MUSKEGON, MI -- Nine employers in Muskegon County received more than $700,000 in Skilled Trades Training Funds from the state of Michigan for fiscal year 2017.
The West Michigan Works! region as a whole received more than $5 million in training grants.
The largest grant in the Muskegon County, nearly $128,000, went to Arconic, formerly Alcoa Howmet, in Whitehall. Arconic is Muskegon County's largest industrial employer, with more than 2,200 employees.
The grant will facilitate training of 154 people, according to a release from Muskegon Area First.
This is first time that Arconic has received a Michigan training grant, said an Arconic spokesperson.
"The funds received for 2017 will be used for robotics and other skills training for employees of our Whitehall facility," the spokesperson said.
The second largest grant, $120,000, went to Johnson Technology, also known as GE Aviation, in Muskegon.
Johnson Technology is in the process of hiring 100 employees, and adding a third manufacturing plant in Norton Shores. An investment of $14.5 million will include building improvements, equipment and machinery to convert a warehouse at 6120 Norton Center Drive.
The company received an $800,000 performance-based grant from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation for the project. One stipulation of the grant was to hire 100 employees by April 1, 2020, bringing the company total to about 800.
Johnson has already hired about 75 people, bringing its total to about 770, said Curtis Evans, human resources lead.
"We've been doing quite a bit of hiring, and the grant will help defray expense of training our new employees to make them productive and safe," he said.
The grant will help train 80 people, according to Muskegon Area First.
The company also received a property tax abatement from the city of Norton Shores for the building project.
"GE Aviation - Muskegon is expanding in 2016, 2017 and beyond. Our current employees are among the best in West Michigan and we work hard to select and train new employees to perform at the same level," said Ryan Berends, training/team coordinator for GE Aviation. "This training grant will help us provide our new members with the skills they will need now and in the future to help meet our growing production demand."
The fiscal year 2017 training grants went mostly to manufacturers, but also healthcare, construction and IT companies, including Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon, which received a grant for $81,000. Mercy Health is Muskegon County's largest employer overall.
The grant to Mercy will help train 44 people, according to Muskegon Area First.
Between the nine Muskegon County grants, 257 current full-time employees and 233 new full-time, permanent employees will be trained.
"This fund is an incredible resource for local businesses to invest in their workforce and increase efficiency and productivity by giving workers additional skills," said Ed Garner, president and CEO of Muskegon Area First.
Many employers in the Muskegon-area also received grants:
- $127,638 to Arconic in Whitehall
- $120,000 to Johnson Technology/GE Aviation in Muskegon
- $100,481 to Scherdel Sales & Technology in Muskegon
- $99,672 to Anderson Global in Muskegon Heights
- $91,375 to MasterTag in Montague
- $81,000 to Mercy Health Partners in Muskegon
- $72,375 to L-3 Combat Propulsion Systems in Muskegon
- $45,271 to Occidental Chemical Corporation in Ludington
- $33,198 to Meridian, Inc. in Spring Lake
- $27,375 to Carter Manufacturing Co., Inc in Grand Haven
- $21,600 to Lauren Manufacturing in Spring Lake
- $15,200 to Multi-Lab in Spring Lake
- $12,998 to WPI, LLC in Spring Lake
- $9,000 to Pere Marquette Shipping in Ludington
- $9,000 to Active Manufacturing Corp. In Spring Lake
- $7,500 to Transfer Tool Products in Grand Haven
- $7,478 to SyncWave, LLC in Scottville
- $5,640 to Century Foundry, Inc. in Muskegon Heights
- $4,320 to Shorescape Investments, LLC in Grand Haven
- $4,082 to Dynamic Conveyor in Muskegon
- $600 to Valley City Metal Products, Inc., in Shelby
In 2016, 11 Muskegon County companies received training grants that came to about $482,000.