U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says Michigan is facing such a shortage of skilled tradespeople that Congress should provide federal matching funds to help community colleges and businesses provide training to more students.
Stabenow says addressing employers' inability to fill openings in the trades and technical fields is a major priority. Stabenow, who is up for re-election next year, held a half-dozen events across Michigan in recent days to discuss workforce issues. That tour included West Michigan last Wednesday when the Senator met with business leaders last Wednesday at the Kent Career Tech Center in Grand Rapids.
She now plans to reintroduce a bill she originally authored in 2015 called the New Skills for New Jobs Act. If passed, the bill would allow community colleges the ability to offer free training to business that need skilled labor. The schools can then recoup their costs by capturing the new employees' income taxes. After a statewide “listening tour” with a number of business owners, Senator Stabenow said at the Kent Career Tech Center that it’s time to re-introduce the legislation.
The Senate is back in session Tuesday.