U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow says Michigan is facing such a shortage of skilled tradespeople that Congress should provide federal matching funds to help community colleges and businesses provide training to more students.

She says addressing employers' inability to fill openings in the trades and technical fields is a major priority. The third-term Democrat, who's up for re-election next year, held a half-dozen events across Michigan in recent days to discuss workforce issues.

Stabenow tells The Associated Press the pendulum has swung too far toward emphasizing four-year college degrees over vocational training.

She plans to soon reintroduce a bill to expand a program that lets community colleges offer free training for growing employers that add new jobs. The schools can recoup their costs by capturing the new employees' income taxes.

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