Michigan’s comeback story is more than noteworthy economic statistics and trends. It’s about changing lives for the better.
An important part of that is helping people [such as Travis Butler; see his Next America interview] who have long been unable to get a job or to obtain the skills they need to find gainful employment.
That’s key. Traditional federal workforce programs focus on training that often has little or no connection to the skills employers need or to real jobs. Here in Michigan, we’re flipping that around with a program called Community Ventures where we work directly with employers to ensure that program participants gain high-demand skills and real jobs that set them on a sustainable path to independence.
Michigan boasts a talented and educated workforce. But too many in our state face seemingly insurmountable obstacles to full-time employment, such as a lack of education, job experience, and necessary reading, writing, and technical skills.
Our Community Ventures program works with public and private partners to remove those barriers and provide the tools people need to grow and thrive.
Two years ago, my administration sought partners to create opportunities for these people living in four of our state’s most economically distressed communities: Detroit, Flint, Pontiac, and Saginaw.
Community Ventures, administered through the Michigan Economic Development Corp., teams with Michigan Works!, Goodwill, Focus Hope, and others to match eligible employees with employers, who receive a wage reimbursement incentive of up to $5,000 for each employee.
The new employees receive mentoring, literacy support, financial literacy guidance, on-the-job training, and other help so they can improve professionally and develop employment history.
The program works.
Since the program started in autumn 2012, we’ve placed 1,200 people, earning an average of more than $11.50 an hour. Nearly all of the newly employed are from households living below the poverty level. More than 80 percent of employees hired are retained by employers, who offer new workers job coaching, transportation, child-care assistance, and adult-education courses.
About half the participants are women; 13 percent have a criminal records; 4 percent are veterans; and 3 percent are people with disabilities.
With full-time employment comes a greater degree of independence. Ultimately, workers employed with the help of Community Ventures will rely less on public services such as food and housing assistance, subsidized child care and Medicaid.
Lessening the tax burden on businesses and creating a business-friendly environment are just a few reasons Michigan’s economy has recovered the most from the Great Recession. The state’s unemployment rate has fallen from 14.2 to the current 8.4 percent.
Clearly, in these challenging times, innovation isn’t used solely in the domain of economics. Working together with business and nonprofits, the innovative Community Ventures program is making sure the Michigan Comeback includes all Michigan residents.
# # #
Rick Snyder is Michigan’s 48th governor. He is serving his first term as the state chief executive. You can reach his office at 517-335-7858 or at email@example.com. You can find him online at Facebook.com/GovernorRickSnyder or Twitter.com/OneToughNerd.
- 1 Only the Margin Seems in Doubt in the Presidential Race
- 2 Great Democratic Hopes Energize Quiet Faithful in Missouri
- 3 The Late-Breaking Democratic House Targets
- 4 Smart Ideas: Ken Bone Revealed a Serious Policy Divide, and Elizabeth Warren Seeks a Co-Presidency
- 5 Comparing the 2016 House Map to 2008
What We're Following See More »
The protest over the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline turned violent overnight as the police and National Guard sought to remove the protesters, surrounding them with assault vehicles and officers in riot gear. The law enforcement officers used pepper spray and fired bean bags for more than six hours. In response, the protesters "lit debris on fire and threw Molotov cocktails in retreat." One woman pulled out a gun and fired at officers, narrowly missing before being arrested. The protesters claim the pipeline would be constructed on land belonging to the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.
The House has scheduled leadership votes for Nov. 15, the day after members return from their election recess. "Since mid-September, members of the House Freedom Caucus have weighed whether they should ask leadership to push back the elections so they can see how House Speaker Paul Ryan performs at the end of the year," but leaders don't seem inclined to grant their request.
Gross domestic product "expanded at a 2.9% annual clip from July through September. That’s a marked improvement from the first half of the year when the U.S. grew just barely over 1%." The robust numbers make it more likely that the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates at its next meeting.
"A federal jury on Thursday found Ammon Bundy, his brother Ryan Bundy and five co-defendants not guilty of conspiring to prevent federal employees from doing their jobs through intimidation, threat or force during the 41-day occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. The Bundy brothers and occupiers Jeff Banta and David Fry also were found not guilty of having guns in a federal facility." In a strange "coda" to the decision, Bundy's attorney Marcus Mumford was tackled and tasered by marshals in the courtroom as he argued that Bundy should be free to go.
Hillary Clinton is eyeing Vice President Joe Biden to be her secretary of state, and her campaign is trying to figure out the best way to broach the idea with Biden. Biden has a lifetime of foreign policy experience, serving as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; he can also put eight years as vice president on his foreign policy resume. Biden has previously stated that he would not work in a Clinton administration, so it might be a tough sell for the Clinton camp.