U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow traveled to businesses and community colleges in Auburn Hills, Flint, Lansing, Grand Rapids, and Cadillac during the first week of September to announce her new bill, the New Skills for New Jobs Act, that will help train Michigan's 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 positiions. Senator Stabenow's New Skills for New Jobs Act builds on successful efforts in Michigan and several other states that are helping community colleges partner with local businesses to provide training to workers for new high-skilled jobs.
Stabenow's bill would provide a federal match to double the number of workers and businesses that can participate in the Michigan New Jobs Training Program. The bill will also encourage other states to follow Michigan's lead and develop similar job training programs in their states to help create jobs across the country.
Senator Debbie Stabenow said: "At a time when millions of Americans are looking for good-paying jobs, businesses are struggling to find qualified workers for new positions. Michigan workers can compete with anyone in the world, but they need the right skills and training opportunities to match the needs of emerging high-growth industries. The New Skills for New Jobs Act will leverage 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."
Michigan's New Jobs Training Program 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. New positions must represent a net increase in jobs in the state for the employer. 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.
Stabenow's New Skills for New Jobs Act provides a federal match equal to the state training reimbursement from programs like the Michigan New Jobs Training program. 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.
According to a report released this week by the Michigan Community College Association, the Michigan New Job Training Program has a proven track record of success: in Michigan, 44 local partnerships have been established to train nearly 10,000 workers for these high-skill jobs. Last year alone, these partnerships were responsible for $76 million in additional wages and salaries for Michigan workers. By helping employees learn the skills they need to be competitive in these growing industries, their higher earnings have a ripple effect throughout the economy. Home sales and consumer product sales increased, leading to higher property tax and sales tax revenues. The program's entire cost was offset by this new tax revenue. Doubling the program's effectiveness with Stabenow's bill would multiply these successes.
Senator Stabenow's bill has the support of leading business and educational groups, including the Michigan Community College Association, UAW, Detroit Regional Chamber, Michigan Works! Association, Michigan Agri-Business Association, Small Business Majority, Michigan College Access Network, MichBIO, Health Care Association of Michigan, Next Energy, American Association of Community College, the Blue Green Alliance and the Association for Career and Technical Educatio