Among the things Michigan Governor Rick Snyder touched on in last week’s State of the State address was expanding the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT²) program to help bridge the “skills gap” through a statewide system for training and educating skilled technicians to fill high-paying jobs. The MAT2 program is part of the Pure Michigan® initiative and complements the Business Connect program to help create and sustain more well paying Michigan jobs.
Through a partnership of participating employers, community colleges, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, the MAT² program helps students “earn while they learn” in order to encourage them to train in technology fields, including many relevant to Michigan’s energy future.
MAT² offers three years of on-the-job training, with all tuition costs paid by employers. Once students have completed the program, they earn an advanced associate’s degree in high-tech, in-demand fields from one of five southeast Michigan community colleges, and they are guaranteed jobs upon graduation.
Education Equals Jobs
MAT² is so sensational because it translates directly into jobs—but many other education initiatives are also bringing students closer than ever to jobs within Michigan’s energy industry. For example, the Wind Turbine Technician Academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College (KVCC) has enjoyed job placement rates between 90 and 100 percent. As such programs proliferate, they help ensure that Michigan will have the highly skilled workforce we’ll need to meet our energy demand and keep our economy vibrant in years to come.
But Michigan isn’t just focused on higher education. Our state also makes a remarkable commitment to educating and preparing our children early on, such as its investment in pre-school education—the largest of any state in the country. Educational topics will be front and center for our leaders at the 19th annual Governor’s Education Summit , which will convene once again on April 24, 2014.
Entrepreneurship Equals Jobs
Tapping into young talent doesn’t just help fill jobs, it actually helps create them. Young people are once again finding opportunities in Michigan in high numbers , and great programs are in place to encourage them further.
For example, the Lansing-based Prima Civitas Foundation recognizes winners of its Young Innovators Competition with cash prizes. Executive mentoring programs like We Build Character enable today’s leaders to help grow tomorrow’s. And once they have their start, many Michigan entrepreneurs are able to develop their innovations from additional resources like business incubators .
Innovation is a cornerstone of Michigan’s energy future and a key focus for AMP when it comes to helping our state pursue smart energy policies and programs. Education and entrepreneurship will help keep Michigan’s energy and economic future secure. They will also ensure that we continue to develop more advanced energy solutions for our state that put Michigan at the forefront in sustaining our environment and quality of life at the same time.