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Going Pro

July 8, 2019

BY Minyetta Nelson

LANSING, MI --

Michigan employers will need to fill half a million skilled trades jobs by 2026, and state officials are investing $3 million to get the word out. Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and Lansing-area leaders in business, education and workforce development announced the state’s largest advertising campaign to raise awareness of Michigan’s skilled-labor shortage. Employers gathered at Lansing Community College Center for Manufacturing Excellence Monday said skilled trade jobs are in high demand as Baby Boomers are retiring, but there aren’t enough new workers with the training to replace them.

Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer identified the gap in skilled workers as a serious economic challenge during her 2019 State of the State address. Part of the problem, she said, is a failure to create paths to job training. Michigan’s Department of Talent and Economic Development expects 545,000 skilled trades jobs will be created through 2026, mostly in the fields of construction, manufacturing, healthcare, automotive and information technology. Finding highly skilled employees is harder than ever for Michigan businesses, according to a 2019 survey by the Associated General Contractors of America. Convincing high school students to pursue careers in professional trades and replace retiring Baby Boomers is critical to the state’s economic recovery, said TED Communications Director Erica Quealy.