Sen. Stabenow Announces “New Skills for New Jobs” Agenda in Traverse City

U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow was in Traverse City Saturday to announce her new agenda for growing the state’s economy.

“New Skills for New Jobs,” the senator’s new initiative is aimed at preparing the next generation for skilled trades.

“In the next seven years we are going to create 3.5 million manufacturing jobs, which is great, the bad news is at the rate we are going, we will fill 1.5 million, that’s the problem,” Sen. Stabenow, explained.

It’s a dilemma for manufacturers across the nation and Northern Michigan is no different.

“Businesses what they need now more than anything else is the talent, the skilled workers, they need to be able to grow,” the senator, said.

Senator Stabenow wants to further relationships between businesses and educators, preparing students to get the skills they need for a high paying job.

“We need to let young people know that four year college maybe something they choose and that’s terrific, but there are other options if they choose not to do that,” Sen. Stabenow, added.

RJG Inc. in Traverse City is a business on the front-line of this growing need, training people across the nation for jobs in the injection molding industry.

“I think there was a period where manufacturing got a bad rep, people thought everything was going to be outsourced and there weren’t going to be manufacturing jobs and there is really a need,” RJG President Dale Westerman, said.

RJG’s workforce has doubled in the last six years, funded in large part by the Michigan New Jobs Training Program.

Now the senator wants a federal act to match that funding and expand training opportunities and career counseling services in schools.

“500 new jobs have been created in our region, manufacturers who have been able to take advantage of this particular program,” NMC Vice President of Lifelong and Professional Learning Marguerite Cotto, explained.

Northwestern Michigan College says more funding will help both students and local businesses.

“Legislation that allows are communities to have stronger and better tools in order to serve the growth of the economy, simple, effective, give us that little, we’ll do a lot,” Cotto, added.

To read the full agenda, click here.