Michigan manufacturers and other industry sectors need workers and job seekers need skills.
Both are getting a boost.
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced Monday more than $126 million in new grant funding will be awarded to eight states with plans to provide students with an opportunity to develop new skills in high demand areas.
Michigan’s program was awarded more than $17 million.
“America’s workers and entrepreneurs have been among the hardest hit by the pandemic, and this administration is committed to reigniting the entrepreneurial spirit and helping Americans reenter the workforce as the economy recovers,” said DeVos. “We created this grant competition because we saw the clear need to support lifelong learners who needed a boost to get back on their feet, and I was delighted to see so many states come forward with innovative initiatives and partnerships. By breaking down barriers between education and industry and supporting local entrepreneurs and small businesses, we can help workers thrive and get America’s economic engine running at full speed again.”
Other awardees included Alabama, Arkansas, California, Hawaii, Nevada, New York, and Hampton University in partnership with the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Recipients of the grant will leverage the expertise and facilities available on college campuses to spur entrepreneurship and foster business development and innovation as America begins to recover from COVID-19-related disruptions to education. The funding was made available through the Education Stabilization Fund of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Congress set aside 1% of the $30.75 billion allotted to the Education Stabilization Fund through the CARES Act for discretionary grants to fulfill unmet needs related to burdens caused by the pandemic. The Department of Education announced the Reimagine Workforce Preparation (RWP) grant competition in late spring 2020, inviting any state to apply.
Specifically, it called for projects that:
1. Expand educational opportunities through short-term, career pathways or sector-based education and training programs (absolute priority 1); or
2. Support college sustainability and local entrepreneurship through small business incubators (absolute priority 2).
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity – Workforce Development (LEO-WD) was awarded grant money for the launch of the Michigan Learning & Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP), which is designed to serve 5,000 job seekers looking to earn credentials, gain skills for employment, return to work, and advance in a career pathway.
MiLEAP will provide short- and mid-term customized education and training resulting in an industry credential through distance learning and hybrid modalities.
The training will be employer-led, competency-based and coupled with work-based learning opportunities.
All of the plans submitted were evaluated by a panel of independent peer reviewers, and the highest-scoring applications received funding. Given the nature of the national emergency, states with the highest coronavirus burden were prioritized.
The Rethink K-12 Education Models Grant Program has also received $180 million to support states’ efforts to create new, innovative ways for students to continue learning in ways that meet their needs during the coronavirus pandemic.
Manufacturers become creative and competitive in order to fill thousands of positions