and jobs.

Joined by distinguished military guests, Gov. Eric Greitens and Major General Kent Savre, Commanding General, Maneuver Support Center of Excellence and Fort Leonard Wood signed an important Memorandum of Agreement outlining a workforce initiative for service members and their spouses. Under the new agreement, the Missouri Division of Workforce Development (DWD) and the Army will cooperate to better connect military men and women entering civilian workforce with Missouri businesses offering apprenticeships that could lead to full-time employment.

DWD will be the vehicle to recruit Missouri employers to be part of a four-month internship program before eligible Service Members transition out of the military. Fort Leonard Wood Army’s Career Skills Program (CSP) will refer candidates within six months of release from active duty and send them to the Missouri Job Center in Fort Leonard Wood where they will be enrolled in an internship program with a participating employer. The career center will help them build a resume, prepare for interviews and decide what type of industry they would like to join.

Additionally, special guests from the Lexington Institute and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education attended the event to present a recent report assessing the performance of schools in four states, including Missouri, with large concentrations of active-duty military personnel who have children in the public school systems. They found that military families regularly face challenges in providing a high-quality education for their children because active-duty-connected families move more frequently.

The institute also found that the underlying causes of these challenges are largely consistent and cluster around four key areas: uneven ability to participate in available educational options; inconsistent content and achievement standards from state to state; limited support for military-connected students; and less effective state and school district policies to identify and support military-connected families and students.

A series of recommendations were featured in the report including that military-connected families should have access to more educational options.

According to another report, the economic impact of military spending in Missouri is significant. Overall, the $14 billion per year in military spending over the past three fiscal years (FY13-15) has resulted in an average of $32 billion per year in goods and services being purchased from Missouri companies and 183,000 jobs per year created in the state. In other words, for every $1 of military spending invested in the state, Missouri has sold over $2.50 in goods and services it would not have otherwise sold and created jobs for almost 200,000 Missourians.  

See more photos from the day's event.