West Michigan companies receive $12M to train the workforce

Going Pro training grants are designed to help employers prepare the talent they need to compete and grow. They also will help workers gain skills needed for in-demand career paths, including industry-recognized credentials for high-skill jobs. 

West Michigan companies received a total of more than $12 million in Going Pro grants. In Ottawa and Allegan counties, 69 employers will receive awards in 2021, totaling more than $4 million. 

Companies in Ottawa County received collectively just over $2.7 million, while companies in Allegan County received more than $1.2 million. In Muskegon County, the allocation was more than $810,00. 

“The Going PRO Fund is an important tool to help our employers adapt to the changing needs of technology and upskill our workforce,” says Jennifer Owens, President of Lakeshore Advantage, which serves Ottawa and Allegan counties. “Lakeshore Advantage has worked diligently to advocate to our state leaders to continue funding for this win-win program.”   

Statewide awards
 
Statewide, $39 million in Going PRO Talent Fund grants were awarded to train 30,000 workers at more than 850 Michigan businesses. 
 
All 21 Lakeshore Advantage investors that applied for funding received it. These companies are:
 
  • BizStream
  • CS Erickson
  • DeWys Manufacturing
  • Driesenga & Associates
  • EV Construction
  • Herman Miller
  • Hudsonville Creamery
  • ITW Drawform 
  • JR Automation
  • Koops Automation Systems
  • Magna Engineered Glass
  • Mercy Health (in Kent County)
  • MFP Automation Engineering
  • Owen-Ames-Kimball (in Kent County)
  • Perrigo
  • Plascore
  • Royal Technologies
  • Trans-Matic Manufacturing
  • VentureSource Solutions
  • Woodward FST
  • Worksighted

Millions of dollars

Since 2013, the GPTF has injected millions of dollars into the Michigan economy for short-term training in high-demand occupations. 

Across West Michigan, employers in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon, and Ottawa have been awarded more than $12 million in training funds. The funding has nearly quadrupled to $12 million from $3.1 million in fiscal year 2015. In 2020, the award was $9.4 million. 

“The availability of training grants in 2021 is more important than ever before,” says Amy Lebednick, Director, Business Solutions for West Michigan Works! “The COVID-19 pandemic has made an existing shortage of workers more acute as we’re seeing low numbers of individuals looking to enter the workforce. The state of Michigan’s GPTF investment will allow our employers to invest in workers, allowing them to continue operations and fill vacancies.”

Impacting communities

West Michigan Works! will notify 283 employers that their applications are being funded in amounts ranging from $1,500 to $ 498,284. At this time, four applications totaling $240,494 are pending.

“We are grateful to the governor, our legislators, and our chambers of commerce for their work to restore this support for employers and workers,” says Jacob Maas, West Michigan Works! CEO. 

“Since the inception of the program, the average annual earnings of trainees have increased by $3,300. These funds truly impact our communities.”

Here is a full list of awardees and more information about the Going PRO Talent Fund.

 

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.

Shandra Martinez is the managing editor of The Lakeshore WM.
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