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Michigan Works! Could Be Devastated If Federal Rule Proposal Goes Through

Michigan Works!, the state’s workforce development program, could feel a devastating impact if a federal rule proposal goes through.

Since 1998 Michigan’s workforce development system has been operating locally. That means agencies right in your community are helping job seekers and employers.

“We live here, we work here and raise our families here,” said Jessica Willis, Chief Program Officer for Networks Northwest. “We have long-established relationships with hundreds of employees and employers in this region. It just makes sense to continue under the current model.”

The federal government is proposing a rule to the Wagner-Peyser act. It would change how workforce development agencies are funded—taking away control at the local level and consolidating that control at the state level.

“You would be looking statewide at 400 Michigan Works! staff members turning into 100 state employees to try to provide that same level of service,” said Willis.

If the proposed rule goes through, it would also impact job seekers and employers.

“Essentially what it will do is it will take away our local control to provide those employment services, training, job coaching, job fairs, attraction, business retention, a whole variety because these funds are integrated into really everything that we do here at Michigan Works!,” said Willis.

Precision Plumbing and Heating Systems INC. in Traverse City relies heavily on Michigan Works! services.

“Currently, we have nine apprentices in the HVAC and plumbing program, and the grant dollars that we receive through that program help us to be able to provide educational opportunities, tools, boots, things that a new apprentice would need to start off on the right foot,” said Cindy Weber Director of Marketing and Special Projects for Precision Plumbing and Heating Systems INC.

Precision Plumbing and Heating Systems says it will impact their small business in the long run if the proposed rule goes through.

“The trades are aging. The individuals in the trades program are getting older, and we need to take a very positive step forward to train the next generation,” said Weber.

The federal government is taking public comment on this proposed rule.