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Re-training money at stake in political fight

By Rick Pluta, Michigan Public Radio Network

East Lansing, MI – East Lansing, MI (MPRN) - At the state Capitol, almost $140 million in worker re-training money is at stake in a fight between Republicans and Democrats.

The state will get the money if it offers unemployment benefits to part-time workers and people not actively seeking jobs.

But they must be enrolled in a job training program.

The deadline for doing that is the end of this month.

The extension cleared the state House this week.

But Senate Republicans say businesses will eventually have to pick up the cost of those benefits.

And Michigan businesses already owe the federal government $1.5 billion dollars for overdrawing from the unemployment fund.

State Senator Jason Allen chairs the Senate commerce committee.

Governor Granholm called for the measures when she signed a law extending unemployment benefits to 79 weeks for some jobless workers.

She says the state with the nation's highest jobless rate should not give up any worker training money.

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