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Connections and Coffee

State Receives $17M to Connect Residents to Jobs

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity was awarded $17.8 million in a U.S. Department of Education competitive grant to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19 in the state.

“As we create pathways to education for hundreds of thousands of Michiganders with programs like Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect, this funding is critical in ensuring we help our workforce move on to the next step,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in a statement. “This funding will help connect more families to better jobs and bigger paychecks.”

The Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Employment and Training will implement the Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program with the new grant award. The program will provide funds to subgrantees to assist jobseekers in transitioning from short- and mid-term education and training programs to high-skill, high-wage career pathways, resulting in industry-recognized credential attainment and reduced educational debt.

“Michigan’s workforce and postsecondary education systems are ready to leap into action by serving job seekers looking to earn credentials, gain skills to employment, return to work and advance in a career pathway,” said state Employment and Training Director Stephanie Beckhorn. “This is yet another example of the many ways Michigan is working diligently to support essential workers and others with the next steps on their career path.”

Key workforce development partners who will support this grant include employers, labor, Michigan Works! agencies, Michigan community colleges and other institutions of higher education, and the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Michigan employers will be engaged in the program by joining multi-employer associations to address regional workforce needs and advance existing employees through retraining and upskilling.

The program will intentionally target services to individuals who are dislocated, underemployed, serving as essential workers, living in distressed rural and urban communities, and economically disadvantaged.

Additionally, the program will create MiLEAP Navigators, which will provide job seekers with assistance in assessing and overcoming barriers, identifying resources, and providing guidance and support. Participants will receive individualized competency-based assessments and learning plans that include skills assessments, remote learning opportunities, high school and industry credential attainment, and contextual learning opportunities.

More information about postsecondary opportunities in Michigan is available at