Going Pro Press Conference Highlights Alliance Support

At a Press Conference in Traverse City on June 17th, a host of state and local dignitaries from different places on the industry and political spectrum to show support of a widely used and successful talent development program called Going Pro.

Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Director acting-Director Stephanie Beckhorn, State Senator Curt VanderWall (35th – Ludington), State Representative Triston Cole (105th – Mancelona), Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers, and representatives from community colleges, regional Michigan Works! agencies, ISD programs, employers, employees, and students who have successfully used the program to address talent and skills gaps in the region.

Kent_Going Pro presser June 2019
From left: Celebrating the Going PRO campaign kickoff in Traverse City on Monday to promote Professional Trades careers in Northwest Michigan were Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District (TBAISD) Career-Tech Center Principal Patrick Lamb, Traverse City Mayor Jim Carruthers, Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance Director of Government Relations Kent Wood, Talent and Economic Development (Ted) Department of Michigan Acting Director Stephanie Beckhorn, Northwestern Michigan College Vice President for Lifelong and Professional Learning Marguerite Cotto, state Sen. Curt VanderWall, R-Ludington, state Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, and Chief Operating Officer of Northwest Michigan Works! Terry Vandercook.

Alliance Director of Government Relations was also invited to speak and talked about the strong business support for the program in the region and around the state. He also took the time to highlight the support and impact the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance has had on advocating for Going Pro in front of the region’s legislators.

Below is an excerpt of Wood’s comments:

Thank you, Senator VanderWall and Representative Cole.

And thank you, Mayor Carruthers.

My name is Kent Wood, and I serve as the Traverse City Area Chamber’s Director of Government Relations.

The ability of Michigan employers to find highly skilled and capable employees is more difficult today than ever before.

In fact, the skills gap is often cited as a top concern in the business community.

That’s why earlier this month eight regional chambers of commerce in Traverse City, Lansing, Detroit, Flint, Saginaw County, Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti, Southwest Michigan and Grand Rapids announced their support for bringing more Professional Trades talent into the state’s workforce.

In addition, the Northern Michigan Chamber Alliance also supports Going PRO.

The Alliance is a partnership of more than nine Chambers and economic development organizations from northern lower and the UP that we are part of and help lead.

Supporting Going Pro is one of the priorities of the Alliance that includes the Chambers in:

  • Alpena
  • Benzie
  • Cadillac
  • Charlevoix
  • Gaylord
  • Petoskey
  • Traverse City
  • Manistee, and
  • Marquette

We’re all trying to do different things in our respective regions.

We all are aware Democrats and Republicans don’t always agree.

Business and labor don’t always see eye to eye either.

But we are all in support of Going PRO and advocating for state policies that encourage more talent to enter the workforce.

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