GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was in Grand Rapids Thursday to talk about a new program that will increase employment opportunities for thousands of Michigan residents.

The governor joined union and business leaders at the International Union of Operating Engineers training facility on 40th Street near the intersection of Eastern Avenue.

The MiSTAIRS labor grant program uses U.S. Department of Labor grant funds to support and expand registered apprenticeships.

During the press event Thursday, Whitmer said that Michigan was just one of a handful of states that received this grant.

“Michigan was one of only 15 states in the nation to get one of these grants and one of the five states to get the maximum $10 million award. We will use these funds to establish MiSTAIRS. MiSTAIRS will expand registered apprenticeship opportunities for women, people of color, individuals with disabilities and those without a high school diploma or equivalent,” Whitmer said.