Shawn Wright| Crain’s Detroit Business
For the past few years, Globe Tech LLC has been growing its manufacturing, tool and design work.
As part of a growth strategy, the Plymouth-based small business decided on $4 million in renovations. But that also meant the company needed more workforce training to upskill its employees.
“We needed to upgrade some of our equipment, so we invested a significant amount of money,” said Kellen Lynch, general manager of Globe Tech. “To support that, we also needed to upgrade our software … we basically started from the beginning to help streamline our process from designing to building a tool.”
Globe Tech employs 35 people and provides stamped products, prototypes and tools, among other services. The company focuses primarily on automotive and military production, but also serves a variety of industries.
Getting a new software system and machinery was a costly procedure – about $700,000 – and re-training Globe Tech’s two designers and three CNC programmers also came with a price. But help came in the form of assistance from the Southeast Michigan Community Alliance (SEMCA) Michigan Works agency and its knowledge of manufacturing technology-related grants.
SEMCA helped Globe Tech apply for Michigan’s recent Skilled Trades Training Fund. The program provides competitive awards through Michigan Works agencies and in cooperation with local partners to fund employer-driven training in high-demand occupations.
From the STTF program, Globe Tech received $7,500 to help with upskilling its current workforce. The company couldn’t have gone through this transition without SEMCA, Lynch said.
“Margie LeNoir (incumbent workforce coordinator for SEMCA) is outstanding,” he said. “She guided us through the whole process, told us what we needed and mentored us through the whole system.”
LeNoir helped Globe Tech understand what the grant would and would not cover, how to fill out the funding applications, and facilitated pushing the documents through the system. Lynch said it would’ve taken the company weeks or months to figure out what was needed to get the funding.
The $7,500 may have been a drop in the bucket compared to the $700,000 total cost, but “for a small business, any little bit helps,” Lynch said. The money was used to help train the five employees on the new software, something Lynch doesn’t believe would’ve happened without the help from SEMCA or other workforce development agencies such as the Michigan Economic Development Corp (MEDC).
“As a manufacturing guy, we don’t know what’s available,” Lynch said. “ You kind of take those organizations for granted, but they really do serve a purpose for us here. Without the MEDC and SEMCA, I didn’t know enough about it. They have enough knowledge and will talk you through the process.”