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Labor and Economic Opportunity

Skilled trades training funding earns permanent place in state law

Skilled Trades Training Fund renamed Going PRO Talent Fund -- FY 2019 grant application period opens September 12

Contact: Stepheni Schlinker
517-420-5137
schlinkers@michigan.gov

LANSING, August 22, 2018 — Under legislation that codifies the Skilled Trades Training Fund, Michigan companies will continue to receive training that enhances talent, productivity, and employment retention without the need for annually renewing the program.

Since 2014, the State of Michigan has dedicated over $72 million dollars in competitive awards to more than 2,200 Michigan companies through the Skilled Trades Training Fund, resulting in the creation of 14,000 jobs and the retention of 56,000 jobs since the program’s inception.
Up to now, funding for skilled trades training has been provided by annual appropriation bills. To ensure ongoing operations of the effective, and popular, program, legislation was introduced by Sen. Ken Horn (R-Frankenmuth), to codify the program in state statute. 

“Changing the name to the Going PRO Talent Fund reflects the broad nature of training and further promotes the significance of our professional trades,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “The collaborative nature of this program is a large part of what has made it so successful – employers work with their local education, economic development and Michigan Works! partners to provide demand-driven training that addresses critical talent shortages. This great program is at the heart of what the Marshall Plan for Talent is all about.”

Sen. Horn’s bill became Public Act 260 of 2018 when it was recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder, immediately changing the name of the program to the Going PRO Talent Fund. Created prior to the introduction of his Marshall Plan for Talent, the Going PRO Talent Fund serves as an integral piece of the foundation of the Marshall Plan.

The most important change this bill makes is expanding the timeline for training to be completed. In the past, training generally had to be completed in the first half of the calendar year. Now, training can occur within a year of the award, which is something employers need to be more effective. It also ensures that prior year investments in the fund won’t lapse at the end of a fiscal year, but instead stay with the program for the years to come.

“The Skilled Trades Training Fund has been a highly successful program that gives workers additional skills to advance their careers,” Horn said. “I introduced Senate Bill 946 to bring certainty to the program and ensure great jobs will be available in the future. The legislation also gives flexibility to employers to complete training for valuable employees. Our state is rooted in manufacturing and skilled trades and programs like this are working to put Michigan back on the map.”

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

“This program has been extremely successful and embraced by employers all across the state,” Stephanie Beckhorn, director of the Talent Investment Agency’s Workforce Development Agency, said. “The grant funding allows companies the tools they need to invest and develop their workforce. This program is truly unique in that every company can tailor the training to their specific needs whether that be training new employees; upgrading the skills of existing employees; introducing new skills to employees to help the business attract new clients; or creating a pipeline of talent to address existing and future job vacancies. The list of opportunities is nearly endless, which is why this program is so beneficial for companies in our state.”

The Going PRO Talent Fund program is implemented locally by the Michigan Works! organizations which conduct outreach to inform employers of the program. Employers with a need for skill enhancement, including apprenticeship programs and advance-tech training programs for current employees or individuals to be hired, may be eligible to apply for the Going PRO Talent Fund. The application period for the Fiscal Year 2019 grants opens on Wednesday, September 12, 2018. A list of Michigan Works! contacts for employers can be found on the Going PRO Talent Fund website.

“The Going PRO Talent Fund provides important training that leads to more productivity and job satisfaction for workers, both things that contribute to a thriving Michigan economy,” Luann Dunsford, Chief Executive Officer of the Michigan Works! Association. “The grant process is very competitive, and funds are allocated quickly, so we encourage employers to apply soon. Michigan Works! offices across the state are hosting information sessions to help, so please contact your local office to find out more. We are ready to help.”

The Michigan Manufacturers Association (MMA), and leaders of Michigan manufacturing companies across the state, who partnered with the Talent Investment Agency in support of this legislation, also applauded the enactment of this law.

“The Going Pro Talent Fund, formerly the Skilled Trades Training Fund, has been a vital funding source for manufacturers by allowing Michigan companies to leverage nearly $1 billion toward their workforce,” Delaney McKinley, MMA senior director of government affairs and membership, said. “As Michigan enjoys its lowest unemployment rate in nearly two decades, skilled talent is a scarce resource. Michigan’s manufacturers commend Senator Ken Horn, Governor Rick Snyder and the Michigan Workforce Development Agency for their leadership in ensuring this program continues to generate public-private partnerships to design training models that adapt in real time with changing employer demand.”
For more information about the Going PRO Talent Fund, visit the Going PRO Talent Fund website.

About The Talent Investment Agency (TIA)
TIA is the agency that combines Michigan Unemployment Insurance and Workforce Development, and is responsible for their activities. Businesses need a talented workforce. Workers need the right skills to compete for available jobs. TIA programs are focused on job preparedness, career-based education, worker training, employment assistance and unemployment insurance.