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Dear Friends:

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you and provide updates about what is going on at Michigan’s Capitol.

I am the state senator for the 18th District – covering all of Barry County and parts of Allegan, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Kent and Ionia counties. Please feel free to contact me with any issues related to state government at [email protected] or by calling 517-373-1734 or toll-free at 855-347-8018..


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Thomas Albert
State Senator

Connecting with our communities

I have been blessed to attend several events and tour several facilities in our Senate district and across Michigan over the past few weeks.

The Michigan Career and Technical Institute is a residential, post-secondary vocational training facility for adults with disabilities. The goal is to foster independence while developing skills needed to find employment. Located in Barry County, the MCTI provides state-of-the-art job training in automotive technology, certified nursing assistant skills, culinary arts, industrial electronics, IT training, machine technology and more. One of the largest rehabilitation training centers in the United States, MCTI is affiliated with the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity.

I also visited the Vocational Village site at the Richard A. Handlon Correctional Facility in Ionia. Prisoners participating in the program learn vocational trades such as welding, electrical, plumbing, masonry, carpentry, auto mechanics, CNC machining and more in an effort to improve their lives and have career opportunities upon their release.

As a vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Universities and Community Colleges, I tour many higher education facilities. In July, I visited both the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and Michigan State University.

Other facilities I have toured this summer include the Burma Center, a vibrant and innovative organization benefitting the Burmese community and the entire Battle Creek/Springfield area. I also was proud to attend county fairs and the ribbon cutting ceremony for The Grand Agricultural Center of West Michigan, which hosts the Kent County Youth Fair and several other events in the Lowell area. As a member of the Michigan House, I helped secure funding to benefit this incredible community asset.

All of these events and organizations help me connect with our communities and represent you at the state Capitol.

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Sen. Albert and his family at the Kent County Youth Fair in early August.

New laws to recruit and retain teachers and counselors

A package of bills first introduced in the Senate to help Michigan schools recruit and retain teachers and counselors was recently signed into law.

Public Act 110 of 2023 aims to address the teacher shortage by expanding the pool of teachers eligible to teach in Michigan schools. This will allow schools to hire teachers with out-of-state certifications and gives educators the opportunity for career advancement by expanding the ways they can earn an advanced teaching certificate.

Public Act 111 of 2023 expands the pool of school counselors by allowing qualified counselors to forgo the guidance counselor’s exam and reducing the requirements to work in Michigan for school counselors from other states.

How to track proposals in Michigan Legislature

Dozens of other bills approved by the Michigan Legislature have been signed into law this summer. These measures include the state budget, Senate Bill 173 and House Bill 4437, which I opposed mainly because the plan spends too much money and leaves our state’s finances in a vulnerable position moving forward. Other bills signed into law include measures related to elections and many other topics.

As a reminder, you can track the progress of proposals in the Michigan Legislature online. The official webpage,, is a great place to review the language of proposed legislation through the bill tracker. You can also keep up with the schedule for committee meetings.

Going PRO Talent Fund

The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity recently announced their 2023 Going PRO Talent Fund awards. Funds are awarded to employers through Michigan Works! Agencies (MWAs) to help businesses provide workers with the training they need to gain and retain high-skill, high-wage careers.

Since the program’s launch in 2014, more than 6,000 Michigan businesses have received Going PRO Talent Fund awards to train 175,000 new and existing workers.

To view a full list of grant recipients for the 2023 fiscal year and learn more about the Going PRO Talent Fund and its application cycles, visit

Family-friendly fishing

Michigan is home to 26,266 inland lakes, 76,439 miles of rivers and streams and more than 150 different fish species.

The Department of Natural Resources offers an interactive “Family Friendly Fishing Waters” map to help identify family-friendly fishing locations across the state. Sites can be filtered by answering questions like what kind of fishing you would like to do, and what amenities you prefer.

Once a location has been selected, the website provides site-specific details like the species of fish you can expect to find, restroom availability, driving directions and more.

Free ORV Weekend

Michigan is home to more than 4,000 miles of off-road vehicle trails. On Aug. 19-20, all routes, trails and the state’s six scramble areas are open to riders. During the Free ORV Weekend, trails are open to residents and out-of-state visitors with or without ORV licenses or trail permits. All other ORV rules and laws apply.

Visit the DNR ORV webpage to download the ORV rules and regulations handbook, find ORV-friendly campgrounds, review maps of state-designated ORV trails and routes and state forest roads, and much more.

Michigan's 18th Senate District

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Senator Thomas A. Albert
4500 Connie B. Binsfeld Office Building
P.O. Box 30036
Lansing, MI 48909-7536

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