Sen. Stabenow Announces New Skills for New Jobs Act at Oakland Community College to Help Train Workers for New Jobs
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow joined local businesses at Oakland Community College to unveil a major initiative to help train workers for new high-skilled jobs. Even with thousands of Michigan residents looking for work, businesses across the state are reporting difficulty finding workers for many skilled positions. Senator Stabenow's New Skills for New Jobs Act builds on successful efforts in Michigan and several other states that are helping community colleges partner with local businesses to provide training to workers for new high-skilled jobs.
Stabenow's bill would provide a federal match to double the number of workers and businesses that can participate in the Michigan New Jobs Training Program. The bill will also encourage other states to follow Michigan's lead and develop similar job training programs in their states to help create jobs across the country.
Senator Debbie Stabenow said: "At a time when millions of Americans are looking for good-paying jobs, businesses are struggling to find qualified workers for new positions. Michigan workers can compete with anyone in the world, but they need the right skills and training opportunities to match the needs of emerging high-growth industries. The New Skills for New Jobs Act will leverage successful job training partnerships between our community colleges and local businesses to help close the skills gap so our workers are able to get good jobs right now."
Michigan's New Jobs Training Program was established in 2008 to help employers provide new employees the training necessary to take high-skilled jobs. Under the program, a business enters into a partnership with a community college to provide new employees with the training necessary to fill skilled positions the business would like to create. New positions must represent a net increase in jobs in the state for the employer. Once newly trained employees begin working, their state income tax payments are used to pay back the community college for the cost of the training.
Stabenow's New Skills for New Jobs Act provides a federal match equal to the state training reimbursement from programs like the Michigan New Jobs Training program. The federal government will provide reimbursement to the community college every quarter. By matching the state contribution generated from the new worker's income tax payments, the federal initiative will repay the community college more quickly and dramatically increase the number of eligible companies and workers that can participate.
In the past two years, Oakland Community College has received over $8.5 million in Michigan New Jobs Training program funding to train over 500 eligible new employees for global companies with operations in Oakland County. Oakland Community College is the largest of Michigan's community colleges, enrolling over 75,000 students per year.
Dr. Timothy Meyer, Chancellor at Oakland Community College said: "OCC is proud to be a lead partner in the MNJT program. One of the college's major objectives is to provide businesses with highly-skilled employees to improve the economy of Oakland County and the state as a whole. We applaud the Senator's efforts to increase support for MNJT."
Marc Strandquist, former CEO of Dokka Fasteners: "The key factor of bringing us here to Michigan was a skilled labor force and the training dollars that were made available to us. As we took ourselves from a basic manufacturing process to a very highly robotic and automated process, we had the confidence that this powerful combination of Oakland Community College, the City of Auburn Hills, Oakland County and the State of Michigan were going to get us to where we needed to be."
Mike Hansen, President of the Michigan Community College Association said: "Michigan's community colleges are excited that in just a few short years the Michigan New Jobs Training Program has provided so much benefit to Michigan's economy and its workers. Community colleges appreciate that the New Jobs Training Program allows them the flexibility to meet both employer and worker needs, and we applaud Senator Stabenow for introducing this initiative that would double the program's current impact."
According to a report released today by the Michigan Community College Association, the Michigan New Job Training Program has a proven track record of success: in Michigan, 44 local partnerships have been established to train nearly 10,000 workers for these high-skill jobs. Last year alone, these partnerships were responsible for $76 million in additional wages and salaries for Michigan workers. By helping employees learn the skills they need to be competitive in these growing industries, their higher earnings have a ripple effect throughout the economy. Home sales and consumer product sales increased, leading to higher property tax and sales tax revenues. The program's entire cost was offset by this new tax revenue. Doubling the program's effectiveness with Stabenow's bill would multiply these successes.
Senator Stabenow's bill has the support of leading business and educational groups, including the Michigan Community College Association, UAW, Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Works! Association, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Small Business Majority, Michigan College Access Network, MichBIO, Health Care Association of Michigan, Next Energy, American Association of Community Colleges, and the Blue Green Alliance.