Senator Stabenow Announces New Skills for New Jobs Agenda

Monday, February 19, 2018

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) announced her New Skills for New Jobs Agenda at events in Detroit, Flint, Traverse City, Lansing, and Grand Rapids. Last summer, Senator Stabenow brought together business owners, labor leaders, educators, and parents from across the state to discuss how to meet the needs of employers and provide job opportunities for all Michigan workers and students. Now, she is announcing her New Skills for New Jobs Agenda that will help every young person get the skills they need for a good-paying job.


“Whether you’re headed to college or not, there are great opportunities to get the training and professional skills for a good-paying job right here in Michigan,” said Senator Stabenow. “My agenda is focused on expanding career paths for every young person and filling the demand of Michigan businesses who are ready to hire.”


By 2025, over 3.5 million manufacturing jobs will need to be filled. Yet due to the skills gap, 2 million of those jobs will go unfilled, according to a report by Deloitte, the National Association of Manufacturers, and the Manufacturing Institute.  Senator Stabenow’s New Skills for New Jobs Agenda aims to close the skills gap by focusing on three areas: strengthening employer training partnerships, connecting students with career and job opportunities, and investing in job training opportunities for workers. To read Senator Stabenow’s agenda, click here


“In high school, I only heard about going to college,” said John Perkins, a third year Carpenter Apprentice and Superintendent of Randolph School of Renovations. “After working in jobs I was not passionate about, I was fortunate to become a carpenter’s apprentice. Now I’m making good money, have a job I love, and am spreading the word to young people in Detroit about the great opportunities at Randolph.” 


“Detroit is undergoing an infrastructure boom with development across the city that’s creating many job opportunities,” said Dave Meador, Vice Chairman and Chief Administrative Officer of DTE Energy. “However, Detroit residents are missing out on those opportunities because they lack proper training from Career and Technical Education schools. That’s why DTE, the city, workforce development organizations and others are getting behind schools like Randolph, so the students enrolled now will be ready to take advantage of ongoing infrastructure development. Through these efforts, we can connect youth to quality summer jobs and put students on a path to employment — through apprenticeships or higher education.”


“The demand for skilled trades is ever increasing in Detroit and we need to attract more young people. The food industry is a great example,” said Detroit Public Schools Community District Principal Leader Brenda Belcher. “We see new restaurants emerging every day. Our students are excellent candidates to fulfill these high demand positions working in culinary arts and hopefully one day owing their own restaurants. Our programs provide the necessary training to secure entry-level positions and in some cases certification. Our students prepare meals for their fellow classmates, teachers and the community. They also compete on a national level, and we’re proud to be part of the City’s growth. Additional funding is critical as we look to attract more students and expand our offerings, which include carpentry, electrical, plumbing, EMT training and much more.”


“Thank you, Senator Stabenow, for creating such a comprehensive agenda to address the skills gap,” said Kristina Johnston, group vice president of the Flint & Genesee Chamber of Commerce. “The Chamber appreciates not only the focus on students and workers, but also the support that her agenda provides to businesses.”


“Through our many partnerships with local school districts, higher education institutions, and our business community, we have seen the collective impact of working together for our students and community,” said Steven Tunnicliff, Ph.D., Associate Superintendent, Genesee Intermediate School District. “We appreciate Senator Stabenow’s leadership in promoting such partnerships as well as investing in education that will prepare students for multiple career paths. Through programs offered at the Genesee Career Institute we prepare students for college and career-focused training and credentialing in a state-of-the-art facility that mimics the business and industry environments.”


"MCC is exited and fully supportive of Sen. Stabenow's New Skills for New Jobs Agenda,” said Robert Matthews, Vice President of Workforce Development, Mott Community College. “It exemplifies the kind of leadership we need to close the skills gap in our community, and for all American citizens."


“RJG Inc., headquartered in Traverse City, provides training and advanced technology for the plastic injection molding industry to help our customers improve quality while reducing costs,” said Michael Groleau, Project Manager at RJG, Inc. “Having doubled our workforce to 150 people in 8 countries over just the last 6 years, we have experienced major challenges in finding the skilled workforce needed to grow our business.  Fortunately, training for our new team members, funded in large part through the Michigan New Jobs Training Program, has helped tremendously.  We are grateful to Senator Stabenow for raising awareness of the success of Michigan’s program and introducing legislation that will expand the reach of this type of training.”


“Since its authorization in 2009, Northwestern Michigan College has been an active participant in the use of the Michigan New Jobs Training Act program,” said Marguerite Cotto, Vice President for Lifelong and Professional Learning, Northwestern Michigan College. “To date, NMC has worked with 36 employers throughout eight counties to create 600 new jobs paying at least 175% of minimum wage. Therefore, NMC supports Senator Stabenow and her introduction of the New Skills for New Jobs Act, which would leverage new federal matching dollars for this already successful state program. As a result, community colleges like NMC would have the additional resources needed to continue to expand the public-private partnerships that directly result in the hiring of new employees throughout our community, leading to economic growth and prosperity.”


“We share Senator Stabenow’s passion to prepare all students for their career pathway of choice, including those who pursue the skilled trades, attend college or immediately enter the workforce,” said Dr. Jason Jeffrey, Traverse Bay Area ISD Assistant Superintendent. “We acknowledge the high value of business-education partnerships such as those perpetuated by Mike Groleau at RJG.”


“We are honored to have Senator Stabenow visit Grand Rapids and thrilled to have her at Grand Rapids Community College,” said Bill Pink, President, Grand Rapids Community College. “Her New Skills for New Jobs agenda is very encouraging to us, particularly the potential to assist us in continuing to prepare students in furthering their education and career.”


"Due to the increasing need for more school counselors in Michigan, we are appreciative of Senator Stabenow's Careers Act,” said Terri Tchorzynski, Professional School Counselor, Calhoun Area Career Center and 2017 National School Counselor of the Year. “This initiative will support the career development component of our work so that we can ensure students are aware of the multiple career paths that are available to them."


“Apprenticeship programs have been in existence for hundreds of years. The building trades has effectively trained and graduated millions of skilled labor crafts men and women across the country,” said Bill Kenney, President, West Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council. “These programs are self funded and do not receive tax dollars. Due to the partnership with signatory employers, career placement is 100%. Students graduate with a career and no student debt. I applaud Senator Stabenow for leading the efforts on raising awareness on these existing programs here in Michigan. The Senator truly understands the opportunities that an apprenticeship program has to offer for a rewarding career and fulfilling lifestyle.”

“DeWys Manufacturing, like so many growing employers in our region and state, is struggling to locate employees to fill much needed and rewarding positions,” said Jon DeWys, Chief Executive Officer, DeWys Manufacturing. “Senator Stabenow’s legislation to offer no cost training with participating employers -- coupled with our state’s efforts to offer high schoolers flexibility to gain necessary education in professional trade -- is a huge step forward. With so many career options available today, it is difficult for young people to figure out what they want to do as a career. Additional legislation that Senator Stabenow is proposing allowing schools funding to increase the number of career counselors will help members of our next generation workforce to identify careers that best fit who they are and what they are good at. Wages and benefits continue to increase in the professional trades, allowing high school graduates rewarding careers in manufacturing and construction without the massive college debt and subsequent high interest of paying it off.”


“We really appreciate Senator Stabenow shining a spotlight on our terrific training center here in Lansing,” said Trent Mauk, Training Coordinator, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 333. “It’s very important that students and parents know about the opportunities and great jobs in plumbing and pipefitting.”


“Senator Stabenow’s efforts to support our regional workforce are greatly appreciated as we strive together to enhance our existing and emerging workforce,” said Bo Garcia, Dean of Community Education & Workforce Development at Lansing Community College. “Senator Stabenow’s commitment to economic and community development is vitally important. As a highly active partner in the Michigan New Jobs Training Program, Lansing Community College has had the opportunity to train thousands of employees from numerous and diverse regional employers, and we are excited by the prospect of growing and upskilling our workforce through the New Skills for New Jobs Act.