While Michigan’s economy continues to gain momentum, businesses are still challenged with finding workers with the skills they need to meet demand. To address this issue, the Governor recommended and the Legislature supported the creation of the Skilled Trades Training Fund (STTF) in 2013. Each year millions of dollars in training funds have been awarded to employers in West Michigan to address their hiring challenges. Die Cad Group, Inc., a woman-owned manufacturer with offices in Grand Rapids and Greenville, is leveraging more than $68,000 in STTF funds to aggressively address their workforce issues.
In recent years, Die Cad Group has not been able to find enough qualified metal stamping simulation engineers and metal stamping die designers to fill their workforce needs. As a result, they have lost out on new business opportunities to competitors in other states and other countries. This has implications for the region as well; when Die Cad Group loses an order so does a Michigan-based tool & die shop.
With STTF training dollars, Die Cad Group is investing in training and education programs that 1) provide advanced skills not widely available in the Michigan job market to current employees; 2) enhance the skills of new hires; and 3) allows them to train the next generation of simulation engineers and die designers. This frees up funding so that Die Cad Group can invest in state of the art software for advanced manufacturing processes, further strengthening its position in the market place by having well trained employees utilizing the latest technology.
“Our engineers are receiving advanced training that allows Die Cad Group to remain a market leader,” said Bobbie Blanton, President of Die Cad Group. “Through the support we receive from Michigan Works! and the STTF program we are able to give our employees an opportunity to enhance their skills that might not otherwise be feasible for a company our size.”
“The STTF program is working for West Michigan,” said Jacob Maas, CEO of West Michigan Works! “When employers invest in their workforce, businesses are better able to meet growing demand, and in many cases, they’re expanding. This is great for the business and for the region.”
About West Michigan Works!
West Michigan Works! provides proactive and innovative workforce solutions to create a pool of qualified talent that meets the needs of the region’s employers. Learn more at westmiworks.org.