The program aims to break down barriers and help people get jobs

The Missouri Works Initiative runs a five-week pre-apprenticeship training program in Springfield to help people land jobs in the skilled trades.

The program started on April 11 and will continue until May 13. The goal is to help people land stable, well-paying jobs while benefiting employers who lack skilled workers.

The Missouri Works Initiative is a nonprofit organization affiliated with the Missouri AFL-CIO. Its goal is to meet the changing workforce needs of the state by creating healthy and recovery-friendly workplaces, connecting laid-off workers with job search or upskilling resources to future employment and facilitating learning opportunities. The Missouri Works initiative was created to break down barriers to economic opportunity by connecting Missourians to the resources needed to build vital careers.

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“This is really a community-led effort to really create those career opportunities and create a pipeline to work for the construction industry,” said Greta Bax, executive director of the Missouri Works Initiative.

Greta Bax, executive director of the Missouri Works Initiative.

Jeremy Nichols, 36, of Springfield, is one of many people taking part in the pre-apprenticeship program. He hopes to learn skills and build relationships that will help him land a well-paying job.

“I want to help improve the lives of my children so that I can better support and care for them and also show them that every time you fall you can get back up and it will be better as long as you try and work hard for her,” Nichols said.

Nichols said the program got off to a good start and he’s been enjoying it so far. The program began with math lessons which he said were difficult, but he was able to remember many of his school years.

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“I hope to gain the knowledge and the will to keep pushing this agenda forward, and hopefully a month or two later to get into a union of my choosing,” Nichols said.

The Missouri Works Initiative pre-apprenticeship training program is a five-week introduction to the construction industry for qualified participants in Kansas City and Springfield. The goal of this new initiative is to create a more diverse, equitable and inclusive construction workforce.

Masons and Allied Craftsmen Local 15 – which represents skilled artisans in the trowel trades in western Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska – is one organization that is excited about the potential of the pre-apprenticeship training program Missouri Works Initiative.

“Any time we can attract more people and more people are interested, the better off we are,” said Steve Morrow of Bricklayers Local 15.

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Morrow said there are many job opportunities in the area in skilled trades industries.

To learn more about the Missouri Works Initiative and its programs, visit

Ralph Green is a business reporter at the Springfield News-Leader. Contact him at RAGreen@gannett.comby phone: (417-536-4061) or on Twitter at RalphGreenNL

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