Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced two Economic Development Job Training (EDJT) grants totaling $462,632 by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation to upgrade the skills of 1,111 employees of 13 West Michigan companies.
The funding will be used to upgrade the skills of 1,042 current workers and 69 new hires at companies in Byron Center, Buchanan, Caledonia, Grand Rapids, Kentwood and Rockford. Twelve of the 13 companies are taking part in the MEDC’s Manufacturing Competitiveness Program (MCP), an initiative to encourage collaboration between regional employers.
Employees trained in the MCP program will be provided with cutting-edge training in advanced automotive and manufacturing applications as defined by each company’s products and needs.
“Business leaders and investors know that Michigan’s workforce is a critical selling point to retain and attract investment,” Granholm said. “I commend these employers for working with the state to maintain a top-notch workforce to compete in the 21st century economy.”
The MCP aims to streamline the training process by serving several companies through a single grant to make the most economical use of state funding. Under the program, 13 Regional Skills Alliances were created to provide industry-specific training by companies within a geographical regional of the state.
The MCP grant of $390,650 will support training through Grand Rapids Community College as follows:
- ATEK Medical Manufacturingin Grand Rapids, 125 current employees, 25 new hires;
- Alexander Dodds Companyin Grand Rapids, 12 current employees;
- Bata Plastics Inc.in Byron Center, 35 current employees;
- Burke E. Porter Machinery Companyin Grand Rapids, 156 current employees, 10 new hires;
- Byrne Electrical Specialistsin Rockford, 210 current employees;
- C & S Machine Productsin Buchanan, 44 current employees, one new hire;
- Carter Products Company in Grand Rapids, 13 current employees;
- Clipper Belt Lacerin Grand Rapids, 25 current employees, one new hire;
- Environmental Coatings Inc./Enviro-Powder Co. in Caledonia, 71 current employees, four new hires;
- Kent Design & Manufacturingin Grand Rapids, 30 current employees, four new hires;
- Ranir LLCin Grand Rapids, 95 current employees, five new hires; and
- Terryberry Companyin Grand Rapids, 100 current employees.
An additional $71,982 grant was awarded to auto lighting component manufacturer Trident Lighting of Kentwood to provide training in quality and process improvement. The company plans to train 126 current workers and 19 new hires
“We must help Michigan companies keep their workers’ skills at cutting-edge or beyond in order to compete in a global economy,” MEDC President and CEO James Epolito said. “Overseas labor may be inexpensive but our highly skilled workforce remains the state’s ace in the hole when it comes to quality and availability.”
Since 1994, more than $335 million in EDJT grants has helped almost 600,000 Michigan workers improve their skills and enhance the competitiveness of their employers.
In her 2006 State of the State address, Governor Granholm emphasized the need to make Michigan a global economic powerhouse in the 21st century. Strengthening Michigan’s workforce is part of that plan, with job training one of the tools used to enhance Michigan’s business-friendly climate.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life. For more information about the MEDC, please visit the Web site at www.MichiganBusiness.org.
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