Missouri AFL-CIO Launches Human Resources Development and Mental Health Initiative



JEFFERSON CITY, Mon .– Missouri AFL-CIO launches a new initiative to improve diversity, Mental healthand economic opportunities for the Missouri workforce.

The Missouri Works Initiative is a four-pronged approach that aims to connect Missourians to new opportunities through education, networking, and health information.

Greta Bax, executive director of the initiative, said she looks forward to working with AFL-CIO President Jake Hummel and Treasury Secretary Merri Berry to meet the full spectrum of workers’ needs.

“Most of the time when people hear about the AFL-CIO, they know about the political and lobbying arm of organized labor. When we started an affiliate organization, Jake and Merri’s goal was to support every part of a worker’s life, ”Bax told the Missouri Times. “We as an organization make sure we have a positive impact on all working Missourians, and to do that you need to be willing to rise to the challenge and take on some of these employee initiatives.”

The Dislocated Worker Program helps dismissed union workers apply for unemployment benefits and get free training opportunities. The team is currently offering a workshop on changing jobs and peer counseling alongside the Institute for Higher Education and Personnel Development (DHEWD). AFL-CIO has hosted the program for more than 20 years and is now being treated under the new initiative.

The initiative also offers a Worker Wellness Program (WPP), which focuses on providing information about mental health problems and health problems in the workplace. WPP plans to work with local agencies to tailor its programs to specific communities. Dr. John Gaal, a certified wellness practitioner who previously served as a trainer for the St. Louis-Kansas City Carpenters Regional Council, leads the program.

Building Union Diversity (BUD) St. Louis strives to expand access to the construction industry and create a more diverse workforce. Active since 2014, Bax said the five-week education program has helped more than 250 St. Louis residents, touted a 90 percent graduation rate, and sent 81 percent of graduates straight into construction jobs after completing the program. It also hosts a closing event where workers can network and apply for positions with potential employers.

The Missouri Apprentice Ready Program, the newest branch of the initiative, is expected to offer its first courses later this year. Another five week course offered in Kansas City and Springfield in association with DHEWD, efforts are coordinated with Gov. Mike Parsons The aim is to increase the state workforce and have 20,000 participants in training programs by 2025. The program is supported by a government investment of US $ 1 million.

“The Missouri Works Initiative is uniquely positioned to take on the role of expanding apprenticeship programs nationwide through its partnerships and connections across Missouri with organized workers, registered training coordinators, contractors and employers,” said Hummel. “I am looking forward to expanding the successful years of the AFL-CIO for employees.”

With some programs already delivering results and new efforts on the horizon, Bax looks forward to expanding the initiative with new programs and providing additional support to the Missouri workforce in the future.

“It is a unique opportunity to have a more focused impact on people development,” said Bax. “We have a lot of know-how and a lot of good people take on these challenges. We will see how things develop and change over time, but we will focus on providing economic opportunity for all Missourians. “


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