LANSING—The Michigan Senate recently approved legislation to help the state’s community colleges meet the increased need for specific skilled training for workers, said Sen. John Proos.
“Michigan’s economy is growing at a faster rate than the nation as a whole, resulting in the creation of more than 300,000 private sector jobs and 75,000 manufacturing jobs in Michigan in less than four years,” said Proos, R-St. Joseph. “Unfortunately, thousands of these new jobs throughout the state and in Southwest Michigan remain unfilled because employers cannot find enough workers with the necessary skills.
“Expanding the successful Michigan New Jobs Training Program will help us ensure that we can meet the workforce needs of a growing economy.”
Senate Bill 1074, sponsored by Sen. Mark C. Jansen, R-Gaines Township, would remove certain technical restrictions to allow the Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP) to expand. The program was established in 2008 to promote job growth and provide skilled training to workers through local community colleges.
“As Southwest Michigan businesses continue to rebound and grow, we need to give them every advantage starting with access to the talent they need,” said Todd Gustafson, executive director of Kinexus. “This legislation also ensures we put jobseekers to work, who might otherwise be sitting on the sidelines.”
The MNJTP lets community colleges statewide create a training pool through flexible financing mechanisms to support employers who are creating jobs or expanding operations in Michigan.
The program generated more than $76 million in additional earnings and 2,266 new jobs in 2012 alone, according to a report issued last year by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG), an independent economic research firm. Going forward, the AEG study projects the MNJTP annually to generate $143 million in additional earnings and more than 4,700 jobs.
“The program has proven successful in helping create jobs and train workers for those jobs,” Proos said. “By removing arbitrary restrictions, we can empower local communities to maximize the benefit of this program for area workers.”
Under the program, training for newly hired workers is paid by capturing the state income tax associated with the new employees’ wages and redirecting it to a local college, instead of to the state. The new jobs must pay at least 175 percent of the state minimum wage. The bill has been sent to the Michigan House of Representatives for further consideration.
Editor’s Note – Audio comments by Proos are available on the senator’s website at www.SenatorJohnProos.com. Click on “Audio” under the Media Center tab.