LANSING, Mich. (WLUC) - Students across Michigan will have more opportunities for in-demand career skills as 14 districts and intermediate districts are being awarded $5 million in grants to purchase specialized equipment and expand programs, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) announced.
The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Innovation and Equipment Grants will allow districts to obtain equipment to expand career and technical education programs in manufacturing with an emphasis on mechatronics, computer numerical control machining, and welding.
“Schools need state-of-the-art equipment so students can get the training they need for great careers,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “These grants will help schools modernize, with the guidance from local partners who know the skills – and equipment – needed to be successful today and moving forward. We appreciate the support from the Legislature to make this happen.”
Additional funding for career and technical education equipment was a recommendation from the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, which was created by Gov. Rick Snyder and is headed by Whiston and Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. The alliance includes more than 100 education, business, economic development and labor organizations from across the state.
Snyder reiterated his strong commitment to Michigan leading the world in the development of talent.
“A top priority I’ve had for years is career technical education,” Snyder said during his State of the State address Tuesday. “I’ve made it one of my missions. We need to do more to support them and get more young people interested in having these great, outstanding careers.”
The $5 million in competitive grants are part of an overall $12.5 million program, with $7 million distributed equally to Career Education Planning Districts across the state. MDE received 62 applications for the competitive grants, totaling $26.8 million in requested funds.
“We need to increase career and technical education classes so even more students can benefit from these opportunities,” Curtis said. “We also want to encourage partnerships with local employers. It is important for schools and employers to work closely together, which can lead to work-based learning for students; externships for teachers and counselors; and students graduating with skills that will help them find jobs and stay in their communities after graduation.”
Districts selected for the grants demonstrated that they could:
• identify local high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand job opportunities using state and regional business, workforce, and labor market information;
• increase career option awareness of middle and high school students, adult learners, parents, teachers, and counselors;
• partner with employers to increase work-based learning, apprenticeships, and teacher and counselor externships;
• align high school, adult education, community college, and postsecondary curriculum to focus on attaining career goals;
• expand availability of career and technical education training for remote and other geographically disadvantaged students; and
• demonstrate a commitment of local or regional partners to assist in sustaining program beyond the initial grant funding.
Upper Peninsula locations are noted in bold text.
• Alpena Public Schools’ grant of $400,000 will be used to purchase equipment for a mechatronics and design lab as well as a computer lab. As part of the proposal, Alpena plans to become the first school in Michigan to offer Algebra I with Manufacturing Processes, Entrepreneurship, and Design. Students will operate a business running an advanced fabrication lab customizing textile products and manufacturing items comprised of wood, metal, and plastic.
• Calhoun Intermediate School District’s equipment grant of $199,000 will focus on welding equipment. The district has a partnership with Kellogg Community College for a Welding Early/Middle College program.
• Center Line Public Schools was awarded $105,000 for a pre-apprenticeship sheet metal program in partnership with Sheet Metal Works’ Local 80. Students who successfully complete the program will be able to begin the apprenticeship program, allowing them to be paid, while training for various professional certifications and gaining a career track.
• Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District was awarded $400,000 to purchase equipment for welding and advanced integrated manufacturing labs. The equipment will be housed by Mid-Michigan Community College.
• Copper Country Intermediate School District was awarded $364,000 for welding and manufacturing equipment to benefit 13 school districts. Students will be able to earn several industry-recognized certificates. Employer partners have agreed to in-kind donations and support for teacher and counselor externships. Articulation agreements are in place with Northern Michigan University and Gogebic Community College.
• Detroit Public Schools Community District is being awarded $800,000 to expand programs at the Detroit Randolph, Golightly and Breithaupt career and technical centers, with funds purchasing equipment for training in mechatronics, manufacturing, and welding. Students will have opportunities to earn college credit and certifications and job shadowing, internships, co-ops, mentoring and project based learning. The City of Detroit also is hiring an on-site career specialist who will be housed at the Randolph Center.
• Dickinson-Iron Intermediate School District was awarded $467,000 to purchase equipment to expand a mechatronics program. Planned purchases include FANUC robots. Students can pursue a certificate in mechatronics from Bay College, and will be able to earn college credit.
• Ingham Intermediate School District is awarded $253,000 to purchase equipment for construction technology. Programs will be offered at the Wilson Talent Center and students will earn an Introduction to Civil Technician certificate. Summer camps are planned for seventh- and eighth-grade students.
• Kalamazoo Regional Educational Services Agency is being awarded $199,000 to purchase industry standard equipment in manufacturing and construction trades. Students will be able to earn college credit and certificates, as well as have access to increased work-based learning opportunities.
• Kent Intermediate School District will be awarded $300,000 to create a welding program, with equipment used by the diesel, auto, auto collision, precision machining, mechatronics, and HAVC programs. Also planned are programs for middle school students, adult learners, and for summer camps.
• Saginaw Intermediate School District is awarded $230,000 to create a county-wide cybersecurity CTE program. Students will earn articulated credit with Delta College’s Cybersecurity Program. The proposal includes hosting career days and camps focused on computer science and the many career paths.
• Traverse Bay Intermediate School District equipment grant of $583,000 will be targeting precision machining technology, manufacturing technology and a new mechatronics program. Equipment purchases planned include CNC and robotics. Students trained on the equipment will be able to obtain industry-recognized certificates and credit with Baker College and Northwestern Michigan College.
• Utica Community Schools will use $400,000 to purchase advanced manufacturing equipment for the new Stevenson Center for Manufacturing, Automation, Design and Engineering, a STEM Academy, at Adlai Stevenson High School in Sterling Heights. Students will be able to earn college credit. Advanced manufacturing concepts will be integrated into all core academic classes. Students will graduate with industry recognized certifications.
• Van Dyke Public Schools will use $300,000 for manufacturing and computer assisted design equipment purchases for the Southwest Macomb Technical Education Consortium. A new manufacturing alliance technical skills certificate will be offered. Students will have opportunities for job shadowing, field trips, and employment with local area manufacturers. The equipment also will allow for teacher training and a pilot program for adult learners.