Gov. Rick Snyder on Tuesday announced that $50 million in grants are going to 18 community colleges across the state as part of Michigan’s effort to enhance skilled trades.
“We are positioning Michigan to become the national leader in developing talent,” Snyder said. “This serious investment — one of the largest of its kind in the country — will tap our top-notch community colleges and help new students and adults looking for new opportunities gain the skills sought by companies looking to grow and expand, creating more and better jobs in Michigan.”
Tuesday’s announcement was about the Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program, which gives community colleges grants to purchase equipment required for educational programs in certain high-skill, high-demand occupations. The Michigan Strategic Fund on Tuesday issued authorizing bonds to fund the program.
The $50 million from the state is joined by $21.5 million in matching funds from the colleges. Each college had to have a comprehensive talent plan and a partnership with an employer as well.
The programs the grants are supporting have the potential to graduate 34,000 students over the next several years, the Governor said. They will range from fields like welding to Unmanned Aerial Systems.
“These are exactly the kind of jobs we want to see happen in the state,” Snyder said.
Many of the programs will prepare Michiganders for jobs in the manufacturing sector.
“Manufacturing has created more than 114,500 jobs since 2009 and employers are still searching to fill thousands of available positions,” said Chuck Hadden, President and CEO of the Michigan Manufacturers Association. “The Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program provides Michigan’s next generation the equipment necessary to learn the skills manufacturers need.”
They’re fields that sometimes community colleges need special equipment to train students with.
“Meeting the skills gap in today’s economy is right in the sweet spot of the training activity of many community colleges. And yet with a rapid pace of change in several new industries, keeping training programs current with the latest equipment and technology can be a challenge,” said Michael Hansen, President of the Michigan Community College Association.
He said the funding would go a long way toward meeting some of those needs.