State grants aim to cover training at local businesses

By: Andy Kozlowski | Madison-Park News | Published October 2, 2023

 Among the businesses awarded “Going PRO” training grants from the state are three in Madison Heights: Systematic Manufacturing, Ka-Wood Gear & Machine Co., and Mission Point of Madison Heights.

Among the businesses awarded “Going PRO” training grants from the state are three in Madison Heights: Systematic Manufacturing, Ka-Wood Gear & Machine Co., and Mission Point of Madison Heights.

Photos by Patricia O’Blenes


MADISON HEIGHTS — Several businesses in Madison Heights are among the recipients of state funds that will pay for the training of employees.

The Going PRO Talent Fund is a state initiative that funds short-term training to fill positions needed by Michigan employers. A requirement of the fund’s use is that the training must lead to credentials or skills that are transferable within the industry.

Seven businesses in House District 8 will receive funds as part of the latest round of grants, including three in Madison Heights: Systematic Manufacturing Inc, with $60,767 for 33 positions; Mission Point of Madison Heights, with $38,000 for 19 positions; and Ka-Wood Gear & Machine Co., with $1,133 for one position.

House District 8 covers the cities of Hazel Park and Highland Park, most of Madison Heights, one Ferndale precinct, and part of Detroit. Its representative is Mike McFall, D-Hazel Park, previously the mayor pro tem of Hazel Park.

In addition to the three businesses in Madison Heights, the other four businesses in the district are New Center Stamping, in Detroit, with $61,805 for 38 positions; Progressive Metal Manufacturing, in Ferndale, with $68,706 for 39 positions; Great Lakes Wine & Spirits, in Highland Park, with $91,500 for 42 positions; and Magna Seating Detroit South, in Highland Park, with $38,250 for 33 positions.

Altogether, the seven businesses will receive more than $360,000, helping more than 200 local workers receive training for high-skill, high-wage careers.

McFall said that he remains dedicated to supporting local businesses. He noted that he was also a member of Hazel Park’s Downtown Development Authority when he was on the City Council, and that he spearheaded the Main Street Hazel Park program to promote local businesses. He also arranged a partnership between the city and Build Institute, which hosted an eight-week business and project planning class for aspiring and established entrepreneurs.

“Supporting our businesses — and our neighbors who they employ — is important, not only to our state’s economy, but also our local one,” McFall said.

So far, the second cycle of 2023 Going PRO Talent Fund has awarded $13.5 million to nearly 300 businesses across the state, helping about 8,500 workers.

The program launched in 2014. Since then, it has benefitted more than 6,000 Michigan companies by providing training for 175,000 new and existing workers. Since the program started, worker wages have increased by an average of 9% following training completion.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer also sees the program as aligning with her “Sixty by 30” goal — a state effort that aims to boost the number of working-age adults in Michigan with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030.

“The Going PRO Talent Fund is an investment in our state’s greatest asset — our people — helping them to develop the skills they need to advance their careers and build a better life in Michigan,” Whitmer said in a statement. “These grants put Michiganders first, ensuring paths to good-paying jobs, and empowering Michigan businesses to develop the talent they need to compete in the global economy.”

Roslyn Grafstein, the mayor of Madison Heights, said she appreciates the investment.

“Small businesses are really going to save the economy. You hear so often about how a large or international company is coming to town, but really, it’s the small ones that have the day-to-day impact on everything going on around here,” Grafstein said.

“You can’t go down a street in Madison Heights without seeing ‘help wanted’ signs. Some of them have very specific skill sets they need, and when they can provide that training, it not only improves efficiency in the workplace, but it makes employees more loyal to the company, which can lead to lower turnover and keep them in town,” she said. “If we want our businesses to be successful, we need to support them in their training needs.”