Senator Stabenow Continues Statewide Series of Workforce Discussions in Perry

Stabenow Meets with Local Business and Labor Leaders, Educators, and Parents at the Michigan Laborers Training and Apprenticeship Institute in Perry

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow continued her week-long series of workforce discussions across Michigan at the Michigan Laborers Training and Apprenticeship Institute in Perry. The discussion focused on how to better fill the demand for skilled workers in Michigan and provide professional career and training opportunities for students who don’t choose a four-year college path after high school or workers who want to be retrained for new jobs. Stabenow met with local business and labor leaders, Lansing Community College, Ingham Intermediate School District, and local parents.

Senator Stabenow frequently meets with business owners who express a critical need for more skilled workers, labor leaders who offer opportunities for training and apprenticeships for good paying jobs in the skilled trades, parents frustrated with the lack of opportunities for their children who are not college bound, and educators who are innovating to meet these needs. She is bringing these leaders together in communities across the state to discuss how we can partner to meet the needs of employers and provide job opportunities for all Michigan workers and students.

“I’ve visited over 110 small businesses in the past year and the number one issue I hear about is the need for more skilled workers,” said Senator Stabenow, Co-Chair of the Bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus. “Not every young person is interested in getting a four-year college degree. It’s important that they know there are great jobs in professional skilled trades and technical careers. To grow our economy for businesses and workers, we all need to work together to raise public awareness of these great job opportunities across Michigan.”

“Conversations like these highlight one of Michigan’s greatest assets, its skilled workforce,” said Baldomero "Bo" Garcia, Dean of Community Education & Workforce Development at Lansing Community College. “Lansing Community College takes very seriously its charge to create relevant learning opportunities that translate into viable employment options.”

"For decades, the members of the Michigan Laborers have literally built our communities including new roads and bridges and the pipelines that provide us all with the energy we need to grow the economy," said Geno Alessandrini, Business Manager for the Michigan Laborers District Council. "Our Union is dedicated to providing the highest level of productivity and safety for our members at no-cost to Michigan taxpayers. We are glad Senator Stabenow could see first-hand the hard work performed by union laborers every day."

“We have job openings right now for workers with the right skills but we can’t fill the need,” said Edythe Hatter-Williams, CEO of Capital Area Michigan Works! “I appreciate Senator Stabenow's support for the Michigan Works! system and for her commitment to helping businesses and manufacturers meet this need by partnering together to raise awareness.”

Senator Stabenow authored the New Skills for New Jobs Act of 2015 that builds on successful job training partnerships between our community colleges and local businesses to help close the skills gap and support businesses that are ready to hire. Stabenow plans to reintroduce this legislation in the fall following feedback from stakeholders during her workforce discussions.  

According to a study conducted by National Association of Manufacturers and Deloitte, 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. The study also revealed that while Americans consider manufacturing among one of the most important domestic industries for maintaining a strong national economy, they rank it low as a career choice for themselves. Only 37 percent of respondents in the study indicated they would encourage their children to pursue a manufacturing career.