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News & Events: Michigan Works! Press Release: Upton Foundation, Michigan Works! partner to bridge the skills gap

Press Release - For Immediate Release

Upton Foundation, Michigan Works! partner to bridge the skills gap

August 1, 2012, Benton Harbor, Michigan – In southwest Michigan, and throughout the nation, employers and workers are finding themselves on two different sides of a skills gap. Employers need workers, workers need jobs, but there is a gap between the skills needed to do the available jobs and the skill level of available workers.

The Frederick S. Upton Foundation Associate Board is helping Michigan Works bridge this skills gap with a $30,000 grant for the nonprofit’s Get SET (skills, education, and training): Manufacturing program. The initiative is aimed at up skilling people who have worked previously, or are currently working in manufacturing, but whose skills are outdated.

Michigan Works! Director of Business and Industry Corey Carolla says there are more than 60 unfilled CNC machinist positions in the tri-county area. “It doesn’t make sense to let people who are 40% or 60% ready to fill those positions sit on the sidelines when employers desperately need them.” He continued, “We can up skill them in about five weeks and either get them back to work, or ensure that they have the skills they need to keep their jobs and move up within a company.” Carolla says these jobs pay upwards of $14 per hour.

“Like most things we do, this is possible through collaboration with great community partners,” said Michigan Works! Executive Director Todd Gustafson. “From the manufacturers and Lake Michigan College instructors who helped design the curriculum, to the Upton Foundation whose generosity is making it possible to do the trainings, it’s been a team effort that is going to have a big impact on the local economy.” ###

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