Whenever the budget clock starts ticking, inevitably there are fans and foes alike furiously scouring the funding pipeline. Some programs emerge winners, some turn out losers, but everyone's got an opinion. When Governor Rick Snyder rolled out his budget plan for the coming year this morning among the immediate fans was Stephanie Comai from the Michigan Talent Investment Agency.
Comai is applauding the Governor's more than $35-million proposed set aside for the critical issue of workforce development. Comai is the Director of the agency and she says, "Michigan's long-term success depends on our ability to ensure that job providers have access to the talent they need." She adds, "This is especially true in the skilled trades, where thousands of exciting, good-paying jobs remain available."
Comai expressed great pride in the work her agency is doing to assist workers and employers in meeting their needs, saying, "I am confident that the governor's continued emphasis will allow us to keep our state at the forefront of talent development innovation."
The governor’s budget recommends additional support for workforce development initiatives. Highlights include:
- More than $35 million for skilled trades training-related initiatives such as the Skilled Trades Training Fund and the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT2) program.
- $9.8 million in General Fund support for the Community Ventures program, which helps structurally unemployed residents pursue career opportunities and maintain employment in Detroit, Flint, Saginaw and Pontiac. An additional $2 million, one-time General Fund commitment also is being recommended as a “challenge” match to encourage foundations and other organizations to support expansion of program services and integration into communities.
- One-time funding of $8.8 million for the Statewide Data System Integration project. The project will encourage continuous improvement in the services provided to employers, workers and all taxpayers. In addition to helping the state meet new workforce data reporting requirements, the project will allow for a more detailed analysis of training and education programs. Through an analysis of this data, program design and outcomes will be improved.
Comai tells us, “Michigan is taking a comprehensive, strategic approach to talent development.” She concludes, “With the continued support of the governor and Legislature, the Talent Investment Agency will keep working with stakeholders throughout Michigan to make our state a national leader in preparing talent for the rewarding careers of today and tomorrow."
The Talent Investment Agency (TIA) joins the efforts of the Workforce Development Agency and the Unemployment Insurance Agency to integrate new workers into the economy and help those workers that have been in or out of the workforce transition into new jobs. TIA coordinates programs related to job preparedness, career-based education, worker training, employment assistance and unemployment insurance.