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2017-12-06 / Front Page

Two Local Agencies Receive UPWARD Grants

More than 27,000 Michigan workers at more than 800 employers will gain or update skills through $29 million in grants from the Skilled Trades Training Fund, Talent Investment Agency director Wanda M. Stokes said.

The grants have helped companies create 14,000 jobs and retain 56,000 over the five years of the program. The fund provides the opportunity for employers and workers to gain cuttingedge skills and training as Michigan focuses on building the most talented workforce in the nation.

Locally, Northern Wings Repair received a $3,800 grant and the Louisiana Pacific Corporation received a $3,040 grant. More than $685,000 was awarded to other U.P. businesses, including Precision Edge Surgical Products Company in Sault Ste. Marie ($22,590) and U.P. Paper, LLC in Manistique ($33,198).

Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature established the program in 2013 to develop the state’s talent, helping employers fill thousands of available Professional Trades jobs. The grants ensure Michigan employees have the skills required for in-demand jobs and employers have the professional talent they need to grow and thrive.

“Michigan has people willing to work hard to compete with anyone in the country or the world,” Snyder said. “Programs like the Skilled Trades Training Fund ensure that residents have continued access to training for in-demand skills and that our employers can continue creating more and better opportunities for those skilled workers.”

The grants create publicprivate partnerships with employers to design training models that adapt with changing employer demand. Criteria for the grants include that the training must be for three months or less, lead to an industry-recognized credential in a transferable skill and contribute to or continue permanent, full-time employment.

Franchino Mold and Engineering received one of the first grants five years ago, and the majority of the employees receiving training are still with the Lansing based company. HR manager Brad Rusthoven says the grants helped the company increase its staff and grow the business.

“The Skilled Trades Training Fund gave us the opportunity to provide training to our new and current apprentices, as well as incumbent employees,” Rusthoven said. “More than anything we’ve been able to work on closing the talent gap so that when our seasoned employees retire, we minimize the loss of productivity and skills.”

“We want to make sure Michigan residents have the skills necessary for today’s in-demand jobs,” Stokes said. “The Skilled Trades Training Fund gives us the opportunity to align training with those skills and make sure people gain a full-time job or are able to retain jobs as demands and needed skills evolve.”

Since inception, more than 2,000 Michigan employers received grants averaging $34,308 through the Skilled Trades Training Fund. Employers with less than 100 employees have received 1,154 grants; employers with 100 - 499 have received 804 awards; and 250 grants have been awarded to companies with more than 500 employees.

The list of grant recipients for the 2018 fiscal year is available at documents/wda/STTF_ FY1 8_ Awards_ Per_ Region_ 607171_ 7.pdf.

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