A statewide grant is allowing a partnership of regional community colleges and workforce organizations to offer free education, job training and related support services to area residents suffering from the economic impact of COVID-19.
A Southwest Partnership consortium including Kellogg Community College, Kalamazoo Valley Community College and Michigan Works! Southwest received a total of $1,128,157 via a competitive Michigan Learning and Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) grant, announced in July.
The purpose of the grant is to support individuals who are dislocated, underemployed, serving as essential workers, living in distressed rural and urban communities or who are economically disadvantaged. The funds will assist those individuals in transitioning from education and training programs to high-skill, high-wage careers, with training programs resulting in industry-recognized credential attainment and reduced educational debt.
KCC Dean of Workforce Development Dr. Dennis Baskin said the grant funds will help the College increase access to career enhancement services while continuing to provide high-quality workers for area employers.
“The need for accelerated, high-quality training to fill high-wage jobs in our community is there, and Kellogg Community College is filling that need,” Baskin said. “Thanks to this MiLeap funding and our partnership in these efforts with KVCC and Michigan Works! Southwest, KCC will be able to do more for more people, helping them to improve their lives while filling gaps in the local workforce at the same time.”
At Kellogg Community College, MiLeap funds support the College’s existing Innovative Accelerated Credentialed Training (iACT) program initiative, which offers free, accelerated career training programs for Battle Creek residents who meet select income guidelines in the areas of advanced manufacturing, certified nursing assistant (CNA) training and phlebotomy.
In addition to learning foundational skills and receiving technical training related to their chosen programs, trainees at KCC receive free laptops, career coaching and the opportunity to learn professional certifications, as well as college credits and/or continuing education units.
Grant funds also allow for the introduction of dedicated MiLeap Navigators on select KCC and KVCC campuses, who assist MiLeap program participants in assessing and overcoming barriers, developing financial management plans, identifying resources, providing guidance and support and creating individual self-sufficiency plans to help participants plan for the future.
The Southwest Partnership consortium is among 10 awardees of the MiLeap grant, which totals $17.8 million in funds distributed to similar consortiums statewide. Altogether the state hopes to serve more than 5,000 individuals through the effort; the Southwest Partnership funds should provide training for approximately 450 participants over a two-year period.
The grants were awarded to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity (LEO) by the U.S. Department of Education and announced in July 21 as a statewide measure designed “to help get Michigan back to work,” according to the state.
“By providing grants to help people make the move from education or training programs to good-paying, high-skill jobs, we can ensure all Michiganders thrive as we continue our economic jumpstart,” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said in her announcement of the grant. “The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity and their Regional Consortia partners will help people get back on their feet and take the next step on their path to financial security.”
For more information about MiLeap opportunities at KCC, contact KCC Business & Industry Liason and MiLeap Program Director Scott Cubberly at email@example.com or 269-565-2049.
The Michigan Learning & Education Advancement Program (MiLEAP) is a workforce training program made possible by a $17,827,178.11 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Education Stabilization Fund – Reimagine Workforce Preparation Program (ESF-RWP) provided through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Securities (CARES) Act of 2020.
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