Gov. Rick Snyder: Investing in skilled trades training strengthens Michigan's economy

Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 

LANSING, MI – Michigan is continuing to support skilled trades training with a new, $50 million program through the state’s community colleges, Gov. Rick Snyder said. 

The program is part of an effort to close the talent gap, providing skilled-trades training through the newly-created Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program.

The funding was approved Tuesday by the Michigan Strategic Fund, after Gov. Snyder recommended it as a priority within his Fiscal Year 2015 budget recommendations. The amount is among the highest ever dedicated from a state to community colleges for skilled trades’ job development.

“Our economy is growing beyond the comeback phase, and the positive business environment and job growth are major reasons for the increasing demand for skilled trades’ positions,” Snyder said. “Today’s action is a step to ensure Michiganders have in-demand skills for the jobs of today and tomorrow. “

Skilled-trade jobs require education beyond high school, but not a four-year degree, and usually call for on-the-job training. The career range includes jobs in health care (lab technicians, dental hygienist), maintenance and repair, public safety, manufacturing (machine operators, welders), along with work as carpenters, plumbers and electricians. Collectively, these jobs represent about one-third of the state’s employment.

Creating a qualified talent pool to fill jobs in an expanding economy is a cornerstone in further building Michigan’s business-friendly reputation. CCSTEP requires unprecedented collaboration among private-sector employers, state government and educators.

“This program is a prime example of how community colleges play a dynamic role in the long-term approach to building economic prosperity in Michigan,” said Michael Hansen, president of Michigan Community College Association.

Michigan’s 28 community colleges are attended by about 450,000 students.

“With the CCSTEP funds, colleges can invest in the type of equipment that provides students with hands-on education and skills that translate directly to jobs – jobs that are in demand,” Hansen said.

“Requiring that colleges work closely with the region’s business community deepens collaboration and gives educators an improved perspective of the curriculum that best serves the interests of our students, who expect to find a job after their education.”

CCSTEP is a critical part of the state’s comprehensive $70-million strategy to address in-demand and hard-to-fill jobs. Under the program, community colleges can apply for up to $4.8 million. Each award requires the community college to come up with a 25 percent match of the total equipment cost, including installation, renovations and instructor training. The proposal requires collaboration with school districts and a detailed plan on how the additional funding will help to meet employers’ job needs.

Michigan also allocates $10 million to support Community Ventures, which places structurally unemployed workers in temporary and full-time positions, and $10 million for the Skills Trades Training Fund, which provides grants to 25 Michigan Works! agencies which award Michigan companies that provide on-the-job training with funding.

Michigan also provides $1 million to support the Michigan Advanced Technician Training program. MAT2 combines classroom instruction with paid work experience in a three-year, no-cost program in the fields of mechatronics, information technology, and technical product design. MAT2 is the state’s effort to increase workers with science, technology, engineering and math skills.

There are currently 89,000 job openings in Michigan as listed on Pure Michigan Talent Connect (