MI Budget: Investing to prepare students for in-demand skills trades careers

Governor Snyder on Friday signed the Fiscal Year 2018 budget into law, making Michigan 7 for 7 in getting budgets done months ahead of the new fiscal year. This helps schools, local governments and others relying on state funding better plan for the upcoming year.

The budget focuses on Michigan’s future with strategic investments. But one area that Gov. Snyder and LG Calley have continued to place importance on is investing in training students and adults for in-demand jobs in the skilled trades. We hear from employers across Michigan that continue to struggle to fill jobs that are essential to their operations and needed for them to grow and thrive.

Many residents are unaware of the opportunities in skilled trades today or have long-outdated perceptions of these jobs. That’s why it’s a priority in the state to shatter these stereotypes and increase the available training for students across our state.

Last year, Michigan launched Going Pro, aimed to educate students, parents, educators and coaches on the opportunities that are available within these fields, including information technology, healthcare and advanced manufacturing. This statewide campaign will help promote the career pathways that exist and are in high-demand across our state. Going Pro also includes the former Skilled Trades Training Fund, which provides grants to companies to provide training for employees in the skilled trades. Last year this program helped 458 companies and 3,029 employees to be hired and trained and 10,085 existing employees to be retrained and their jobs retained.

The investment in this year’s budget for Going Pro is $46.4 million, plus an additional $9.6 million allocated to update equipment schools use to train students for skilled trades careers.

These are all part of efforts to address the largest obstacle to sustaining Michigan’s economic growth -- the talent gap. The Department of Talent and Economic Development and the Michigan Department of Education recently announced a partnership with educators and local businesses called the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance. This alliance is focused on giving students better access to career programs and schools more support to provide these programs.

If we continue partnerships like this where everyone comes together to shatter stereotypes and prepare our students for great careers, there will be no stopping us.

Learn more about career opportunities in the skilled trades at http://mitalent.org/skilled-trades.