Economic Development, Higher Education, and Human Resources

Community colleges push job training

Programs are being offered both at schools and on location.

October 9, 2015
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LANSING — Michigan employers can get free job training for their new workers from local community colleges.

While Michigan companies are expanding and hiring more workers, many need training for new or updated skills. The Michigan Community College Association says member schools are stepping in to provide that training.

Michael Hansen, president of the association, said the New Jobs Training Program uses state income taxes paid by the newly hired workers to repay the community colleges for the cost of training.

“Instead of sending that income tax to the state, that money goes to the college, and that’s how they pay for the training. Once these training costs are paid off, the income tax revenue goes back to the state,” Hansen said.

As of Sept. 18, community colleges had served 111 employers with 13,923 projected new jobs.

Hansen said the program focuses on employers and customizes training to meet the employers’ specific needs.

“Maybe it’s a day long, maybe it’s a week long, maybe it’s six months long, but it tends to be very demand-driven by the employer and then it’s custom-developed just for that employer,” Hansen said.

Mary Hofstra, customized training manager at Grand Rapids Community College, said the training location varies. “Some can come to our colleges; some are offsite,” she said.

Hofstra also said the program doesn’t have specific trainers.

“Because the requirement varies, we usually have different trainers to meet their needs, so a lot of teachers may be involved,” she said.

Grand Rapids Community College currently has nine companies in the training program, including Farmers Insurance, Autocam, LG Chem Michigan, Johnson Controls and Trans-Matic.

Tricia Zondervan, human resource administrator at Trans-Matic, a manufacturing company in Holland, said the training the college offers is helpful.

“We have both types of location. The majority of the employees go to their college. They can take classes for education they want to finish, and we also have some training done on our site,” she said.

According to the college’s website, employers must meet these requirements for eligibility:

  • They must be hiring new full-time, permanent positions for a new or expanding business in the state.
  • The new positions can’t be related to recalling laid-off or replacement workers.
  • The new positions can’t have existed in the previous 12 months.
  • The new positions pay at least 175 percent of the state minimum wage, or approximately $14.26 per hour.

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