A bill sponsored by a local senator has been signed into law that codifies a program in state law and aims to strengthen Michigan’s workforce.

Senate Bill 946, now Public Act 260 of 2018, is sponsored by Republican Senator Ken Horn. He represents the 32nd District, which includes Argentine Township, Fenton Township and the City of Linden. Michigan has had a skilled trades training program in place since 2014, and while the program has been very effective at creating jobs, Horn says it had no statutory authority and relied on annual approval in the state budget. SB 946 places the program in state statute while formally changing the name of the program to the Going Pro Talent Program. The purpose of the program is to ultimately close the “talent gap” and strengthen Michigan’s workforce. Competitive awards, similar to grants, are provided to qualified, in-state employers that are used for workforce training such as talent enhancement and skill development, increasing worker productivity, management training and worker retention.

The Skilled Trades Training Fund, now the Going Pro Talent Program, has provided $72.9 (m) million in competitive awards to more than 2,000 companies for training and apprenticeships since its beginning. Horn says it’s a highly successful program that gives workers additional skills to advance their careers, noting he’s heard from countless employers struggling to find qualified workers. He says the state is rooted in manufacturing and skilled trades and programs like this are working to put Michigan back on the map in terms of qualified employees. (JM)