• Missouri Fast Track Workforce Incentive Could Lead the Way For Adult Students

    Feb 06, 2019

    Missouri faces an economic crisis. Roughly two-thirds of jobs require a postsecondary education but nearly 40% of our adult population possesses the necessary credentials. Not only does this gap harm an individual’s economic mobility, but it harms Missouri’s ability to compete for new businesses, talent, and economic opportunities. State leaders including Governor Mike Parson, Department of Economic Development Director Rob Dixon, Higher Education Commissioner Zora Mulligan, and State Workforce Development Director Mardy Leathers have traveled across Missouri to gather input to develop a strategy for confronting this crisis. With the goal of making Missouri “Best in Midwest,” these leaders developed a clear strategy to move our state forward.

    One initiative that emerged from this work is the Missouri Fast Track Workforce Incentive grant program, a program proposed by Senator Gary Romine in Senate Bill 16 and Representative Kathy Swan in House Bill 225. This $22 million grant program would fund postsecondary education and training for “nontraditional students,” particularly adults 25-years-old and above, who are Missouri residents with an income less than $80,000 in high-need disciplines.

    The St. Louis Regional Chamber believes Missouri Fast Track Workforce Incentive grant program has the potential to transform our state’s economy and empower our workforce. Considering the shifting state of our economy, we need a skilled workforce made up of resilient, life-long learners; however, we can only create such a workforce by expanding our definition of “student.” Today’s students include adults over the age of 25 who are pursuing education and training part-time. Adult students need flexible higher education programs, greater support from employers, and access to financial aid that supports their education and career goals.

    By investing in adult education, the Missouri FastTrack Workforce Incentive grant program creates economic opportunity while meeting the workforce needs of business. By creating more pathways to in-demand occupations, the state is addressing one of the greatest pain points employers face today: filling thousands of jobs that go unfilled in a tight labor market.

    The Regional Chamber also supports investment in adults as a critical pathway to our regional workforce goals. In 2018, the Regional Chamber launched Gateway to Degrees, a program designed to ensure more adults in our region complete postsecondary education. In St. Louis alone, we have about 400,000 adults over the age of 25 who have some college education but never finished their degree. Gateway to Degrees is currently supporting 60 clients, providing them free, neutral college advising services so they can choose the best program that aligns to their personal and professional goals. Gateway to Degrees is also working with partners in business and higher education to align support for adult learners in our community.

    The Missouri Fast-Track Workforce Incentive grant program will help the St. Louis region and the state of Missouri advance its shared goals of increasing adult degree attainment. The St. Louis Regional Chamber stands with Governor Parson and state leaders seeking to make the Missouri Fast-Track Workforce Incentive grant program a reality to meet our state’s talent needs of today and tomorrow.

  • St. Louis Regional Chamber Partnering with LouFest to Present LouFest U Third Annual St. Louis Regional College Festival

    Aug 31, 2018

    LouFest U blogThe St. Louis Regional Chamber is partnering with the producers of LouFest to create LouFest U, a free festival for the St. Louis region’s college students, on Friday, September 7, 2018, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m. The event will kick-off the LouFest festival weekend, taking place on the Upper Muny Grounds and Festival Plaza in Forest Park. LouFest U is free to all students with a college ID or valid university email address. This event will feature live music from LouFest indie-pop headliner Quinn XCII plus local speakers, nonprofits and food vendors from across the region. Employers from some of the region’s top companies including Express Scripts, Enterprise, Edward Jones, Nestle Purina, and Bi-State Development Agency will also be present to share internships and career opportunities.

    Greg Laposa, the St. Louis Regional Chamber’s Vice President, Education Strategies, says LouFest U aims to show the wealth of resources in St. Louis for students and young professionals. “LouFest U is an opportunity to showcase the amazing places and culture St. Louis offers, as well as the jobs that are waiting for college grads. And we want them to stay - talent is one of the top reasons businesses move to or expand in our region. Developing, attracting and retaining talent is how we will better compete for jobs and business growth.”

    Laposa also says the college festival will help students connect to one another as well as to regional assets, creating a greater sense of community and civic pride. The Regional Chamber has found that college students who become more engaged in the local community are more likely to seek employment and stay in the St. Louis region after graduation. The St. Louis region was recently ranked #3 among the Top Cities for Recent College Grads by ZipRecruiter.

    LouFest was founded in 2010 and has become one of the city’s largest summer events, attracting visitors from across the country who enjoy the diversity of music, food and art in historic Forest Park. “LouFest is the perfect partner for the St. Louis companies and organizations to reach college and university students,” says Valerie Patton, Senior Vice President for Inclusion and Talent Attraction at the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “St. Louis has so much to offer these graduates and getting everyone together in this festival atmosphere will be educational, rewarding and fun.”

    More information about LouFest U is available at

    About the St. Louis Regional Chamber
    The St. Louis Regional Chamber is a broad community of leaders united for economic prosperity throughout the entire St. Louis bi-state region. The Chamber is the leading private sector economic development organization serving the 15+ county bi-state metropolitan area and the region’s largest and most diverse business organization. Its 1,000+ members employ nearly 30% of the region’s workforce. Economic prosperity – jobs, income, education, population, economic mobility, company growth - for the regional community is our uniting cause.

    About LouFest
    LouFest was founded in 2010 and will be celebrating its nineth year in St. Louis’ Forest Park. With steady growth in attendance each year, the multi-day festival continues as one of the city’s largest summer events. Featuring past acts such as Ms. Lauryn Hill, Chris Stapleton, LCD Soundsystem, Outkast, The Avett Brothers, The Killers, Billy Idol, Wilco, Arctic Monkeys, and Ludacris, the festival attracts a diverse variety of music acts and genres, spanning rock ‘n’ roll, hip hop, soul, funk, alt-country, folk, and jam. In addition to the music experience, LouFest highlights top restaurants in its Nosh Pit food court, as well as local retailers and artists in its Market Square, and a dedicated LouKidz zone for young music fans.

    The festival works closely with Forest Park Forever, Gateway Greening and Metro, to create a sustainable, green footprint that reduces the carbon emissions of attendees while caring for the beauty of Forest Park.

    Tickets are available through loufest.com. 1-Day tickets remain $60 and 2-Day tickets remain $95, inclusive of all fees. VIP tickets are $350 to the LouFest VIP lounge with complimentary beer, wine, and specialty libations all day, catered food servings, air conditioned restrooms and more. Platinum VIP are $750 and offer concierge treatment with golf cart transportation, dedicated entrance, exclusive Platinum viewing areas and premium food and drink selections.

    About Listen Live Entertainment
    Listen Live Entertainment (LLE) is a St. Louis-based production company that was created in 2009 to produce LouFest, a multiday music festival held in Forest Park. Now in its ninth year, the festival has welcomed over 200,000 music fans to Forest Park, and has received multiple awards and honors, including being voted as St. Louis’ “Best Music Festival” seven years in a row. Listen Live is owned and operated by a team of music and event industry professionals from St. Louis. The LLE team remains committed to its mission to build LouFest into a nationally recognized destination music festival featuring the best of St. Louis music, food, arts and culture all set in the heart of the city, Forest Park.