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Labor and Economic Opportunity

$29 million in Going PRO Talent Fund grants awarded statewide

Funds help ensure Michigan’s employers have the talent they need to compete and grow, and workers have the skills they need for in-demand jobs


Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2018

Erica Quealy
517-582-2961 |

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 (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. 

“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,” Talent and Economic Development Chief of Staff Jeremy Hendges said. “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 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.

“The Talent Fund has been highly successful, providing workers with the additional skills they need for in-demand jobs to help advance their careers,” said Stephanie Beckhorn, director of the Workforce Development Agency. “It also ensures Michigan’s employers have the talent they need to compete and grow here in the Great Lakes State.”

Duperon Corporation in Saginaw was awarded funding in 2018, allowing it to provide five different training courses for 20 employees.

“Duperon has been growing, on average, 18 percent per year,” Louann Lerche, human resources manager for Duperon, said. “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 website.

The list of grant recipients for the 2019 fiscal year is available here