Companies receive grants to boost technical jobs

Bryan Marks Great Lakes Fusion

Reprinted with permission. Originally published in the Argus-Press.

SHIAWASSEE COUNTY — Two local companies are among the recipients of state grants to fund training for in-demand technical jobs.
Bourne Industries in Corunna was awarded $16,050, and Great Lakes Fusion in Vernon Township is receiving $15,880 in Michigan’s Skilled Trades Training Fund grants, the state Talent Investment Agency recently announced.
“We’re extremely happy,” Tim Reid, manager/engineer at Bourne Industries, said. “This will allow us to prove much-needed training in several areas.”
Grants from the Skilled Trades Training Fund totaling $17.1 million are being distributed statewide to train nearly 15,000 job-seekers and workers.
The training program was established in 2013 by Gov. Rick Snyder and the Michigan Legislature to help employers develop the talent they need to fill thousands of available skilled trades jobs.
Funding for 2017 is on track to create 3,873 jobs and retain 11,022 positions by providing additional training, with 481 employers taking part in the program.
“Michigan has made tremendous progress, but there is more to do as we help our residents gain the in-demand skills they need and help our businesses grow and thrive, creating more and better jobs,” Snyder said in a written statement.
“Companies often tell us that they struggle to fill openings, especially in the area of the skilled trades. This program has proven to be an excellent resource to help our state grow stronger.”
At Bourne Industries, shop employees will be formally trained in the use of a straight-line edge-banding machine, while administrative staff members will be trained in a new software system, Reid said.
Grant funds will also aid in the hiring of new employees and purchase a second edge-banding machine, he said.
“That is a tough thing, to find skilled people. No doubt about it,” Reid said.
The Skilled Trades Training Fund provides competitive awards for training that enhances talent, productivity and employee retention while increasing the quality and competitiveness of Michigan’s businesses.
The program’s purpose is to ensure that employers have the talent they need to compete and grow nationally and globally, and that people have the in-demand skills they need for good jobs.
Classroom training must lead to a credential for a skill that is transferable and recognized by the industry, and leads to permanent full-time employment or continued permanent full-time employment.
This is the fourth year of the program, with nearly 8,000 jobs created in the first three years and about 26,000 employees getting new skills to retain their jobs.
The state has invested more than $30.3 million in the program in the first three years, assisting 855 businesses.
“The Skilled Trades Training Fund is one of several tools we have to build talent and connect Michiganders with opportunities for great jobs,” TIA Director Wanda M. Stokes said in a statement. “We want Michigan to continue growing stronger for years to come.”
For more information on the TIA, visit