A new jobs program in Michigan will help thousands find work - TAI News
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Tractors and road construction equipment next to the street. (Gene Gallin / Unsplash)

A new program in Michigan will give 5,000 residents vocational training and certification or credentialing as well as assistance with job placement as part of an effort to boost the state’s workforce and rebuild infrastructure.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive directive on April 29 at Oakland Schools Technical Campus in Pontiac instructing the state Labor Department by May 1, 2025, to update the Michigan Statewide Workforce Plan, a program designed to improve the state’s workforce to address serious infrastructure improvements. She set a goal for the department to train 5,000 infrastructure workers by Jan. 1, 2030.

“By creating good-paying jobs, securing investments in advanced manufacturing and clean energy, pursuing advanced mobility, and taking action to improve our infrastructure, we can build a brighter future for Michigan,” Whitmer’s executive directive says.

According to a 2023 report from the not-for-profit organizations Citizens Research Council of Michigan and Altarum, Michigan’s infrastructure is long overdue for a rebuild: “Michigan’s infrastructure is perceived to be in a crisis. Recent occurrences in Michigan have highlighted the poor state of infrastructure including perpetually potholed roads, disruptive power outages, catastrophic dam collapses, and frequent flooding.”

The program will be funded from $9 billion in federal funding to the state from President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act.

“We must use this opportunity to build and strengthen our economic engine — the middle class,” says Whitmer’s executive directive. “To take full advantage, however, we must support, train, and grow a new workforce that has the skills necessary to succeed in the tens of thousands of jobs that will be created as a direct result of all these federal and state investments.”

When Whitmer took office in 2019, the 45% of working adults had a college degree or certificate. Today that number is closer to 51.1%, according to reporting from the private Lumina Foundation; it notes that the state’s goal is to raise that number to 60% by 2030.

Chong-Anna Canfora, executive director of the Michigan Workforce Development Institute, said in the press release that training workers doesn’t just help build a better infrastructure, but “literally transforms lives.” 

She added: “Our work to provide free access to apprenticeship-readiness training and open up paths to the middle class via the skilled trades, particularly for women and other underrepresented groups in the construction industry, is made possible by support from the state.”

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The Michigan Independent is a project of American Independent Media, a 501(c)(4) organization whose mission is to use journalism to educate the public, giving them the information they need about local and federal issues.