Change is good. Just ask Missouri Gov. Mike Parson. One year after taking office, he restructured four state agencies in an effort to better align services and improve economic and workforce development in Missouri. He established Missouri One Start—a division within the Department of Economic Development with resources dedicated to recruiting, training and upskilling workers.
He also established the Office of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning, to focus on expanding and modernizing apprenticeships throughout the state. And he worked across the border, not to mention across the aisle, to end the Eco Devo border war between Missouri and Kansas.
So far, it’s working.
On Dec. 13, GM announced a $1.5 billion expansion at its plant in Metro St. Louis. In November, Casey’s General Stores Inc. announced its own $50 million investment for a logistics/distribution facility in Joplin. And Nucor Steel just got up and running in Sedalia after building a new $400 million rebar production plant.
These stories are just the tip of the iceberg, as can be witnessed in a quick review of Missouri Partnership’s social media feeds.
A Logistical Powerhouse
Missouri is North America’s rail, river, road, air and pipeline crossroads, and a booming epicenter of commerce, able to get goods anywhere in the world via its international airports, extensive river barge infrastructure or any of the U.S. Class 1 railroads (all of which go to Missouri). And speaking of rail, from Missouri you can ship goods direct via rail to every U.S. coast, plus ports in Mexico and Canada. In fact, rail is No. 1 among 31 logistics industry subsectors when it comes to employment concentration in the state.
Those logistics strengths made Missouri the prime choice for Nucor Steel. The company built a new micro-mill in Sedalia because of its proximity to an abundant scrap supply and the ability to build near the Union Pacific rail line. “Strategically positioning this micro mill in the Kansas City area will give us a sustained cost advantage over other domestic steel producers supplying rebar from outside the region,” said John Ferriola, chairman, CEO and president of Nucor.
Casey’s General Stores Inc. also chose Missouri when it was time to build a new warehouse, logistics and distribution center. “Joplin is an ideal location for Casey’s third distribution center due to its geography and ability to serve our growing market areas,” said Ed Vaske, vice president of transportation and distribution for Casey’s. During the retailer’s first-quarter fiscal 2020 earnings call on Sept. 10, Casey’s President and CEO Darren Rebelez said the new facility will alleviate the pressure from Casey’s current distribution centers and give the company the ability to efficiently expand into new markets. The facility will initially serve roughly 400 to 600 Casey’s locations.
Building a new facility is only one piece of the puzzle. Companies need workers, skilled and ready to go on day one. That’s where Missouri One Start comes in.
Businesses that choose Missouri may receive workforce development assistance in the way of recruitment, training and/or upskilling of staff. One Start’s dedicated, highly-experienced workforce development team has already trained more than 800,000 workers and is fully focused on recruitment, training and upskilling in the Show Me State. They are on track to train another 42,000 this year.
When Nucor came to Sedalia, they not only needed help finding workers, they were interested in holding meet-and-greet gatherings where they could explain their hiring process. Unfamiliar with which avenues and channels to use in promoting their hiring events, the Nucor human resources team was assisted by Missouri One Start in promotion of hiring events via outside promotions, custom landing pages, and promotion on the state’s job exchange.
Personalization and flexibility are key in how the program works. One Start’s workforce experts meet with clients to find out exactly what type of training is needed, and let businesses have a say in how best to deliver the training: via any combination of preferred training vendors, in-house staff or a statewide network of community colleges, the State Technical College of Missouri or a career technical center. This allows businesses to tailor training to their unique needs.
For clients of the training program, a full suite of recruitment assistance is also available at no charge. From pre-employment assessments and screening to hosting recruitment events, a dedicated team provides the resources needed to ensure companies have the right workforce, with the right skillset, at the right time.
In It for the Long Haul
For businesses already in Missouri, there’s assistance for upskilling and recruitment, so employers remain competitive long after the ground breaking.
“Business retention and expansion is a critical component to ensuring a strong economy. Through the resources provided by Missouri One Start, we will ensure our businesses have a skilled workforce to not only meet the demands of today’s workplace, but also tomorrow’s,” says Kristie Davis, director of Missouri One Start.
The Talent Pipeline
Apprenticeship Missouri keeps the pipeline filled with skilled labor across a myriad of high-demand jobs. Ranked second in the nation in the number of people placed in apprenticeships, the state currently has 15,189 active apprentices in 472 registered programs, involving more than 3,600 employers.
For adults 25 or older who desire to return to school, the state’s Fast Track program provides grants to offset the expense of higher education. This financial aid program addresses workforce needs by encouraging adults to pursue a certificate, degree or industry-recognized credential in an area designated as high need.
For the Show Me State, change has been—and continues to be—a very good thing. T&ID
Missouri’s Talent Pipeline
Missouri One Start (Workforce Training)
Apprenticeship Missouri (Second largest program in the U.S.)
Fast Track (Free education for adults 25 and over in key industries)
Rob Dixon, Director
Dept. of Economic Development
Kristie Davis, Director
Missouri One Start
• Income Tax: In 2020, Missouri’s corporate income tax rate drops 4 percent, giving the state one of the lowest rates in the U.S., plus only income attributed to in-state sales is taxable.
• Missouri Works Deal Closing Fund: Gives Missouri a negotiating tool to close deals with companies by granting tax credits in the initial year of a business expansion.
• Missouri One Start: Recruitment, training and upskilling for employees of eligible companies.
• Missouri BUILD: Designed to reduce infrastructure and equipment expenses.
• Data Center Incentives: Exemptions from state and local sales taxes on items such as utilities, machinery, equipment, computers and construction equipment that could last for 10 to 15 years.
• Opportunity Zones: More than 160 Opportunity Zones across Missouri that provide tax incentives at the federal and state levels.
• Automotive Economic Development Tools: Helps retain automotive jobs by granting $5 million in tax credits annually to automotive manufacturers that invest $500 million or more in plant upgrades and agree to retain current workers.