Nearly 45 companies and organizations in the Kinexus trade area of Michigan's Great Southwest will share in just short of $2-million in training grants in the New Year thanks to Michigan's Going PRO Talent Fund, and that's just a piece of the pie. In total, more than $29-million in grants will help almost 24,000 Michigan workers at nearly 800 companies thanks to the state's commitment to closing the talent gap and filling critical jobs in need of skilled tradesmen and women.
All in all, 23,889 Michigan workers at 780 employers across the state will be able to update their skills or gain new skills through $29,123,829 in grants from the Going PRO Talent Fund.
The grants have helped Michigan businesses create over 10,430 jobs and retain more than 37,000 jobs in the past five years, and hope to help even more going forward.
In the Kinexus trade area of Southwest Michigan, grants range from as little as $1,500 for M&I Machine in Coloma to $183,000 for Ralph Moyle, Inc. of Mattawan, a transportation and warehousing business dating back to the later days of World War II. Other notable companies in the region getting an assist from the Talent Fund include the likes of the Colson Group USA's Shepherd Caster Company in St. Joseph which will get $157,230...Eagle Technologies of Bridgman getting $91,226...Kay Manufacturing of St. Joe getting $66,840...Journeyman Distillery of Three Oaks getting $36,862...and others like LECO Corporation, Custom Tool & Die of Stevensville, Hanson Mold of St. Joe, Ausco Products, Kelm Acubar, and Gaishin Manufacturing of Benton Harbor, Shawnee Specialties of Eau Claire, and even Forte Coffee Company of St. Joe.
Jeremy Hendges is Chief of Staff at the Michigan Department of Talent & Economic Development. He says, “As Michigan works to close its talent gap, programs like the Going PRO Talent Fund provide resources for employers and their employees to keep up with an ever-changing, high-tech global economy.” He adds, “This fund is part of Michigan’s comprehensive approach to ensuring it can compete in the global race for the most and best talent while ensuring our companies can continue to invest in homegrown talent.”
The Talent Fund provides competitive awards to assist in upskilling, as well as developing and retaining, current and new employees through public-private partnerships with employers.
The program is implemented locally by the Michigan Works! organizations, like Kinexus of Benton Harbor, which conduct outreach to inform employers of the program. Employers with a need for skill enhancement, including apprenticeship programs and advance-technology training programs for current employees or individuals to be hired, may be eligible to apply for the grant.
Stephanie Beckhorn is Director of the Workforce Development Agency. She says, “The Talent Fund has been highly successful, providing workers with the additional skills they need for in-demand jobs to help advance their careers,” and adds, “It also ensures Michigan’s employers have the talent they need to compete and grow here in the Great Lakes State.”
One example is Duperon Corporation in Saginaw, which was awarded funding in 2018, allowing it to provide five different training courses for 20 employees.
Louann Lerche is HR Manager for Duperon. She tells us, “Duperon has been growing, on average, 18-percent per year,” and notes, “Although we are grateful for our success, this type of growth does bring on growing pains. We truly appreciate the support that this program has provided for our company and the opportunities it has given us to train our staff, continuing our investment here in Michigan.”
A Professional Trades shortage exists in Michigan and is expected to continue through 2024. Professional Trades will account for more than 500,000 jobs in Michigan’s economy, and approximately 15,000 new job openings are expected annually in the state during that time. The Talent Fund provides an opportunity to close that gap by providing reskilling and upskilling for Michigan workers to improve and evolve with the changing demands a 21st century economy.
The fund is part of an overarching and comprehensive strategy to connect Michiganders with high-demand, high-wage careers here at home. That strategy also includes Going PRO in Michigan, designed to elevate the perception of Professional Trades and showcase opportunities in a variety of rewarding careers among students and those who influence them. For more information about Going PRO, visit the www.Going-PRO.com website.
The list of grant recipients for the 2019 fiscal year is available by clicking the link below. You will need to go about 15 pages deep to find the 43 local companies getting training dollars from the program: