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Finding new jobs for younger Michiganders

Sep 4, 2017

Michigan’s unemployment rate is below 4% on this Labor Day.

Other jobs numbers are not as good.

A new report says there are 326,000 fewer Michiganders in the workforce than in the year 2000.  

A decade of recession, a plunging number of manufacturing jobs, and people leaving Michigan to find work have left the state’s workforce grayer. 

Peter Ruark is with the Michigan League for Public Policy. He says the percentage of young people in the workforce has fallen sharply over the last 20 years.

“We have fewer young people getting the job experience that they need. Getting their foot into the door of the career ladder. That is a concern we should have,” says Ruark.

Ruark says channeling more young people into skilled trades may help boost their job prospects, especially since many older workers in those fields will be leaving the workforce soon.

U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says thousands of jobs will be left vacant in the future, unless more young people become interested in skilled trades careers.

She spent last week visiting training centers and community colleges across the state.   

“We know right now, and I’m hearing all across the state, that we have openings for professional trades and manufacturing jobs and they are not being filled because people aren’t coming forward and expressing interest and they don’t have the skills that they need,” says Stabenow.

The Democrat plans to introduce a bill this fall to give federal tax credits to schools that provide skilled trades education.  

The New Skills for New Jobs Act has failed to pass Congress twice before.