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No Worker Left Behind

February 9th, 2008 · 1 Comment

The state of Michigan has initiated a job retraining program called No Worker Left Behind. Keith W. Cooley, director of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth says that the department has requested $40 million to help retrain up to 100,000 Michigan workers. In addition, $10 million has been requested to help train 3,000 nursing students and 500 nursing faculty members during the next three years.

Cooley says, “We have got to invest in our workers. We cannot allow them to be left in the lurch.” Cooley was speaking at the opening of a new call center, the Unemployment Insurance Agency’s Remote Initial Claims Center, in Saginaw. Michigan has the highest unemployment rate in the USA, at 7.6 percent in December, 2007.

The No Worker Left Behind initiative promises to pay up to $5,000 a year for two years to cover college tuition or technical training. In order to qualify, workers must take a Michigan Works skills assessment test, have graduated from high school and earn a family income of less than $40,000 a year.

(Workers respond that such initiatives are not really enough. The problem with too many skilled trades openings is that industry needs to be willing to compensate workers and if this doesn’t come from industry it should come from the government. As one forum poster says, “Sure jobs are there, but doesn’t mean they pay well.” Maybe Cooley and others should think about subsidising wages instead of retraining unskilled workers. If workers are making enough money they can pay for their own skills upgrades. -ed)

Tags: Employment Rates · Skilled Trades · Skilled Trades Shortage · Trades Training Programs

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