STTF spells money for training

More than $1.3 million to Northwest Michigan and over $13 million statewide for incumbent and new hire training.

For many businesses, providing the funds and staffing to maintain the training of their new and current employees is an annual challenge. The Talent Investment Agency (TIA) and Michigan Works! have worked for five years assisting Michigan businesses in receiving grants from the Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF), a statewide competitive grant program, which helps companies train new and incumbent workers in a variety of skills.

These funds allow companies to remain efficient and competitive in their constantly changing environments and train employees in high-demand jobs. For the 2017-18 fiscal year 54 Northwest Michigan area businesses have received STTF grants totaling over $1.325 million and over $13 million statewide according to Northwest Michigan Works!.

All businesses who received the grants statewide will surpass the target goals in 2018 for their requested funds. Twenty-three more new hires will be trained, over 1,000 current employees will be trained and employee retention rates will increase by 10 percent according to TIA.

Michigan State University Extension partner Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) has been successful in applying for these grants due to a collaborative and coordinated approach by Michigan Works!, and the local colleges: North Central Michigan College and Baker College.

Twenty companies in the NLEA four County region (Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties) have been awarded $486,791. These businesses plan to train 451 incumbent workers, seventy-two new hires, and sixteen apprentices in total with their funds.

Training funded by STTF grants in the region will include everything from LEAN training to very specific apprenticeship training. Training dollars went to multiple industries including healthcare, IT, manufacturing, nonprofits, agricultural, and more.

MSU Extension has had a unique relationship with the regional economic development organization Northern Lakes Economic Alliance (NLEA) for more than 20 years. Recognizing the strength of combining resources, this partnership focuses on economic development, entrepreneurship growth and community infrastructure throughout a four-county region in the northwest Lower Peninsula, specifically Antrim, Charlevoix, Cheboygan and Emmet counties. As a result, the NLEA utilizes resources offered through MSU Extension as it provides leadership to state-wide programs sponsored by MSU Extension.

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