Economic Development, Higher Education, and Human Resources

College approves $300K bond to train glass maker's workers

January 23, 2017
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GRCC offers extensive on-demand workforce training
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A local college has approved $300,000 in funding to help train workers at a growing manufacturing facility in the region.

Grand Rapids Community College’s Board of Trustees last month agreed to link funds from diverted State of Michigan income tax to support training for 33 newly created positions at Engineered Glass in Holland Township.

The manufacturer, a unit of Magna Mirrors of America Inc., is one of 13 companies since 2009 to sign an agreement with GRCC as part of the Michigan New Jobs Training Program. The full list is below.

The program provides “flexible funding to meet an assortment of employee training and development needs,” according to GRCC.

The approval process requires that the company sign a preliminary agreement with GRCC before hiring the new employees, then the college and the company work together to develop a training plan.

Once the plan is in place, a final contract is signed and filed with the State of Michigan Department of Treasury.

As a re-payment mechanism, the college said, the employer will capture the state payroll tax from the new jobs of the employees trained under the program and re-direct the withholding to GRCC, instead of the state.

In this case, the funds will be paid over the course of a five-year agreement between the college and Engineered Glass.

Engineered Glass was chosen for the GRCC program after meeting all the requirements, according to Mary Hofstra, corporate customized training manager and certified business solutions professional for workforce training, GRCC.

“When companies are expanding and bringing net new positions to the state, they can reach out to the (community colleges) for funding,” Hofstra said. “(Engineered Glass) was one that was in the queue. They had created these new positions and qualified income-wise.”

For companies to be eligible for the training dollars under the Michigan New Jobs Training Program, the positions they create must have a starting wage that is 175 percent of the state’s minimum wage.

“In December, that number was $14.88 per hour,” Hofstra said. “Now, it’s going up to $15.58 per hour.”

Hofstra said any community college in the state of Michigan can apply to be part of the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.

The following companies have signed agreements with GRCC for the Michigan New Jobs Training Program since 2009:

Autocam Corp.

Bradford Co.

Farmers Insurance

Fogg Filler Co.

Founders Brewing Co.

Haworth

IP Consulting

Johnson Controls - Advanced Power Solutions

LG Chem Michigan

Magna - Engineered Glass

Pridgeon and Clay

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