The organization that provides wholesale electricity to Houston and Cabool has received a $1.14 million workforce training grant from the Missouri Department of Economic Development.

The Missouri Public Utility Alliance Resource Services Corporation (MPUA-RSC) was awarded the fund. It will be able to offer additional vocational training in the utility field. The benefit will be a more skilled workforce and filling open positions with Missouri hometown utilities, it said.

The state announced individual grant recipients on Jan. 24. MPUA’s programs for utility worker training focus on the recruiting and training needs of municipal water, wastewater, natural gas, broadband and electric utilities. The training will benefit at least 150 people and will be targeted toward people in these counties: Butler, Barry, Barton, Crawford, Dent, Dunklin, Howell, Johnson, Livingston, Marion, New Madrid, Pemiscot, Phelps, Randolph, Scott, Shannon, Texas and Wright.

“MPUA is grateful to Gov. Parson and his administration for recognizing the important role of Missouri’s hometown utilities and their workforce needs,” said John Twitty, president and CEO of MPUA. “Hometown utilities require highly-skilled, high-quality jobs that keeps its workforce local, raising the quality of life in our local communities.”

Hometown utilities in Missouri, like much of the utility industry, are experiencing labor shortages and an aging workforce that will soon retire, the organization said. To help combat these issues, MPUA will use project funding to further advance its training to assist individuals who seek higher wages and career advancement and create a pipeline of industry professionals for municipally owned utilities in Missouri.

Funding comes from Missouri’s share of federal funding under the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). The grant program helps employers address workforce disruptions stemming from the pandemic, funding projects to recruit and train individuals who are seeking jobs that provide better opportunity for economic advancement.

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