The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity announced the award of $47 million in statewide funding for the Going PRO Talent Fund (GPTF) for fiscal year 2023. West Michigan Works! has notified 193 employers that their applications have been funded, with amounts ranging from $2,247 to $535,000. An additional nine applications are pending review for an award. 

“We are proud of the impact that the Going PRO Talent Fund has had on the West Michigan economy and we are committed to continuing to support the growth and development of local businesses,” said Jacob Maas, chief executive officer, West Michigan Works!. “This critical funding will help employers hire, upskill and retain their workforce, addressing the challenges of a lower labor force participation rate.” 

West Michigan employers have been awarded a total of $17,463,904 in training funds. The industries that received the most funding are manufacturing, with 124 awards totaling $11,501,399; construction, with 25 awards totaling $2,072,719; and healthcare, with 12 awards totaling $1,819,501. 

This is the first of two cycles to be awarded for fiscal year 2023. The online application for Cycle 2 is scheduled to open from May 1-24, 2023. Cycle 2 awarded training may occur from July 17, 2023 – July 16, 2024. 

Since its inception in 2013, the GPTF has invested millions of dollars in short-term training for high-demand occupations, helping to boost the economy of West Michigan and beyond. 

In addition to training new hires, West Michigan Works! reported an increase in the number of employers requesting funds for technical as well as leadership and management training for existing employees. West Michigan Works! also saw an increase in requests to fund English as a Second Language (ESL) trainings. 

“While the Going PRO Talent Fund is a vital tool for employers looking to upskill their workforce and increase or maintain business capacity, it’s also incredibly beneficial for individuals,” said Angie Barksdale, chief operating officer, West Michigan Works!. “The training programs supported by this funding often lead to increased wages and advancement opportunities for employees.” 

Apprenticeships continue to be an emerging opportunity for employers to fill the talent gap. According to West Michigan Works!, many employers have requested funds to establish an apprenticeship program or expand existing programs. 



As well as the option to apply for Cycle 2, employers may apply for Industry-led Collaboratives (ILC) funding. ILCs bring together multiple employers, education and training institutions, workforce development organizations and other applicable partners to formulate training and education solutions to fill identified talent gaps.  

Employers may receive one independent award and one award as part of an ILC  per fiscal year. ILC applications will open in the spring and will be accepted throughout the year, subject to available funding. 

For more information or to submit an application, visit