Northwestern Michigan College Partners with G.T. County Business - Northern Michigan's News Leader

Northwestern Michigan College Partners with G.T. County Business

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A northern Michigan manufacturer is adding more new employees - and it's thanks in part to a relatively new state program that's never been used in this region. Northwestern Michigan College is teaming up with Electro-Optics, a company that makes components for high-power laser systems. NMC will help provide training for new employees. It's possible thanks to Michigan's "New Jobs Training Program", which pairs community colleges with businesses in need. The colleges provide training for in-demand positions, provided the companies agree to hire new workers at a minimum hourly rate. Electro-Optics added more than 30 workers in 2010, and fifteen of them are eligible for the new program. Electro-Optics takes the money it would have sent to Lansing for payroll taxes, and diverts it to a special fund that's run by NMC. The company can then use those dollars for future training opportunities. NMC oversees the fund, and benefits from a 15% administrative fee and the enrollment of workers in training courses. Now at about 65 employees, Electro-Optics hopes to grow its workforce by another 30% by 2013. As for NMC, while they're focusing on advanced manufacturing for now, the state program is available to a wide range of industries. The college says they're exploring other partnerships as well. 9 & 10's Bill Froehlich and Photojournalist Jeremy Erickson have more details on how Michigan's "New Jobs Training Program" is being put to good use.