Legislation Advances to Link Employers to Worker Training

The Herald Palladium

South Haven CTE Capitol DayLegislation to connect unfilled jobs with classroom education and training has been approved unanimously by the Michigan Legislature and is on its way to the governor’s desk.

“Thousands of jobs throughout the state and in Southwest Michigan remain unfilled because employers cannot find enough workers with the necessary skills,” said Sen. John Proos, R-St. Joseph, who sponsored the bill. Senate Bill 66 allows for the sharing of information between school districts and businesses that have job needs as well as providing students and their parents with information on what career and technical education (CTE) opportunities are available to them.

Gov. Rick Snyder has repeatedly called for an increased focus on science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in Michigan schools.

“This legislation will ensure that all Michigan schools will have access to important CTE information and options for how these programs can successfully be provided to students with the highest level of educational rigor,” Proos said.

SB 66 requires the Department of Education to provide CTE course information to school districts and to post information online about CTE best practices from around the state and country.

The department will post online a description of how CTE courses can be used to fulfill the graduation requirements, information on successful CTE programs operated by schools, and details on how schools can work with local businesses, public-private partnerships, trade organizations, universities and community colleges.

“I applaud this legislation led by Senator Proos. It’s a big leap in the right direction for economic development and manufacturing right here in Southwest Michigan and Michigan as a whole,” said Joe Sobieralski, director of the Southwestern Michigan Economic Growth Alliance. “It’s a tool we can now utilize to help get our youth interested and aware of the quality, stable and good paying jobs here in Southwest Michigan that will ultimately, over time, lead to a stronger economy.”


Free Mammograms Available

Proos PinkRibbonPlateAmong Michigan women, breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths. Nearly everyone knows someone who has been impacted by this terrible disease.

I recently supported designating October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Michigan.

Early detection of breast cancer is critical to improving the chance of survival, yet very few Southwest Michigan women ages 40 and older get annual mammograms.

I encourage all at-risk women to take this important and life-saving step. I also urge eligible uninsured women to take advantage of a program that provides free mammograms on select days in October.

The Pink Saturdays Breast Cancer Screenings program has screened more than 9,300 women and expects to provide 1,000 free mammograms this year. To be eligible for a free screening, a woman must be uninsured, be age 40 to 64 and meet certain income guidelines.

Residents may call 1-800-873-0649 to schedule a free screening or visit www.PinkSaturdays.org for more information.

I am also proud to announce that “Pink Ribbon” license plates are now available. I co-sponsored the law last year to create this plate to raise funds that will help provide low-income women access to cancer screening services and follow-up care, including treatment if necessary.

This October, let us celebrate those who have won their fight with breast cancer, support those currently battling this serious disease and remember the friends and loved ones we have lost.

We Will Never Forget 9-11

The tragedy of September 11, 2001 will forever be etched in our minds.

However, it will also forever be a day that unites us as Americans.

It is a testament to the greatness of the American people that when our liberty is attacked, we come together to meet that challenge.

This year, Rep. Dave Pagel and I welcomed Chikaming Township Fire Department Chief Mike Davidson and Berrien Springs Fire Department Chief Bruce Stover to the Capitol to commemorate the 13th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks.

My thoughts and prayers go out to the families of the brave men and women who became modern-day heroes due to their extraordinary courage. We will always remember the selflessness of the United 93 passengers, who sacrificed themselves to prevent further tragedy, and the fearless first responders who ran into the twin towers to save lives – often at the cost of their own.

I also want to express my heartfelt appreciation to our firefighters, police officers and brave soldiers who continue to protect our communities and our nation every day.

Out of tragedy we are reminded of blessings that God has bestowed on America and that our constitutional freedoms are worth defending.

To help pay tribute to the anniversary of 9-11 and the signing of the U.S. Constitution in 1787, I supported a Senate resolution that designated September 11-17 as “Michigan Patriot Week.” It is about celebrating America’s founding principles and the patriots who acted and often died to establish and defend the greatest country on Earth.

May God continue to bless America, our troops and our first responders.

State Senator John Proos Talks Education Funding

WKZO – Radio

Roeders ClassThe Michigan legislature may be currently in session, but lawmakers are also traveling around their districts preparing for the November elections. State Senator John Proos says he’s noticed that, as the campaigns heat up, the issue of education funding seems to be the one that everyone’s talking about the most. He told WKZO that state lawmakers have, in fact, been investing in education over the past couple of years, despite what some claim.

“If you just look at the numbers for spending in Michigan, we were spending about 12.1 billion dollars on K through 12 education in 2010,” Proos told WKZO. “Today, since 2010, we are now at 13.1 billion dollars in education.”

Proos said that doesn’t sound to him like education spending in Michigan has been cut, adding that education accounts for nearly half of the state’s budget.

Proos notes that there are a few things the legislature’s managed to get done ahead of taking a break for the elections. He points to a bill that would let patients of terminal illnesses in Michigan try experimental treatments, as well as a recent slew of bills on human trafficking, as matters that have been addressed in just the past week.

Exercising Your Right to Vote Begins with Registering by Oct. 6

VoteOur country was founded on the revolutionary idea that our rights don’t come from our government, they are endowed upon us by our Creator. Our ability to choose our leaders makes us the beacon of liberty in the world.

I encourage all citizens to exercise their constitutional right to vote. Exercising this right begins with ensuring you are registered to vote.

To vote in the November election, you must be registered one month beforehand. This year, that means you need to be registered by Oct. 6.

If you are not registered to vote or if you do not know if you’re registered, visit the Michigan Voter Information Center at: http://www.michigan.gov/vote.

The site enables you to check your voter registration status and learn how to register. For more comprehensive voter and election information visit the Michigan secretary of state’s website at: http://www.michigan.gov/sos.

Residents may also contact the Berrien County clerk’s office at 269-983-7111 ext. 8264 or by email at elections@berriencounty.org. You may contact the Van Buren County clerk at 269-657-8218 ext. 6.

Elections are a vital component to our democratic republic. Our state and nation continue to take on big issues, and we need effective leaders who are willing to stand up for their communities.

While voter turnout nationwide remains lower than it should be, I am proud that in Michigan’s Great Southwest we have an engaged population that turns out to vote.

Every vote matters and sometimes a single vote can make all the difference.

Michigan’s Comeback Outpacing the Nation

proos commercialOur state economy grew by 2 percent last year, while the U.S. gross domestic product only expanded by 1.8 percent, according to a new federal report.

This is great news for everyone in our state and is another illustration of Michigan’s comeback.  Our pro-jobs reforms have made Michigan a place that businesses want to invest in and create jobs.

We crafted a positive business environment by cutting more than 1,500 needless government rules and adopting a better tax structure that encourages small businesses to grow.

The impact can be seen in the more than 275,000 new private sector jobs and 75,000 manufacturing jobs that Michigan has added in less than four years. Many of these new jobs are right here in Southwest Michigan.

As a result of our strong leadership, Michigan has been named the most improved state in the nation in the annual Top 10 Pro-Business Report from the American Economic Development Institute, is first in the nation for high-tech job growth from 2011-13 and has also been ranked in the top five for major new corporate facilities by Site Selection magazine – for two years in a row.

We achieved much to turn around Michigan’s economy and make our state more competitive for new jobs, yet there is still work to do.

The good news is that we are on the right track. We are growing our economy and creating well-paying jobs that will enable generations to come to choose to live, work and raise a family here in Michigan.