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Chamber Blog

Breakfast with Legislators: Restore the Going Pro Talent Fund for FY 2020

Breakfast with Legislators: Restore the Going Pro Talent Fund for FY 2020

The February Breakfast with Legislators featured lively discussion, covering top issues from the Going Pro Talent Fund, to the budget process, to road funding. 

Eric Van Duren, Director of Talent Acquisition with Spectrum Health, spoke to our members on the effectiveness of the fund to increase their productivity for a wide range of careers at Spectrum Health. Eric stressed the importance to restore funding for Fiscal Year 2020. 

The panel discussion highlighted the tension in Lansing around two major areas of contention- the budget and a road funding solution. With both Democrats and Republicans present from the House and Senate, members heard both sides to the Governor’s proposal to bond for state roads. Democrats applauded the Governor’s action on an important issue. Republicans stressed that bonding for roads is not the long-term solution that Michigan needs. Grand Rapids Chamber members urged the legislators in attendance to work together- across the aisle and with the Governor- to find a real solution. 

Budget conversations around a Fiscal Year 2020 supplemental and Fiscal Year 2021 also put legislators in the hot seat as disagreements continue between the Governor and the Legislature. Many could agree Fiscal Year 2020’s process did not have the best outcome and damaged a lot of trust between the two branches, but legislators remain optimistic that good, bi-partisan budgeting can be done. Budgeting is scarce resource allocation- there’s plenty of issues that face Michigan and limited funds to solve those issues.

CALL TO ACTION!
The top issue for the Grand Rapids Chamber is restoring the Going Pro Talent Fund for FY 2020. If this is an important program for you and your business, please reach out to your State Representative and State Senator and let them know the impact of this program on your business and employees. 

Talking points for the Going Pro Talent Fund:

  • It is a competitive state grant that businesses can utilize to upskill their workforce to meet real-time demand
  • To apply, you must have an open position, a person to fill that position, and the grant dollars would go toward training that would need to end in a certificate or credential that is recognizable within that industry and stackable
  • This program is incredibly beneficial- businesses of all sizes and business types receive these grant dollars
  • The Going Pro Talent Fund was line-item vetoed in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget and did not make it into the supplemental that was signed in December
  • For Fiscal Year 2019, there was $31.7 million for Going Pro Talent Fund. West Michigan’s region, region 4, received about one-third of that total statewide funding
  • West Michigan businesses know the importance of this program and urge your support to restore funding for 2020!

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