Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today announced that an Economic Development Job Training grant of $41,698 is being made available to upgrade the skills of 216 employees of seven businesses in Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties. The grants are being made available by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.
“The strength of our economy depends on our ability to keep up with changes in manufacturing technology,” Granholm said. “Providing training ensures that employees have the skills that help their employers remain competitive in today’s global economy.”
The funding is provided by the MEDC as part of the Manufacturing Competitiveness Program, an initiative to encourage collaboration between regional employers.
Employees will receive cutting-edge training in advanced manufacturing applications as defined by each company’s products and needs. The MCP grant will support training through the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research as follows:
- Sturgis Molded Products, Sturgis, 49 current employees;
- Kadant Johnson, Three Rivers, 50 current employees;
- Express Packaging, division of Fabrikal, Kalamazoo, 30 current employees;
- Wright Coating Company, Kalamazoo, 23 current employees;
- Humphrey Products, Kalamazoo, 23 current employees;
- Unifab Corporation, Portage, 30 current employees; and
- Carter Associates Inc., Burr Oak, 11 current employees.
“The economic well-being of our communities depends on the ability of local businesses to provide jobs for local residents,” MEDC President and CEO James Epolito said. “Support for employee training and skills upgrading helps assure their ability to continue fulfilling that role.”
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 have been created to provide industry-specific training by companies within a geographic region of the state.
“Talented workers are so critical to the success of a business. Today, ongoing education and cutting-edge training of workers is really what takes a company from good to great,” Southwest Michigan First President & Chief Executive Officer Ron Kitchens said. “We commend our local companies that understand this important fact and congratulate them on receiving these grants.”
Since 1994, nearly $340 million in EDJT grants has helped more than 610,000 Michigan workers improve their skills and enhance the competitiveness of their employers.
In her 2007 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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