TROY (WWJ) — Automation Alley announced that the application packet for the Technical Talent Development Program’s Challenge Fund is now available to its nearly 1,000 member employers.

In its second round, the new $1 million Challenge Fund has been set up to provide funding specifically for Automation Alley member companies seeking to hire and train full-time, highly skilled and permanent workers.

The TTDP is made possible through a $5 million grant awarded to Automation Alley by the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration in 2012.

The Challenge Fund portion of the grant provides companies with funding to assist in meeting immediate training needs in specific areas of IT-related occupations. It is designed to assist employers of all sizes, from entrepreneurial startup firms to more established companies with IT needs.

The application, along with information and instructions, can be found at Look for the TTDP information in the Quick Links box on the homepage. To apply for the Challenge Fund, click on the link and download a PDF of the application, fill it out, print and mail to: Automation Alley, C/O TTDP Challenge Fund, 2675 Bellingham, Troy, MI 48083.

Employers are encouraged to submit applications that reflect comprehensive training funding needs. The submission deadline is 5 p.m. Eastern time Dec. 6.

“Now in its second round, the TTDP Challenge Fund is an employer-driven solution to the talent development challenges facing Southeast Michigan’s tech companies, especially small and medium-size businesses,” said Alysia Green, Automation Alley director of talent development. “It supports the growth and expansion of our region as a tech hub and has proven results, as we’ve seen several companies train and expand their workforces thanks to this innovative initiative.”

In its first round, the TTDP Challenge Fund saw 13 Southeast Michigan companies train and employ 305 workers.

Automation Alley applied for the TTDP grant in partnership with Oakland Community College and the Oakland County Michigan Works! Workforce Development Division, with additional support provided by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., and the Michigan delegation.

Training supported by the Challenge Fund will be allocated to companies based on dollars awarded to provide skill upgrades for newly hired employees. Employee training will include industry-recognized vendor certifications. Training will be provided by local corporate training companies, workforce development organizations and educational institutions.

For more information on the Challenge Fund, contact the Automation Alley Resource Center at (800) 427-5100 or


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