by Scott McClallen
Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) announced grants totaling more than $15.6 million to help get Michigan back to work.
The government awarded Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) grants to 10 groups who will help support individuals who are dislocated, underemployed, essential workers, living in distressed rural and urban communities, or economically disadvantaged.
“My administration is committed to uplifting Michiganders whose economic security has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Whitmer said in a statement. “By providing grants to help people make the move from education or training programs to good-paying, high-skill jobs, we can ensure all Michiganders thrive as we continue our economic jumpstart. The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and their Regional Consortia partners will help people get back on their feet and take the next step on their path to financial security.”
MiLEAP funds will assist job seekers to find high-skill, high-wage careers.
The $15.6 million taxpayer-funded spending will allow the 10 awardees to serve an estimated 5,069 participants at an average per-person cost of $3,077. These include:
- Upper Peninsula Michigan Works! ( 450 participants costing $1,695,000 for an average cost of $3,766 per person)
- Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (556 participants costing $1,998,200 for an average cost of $3,593 per person)
- Networks Northwest dba Northwest Michigan Works! (375 participants costing $1,109,966 for a per-person cost of $2,959);
- West Michigan Works! (667 participants costing of $2,000,000 for a per-person costs of $2,998);
- Oakland County Michigan Works! (667 participants costing $2,000,000 for an average per-person cost of $2,998);
- Berrien-Cass-Van Buren Michigan Works! (670 participants costing $2,000,000 for an average per-person cost of $2,985);
- Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Southwest Partnership (444 participants costing $1,128,157 for a per-person cost of $2,540.
- Michigan Works! Northeast Consortium (460 participants costing $1,375,000 for a per-person cost of $2,989);
- Michigan Works! West Central (180 participants costing $540,000 for a per-person cost of $3,000);
- Mott Region 6 Consortium (600 participants costing $1,799,758 for a per-person cost of $2,999).
“By bringing a mix of economic development, education, non-profit and business partners together to serve as the MiLEAP consortia partners, we can ensure the customized programs developed will meet the unique needs of the over 5,000 program participants,” LEO Acting Director Susan Corbin said in a statement
Grant funds will support the creation of MiLEAP Navigators to help job seekers. MiLEAP participants will receive individualized competency-based assessments and learning plans that include skills assessments, remote learning opportunities, high school, and industry-recognized credential attainment.
U.S. Department of Education funded MiLEAP via a Reimagine Workforce Preparation Grant. Grant recipients selected through a request for proposal process that ended in May 2021 will perform work through September 2023.
MiLEAP aligns with Michigan’s goal to have 60 percent of Michigan adults achieve a college degree or skills certificate by 2030.
Michigan will need all the help it can get. In June, WalletHub ranked Michigan’s COVID-19 economic recovery dead last in the nation.
About 67 percent of Michigan government leaders say Michigan is headed in the wrong direction, according to a University of Michigan survey.
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Scott McClallen is a staff writer covering Michigan and Minnesota for The Center Square. A graduate of Hillsdale College, his work has appeared on Forbes.com and FEE.org. Previously, he worked as a financial analyst at Pepsi.
Photo “Gretchen Whitmer” by Gretchen Whitmer.