The Going PRO Talent Program, formerly the Skilled Trades Training Fund, remains one of the most effective state funding initiatives for combatting manufacturing’s talent challenge.
MMA provided testimony to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Talent and Economic Development last week, 4/16/19, in support of the fund and in support of raising the available dollars to meet anticipated demand.
“Since its inception in fiscal year 2014, [the Going PRO Talent Fund] has provided an outstanding return on investment for the State of Michigan in terms of demand-driven training that is needed by employers and sought-after skills for Michigan workers,” said Delaney McKinley, MMA senior director of government affairs and membership. “I can tell you that when manufacturers are talking to economic developers in other states, they are showing them this program as a model of how to support employers in developing talent. What’s unique about this program is that it is truly demand-driven. It allows employers to be creative and develop the training program that best fits their business and their workforce.”
Through 2018, the Fund has provided more than $100 million in funding for talent and workforce development programs, while directly funding an average of $32,068 to 2,234 Michigan businesses. For Fiscal Year 2019, thanks to efforts from MMA and the Snyder Administration, funding increased to a current high of $29.1 million. Governor Whitmer’s current budget recommendation for FY 2020 reduced program funding to $27.9 million.
“We surveyed our members to get some feedback on what they think of the program — both positive and negative,” said McKinley. “The vast majority of what we heard was rave reviews.”
McKinley continued in her testimony, saying that “[Going PRO] gives companies the confidence to grow in Michigan. To quote one member: ‘The funding is critical. To provide monetary support to companies releases any business decisions regarding developmental training. This in turn develops our citizens and improves our businesses.’”
The Fund has been beneficial to many in the manufacturing community thanks to its 1) support for the creation and expansion of apprenticeship programs; 2) ability to invoke a talent-oriented culture in companies that may otherwise have been unable to fund such programs; and 3) restoration of faith in Michigan’s workforce development system and MichiganWorks! agencies as resources of support for employers.
“To continue the success of this program and the benefits that it has provided to Michigan job-providers and workers, the Michigan Manufacturers Association supports increased funding for the Going Pro Talent Fund,” said McKinley. “In fiscal year 2018-2019, demand for Going Pro funding far exceeded supply. Our understanding is that about $50 million in requests were made, but only $29.1 million was available for awards. Funding in fiscal year 2019-2020 should meet expected demand for training awards.”
For more information on the Going PRO Talent Fund and MMA’s efforts to increase support and funding for the program, contact Delaney McKinley at 517-487-8530 or firstname.lastname@example.org.