Job retraining program benefits Michigan workers, companies and communities

Posted by Anonymous on 08/11/2011

When businesses partner with local community colleges to develop and fund job retraining programs, everybody wins. Case in point: Michigan’s Delta College’s Fast Start Program.

Today on ShiftChanges, we’d like to highlight a program that is helping unemployed workers in Michigan experience their own personal “shift changes”--- Delta College’s Fast Start Program.

This jobs retraining program, based on employment demand from local partners Dow Chemical Co., Dow Corning Corp., Hemlock Semiconductor Corp., and Michigan Sugar Co., is helping get local citizens off of unemployment and into open manufacturing positions, reports the Midland Daily News.

“The classes host a wide range of people, and each fast start is slightly different, said Pat Graves, Delta’s Director of business partnerships. The youngest person to enroll in the program was 23 and the oldest has been 60; the average student age is mid-30s.

The programs range from six to twelve weeks, and unlike traditional college programs, Fast Start provides 40 hours of instruction per week. And according to Graves, it’s a model that works:

“I think the fast start program has been excellent additional training to our region and has really met the needs of people who need to reskill and reenter the job market,” Graves said.

The program has since worked closely with the Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! Association, and has won the Michigan Workforce of the Year award.

Delta College’s Fast Start Program is just one of the many jobs retraining programs across the country that are helping to train workers for the manufacturing jobs of the future.  ArcelorMittal’s Steelworker for Future program and the United Steelworkers’ Institute for Career Development are two great examples. These programs are essential growth of the manufacturing sector, which relies on a highly skilled workforce, and we hope to see more of them in the future.

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