Traverse City Record-Eagle

September 6, 2013

Stabenow wants job funds


---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Sen. Debbie Stabenow will introduce legislation next week that would allocate $250 million in federal money to help train workers for high-skilled jobs.

The demand for such training in Michigan is strong — the state reported in August that the need for skilled workers in fields like manufacturing, tool-die making, and the health fields is increasing and will see above average growth through 2013.

Demand for skilled workers through the year is likely to expand by 2 percent, compared to 1 percent growth overall.

Stabenow spokesman Matt Williams said Stabenow’s proposed legislation, called the New Skills for Jobs Act, seeks to meet some of future demand.

“This targets a wide range of jobs from IT to advanced manufacturing and construction,” Williams said. “Anything that requires a very specific set of skills.”

The legislation would provide a federal match to double the number of workers and businesses participating in an already existing state program called the Michigan New Jobs Training Program. That $50 million program already is capped and is experiencing waiting lists because of a shortage of trained workers for skilled jobs.

The program allows employers to obtain training for new employees for new jobs. The training is for advanced skills and is often offered at community colleges.

Williams said the legislation encompasses a way for the federal government to recapture money spent on training through a tax withholding. He also said the program’s potential to impact economic growth would help offset costs to the taxpayer.