WARREN, Mich. – Showcasing a job training program that allows high school graduates to gain advanced manufacturing work skills while earning a paycheck, Gov. Rick Snyder today said Michigan’s comeback is well underway and he will continue to support innovative approaches to maintain the state’s economic momentum.
“Michigan’s economy is growing, and more than ever Michigan businesses need a workforce with the talents and training for the jobs of today and tomorrow,” Snyder said. “This public-private collaboration meets critical employer needs and provides our students with a great way to earn an associate’s degree at no cost, get paid, gain critical work skills, and end up with guaranteed employment in an in-demand field.”
The governor called for expanding the Michigan Advanced Technician Training (MAT²) program in his State of the State address Thursday night, to help bridge the “skills gap” through a statewide system for training and educating skilled technicians to fill high-paying jobs.
MAT² is offered through a partnership of participating employers, community colleges, and the Michigan Economic Development Corp., combining classroom instruction with paid work experience in a three-year, no-cost program in the field of mechatronics, a combination of mechanical engineering, electronics, computer technology and information technology. Henry Ford Community College and Oakland Community College serve as pilot locations for the program.
Snyder today visited Proper Group International, an industrial plastics supplier based in Warren that currently employs two students through the MAT2 program.
“In today’s manufacturing environment we need to look at various ways to attract, develop and retain today’s workforce. Our past results showed continuing with our traditional apprenticeship program were not enough,” said Tom Ruczynski, Senior Vice President, Proper Group International. “To hire and train, we looked at different avenues; we partnered with various veteran networks, and MEDC on the exciting new training program called MAT2. Coupled with our own Proper “U” Training Program, we have made a huge impact on developing our workforce. Working at Proper is not just a job, it’s a career.”
Benchmarked on the German Dual Education System, MAT2 is an educational model developed in conjunction with global technology leaders, and will combine theory, practice, and work to help train a globally competitive workforce by using industry defined competencies and requirements to create highly-skilled, capable, and readily employable graduates of the program.
Accepted MAT² students will earn an associate’s degree at one of five southeast Michigan community colleges – Henry Ford, Macomb, Mott, Oakland, or Wayne – while they earn a paycheck and gain on the job experience with a participating company. Tuition is paid by the employer and in exchange, the student commits to remaining on the job for at least two years after successful completion of the program.
The Michigan Economic Development Corporation is actively recruiting companies to join three separate MAT2 programs being offered in 2014-2015. The 2014-15 programs will include education and training for mechatronics, design and visualization, and information technology technicians. Five community colleges (Henry Ford, Macomb, Mott, Oakland, and Wayne County) will be involved with providing classroom instruction to MAT2 students enrolled in the 2014-15 cohorts. Students will alternate between classroom instruction and worksite training with a participating employer for the duration of the program.
Prior to the beginning of the next round of three-year programs in September, employers will have an opportunity to showcase their company and meet with prospective employees and MAT2 students who have met all application requirements during a series of Company Fairs, tentatively scheduled throughout the spring and summer months of 2014.
Employers who sign up for the 2014 programs by Feb. 15 will receive access to the first company fair, a feature on the MAT2 website, and a promotional video.