Retaining and Growing Our Workforce

Posted by – Stephanie Carroll, Manager of Business Development & Community Relations

When we meet with our companies, two topics of conversation that are continually brought up are talent and training.  Meaning, they have workers on staff that need new training to bring their skills up to date and others need new employees with specific training.  We have a very talented workforce in Michigan, but sometimes a skills gap exists and we need to look at how to address it.  Over the past few years, there has been a great deal of focus about talent and how we attract and retain it here in Michigan.

When people think of Michigan Works!, they usually think it’s the unemployment agency with long lines and paperwork.  While that’s true, they do so much more than just deal with unemployment.   They provide a free solution for companies facing challenges with talent and training.

Class room
Oakland County companies receive coaching on how to apply for available training funds.

In 2013, the Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF) was created to address short-term training needs for employers.  By providing funds to help offset some of the costs associated training and skill enhancement, employers can continue to grow in Michigan with the support of the talent they need in order to be successful.

In 2016, there will be $20 million available for competitive awards to companies across the state of Michigan.  I had the pleasure of attending the training that employers attend to learn how to fill out the paperwork for the funds.  I was amazed to learn that this initiative has been very successful; more successful than predicted.  Over 4,000 jobs have been created and over 15,000 jobs retained in Michigan.  There are very specific eligibility requirements and expectations of businesses.  Companies must also leverage their assets to make this program successful.


Michigan Works! is a wonderful economic development partner and the services they provide continue to make our economy stronger.  Their workforce development team is top notch!