GRAYLING – As Michigan’s Going Pro initiative aims to increase the number of people choosing professional trade careers, Kirtland Community College is not only offering trade degree programs for students, but is also supporting Going Pro goals from the other side: by providing customized training courses for local industry companies to further develop employees’ skills.

Going Pro is an effort led by the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan to promote professional trade careers such as manufacturing, IT, automotive and cosmetology. With over 545,000 professional trade jobs in Michigan through 2026 and 47,000 openings annually, the need for highly-skilled trade workers is higher than ever. 

Formerly known as the Skilled Trades Training Fund, the Going Pro Talent Fund provides employers funding for further training and development of current employees. Companies apply through the Michigan Works! office, and then trainers and educators like Kirtland Community College are contacted to provide coursework.

“Professional trades are the anchor to a solid economic foundation, and investing in the current and future trade workforce is a win-win for everyone involved,” said Steven Fosgard, Dean of Occupational Programs at Kirtland, “Having a highly skilled and sustainable workforce that understands the complexities of trades and can evolve with the industries is essential not only for economic and individual company growth, but also for bringing new business to the region.”

As Kirtland Community College has witnessed the job growth in trade industries across the state, the college has invested in programs like Wood Science Technology, Health Sciences, Automation Process Control, Cosmetology and more by expanding its centralized Grayling campus with brand new labs, advanced machinery and equipment, and courses designed in partnership with local industry employers. With 84 percent of students receiving financial aid, and many degree programs offered in nine months, the college is helping address the skills gap in professional trade industries by encouraging more students to pursue careers in them.

When companies in the region receive Going Pro grants, Kirtland develops customized courses for each company to meet their training and development goals and help close skill gaps. With the ability to offer on-campus training with advanced equipment, Kirtland has already provided training for ten companies in the past year, including welding, electrical training and more. Training can span from less than a week to an entire semester, depending on the company’s needs and the grant allocations.

“When companies are faced with skills gaps, hiring new people isn’t the only option,” said Kathleen Fox, Director of Workforce Development and Apprenticeships at Kirtland, “Going Pro gives businesses the opportunity to invest in the future of their workforce with current employees. With advanced labs, modern equipment and experienced faculty, Kirtland is uniquely positioned to offer high quality training that can meet the unique needs of employers from numerous industries.”

To learn more about Kirtland’s professional trade programs, visit To learn more about workforce development or how to apply for Going Pro grants, contact Kathleen Fox at

About Kirtland

Community College

Established in 1966, Kirtland Community College is a two-year college that serves over 17 communities as the largest Michigan community college district. The college offers 38 degrees and certifications across four campuses, and continuously strives to adapt programming to meet economic demands. 

By fostering a culture of innovation, Kirtland equips students with the tools they need to succeed in fulfilling careers.

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