MMA continues to support the expansion of the Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF), a tremendously successful tool being used to combat the skills gap in Michigan. Last week, MMA testified before the Senate Economic Development and International Investment Committee in support of legislation to secure this training resource for future manufacturers.
The STTF program, designed and implemented by Governor Snyder’s administration, has provided $72.9 million in competitive awards to more than 2,000 Michigan companies for short-term training to enhance talent, productivity and employment retention. Senate Bill 946 (Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth) would codify the Skilled Trades Training Fund, renaming it the Going Pro Talent Program, and expand the time frame in which training may be conducted from a window of just a few months to a window of one year.
“MMA members are extraordinarily supportive of the STTF. I can tell you that when manufacturers are talking to economic developers in other states, they are showing them this program as a model of how to support employers in developing talent,” testified Delaney McKinley, MMA senior director of government affairs and membership. “What’s unique about this program is that it is truly demand-driven. It allows employers to be creative and develop the training program that best fits their business and their workforce.”
Joining MMA to testify was Brian Sheets, executive manager of employee development and quality assurance for Avalon & Tahoe Manufacturing, an Alma-based, family-owned business and the world’s fourth largest manufacturer of pontoon boats.
“During the first year of (the Skilled Trades Training Fund), it equipped me with the necessary resources to provide over 100 employees with everything from robotics to advanced CNC programming and operations,” said Sheets. “STTF provided us with extra tools, training, and strategic planning required to lead our company to new levels.”
Sheets also shared facts behind Avalon’s success since implementing STTF-driven programs in late 2014, including:
- Annual boat production increase from 2,663 to 3,938 (+47.88%)
- Total employment growth from 232 to 323 (+39.22%)
- Annual sales increased from $64 million to over $115 million (+79.69%)
More detailed information about SB 946 can be found here.
This article first appeared in the 4/24/18 MFG Voice.