Training program

This Manistee County company made the state’s training program

MANISTEE COUNTY – Several businesses in Benzie and Mainstee counties are taking advantage of a state program to help train their workforce.

The Michigan Department of Labor and Opportunity released in December the names of companies that would be reimbursed for training costs for fiscal year 2022 through the Going Pro Talent Fund. On that list were three companies from Benzie County and one company from Manistee County.

In Benzie County, Honor Bank, Moore Mechanical and Ironfish Distillery received funding for training. In Manistee County, MR Products, known as Mr. Chain, also received training funds.

According to Kyle Ray, a business services representative at Northwest Michigan Works, said the Going Pro Talent Fund is the largest monetary training grant the state has to offer.

“It’s the best chance an employer has of securing funding to help pay for training for new employees and current employees,” he said. “The grant is designed for the employer to take what they are already doing or add training over the coming year to help upgrade the skills of their current employees and help hire new employees and expand their workforce. .”

Ray, who works with Networks Northwest to help businesses in Benzie and Manistee counties apply for the program, said the training could be anything that comes with some sort of credential that can be kept throughout the life of the program. a worker’s career, such as college courses or training through organizations such as the Michigan Manufacturing and Technology Center that end with a certificate.

“They invest in the employee and hopefully in loyalty to the company,” Ray said.

Ray said the grants are reimbursement grants, which means employers have to pay for the training costs. Once everything is finalized at the end of the year and the employer reaches the training objectives for funding, the State reimburses the training costs.


Several businesses in Benzie and Manistee Counties have received Going Pro Talent funding to help train their current workforce and new hires.

Here are the companies and the amount of training costs that the State has undertaken to reimburse for the 2022 financial year.

Benzie County

• Honor Bank $18,600

• Moore Mechanical, $84,000

• Ironfish Distillery $19,744

Manistee County

• MR Productions (Mr. Chain), $28,339

“I am in constant communication with employers who receive subsidies to make sure they are following the training plan,” he said. “If they’re hiring, we need to know who these new employees are and they need to take the training offered by the employer. At the end of the grant period, in this case from January 1 to December 31, we must close. We finalize everything and submit the documents to get the refund.

Ray said the program has been around in one form or another since 2014.

“I think this is a necessary program for the state of Michigan,” said Ryan Schultz, COO of Mr. Chain. “He leads the training of working people, advancing their skills, and enabling us to compete in the United States and around the world with a well-trained workforce.”

Schultz said the training included everything from taking unskilled people to turning them into skilled people for the company’s workforce, which could be quality control or injection molding. .

Training could even turn into apprenticeship.

“We work with a registered apprenticeship program through the United States Department of Labor,” Schultz said. “They become certified apprentices who train in maintenance, logistics, plastic injection supervision or work in our office. Our controller went through this program.

Schultz said the company has four certified apprentices either taking the program or graduating from it, and this is the second year of working with the Going Pro Talent Fund.

Deidra Charnes, vice president of support and head of human resources for Honor Bank, also said this was the company’s second year working with the program.

“I have nothing but good things to say about the program and especially the support Networks Northwest had in applying for the program and then making sure we were reimbursed by it.”

Charnes said that in 2021, the bank was able to train new hires, as well as some current employees, to staff a new help and call center that launched in 2021. She also said that some employees also had received training on how to train employees.

“This year we applied for funding to help with leadership-level training for our emerging leaders,” Charnes said. “We train managers who may be new to the job and who have never had to manage people before or do things like have difficult discussions. We can send 12 people for personalized training for this. “

She also said the bank would also send more people for training on how to train employees.

“We will soon be able to have a person at each of our sites with these skills,” she said.

Ray said companies interested in applying for the 2023 funds can work with him and Networks Northwest to get started.

“Usually applications open in October,” he said. “We help employers fill out the application; we help strengthen it.

If approved, he works with the companies to ensure the training plan is followed. The fund provides $1,500 for training new employees and $3,000 for training certified apprentices.

To learn more about the Going Pro Talent Fund, visit, call Kyle Ray at 231-342-1242, or email [email protected]