Economy
3:55 pm
Tue September 3, 2013

Stabenow plan aims to expand Michigan jobs training program

Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow wants to take a Michigan workforce training program nationwide.

The Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNTJ) is a partnership between Michigan businesses and community colleges. Through the program, community colleges front the money for workers to go to school. Once workers are employed, their state income taxes pay the college back.

Dokka Fasteners is an industrial manufacturing company. They're one of 40 Michigan businesses that use community college graduates for skilled jobs.
Credit Dokka Fasteners / www.dokkafasteners.com

Stabenow says federal money means the community colleges will get paid back much faster. She says it will also double the number of workers and businesses in the program.

"The more we can get people into high-paying jobs and the more quickly we can get them into high-paying jobs, the better for the family and also for the economy," she said.

Dr. Timothy Meyer is the Chancellor at Oakland Community College. He says the program helps OCC achieve one of its biggest goals.

One of the college’s major objectives is to provide businesses with highly-skilled employees to improve the economy of Oakland County and the state as a whole," he said.

Stabenow says the federal cost is about $200 million. That could increase if more states decide to implement similar programs.

"This is a very simple straightforward way to be able to strengthen and create more opportunities through something that we know already works," says Stabenow.

Marc Strandquist is the former CEO of Dokka Fasteners, a company that makes industrial manufacturing products. They're one of 40 Michigan businesses who employ community college graduates with the MNTJ program.

“The key factor of bringing us here to Michigan was a skilled labor force and the training dollars that were made available to us," he said. "As we took ourselves from a basic manufacturing process to a very highly robotic and automated process, we had the confidence that this powerful combination of Oakland Community College, the City of Auburn Hills, Oakland County and the State of Michigan were going to get us to where we needed to be.”

Stabenow plans to introduce the legislation to Congress next week.

-Sarah Kerson, Michigan Radio Newsroom