West Michigan employers land $13.3M in Going PRO funds

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Jacob Maas. Courtesy West Michigan Works!

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announced its Going PRO Talent Fund awards for fiscal-year 2022, and West Michigan businesses will receive almost a third of the funding.

Since 2013, LEO’s Going PRO Talent Fund has injected millions of dollars into the West Michigan economy for short-term training in high-demand occupations. This year, employers in Allegan, Barry, Ionia, Kent, Montcalm, Muskegon and Ottawa counties were awarded $13,307,802 in training funds. Statewide, over $40 million was awarded to more than 1,000 Michigan businesses.

The full list of awardees is online.

“I’m proud of the work the team at West Michigan Works! has done to assist employers at a time when they need it most,” said Jacob Maas, CEO of West Michigan Works!. “In West Michigan, we are experiencing low unemployment and a lower labor force participation rate. The Going PRO Talent Fund continues to be an effective tool at addressing some of these challenges and helping employers hire, upskill and retain their workforce.”

West Michigan Works! will notify 314 employers their applications are being funded in amounts ranging from $1,605 to $532,218. Sixteen additional applications totaling $558,887 are pending.

Amy Lebednick. Courtesy West Michigan Works!

“With a low unemployment rate and labor participation rate, it is critical for employers to upskill new and existing employees … to increase or maintain business capacity,” said Amy Lebednick, director of business solutions, West Michigan Works! “Trainings supported by Going PRO Talent Fund often lead to increased wages and advancement opportunities for the workforce.”

The industries receiving the most funding are manufacturing, with 135 awards totaling $6,399,871, and health care, with 69 awards totaling $3,150,618.

While the Going PRO Talent Fund application period for FY 2022 has closed, employers now can apply for industry-led collaboratives (ILC) funding. ILCs brings together multiple employers, education and training institutions; workforce development organizations; and other applicable partners, such as economic development organizations, to formulate training and education solutions to fill identified talent gaps.

An employer can have one independent ILC application and can partner on one additional application per fiscal year. The state reviews ILC applications and awards funding as they are submitted. ILC applications will be accepted throughout the year, subject to available funding. Applications are live online.

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