The state of Michigan is making a significant investment in its workforce, with about $13.5 million in grants from the Going PRO Talent Fund earmarked to train 8,500 workers across nearly 300 businesses. These taxpayer-funded grants are set to pave the way for workers to earn industry-recognized credentials, opening doors to well-paying jobs and bolstering Michigan’s competitive edge in the global economy, according to Governor Gretchen Whitmer.
Gov. Whitmer expressed her enthusiasm for the Going PRO Talent Fund initiative, stating, “This is an investment in our state’s greatest asset – our people – helping them develop the skills they need to advance their careers and ‘make it’ in Michigan.”
"These grants help us put thousands of Michiganders on paths to good-paying jobs and empower hundreds of Michigan businesses across the state develop the talent they need to compete in the global economy,” Gov. Whitmer added.
Since its establishment in 2014, the Going PRO Talent Fund has witnessed a significant impact, with over 6,000 Michigan businesses benefiting from the program. These grants have helped train a staggering 175,000 new and existing workers, demonstrating its effectiveness in addressing the skill gaps and talent needs experienced by employers across various industries.
What’s interesting here is that more than 60% of the businesses receiving funds are small enterprises with fewer than 100 employees. This strategic allocation of resources to smaller businesses underscores the state’s commitment to fostering growth and nurturing the backbone of the Michigan economy.
Susan Corbin, the director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, said in a statement that investments like these help them connect individuals and business leaders with tailored opportunities and unique resources they need to prosper. “Together, we are creating a competitive and innovative environment that improves the quality of life for people who live, work and do business in Michigan,” Corbin added.
The training programs are carefully designed to equip employees with transferable skills, recognized and valued by their respective industries.
The impact of the Going PRO Talent Fund on individual workers’ lives is evident through its reported average training cost per worker of $1,250. The program has enabled employees to gain industry-recognized credentials, leading to a remarkable average hourly wage increase of $5.71 six months after completing training, as per data from 2021. This indicates a tangible improvement in the economic well-being of workers who have participated in the program.
Stephanie Beckhorn, the director of LEO’s Office of Employment and Training, emphasized how the Going PRO Talent Fund has facilitated employers in retaining their workers.
“The Going PRO Talent Fund has continued to help Michigan employers retain their workers by providing the necessary support for them to help upskill their workforce,” Beckhorn said.
By offering necessary support to upskill the workforce, the program has equipped workers with essential industry credentials, positioning them for growth and success in high-demand career paths, according to Beckhorn.
Agencies in awarding the Going PRO Talent Fund grants to employers reflects a strategic and coordinated approach to talent development. These partnerships ensure that employers have a central role in defining their training needs, enabling them to work closely with local Michigan Works! offices and other collaborators to devise tailored and effective training plans.
The success and positive feedback from employers and employees alike have led to admiration for the Going PRO Talent Fund. Appreciating the program’s potential to prepare the workforce for the future of manufacturing, positioning Michigan as a premier destination for businesses, David Worthams, the director of Employment Policy for the Michigan Manufacturers Association, went so far as to call it “arguably the best talent development program the state of Michigan has to offer.”
One key aspect of the Going PRO Talent Fund is its alignment with Governor Whitmer’s ambitious “Sixty by 30” goal, aiming to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030. By prioritizing industry-recognized credentials and college credits through employer-provided training, the program takes significant breakthroughs towards achieving this goal.