Serving Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, & Saginaw Counties

$1.8 Million in Going Pro Talent Fund Grants Awarded to Local Employers

$1.8 Million in Going Pro Talent Fund Grants Awarded to Local Employers

January 21, 2021



(Great Lakes Bay Region) — Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! was awarded $1.8 million in Going Pro Talent Fund grants for 48 employers in Bay, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland and Saginaw counties. These funds will provide crucial opportunities to train new and existing employees in areas like leaning manufacturing, inventory management, blueprint reading, advanced safety, welding, and accounting. This year, these funds will provide training for over 1,400 employees, including 91 apprentices, resulting in more than 1,990 certifications. 

“These are incredible numbers, and we couldn’t be more pleased with this year’s award,” says Chris Rishko, CEO of Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works!. “Coming off a year like 2020, our employers and our region are looking for a win, and news of this magnitude is just what we needed. We will build on this foundation and make 2021 a phenomenal year for growth for our region’s employers. It’s Go Time in the Great Lakes Bay Region!”

Access to Going Pro Talent Funds in this area is possible only through a proprietary grant process spearheaded by Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! The organization partners with local economic developers as well as regional training providers and chambers of commerce to refer employers to the application process. Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! holds employer information sessions each summer and fall to help them successfully apply for Going Pro Talent funds.

Sheril Tarrant, Director of Business Services and Community Relations, notes, “We’ve have had to provide all our services virtually including information sessions, trainings and one-on-one meetings with employer applicants. This is a great example of how the team at Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! can quickly pivot to meet the needs in our community and provide the same level of service our employers have come to expect from us.”

Going Pro Talent Fund grant dollars come from the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity. In total, $39 million was awarded statewide. Of the applications submitted by Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! on behalf of employers, grants awarded ranged in amount from $1,064 to $207,794.

Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! is a consortium of Saginaw, Midland, Bay, Gratiot, and Isabella counties, established to operate workforce development programs for this region.  It is one of 16 separate and independent Michigan Works! agencies and one of about 550 similar agencies nationwide.

Great Lakes Bay Michigan Works! operates a total of five sites throughout the region. Michigan Works! strengthens the local economy 1) by assisting regional employers in finding and retaining qualified employees; and; 2) by assuring that the labor force meets the needs of regional employers.



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