With the State of Michigan’s approval of another year of funding for the Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF), West Michigan Works! is encouraging employers who hope to receive funding to attend upcoming information sessions to ensure their applications are complete and competitive.

Since 2013, the STTF has injected millions of dollars into the Michigan economy for short term training in high-demand occupations. The thirteen county West Michigan region (Region 4) has historically received the highest award totals: $2.9 million in 2014, $2.5 million in 2015 and $3.5 million in 2016.

Deb Lyzenga, Regional Director of Business Solutions for West Michigan Works!, is confident that the region’s high demand industries—construction, health care, information technology and manufacturing—will again see a significant influx of training dollars, but is encouraging employers to attend an information session. “With changes to this year’s application process, it’s more important than ever for employers to know the basics, such as eligibility, allowable training and metrics up front” said Lyzenga. “We can then spend more time with individual employers crafting a competitive, fundable plan that outlines their talent gaps and lays out a strategy to address them.”

Successful applications for the STTF create public-private partnerships to design customized training models that adapt to employers’ changing demands for talent. Businesses that request funding must actively participate in the development of the training and must commit to hiring and/or retaining individuals at the completion of training. Extra consideration will be given this year to applications with strategies for hiring targeted populations—Veterans, individuals with disabilities, returning citizens and older workers—and those that include a US Department of Labor registered apprenticeship.

Information sessions are scheduled from August 29 – 31, 2017 throughout the West Michigan Works! region. To see all locations and register for a session visit: https://2018sttf.eventbrite.com