Reed City Tool receives state grant to train skilled workers

OSCEOLA COUNTY — Gov. Rick Snyder and state legislators have set aside $10 million to help Michigan businesses hire the talented employees they need — and Osceola County is enjoying the benefits.

The Skills Trade Training Fund, spearheaded by the Michigan Workforce Development Agency, became available on Oct. 1. Business owners can apply for a portion of the funding on a first-come-first-serve basis to defray the cost of training current employees to improve their skill set.

Reed City Tool Inc., located at 603 E. Church Ave. in Reed City, will receive a grant to help with the cost of running its four-year apprentice program. Five Reed City Tool employees will be trained at Ferris State University to become certified mold makers.

“It will take the same amount of time (to complete the apprenticeship), but this will help with the funding for classroom instruction,” said Tracie Ruppert, office manager at Reed City Tool Inc.

MichiganWorks! offices across the state recruit businesses to apply for the STTF grant. MichiganWorks! West Central, located in Big Rapids and serving five counties, also connected Whitehall Industries in Ludington with the additional funding. West Shore Community College in Scottville will facilitate mechatronics training for 18 of their employees.

“So far we’re very, very impressed,” Paul Griffith, executive director of MichiganWorks! West Central, said of the grant program, noting the state’s commitment to a response to applications within three days. “It allows companies to expand in terms of bidding on projects. The greater the skills of your workforce, the more you can do.”

The goal of STTF is to provide employers with skilled workers who can improve Michigan’s economy, according to an overview of the program.

“The STTF program will ensure Michigan’s employers have access to the talent pipeline they need to compete and grow, and participants have the skills they need for in-demand jobs,” a statement from the Michigan Workforce Development Agency reads.

Applications can be made to train as few as one employee, Griffith said, and there is flexibility in the type of training that is covered. Depending on the scenario, businesses may be asked to provide matching funds to participate in the STTF program.

Michigan defines “skilled trades” as industrial trades, construction trades and service trades. For more information on whether a business is eligible for a grant for training and how to apply, contact Mike Wyman or Michelle Rasmussen at MichiganWorks! by calling (231) 796-4891.