By David Eggert, Associated Press

LANSING (AP) – Gov. Rick Snyder said Friday that some companies based in Europe are considering expanding into Michigan or adding to existing operations there, and he wants to ensure that the state has enough qualified engineers and technicians to fill the potential jobs in the long term.

Snyder, who will return Saturday after a weeklong trade trip to France, Germany and Italy, said he focused in part on selling Michigan industry as not just being automotive-centric. He spent two days at the Paris Air Show, where he had 55 meetings. He said Michigan has more than 680 companies in the aerospace supply chain.

“That’s huge. We needed to tell that story more, and it got a great response,” Snyder told The Associated Press by phone from Milan. He plans to return to Europe in September for the Frankfurt auto show in what would be his administration’s sixth European trade mission.

In Italy, Snyder said he met with a major auto supplier that may expand its existing Michigan operations and a biotech company that is looking to have a U.S. presence. While he declined to name the biotech company, his office later issued a news release saying he had met with leaders from Clerici-Sacco, whose customers include dairy and pharmaceutical companies.

“I think we have a good chance to attract them to west Michigan,” Snyder said.

He said executives from companies already operating in Michigan gave “positive feedback,” and the concern he heard most often is whether Michigan will have enough workers in the skilled trades.

“They just want to make sure we’re filling the long-term pipeline,” said Snyder, who said he emphasized existing community college and robotic programs that train engineers and technicians.

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