State jobs creation program appears a step in right direction

Although the program is in the early stages, we think a new state jobs effort offers potential.

Step UP Your Business comes to the eight Upper Peninsula counties most adversely impacted by 2016’s closure of the Empire Mine.

In addition to Marquette, the other counties include Iron, Baraga, Alger, Ontonagon, Dickinson, Schoolcraft and Delta.

Underwritten by a $100,000 grant that was awarded to the Michigan Small Business Development Center by the U.S. Small Business Administration, the program is free to participants.

It’s expected to provide about 1,000 hours of business consulting to as many as 75 clients by the end of the first year of operation.

The design of the program, which offers six online courses, is specifically tailored to the needs of individuals in rural areas who may not be able to regularly attend classes held at a specific time and date, a Mining Journal article on the program stated. Program participants are also assigned a business consultant to work with them one-on-one as they move through the program, according to the article.

Orientation sessions have already been held in Escanaba and Marquette. A third is set for Feb. 6 in Ishpeming.

This is part of the state’s effort to help offset the loss of jobs created by the mine closure. Is is going to solve all of the area’s employment problems? Certainly not. But, it’s a step in the right direction.

We hope for good results.