Alternative routes

Snyder supports and encourages skilled trade routes

BY ELAINE GEROU
MANAGING EDITOR 

PHOTO FROM MICHIGAN.GOV Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced his plan at the 2015 State of the State address to send more state tax dollars to fund skill trade apprenticeships in Michigan.

PHOTO FROM MICHIGAN.GOV
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder announced his plan at the 2015 State of the State address to send more state tax dollars to fund skill trade apprenticeships in Michigan.

As skill trade continues to lose workers combined with many of the remaining workers in skill trade approaching retirement age, Governor Snyder announced the need for more young people to go into skilled trade on Jan. 20 in 2015’s State of the State Address.

“Talent is the new currency of economic growth,” Snyder said to michigan.gov. “We can create a river of opportunity improving talent capacities through better matches of our programs to the needs of industry and our workforce, those in it now and those who will move into these much needed careers in the future.”

This is not only a state problem; it is a national setback, as the message drilled into almost every high school student today is to go to college to get a degree. Snyder said this was a “mistake.”

“We are serious about leading the nation with new best practices in workforce development,” said Snyder. “The skills gap is a national challenge and the state that best addresses this need will stand apart in fostering new business growth, attracting new businesses and creating more and better jobs. The next step in creating a great environment for business growth is to develop the most skilled workforce in the nation.”

Although Snyder opposes across the board cuts, in order to achieve this goal, cuts will have to be made to the fiscal budget, so more money can go towards funding for programs such as the Michigan Advanced Technician Training program, which is a three-year training program, including paid on-the-job training for students. Students also come out of the program with an in-demand trade associate degree, paid for by their employer.

Soon, the state will award as much as $50 million from the state’s Skilled Trade Training Fund to community colleges to update the tools they use to train students with for welding, machining and “It’s good, but it’s bad,” said Schoolcraft student Alena Filina. “Our tax dollars should go to more useful things.”

Although there is some opposition, others support Snyder.

“There’s a huge need for welders right now, which is why I’m taking the course in the first place,” said Schoolcraft student Ian Bollman.

Franchino Mold and Engineering used $50,000 of state funding the last two years so apprentices can train at Lansing Community College (LCC) and work full-time at the company. After students complete the four-year program, they can make about $20 an hour with no school debt to pay off.

“We are working hard to establish pathways that lead to sustainable careers through on-the-job training and apprenticeship programs,” said LCC President, Dr. Brent Knight, to Michigan.gov. “Employers have repeatedly spoken about the difficulty of finding workers with the skills needed for today’s jobs. If we can bridge the gap between what students learn in school, and what companies need from their employees, it will be a win-win for all involved.”

Although emphasis on skill trade has been put on the backburners while the message to get a degree has skyrocketed in the past couple decades, society may change its standpoint on what paths can lead to success. One does not need to get an extensive degree from a prestigious university to earn a comfortable living; all it takes is a skill. Additional information on Michigan talent and workforce programs can be found at www. michigan.gov.