Governor signs Executive Order establishing Office of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning.

Governor Mike Parson signed Executive Order 19-20 establishing the Office of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning within the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development (MDHEWD) during Tuesday’s Apprenticeship Missouri Summit.

The Office of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning will focus on increasing the number of participants in apprenticeships. It will develop and implement a statewide strategy for expanding and modernizing apprenticeships throughout Missouri. 

“We will continue working to increase apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities. We have some of the hardest working and talented individuals right here in Missouri,” Governor Parson said. “With a united vision I truly believe we can create the strongest, most competitive workforce and be prepared to fill the jobs of the future.” 

Missouri currently has 15,189 active apprentices with 473 registered programs involving more than 3,600 employers, the MDHEWD said in a Tuesday release. 

“Creating the Office of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning will give us the foundation to take these programs to the next level,” said Commissioner of Higher Education Zora Mulligan. “We look forward to engaging business and industry stakeholders, higher education institutions, and other partners to continue building Registered Apprenticeship programs to help train Missouri’s workforce.” 

Tuesday's second annual Apprenticeship Missouri Summit also featured presentations and panels from partner organizations, employer and national perspectives and networking opportunities for providers. The event celebrated Missouri’s rank of second in the nation for completed apprenticeships and the recent milestone of reaching 10,000 new apprentices, as well as National Apprenticeship Week. 

“This event is designed to help connect our partners and give them an update and encouragement on apprenticeship programs. We are excited Governor Parson has made workforce development a priority and recognizes the importance that Registered Apprentices play in providing employers with a skilled labor market,” said Mardy Leathers, Director of the Office of Workforce Development. 

The MDHEWD recognized the efforts of businesses and educational partners throughout the state with three awards. 

— Vocational Rehabilitation through the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education was recognized as the 2019 Apprenticeship Missouri Partner of the Year. 

— Metropolitan Community College was recognized as the 2019 Apprenticeship Missouri Provider of the Year. 

—  IBM was recognized as the 2019 Apprenticeship Missouri Employer of the Year. 

“This (Executive Order) announcement shows the governor’s support in getting behind something, that from a workforce standpoint, will enhance the entire state,” said Pat Lynch, On-Site Manager for IBM, Columbia. 

The goal of the Office of Apprenticeship and Work-Based Learning within the MDHEWD is to increase the number of participants in apprenticeships and other work-based learning experiences to 20,000 participants by 2025.