Grant to give health care job training to low-income Missourians

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COLUMBIA – Opportunities for low-income Missourians to train in health-related career fields will soon be available.

Governor Jay Nixon announced Wednesday that Missouri will use a $15 million grant to provide job training for health care careers.

The Missouri Department of Social Sciences will use the $15 million five-year competitive federal grant to provide low-income Missourians in the Kansas City, St. Louis and mid-Missouri areas a chance to evolve their careers.

“This initiative will help even more Missourians unlock their potential and pursue careers in health care,” Nixon said in his announcement. “We will continue to invest job training efforts throughout the state, so that all Missourians have the opportunity to get the training they need to move up the economic ladder and build a brighter future for their families and communities.”

Missouri’s Jobs, Education, Training, and Supportive Services program, known as JETS, will enroll 1,800 low-income Missourians in these areas over the next five years.

The program will offer a combination of classroom learning, on-the-job training, and distance learning opportunities to give participants the necessary knowledge and skills to work in health professions.

Jason Zerrer is a physician at Providence Urgent Care in Columbia and he believes the grant was much needed. “The need for health care goes up and up and up,” Zerrer said. “Anything that helps someone get into the industry, which is growing, that is fantastic.”

“All across our state, skilled health care professionals are in high-demand,” Nixon said.

Zerrer said these opportunities are very beneficial in every field of health care.

“I mean anytime we can, you know, expand health care work force, especially in a manner like this, these tend to be good jobs, pay a little bit higher, lot of them have benefits, obviously that is going to help.”

To be eligible for this opportunity, the applicant must have an income of less than $48,500 a year for a family of four.

Certified Nursing Assistants and Licensed Practical Nurses or other entry level positions are also eligible for the program.

The grant will provide $6 million to the Full Employment Council of Kansas City and $6 million to the St. Louis Agency on Training and Employment. An additional $2.5 million will be provided to the Central Region Workforce Investment Board.

This program also came from recommendations of the Ferguson Commission, which was formed by Nixon in 2014 after the events in Ferguson to study underlying issues.