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This week, Missouri is recognizing an often overlooked economic development tool: apprenticeship.

Gov. Mike Parson issued a proclamation, naming the upcoming workweek as Registered Apprenticeship Appreciation & Awareness Week, which coincides with National Apprenticeship Week.

We believe in the importance of apprenticeships. They afford students important training, while allowing them to earn while they learn. In turn, the symbiotic relationship provides businesses with valuable employees who have the skills needed to help those businesses succeed.

National Apprenticeship week is in its fifth year, allowing businesses, communities and educators the chance to show off their apprenticeship programs and apprentices. At the same time, they're using the opportunity to provide valuable information to career seekers, according to the Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development.

"The State of Missouri recognizes that the economy demands an agile, world-class workforce with post-secondary education credentials and the ability to respond to immediate and future business and economic needs swiftly and proficiently," Parson said in his Oct. 23 proclamation.

MDHEWD said Missouri ranks second in the nation for the number of completed apprenticeships, and recently reached a milestone of 10,000 newly Registered Apprenticeships for FY2019. The state currently has 15,189 active apprentices with 472 registered programs involving more than 3,600 employers.

Missouri will celebrate the week with an Apprenticeship Missouri Summit on Tuesday in Columbia. The Summit will feature presentations from state and national leaders, including Parson, the release of the Apprenticeship Missouri playbook and awards presentations.

Ultimately, apprenticeship is education: hands-on teaching that will help keep our state's economy strong.

News Tribune

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