KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Missouri’s Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development wants to make Missourians recession-proof. Through its new Return Strong Initiative, the department is granting residents who lost their job due to the novel coronavirus a voucher or scholarship toward learning a new skill or starting a new career.
In Kansas City, Missouri, the Full Employment Council (FEC) is one of the partner agencies coordinating the scholarships and training. FEC president Clyde McQueen said his agency now offers roughly 60 online courses where job seekers can learn a new skill and earn corresponding certification. Courses range from dental assistant to information technology.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the FEC did not offer any online courses of this caliber. McQueen said the transition to hosting everything online has been challenging.
“Now we gotta do the direct opposite of what we’ve learned is the way we deal with people for our entire lives and the lives of our grandmothers and grandfathers and great uncles, how they all did,” McQueen said. “So I think that’s one thing that is both challenging or frustrating, but also the fact that many people are engaging and trying to do things differently.”
McQueen said the FEC has more than 400 scholarships to distribute. Each one will cover the entire cost of an online course. Some scholarships even include a computer, making it easier for recipients to stay up to speed on the weeks-long courses.
The FEC reopened in late July, so clients can use computers at the FEC office to conduct the training and do virtual interviews with employers.
McQueen is confident voucher/scholarship recipients will find jobs when they complete their online courses.
“These are jobs we know of right here," he said. "It’s very important to people that you be able to access the employment opportunities that are close to where you live, where kids go to school and where they have their house."
To learn more about the scholarship application process, call the FEC at 816-471-2330 or visit the FEC website.
The Missouri Department of Higher Education and Workforce Development also has offices in Independence and the Northland that can handle inquiries about the program.
- Independence Job Center, 15301 East 23rd Street South, Independence, MO 64055. 816-521-5700
- Northland Human Resource Center, 3100 NE 83rd Street, Suite 2100, Kansas City, MO 64119. 816-468-8767
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