Maximize the Going PRO Talent Fund Application with an Industry-Led Collaborative

This article appeared in the Jan/Feb 2023 issue of MiMfg Magazine. Read the full issue and find past issues online.

You’re probably familiar with Michigan’s Going PRO Talent Fund. There have been dozens of articles, webinars and promo pieces from MMA and other organizations encouraging companies to take advantage of the $55 million in funding that’s available for training in 2023.

Perhaps your company applied for and received funding in round one for trainings to take place sometime in 2023. Or maybe you didn’t apply or didn’t get funded, and you’re planning to apply in round two in late spring. In any case, did you know there’s another opportunity to access Going PRO funds through an “Industry-Led Collaborative” (ILC) application?

What is an ILC?

An Industry-Led Collaborative brings together two or more employers — three or more preferred — to address a shared training need. These employers can be from different areas of the state, so an ILC could be formed, for example, with one employer in the Upper Peninsula, another in the Grand Rapids area and a third in the Thumb area. The key for an ILC is a shared training need. That shared need can even be met by different training providers in each region if there’s alignment in outcomes, objectives and competencies.

Let’s look at a hypothetical example. Four employers scattered around the state have a need for stainless steel TIG welding training. Three of the companies have local community colleges that offer relevant courses. The fourth has a nearby trade school that offers this training. Together, these companies could submit a Going PRO ILC funding application to address this specific training need.

ILC Basics with Bill Rayl

Join MMA’s Bill Rayl and MMA industry members for a panel discussion on Monday, 2/13/23, to learn how they’ve made an ILC work for their businesses, including the benefits of partnering with other businesses for talent funding, how to utilize the Going PRO Talent Fund to establish an ILC, what training programs qualify and additional resources.

  • Paul Aultman, Vantage Plastics
  • Ed Casper, Bandit Industries, Inc.
  • Jeff Clark, Case Systems, Inc.
  • Harry Leaver, Central Michigan Manufacturers Association
  • Pam O’Laughlin, Middle Michigan Development Corporation
  • Jaclyn Heller, Melling Industries, Inc.
  • Brian Sheets, Avalon & Tahoe Mfg. Inc.
  • Joseph Kaczmarek, Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!

Register today.

Why Use an ILC?

Given the above example, each company could just apply individually for Going PRO funding. So why use an ILC?

There are plenty of good reasons to think about submitting an ILC funding application, not the least of which is that you can take advantage of an ILC in addition to being awarded Going PRO funding through an individual application.

Extended Application Window

The individual application rounds are highly competitive, and companies must submit their applications within a narrow window of opportunity...miss the deadline and you’re out. ILCs have a separate application and scoring criteria, and applications can be submitted throughout the year (until funding runs out). So, if your company has a training need suddenly pop up after the normal individual Going PRO rounds have closed, an ILC might be worth pursuing if at least one other employer can be found that also needs the same training.

Strengthen Supply Chains

Another great use of ILCs is to reinforce and strengthen relationships within your supply chain. Bring your suppliers together for a shared leadership, operations, supply chain or other common training to achieve increased efficiencies and connectedness!

Pool Your Power

ILCs are also a good option for small companies that don’t have enough individual trainees to make holding a specific or customized course worthwhile for a training provider from a cost perspective. By banding together, you make the training possible and likely bring down the cost per participant at the same time.

NEW for Fiscal Year 2023!

In response to MMA and employer input, the State has made significant improvements to the Going PRO Talent Fund program for the fiscal year beginning 10/1/22, including:

  • A new streamlined application
  • Scoring transparency for employers prior to application submission
  • Increased funding per person
  • Priority to support USDOL Registered Apprenticeship completion
  • Multiple application award cycles
Independent Application Cycle 1 (Feb-Jan) Cycle 2 (July-June)
Application Period  November 21, 2022 –
December 12, 2022
(12:00 PM ET – Noon)
Late Spring 2023
Training period February 1, 2023 -
January 31, 2024
July 1, 2023 -
June 30, 2024
How Do I Get an ILC Going?

Don’t worry, there’s time. The ILC application period for 2023 doesn’t open until March. So now is the time to think about the kind of training you need and how it might fit in an Industry-Led Collaborative.

MMA is leading an effort to pull together multiple ILCs around the state built around MMA’s new Workforce Solutions training partners. These include Certified Operator Training provided by The Luminous Group, the world-famous Dale Carnegie™ leadership course and Davenport University’s management, project management and operations and supply chain management certificate programs.

We’ve already heard from a few “champion” companies potentially interested in leading an MMA Workforce Solutions ILC but MMA is also your go-to resource for help with pulling together other collaboratives.

Learn more about MMA’s Workforce Solutions at If your company might be interested in joining or leading a Going PRO Industry-Led Collaborative, or you want to explore the idea more fully, please contact me at


Bill RaylBill Rayl
Executive Director of Workforce Solutions
Call 517-487-8513