The Going PRO Talent Fund was designed to help employers upskill their current workforce and train new hires to address the growing skilled-labor shortage. Funds awarded in 2019 to West Michigan employers through the highly competitive grant process resulted in training for 2,243 existing workers and 4,447 new hires.

Workforce training funds at risk

Differing budget priorities between Michigan’s governor and legislature has resulted in the entire Going PRO Talent Fund being cut from this year’s budget.

“Lack of funding will jeopardize [employers’] ability to invest in their workforce and in the economic well-being of our region, especially in regard to starting and maintaining apprenticeship programs and up-skilling workers.” -Jacob Maas, CEO at West Michigan Works!

Going Pro Fund training recipient, James with supervisorSupplemental bills have been submitted by both the House and Senate; Senate Bill 752, introduced by Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, and House Bill 5441, introduced by Rep. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, appropriating $36.5 million to the Talent Fund for 2020. This could change the outlook for the 368 employers in West Michigan who submitted applications to receive workforce training dollars from the grant program this year. This is good news for employees like James Golden, who works at Fogg Filler, a prior GPTF award recipient.

Training matters to employees

“In most shops, it would take a long time to get to where I’m at, but I’ve been fortunate to work for Fogg Filler,” says Golden, who graduated from Grand Haven High School in 2017. The 21-year-old is taking classes to be a machinist at Muskegon Community College while working at Fogg Filler. On-the-job training, funded by GPTF, is raising skills and wages for employees across the company.

Read more about how Holland employer, Fogg Filler, has leveraged Going PRO funds to train their workforce, increase wages and promote employees into leadership roles.