October 23, 2014

Region 7B, Arenac County receives additional funding for job training

By John Fischer|Staff writer
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ARENAC COUNTY — Since 2007, Arenac County has entered more than 300 dislocated workers into the Michigan Works! No Worker Left Behind (NWLB) re-training program created by Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm in an effort to train 100,000 Michigan workers in demand occupations by 2010.

Now, Region 7B of Michigan Works! (MW), which Arenac County is a part of, will get a boost of over a quarter million dollars. MW Region 7B Executive Director Mark Berdan says, on April 1, Granholm announced $266,590 of additional funding for the region’s NWLB program.

“[Region 7B] ran out of funds [for NWLB] for the first time ever,” Berdan said. “So I applied for the additional funding.

“With the Recovery [and Reinvestment Act] funds, we expect to double our training this year.”

Berdan added Region 7B normally trains 150-175 dislocated workers a year.

He also says the increase in funding is mainly to assist dislocated employees of Kalitta Air, Oscoda.

“The Kalitta Air workers aren’t just from Oscoda though,” Berdan said, adding Kalitta Air employs workers in many Northeast Michigan counties including Arenac.

But the training funds aren’t only designated for Kalitta Air employees.

“Any dislocated worker who is eligible for the program (NWLB) can receive the funds,” he said.

Berdan says right now 117 people from Arenac County are actively participating in NWLB, which offers over 40 different fields of training in demand occupations.

“The demand occupations are listed on our Web site www.michiganworks4u.org,” Berdan said, adding NWLB only offers training in occupations with high demand for skilled employees such as certified nurses assistants and over-the-road truck drivers.

“Participants in No Worker Left Behind are eligible to receive no more than $5,000 a year or $10,000 a lifetime in training,” the director said. “To be a dislocated worker you either have to be an adult who’s been unemployed for seven days or laid off in a mass layoff by a company.

“You can receive training either from a two-year college or through a training program approved by the state.”

Berdan says the Governor’s goal of 100,000 re-trained workers is easily within reach and overall, the program has been very successful.

“One example is that we had a guy who worked in manufacturing for 20 years,” he said. “His plant closed, we helped him get training in the health care field and now he’s working in West Branch.”

For more information on the NWLB program or Michigan Works!, visit the Michigan Works! office on Cedar Street in Standish or call 989-846-2111.

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