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Michigan could keep signing bonuses to fill critical state roles

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Michigan is considering whether to continue offering signing bonuses for certain hard to fill roles at the state.

The state's Civil Service Commission approved a pilot program earlier this year to give anywhere between $2,500 and $5,000 dollars in signing bonuses to newly hired auditors, financial analysts, occupational safety advisors and certain information technology employees.

During the six-month pilot , the state paid $165,000 dollars in signing bonuses and hired 128 employees. Program officials said the initiative has proven to be successful.

“Departments came to us and said, ‘we’re really having a hard time recruiting for specific positions in IT, at the state occupational safety and health administration, for auditors and financial analysts,” Liza Estlund Olson, director of the Office of the State Employer, said.

To address some of those gaps the state employer proposed offering these signing bonus for these specific jobs.

“One of the reasons that we put it in place is because we need to use all the tools available to us to make sure that we have quality candidates and coming into say government and that we're competing with the private sector and the private sector is competing with everybody and us,” Olson said.

Half of the bonuses were given upon hire with the remaing half given after new employees completed a probationary period.

“Instead of just saying a pilot, we said let's continue it. But departments have to have money in their budget, and they have to decide if they want to use the program in any given year,” Olson said.

If approved, state departments would be required to allocate funds from their budgets to provide signing bonuses, which would only be applicable to the following roles: hired auditors, financial analysts, occupational safety advisors and specific IT employees. The program would not include union represented roles.

The Michigan Civil Service Commission is expected to vote on the program next Wednesday.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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