The Business Journal report on another innovative training program once again underscores the tremendous issues of recruitment for industries with increasing numbers of job openings and far too few qualified applicants. Training programs alone won’t provide the required number of employees needed in a robust economy, making Gov. Rick Snyder’s immigration initiatives ever more vital.
Associated Builders and Contractors Association of West Michigan announced a partnership with Utah-based Graduation Alliance, an online company offering more than 50 high school diploma programs. In the past, ABCWM has offered scholarships to high school seniors to complete a three-week, intensive class for the National Center for Construction Education and Research Core Certification, which now will be offered along with existing Graduation Alliance programs online. Given the tremendous number of building projects in West Michigan and the surge in new residential construction, such programs are vital to keep the region moving forward.
The Business Journal has reported on dozens of programs initiated in the Grand Rapids region, including training programs in health sciences, manufacturing technologies and various industry-sponsored programs for retraining or advanced training for existing employees.
The recruitment effort transcends construction, health care and agriculture. David Van Andel writes in his guest column: “Van Andel Education Institute (VAEI) partnered with dozens of school districts and worked directly with teachers and students to facilitate inquiry-based science education programs in West Michigan and beyond. NexGen Inquiry — an online, science education platform, developed by VAEI — gives teachers and students from every corner of the world access to inquiry-based learning. This model encourages students and teachers to think and act like scientists and creates a proactive, immersive-learning experience. Since the platform’s launch, 2,700 teachers have signed up, and 60,000 student assignments have been delivered through the online portal. In addition to the Institute’s work with thousands of students and teachers via NexGen Inquiry, VAEI has initiated partnerships with more than 30 Michigan-based school districts – providing teacher development training and inquiry-based science instruction.”
In a now sustained effort, Gov. Snyder added new services to the Michigan Office for New Americans, announcing in December funding for English as a Second Language programs for adults. Snyder noted in his press release, “As a welcoming state for New Americans, we know and value their contributions toward strengthening our economy, building our workforce, creating jobs, and revitalizing our communities. We want to capitalize on diverse perspectives, cultures and talents for knowledge, creativity and innovation.”
The programs in the Grand Rapids area and Michigan offer models of benefit on a national basis.