Senate passes expansion of successful jobs training program

LANSING—The Michigan Senate passed legislation Wednesday that would expand the Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP), a successful statewide initiative established in 2008 to promote job growth and provide skilled training to workers through local community colleges.

The MNJTP lets community colleges statewide create a training pool through flexible financing mechanisms to support employers who are creating jobs or expanding operations in Michigan. Senate Bills 69–71 would remove certain technical restrictions to allow the program to grow.

“The Michigan New Jobs Training Program has been a great success, producing nearly 12,000 new jobs since its inception,” said the sponsor of SB 71, Senate Education Committee Chair Phil Pavlov, R-St. Clair Township. “The program brings together educators, students eager to be trained for skilled jobs, and employers looking to hire. This package of bills will remove some of the program’s arbitrary restrictions and maximize its job-creation potential.”

Under the program, training for newly hired workers is paid by capturing the state income tax associated with the new employees’ wages and redirecting it to a local college, instead of to the state. These new jobs must pay at least 175 percent of the state minimum wage in effect at the time the agreement is entered into. Once the training costs are paid off, the new employee’s income tax withholding will go to the state and become state revenue.

“The Michigan New Jobs Training Program has done a great job helping job providers collaborate with community colleges to create training programs that connect today’s students with tomorrow’s jobs,” said Sen. Darwin Booher, R-Evart, sponsor of SB 69. “This legislation improves the program by allowing more colleges to participate in the future and by ensuring graduates receive a competitive wage when they enter the workforce.”

The MNJTP generated more than $76 million in additional earnings and 2,266 new jobs in 2012 alone, according to a report issued in 2013 by the Anderson Economic Group (AEG), an independent economic research and consulting firm based in East Lansing. Going forward, the AEG study projects the MNJTP annually to generate $143 million in additional earnings and more than 4,700 jobs.

“This collaborative program between community colleges and businesses has shown great success in preparing workers for jobs that companies are waiting to fill,” said Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, who sponsored Senate Bill 70. “These bills will ensure community colleges are able to participate and train workers going forward by eliminating a previously established cap in the existing law. Doing so will mean fewer companies will be waiting for qualified employees.”

St. Clair County Community College (SC4) is one of the schools taking part in the program. The college has partnerships with SMR Automotive of Marysville, Grace Engineering of Memphis and Eissmann Automotive of Port Huron.

Dr. Kevin Pollock, president of SC4, testified last week before the Senate Education Committee about the value of the program to St. Clair County and the Thumb region. He touted the program’s direct benefits, including 189 eligible new jobs resulting from MNJTP agreements with SMR Automotive, Grace Engineering, and Eissmann Automotive.

“Not only does this program help create jobs, it also provides superior training for employees,” Pollock said. “This targeted training eliminates the skills gap by providing employees with the precise skills they need to match employers’ needs. In addition, the program’s emphasis on local involvement helps educators and employers work together to benefit their communities.”

In the past, representatives of Northwestern Michigan College and General Motors Co. have testified before the Education Committee in support of the MNJTP, as have Magna International Inc. CEO Frank Ervin and SMR Automotive’s Marysville facility Managing Director Sai Tatineni.

The committee has also heard from WABCO North America, a tier-one automotive supplier in Rochester Hills that partners with Oakland County Community College, and Johnson Controls of Holland, which holds an MNJTP contract with Grand Rapids Community College.

Senate Bills 69–71 have been sent to the Michigan House for further consideration.

Sen. MacGregor remarks on governor’s 2016 budget plan

Senator Peter MacGregor

Senator Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich.—State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, issued the following statement after Gov. Rick Snyder presented his Fiscal Year 2016 budget proposal Wednesday at a joint hearing of the Senate and House Appropriations committees:

“Michigan’s remarkable economic comeback over the past four years shows no signs of stopping, but despite our state’s growth, we are facing a significant budgetary shortfall this coming fiscal year. While the state’s General Fund has a deficit largely due to business tax credits carried over from the previous administration that are now being used, the School Aid Fund remains strong and is growing.

“I appreciate that Gov. Snyder’s budget proposal reflects and addresses this shortcoming through mindful reductions and reforms rather than achieving a balanced budget on the backs of our hardworking families. As chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Human Services, though, I am aware of the potential impact that the deficit could have on residents, and particularly on those vulnerable citizens who rely on state assistance. The newly announced Michigan Department of Health and Human Services could help in this effort to better serve residents more efficiently and effectively, and it may reduce any budgetary impact.

“I look forward to working with my legislative colleagues and the governor’s administration as we begin the budget process. I am confident that Michigan will have a balanced budget in place that resolves our current shortfall, protects education and vital services, and helps make Michigan a better place to live, work and raise a family.”

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Sen. MacGregor reacts to State of the State address

Senator Peter MacGregor

Senator Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford, issued the following statement Tuesday after Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his 2015 State of the State address:

“I campaigned on a pledge to right-size state government and make it more effective and efficient. The governor’s announcement that he will combine the departments of Human Services and Community Health is a positive step in the right direction. By being proactive and addressing problems at their roots, rather than being reactive and chasing symptoms, we can help achieve these goals and improve the quality and delivery of services.

“I also appreciate that the governor continues to focus on education and improving our economy. Ensuring students are as prepared as possible to face an ever-changing workforce is key, and I think the governor’s efforts to link business needs with educational training, workforce development and skilled trades training is commendable.

“Jobs are a top priority, and while we have seen a vast improvement in terms of jobs created and a reduction in the rate of unemployment over the past four years, our state’s comeback is far from assured. Despite these accomplishments, we are again facing a budgetary shortfall and state government must continue the hard work of living within its means, as every Michigan family continues to do.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate and House, and with the governor, to continue the vital work of fixing Michigan.”

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Sen. MacGregor available for comments following State of the State address

Who: State Sen. Peter MacGregor, R-Rockford.

What: Reaction and comments following the governor’s State of the State address.

When: The address is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 20.

Where: House Appropriations Room
Third Floor
State Capitol
Lansing, MI

Briefing: MacGregor will be available following the State of the State address for comments on state issues mentioned by the governor in the address.

Please call MacGregor’s office at 517-373-0797 prior to 5 p.m. on Jan. 20 to schedule an interview time with the senator.

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Peter MacGregor sworn in as senator of 28th District

Also announces committee assignments, office contact information


LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Peter MacGregor was sworn in as senator of the 28th district on Wednesday during a ceremony at the state Capitol. Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert P. Young administered the oath of office.

MacGregor was joined in the Senate chamber by his wife, Christine, and son, Matthew, for the occasion.

“This is an exciting day and I am honored to serve Kent County residents as their state senator,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “Fixing Michigan and getting our state back on the path to prosperity has been my primary focus as a legislator, and that vital work continues to drive me in the state Senate. From improving the jobs climate, to easing the burden on taxpayers and reducing the size and scope of state government while making it more efficient and accountable; I am committed to fighting for our community and moving Michigan forward.”

MacGregor announced today that he will serve on the committees of Appropriations, Banking and Financial Services, and Commerce. He will also serve on the following Appropriations subcommittees: Capital Outlay, Environmental Quality, Human Services and Higher Education.

The senator also announced that his Lansing office is open and ready to meet constituent needs. His office is located in Room 715 of the Farnum Building at 125 W. Allegan Street in Lansing, across from the Michigan Capitol. Residents may also contact the senator via email at SenPMacGregor@senate.michigan.gov, by phone at 517-373-0797 or toll-free at 1-855-347-8028, and via U.S. mail at Sen. Peter MacGregor, P.O. Box 30036, Lansing, MI 48909.

More information about the senator will be available on his forthcoming website at www.senatorpetermacgregor.com.

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