Partnership provides training to area employees
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
Grayling area employees are enhancing their work skills through focused training while still earning their paychecks.
In January, Michigan Works partnered with Kirtland Community College and began offering software training for Grayling employers at no cost through state training dollars. The software training included Beginning Excel and Intermediate Excel taught by Clay Horton, the community education director from Kirtland Community College.
“The beauty of the program is the employers pay the wages of the employees, but about 90 percent of the training cost is being picked by the state,” Horton said. “They can come to school for very little out of pocket expense, and they can get a lot of progress in a short amount of time, because you’re focusing on one particular area.”
To date, nine employers have sent their employees to the Grayling Michigan Works office for training to upgrade their skills including Air Way Automation, AJD Forest Products, Arauco, the Crawford County Courts, the Grayling Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Grayling Main Street program, the Crawford County Housing Commission, River House, Inc. and Springs Window Fashions.
Each training series consists of three classes, held once a week for three hours over a three-week period.
The classes take place during regular business hours. Because of the need to increase the skill set of the workforce, employers welcomed the opportunity to get their staff trained even during work hours.
These training sessions have resulted in two promotions at Springs Window Fashions to supervisory positions.
“It means a lot to our organization – promoting from within your workforce is an essential component of employee retention,” said John Metts, the human resources manager for Spring Window Fashions. “It has given a lot of our people a new mindset – they can see their future here. For the two associates who were promoted, it means a better lifestyle for them and their families.”
An employee at Air Way Automation was able to move from a labor position into the engineering department.
More training sessions are on the horizon at Michigan Works that will include Beginning and Advanced Excel, Microsoft Word and Powerpoint.
The training is expanding outside of Grayling to the Mio and Gaylord area due to employers’ needs to train their staff. At the end of each series participants receive a Certificate of Completion from Kirtland Community College.
“Employers were looking for training opportunities to get their employees the skills required to do their jobs,” said Michigan Works Business Services Professional Alayne Hansen. “By partnering with Kirtland Community College, we were able to meet their needs and help them build a strong workforce.”
Horton said he appreciates being able to show employees how they can take large amounts of information, which then can be generated to produce written and sales reports. He said that it is especially important for corporations, which have branch operations in northern Michigan.
Horton said he also likes to see the eyes of the people in the classes light up when they learn new skills with the software and computer devices.
“For me, that’s fun,” Horton said. “I enjoy it.”
Michigan Works offers several training opportunities for employers to get their employees trained in much more than software including skilled trades, such as welding, nursing, and information technology.
This year, through the Skilled Trades Training Fund, Weyerhauser was awarded $39,752 in training dollars, and IMM was awarded $36,943.
For more information or to register employees for training, call (989) 348-8709.