State awards $2.1 million equipment grant to KCC

A view of the reflecting pools on KCC's North Avenue campus in the spring.

Gov. Rick Snyder has announced that Kellogg Community College will receive $2.1 million as part of a statewide initiative to close a talent gap among workers and meet employers’ current need to fill good-paying jobs.

KCC will receive funding through the state’s Community College Skilled Trades Equipment Program to better serve students in communities across the College’s service area. The program is a partnership between the state government and community colleges in which new equipment will quicken the training of workers as Michigan’s economy rebounds.

“We are very pleased to be awarded this grant, which allows us to make substantial improvements to our career programs,” said Dr. Dennis Bona, president of KCC. “I applaud the governor’s commitment to community colleges and his recognition that our programs are vital to workforce development in the communities we serve.”

At KCC, state funding will be combined with additional matching grants, including private sector funds, to purchase equipment that will ameliorate KCC’s ability to train people across the region in health care, law enforcement and manufacturing. Specifically, the program will purchase the following items at KCC:

  • Patient simulation equipment for nursing, paramedic/EMT and radiology laboratories
  • Industrial technology/mechatronics equipment to serve the workforce training needs of a new Coldwater-area employer, Clemens Food Group, which plans to create 810 new jobs
  • Dental hygiene units for KCC’s Dental Hygiene Clinic in Battle Creek
  • Electricity and electronics equipment for the training of automotive component, metal fabrication and plastics manufacturing
  • Patrol/training vehicle equipped with the latest in law enforcement technology
  • Skid device for patrol vehicle
  • Robotics equipment to be located inside the Branch Area Career Center in Coldwater, where a partnership between KCC and the BACC will serve high school students and company-sponsored trainees
  • Driving simulation units for law enforcement driver training

Organizations contributing toward the matching funds for the KCC grant include the Branch County Intermediate School District, Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, Michigan Workforce Development Agency, Battle Creek Unlimited, Michigan Works! and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers.

The KCC grant includes $2,107,647 in state funding, $344,414 in partner contributions and $182,498 in KCC institutional funds.

Overall, CCSTEP is providing $50 million in state funding to 18 community colleges, which are securing or providing another $21.5 million in matching funds, Snyder said in a Feb. 24 press release. A total of 27 colleges applied for CCSTEP funds.

Skilled-trade jobs typically require education beyond high school, along with on-the-job training, but not a four-year degree. Collectively, these jobs represent about one-third of the state’s employment base.

“We are positioning Michigan to become the national leader in developing talent,” Snyder said. “This serious investment – one of the largest of its kind in the country – will tap our top-notch community colleges and help new students and adults looking for new opportunities gain the skills sought by companies looking to grow and expand, creating more and better jobs in Michigan.”

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