Senator Stabenow Introduces Bill to Help Train Workers for New Jobs

Thursday, October 01, 2015

In advance of Manufacturing Day on October 2, U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow today introduced a bill that will 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 other states that are helping community colleges partner with local businesses to provide training to workers for new high-skilled jobs, making sure the U.S. remains competitive in a global economy.

"Thousands of manufacturers across the nation will open their doors this Manufacturing Day to showcase emerging high-growth industries and the latest cutting-edge technologies," said Senator Debbie Stabenow, Co-Chair of the bipartisan Senate Manufacturing Caucus. "Unfortunately, many of these businesses are struggling to find qualified workers for new positions at a time when millions of Americans are looking for good-paying jobs. The New Skills for New Jobs Act will build on 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."

The New Skills for New Jobs Act would provide a federal match to increase the number of workers and businesses that can participate in the Michigan New Jobs Training Program, which 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. 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.

Under the New Skills for New Jobs Act, 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.

"Since the passing of the Michigan New Jobs Training Program in 2008, Michigan's community colleges have worked with over one hundred employers to provide free training for 13,900 new jobs," said Mike Hansen, President of the Michigan Community College Association. "The program supports employers across a number of industries, with small to multinational companies operating in Michigan able to benefit from flexible, targeted, and employer-driven training to support new job growth. In just a few short years, the Michigan New Jobs Training Program has repositioned community colleges as a real asset in economic development and in addressing employer talent needs. We applaud Senator Stabenow for introducing the New Skills for New Jobs Act, which has the potential for doubling the Program's current impact."

Senator Stabenow's bill has the support of leading business and educational groups, including the Michigan Agri-Business Association, Michigan Community College Association, Michigan College Access Network, BlueGreen Alliance, Michigan Works! Association, American Association of Community Colleges, Next Energy, Detroit Regional Chamber, Association for Career and Technical Education, and National Skills Coalition.