Good news in jobs and job training are featured in this week’s Capitol Report. As you know, our new governor and this legislature are dedicated to job growth in our state, and we are beginning to reap some very good benefits from this focus. I am glad to share some very good news from a local perspective as well as on a regional basis. The local news will be highlighted in the first section.
In other news, last week, Governor Eric Greitens traveled to London to meet with executives from WPP and announce that VML, a global marketing agency, plans to create a minimum of 120 new jobs in Kansas City over the next six years. VML is part of WPP, the world’s largest communications services group. According to the company, VML has already experienced staffing increases of more than 50 people since the beginning of the year, bringing their Kansas City facility to nearly 600 people. More on this topic in the second section of this week’s report.
UCM Aviation Program Given Preference by Air Force
You may have read that the Air Force is facing a shortage of pilots. To help counter this shortage, the USAF has offered to allow the University of Central Missouri’s Aviation Department to nominate up to five graduates per year to move into their officer pilot training.
The administration of UCM including President Chuck Ambrose and Assistant Dean of Aviation and retired B-2 pilot Tony Monetti, gave the announcement last Friday. The announcement formalized the agreement between UCM and USAF with a special Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that will allow for the launch of a new and innovative program to help meet a growing demand for military officer pilots in the Air Force. According to UCM, “the agreement sets in motion a process by which the university’s Department of Aviation can annually nominate up to five senior aviation student applicants for the Air Force’s Pilot Officer Recruiting Program.” If the UCM students are accepted upon graduation, they will then go on to attend the Air Force’s Officer Training School (OTS) followed by Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT).
This is great news for our area and further strengthens the bond between our community and the military! It should help place UCM and our district on the map for many more aviation students.
Global Marketing Agency to Create 120 New Jobs in Kansas City
Last week, Governor Eric Greitens traveled to London to meet with executives from WPP and announce that VML, a global marketing agency, plans to create a minimum of 120 new jobs in Kansas City over the next six years. The governor said, “We are proud to have VML headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri as companies continue to thrive in our state.” “We’re always fighting to help companies like VML create more jobs and higher pay for Missourians,” stated Governor Grietens.
VML is part of WPP, the world’s largest communications services group. According to the company, VML has already experienced staffing increases of more than 50 people since the beginning of the year, bringing their Kansas City facility to nearly 600 people. VML is a lead marketing agency that transforms brands through a consumer experience by providing a broad range of services including strategy and intelligence, marketing and advertising, and platforms and experience. VML’s high- profile clients include Bridgestone, Colgate-Palmolive, Electrolux/Frigidaire, Ford, the Kellogg Company, Kimberly-Clark, New Balance, PepsiCo, Sprint, and Wendy’s.
“We’re extremely proud to be celebrating our 25th anniversary – and doing so right here in Kansas City where our company was founded,” Jon Cook, global CEO said. “VML has seen tremendous momentum, particularly in the past few years, including being recognized as one of the Top 5 advertising agencies in the nation in Advertising Age’s Agency A-List.” Last year, the company announced a long-term lease to maintain its global headquarters in Kansas City at the Charles B. Wheeler Downtown
Airport. With the lease lasting over 10 years and VML celebrating its 25th anniversary, the creation of 120 new jobs over the next six years is a further testament to the company’s commitment for growth in Missouri. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, VML joined the world’s largest communications services group, WPP, in 2001. According to VML, the company has more than 3,000 employees with principal offices in 33 locations across six continents.
The announcement was part of the Governor’s second trade mission of the year, in which he promoted Missouri’s strong business climate and opportunities to expand economic ties between Missouri and Europe.
Legislature Continues to Look for Long-Term Care Funding Solution
Since Veto Session in September, a bipartisan group of House and Senate members have been working to find funding for Medicaid recipients who were receiving in-home care or in long-term care facilities. A funding shortfall was thought to have put some of those receiving services at risk of losing them.
House and Senate leaders arrived at several workable solutions, which included changes to the circuit breaker property tax credit. The governor’s office has been made aware of the range of proposals that could restore permanent funding to this population. However, during the process, information from the Department of Health and Senior Services has made it clear that very few Missourians are losing services at this time. According to the department, of the 1008 participants who have been evaluated under the new level of care standard, only 30 people have had their services altered. The change was initially projected to cause more than 8,000 people to see their services reduced, but the initial round of reassessments indicate the number will be far lower.
“Those numbers are pretty astonishing, but there is still going to be a funding problem moving forward and we will need to address this either in a special session or early next session. I am happy that this group came up with several ways to save the money necessary to fund these services and we will move forward with them as soon as the legislature is back in session,” said House Speaker Todd Richardson.
“The House has presented multiple solutions to this problem since this budget was passed last session and we will continue to work with our colleagues in both chambers to implement a plan to dedicate a revenue stream to fund long-term care for our seniors,” commented Budget Chairman Scott Fitzpatrick.
On Monday, a group of third graders from Northwest Elementary, along with their teachers and parents, came to the Capitol for a visit and to learn more about how state government works. It was great to have them at the Capitol!
It is an honor to serve the 51st District in the Missouri House of Representatives. Each week I will issue a capitol report to keep you informed of activities in Jefferson City. Any concerns or issues you might have are of great interest to me. I look forward to your input and thoughts, so please feel free to contact me at any time if you have questions, concerns, or ideas to improve our state government and the quality of life for all Missourians. My telephone number is 573-751-2204 or you may contact me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for working with me to make Missouri a great place to live.