Today, Governor Mike Parson announced the projects selected through the Missouri Department of Economic Development’s Workforce Training Program. Nearly 130 applicants were received requesting $210 million for the program that has an allocation of just $30 million. Innovate SO MO, co-founded by Codefi of Cape Girardeau and efactory at Missouri State University in Springfield in 2022, was one of just nineteen projects selected through the highly competitive process. Funds will be used to train and upskill under and unemployed workers and expand customized recruitment assistance to employers.
“This award really speaks to why collaboration is so important,” said Rachel Anderson, Director of efactory. “Through our partnership with Codefi and launching Innovate SO MO, over 100 leading companies and stakeholders have come together to express the need in this area of training for our workforce. We think it sends a strong message about the power of partnership and collaboration that is happening in southern Missouri.”
The $1.5 million will be funded over a 3-year period focused on two primary objectives. It will support the continued delivery of Codefi’s Code Labs, an adult computer programming training that gives participants the entry-level skills to get a job as a software developer in less than a year at no cost, with both in-person and virtual options. It will also support cybersecurity training in partnership with the Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence.
According to the Missouri Economic and Research Information Center, the fastest-growing high-wage jobs in Missouri and the region are information technology occupations in software development and cybersecurity. Employers report these are the most difficult positions to fill. A recent U.S. News and World Report ranked software development as the best job in America.
Chris Carnell, co-founder of Codefi said, “It’s such an honor to have been selected. Since inception, Code Labs graduates with new employment have doubled their average annual income. The program has a proven track record that just continues to get better, and we’re confident we will be the best stewards of these public funds entrusted to us.”
Both programs will begin accepting applications soon with the first training cohorts beginning Fall 2023.
About Innovate SO MO
The Southern Missouri Innovation Network (Innovate SO MO) is a first-of-its-kind regional partnership launched in the Spring of 2022 to transform entrepreneurial support and talent development across southern Missouri. The network collectively combines the expertise and resources of two of the state’s most successful innovation hubs with community and business partners to accelerate job growth and support the next generation of industry-leading, high-growth companies in the 47 counties in Southern Missouri.
The network is supported by grant awards from the Missouri Technology Corporation, the Economic Development Administration, and over 100 leading companies and stakeholders in the region. It includes strategic partnerships with over a dozen communities and the Missouri Cybersecurity Center of Excellence, Jordan Valley Innovation Center, Crowder College, Missouri State University, Missouri State University-West Plains, Three Rivers College, Southeast Missouri State University, Mineral Area College, Community Foundation of the Ozarks, as well as support from workforce development, economic development, and Chambers of Commerce across the region.
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