SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Local first responder agencies across the Ozarks spent Thursday learning more about setting up registered apprenticeship programs to attract and retain employees. 

The goal is to help create a pipeline of talent, which in turn will help with worker shortages.

The registered apprenticeship model is expanding, thanks to a $3 million federal grant awarded to Springfield’s Department of Workforce Development. 

Workforce leaders said apprenticeships are often associated with skilled trades.

However, they are hoping to open pathways for apprenticeships with public safety careers. 

“Missouri is a great example of a state that has been successful in promoting apprenticeships in a variety of different career paths, not just the skilled trades,” said Katherine Trombetta with the department. 

Local agencies said they are interested in learning more about how it could be a benefit during a hard hiring period. 

“This might be something that would influence them to go ahead and take this step into law enforcement,” said a Lt. with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department.