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Meet Four Battle Creek Employers Who Are Training Tomorrow’s Workforce

In a significant development for workforce training, four Battle Creek employers were recognized for their exemplary roles in fostering Registered Apprenticeship Programs. This acknowledgment came during a ceremony at Kellogg Community College on December 20th, following a roundtable aimed at encouraging more local businesses to participate in such programs to strengthen the local talent pipeline.

The honorees – DENSO Manufacturing, Duncan Aviation, Grace Health, and TC Transcontinental Packaging – were lauded as part of the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity’s (LEO) Race to Talent with Registered Apprenticeship campaign, in partnership with the U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL).

A Commitment to Skilled Workforce Development

Susan Corbin, LEO Director, emphasized the campaign’s goal to highlight and honor those leading the way in utilizing Registered Apprenticeship training models to develop highly skilled workers in Michigan. These Battle Creek employers are setting a precedent for businesses across the region and state, demonstrating the effectiveness of Registered Apprenticeships in building a robust local talent pipeline.

Roundtable Insights and Support for Apprenticeships

The event, led by Ben Damerow, senior director of W.E. Upjohn Institute’s Center for Workforce Innovation and Solutions, showcased the vast benefits of Registered Apprenticeships for both employers and job seekers. Hosted by LEO, in collaboration with Michigan Works! Southwest, the roundtable brought together state and federal labor and workforce development experts, along with Battle Creek business leaders.

Participants discussed the support available for local businesses to establish or participate in Registered Apprenticeships, sharing insights and experiences in developing these programs.

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Spotlight on Employer Experiences

The discussion included perspectives from employers who have already seen the benefits of Registered Apprenticeships: Grace Health: Tara Hillman-Macleod, RN, highlighted their Apprenticeship Program for medical assistants, which has significantly improved staffing and care quality. DENSO Manufacturing Michigan: Todd Greer spoke about the program’s role as a vital talent development tool, helping the company maintain high levels of technical expertise. TC Transcontinental Packaging: Ricky Schaefer encouraged individuals to explore their Mechanical Apprenticeship Program, emphasizing the blend of traditional and cutting-edge skills. Duncan Aviation: Executive VP and COO Andy Richards characterized their Apprenticeship Program as an investment that helps reduce skills gaps and fosters community engagement.

Michigan’s Vision for a Skilled Future

These opportunities are part of Michigan’s broader strategy to expand the talent pool and match employers with qualified employees. This aligns with Governor Whitmer’s Sixty by 30 initiative, aiming for 60% of Michigan’s working adults to hold a skills certificate or associate degree by 2030. Registered Apprenticeships offer an industry-driven, high-quality career training program where employers prepare Michigan’s future workforce. Apprentices gain paid work experience, classroom instruction, and a nationally recognized credential upon completion. Further Information For more details on Michigan’s Registered Apprenticeship programs and how they are shaping the future of the workforce, visit

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