Across Missouri, high school and college students are getting ready for summer. But under a program announced today by Gov. Jay Nixon, thousands of these young Missourians will spend the summer learning the skills they'll need for the careers of tomorrow, not sitting on the couch at home.
Following a tour of the Human Motion Institute at Heartland Regional Medical Center in St. Joseph, Gov Nixon today outlined details of the Missouri Next-Generation Jobs Team, a summer employment program that will prepare Missouri youth to compete for and excel in the high-tech, high-paying careers of the 21st century. Local legislators, including State Senate President Pro Tem Charlie Shields (R-St. Joseph), an executive at Heartland, joined Gov. Nixon for the tour and announcement.
The Next-Generation Jobs Team will help match thousands of Missouri youth, ages 16 to 24, with summer internships and work experiences at cutting-edge employers across the state. Mentors with the Missouri Department of Economic Development's local Workforce Investment Boards will help youth identify career fields of interest and place young people with appropriate employers in the area. The young Missourians will then spend the summer gaining on-the-job training and work experience, along with continued guidance and support from professional career counselors. Wages for the young workers will be funded by the U.S. Department of Labor through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"To create new jobs and turn this economy around, we must ensure that Missouri has highly trained, highly skilled workers who are ready to compete for the careers of tomorrow," Gov. Nixon said. "Our Next-Generation Jobs Team will help young Missourians identify emerging careers in high-growth, high-tech industries, and they'll spend a summer gaining experience that will give them a leg up on the competition. At the same time, we'll help Missouri employers develop a pool of talent here in our state to meet their needs for educated and qualified workers. I encourage young Missourians and employers alike to take advantage of this opportunity to build the workforce that will lead our economy into the future."
Young Missourians and employers can apply to become part of the program by visiting the state home page, www.mo.gov, and clicking on the Next-Generation Jobs Team graphic. There is no fee to apply for or participate in the program. Applications from students and businesses will be forwarded to local Workforce Investment Boards, where counselors will connect youth and potential employers.
Already, next-generation employers from across Missouri are lining up to be a part of this program, including Heartland Regional Medical Center; Eagle Picher Technologies, in Joplin, which produces the lithium-ion batteries used to power the International Space Station and in other aeronautical and defense technologies; Associated Electric Cooperative, the wholesale power supplier for six regional and 39 local electric cooperatives in Missouri; Analytical Bio-Chemistry (ABC) Laboratories, a cutting-edge manufacturer of human and animal pharmaceuticals in Columbia; Burns & McDonnell, a leading sustainable design and engineering firm in Kansas City; BJC Health System in St. Louis, one of the largest health care providers in the state; and other utility companies and electrical cooperatives across the state. Additionally, industry and trade groups, including the Missouri Hospital Association and the Missouri Biotechnology Association, are working closely with the Division of Workforce Development to recruit employers for the program.
"As the major provider of health care in northwest Missouri and one of the area's largest employers, Heartland Regional Medical Center is committed to helping this region grow and prosper," said Lowell Kruse, president and CEO of Heartland Regional Medical Center. "This summer, the Next-Generation Jobs Team will allow us to help jumpstart the local economy by putting summer interns to work, while also training Missouri youth who could join our professional ranks in the years to come. This program will be a great tool to help ensure that our hospital has the trained, qualified workforce we will need to continue to serve the people of northwest Missouri in the years to come."
Gov. Nixon encouraged young Missourians and potential employers to submit their applications as soon as possible by visiting www.mo.gov and clicking through to the Next-Generation Jobs Team site.
"Summer's almost here, and we're ready to get this program up and running," Gov. Nixon said. "Young Missourians should move quickly to take advantage of this opportunity to jumpstart their careers."
To learn more about employers who are joining the Next-Generation Jobs Team across the state, Missourians should contact their local Workforce Investment Boards. Contact information for these offices is available at: