LANSING — Michigan’s efforts to expand opportunities through skilled trades careers and help residents gain good-paying jobs is getting a boost through a $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Talent Investment Agency Director Wanda M. Stokes announced today.

The Michigan Workforce Development Agency’s grant – the second-largest awarded – will support the expansion of registered apprenticeship opportunities for women, veterans and other underrepresented populations throughout the state.

“There are excellent job opportunities in the skilled trades, and this grant will help Michiganders gain in-demand skills that will lead to careers,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “We’ve made great progress in Michigan, but we know there is more to do to close the skills gap and develop talent in our state. Our goal is to lead the nation in growing talent, helping our residents now and long into the future.”

The Workforce Development Agency will use the $2,499,250 grant to cultivate new apprenticeship programs throughout the state. The grant will expand a learning network for employers and intermediaries to grow apprenticeships in targeted industries and occupations including agriculture, construction, energy, healthcare, information technology, and manufacturing. 

The effort will increase the number of registered apprenticeships in Michigan by 5 percent by May 2018, including at least 1,004 new apprentices. Key proposal partners include Automation Alley, Southeast Michigan Community Alliance, United Auto Workers, Northwest Michigan Works!, Southwest Michigan Works!, West Michigan Works! and UPWARD Talent Council.

The grant is part of the national ApprenticeshipUSA program awarding $50.5 million to 36 states and one territory, focusing on residents who might not have had apprenticeship efforts in the past. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, 91 percent of apprentices are employed after completing their programs, with an average starting wage above $60,000. 

“We appreciate the support from our federal delegation and the Obama administration. This grant is affirmation of the effort we have made here in Michigan to strengthen our families and our economy,” Stokes said. “We’re proud of the efforts we’ve made, but we are focused on doing even more. Employers locate and grow where there is talent, leading to more and better jobs. This grant lets us reach even more people and help provide them with a brighter future.”

Visit www.michigan.gov/tia for more information on the Talent Investment Agency.

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