Gov. Rick Snyder today announced that Kellogg Community College will receive $2.2 million for renovations and upgrades at the Regional Manufacturing Technology Center, a KCC-operated facility where hundreds of students each year are trained and certified for jobs in advanced manufacturing.
Snyder announced the funding, which was part of a capital outlay bill he signed into law on Wednesday, during a tour of the RMTC with KCC officials and students. The funding will support $4.3 million worth of improvements at the facility in Battle Creek.
“Skilled trades training leads students to success and career stability in a variety of industries,” Snyder said. “We are positioning Michigan to be a leader in developing talent and this $4.3 million expansion project represents a commitment to our mission to encourage skilled trades training in Michigan to help better prepare students for the jobs of tomorrow.”
Joining Snyder for today’s announcement were KCC President Mark O’Connell, RMTC Director Tom Longman and representatives from several manufacturing companies in the region.
“Our partners in the manufacturing sector know they can find a well-trained, well-prepared workforce at the RMTC, where our instruction has stayed current over the past 26 years with guidance and financial support from local employers and government at the local, state and federal levels,” O’Connell said. “There is no doubt that our future KCC students stand to benefit from the additional improvements we will now be able to make thanks to this added support from the State of Michigan.”
During his visit, Snyder, a KCC alumnus, met with several KCC faculty, administrators and students and then delivered remarks before holding a brief press conference. In addition to Snyder, several others, including KCC student Nathaniel Cornell, Keith Corlin with DENSO Manufacturing Michigan Inc. and Earnie Meiley with the Clemens Food Group, spoke about the importance of KCC and the RMTC.
KCC built the RMTC in 1990 and has, over the years, secured a variety of private and public sources of funding to pay for training equipment in the areas of robotics, mechatronics, heating, cooling, machining, pipefitting, welding, renewable energy and other trades. Although the College recently completed an 8,400-square-foot addition at the RMTC – it was funded by the College and the Battle Creek Tax Increment Finance Authority – the rest of the 26-year-old facility remains in need of renovations. KCC has added programs over the years, prompting modifications to spaces within the building.
The new state capital outlay grant of $2.2 million will position the College to upgrade security, plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems – as well as essential building envelope and infrastructure enhancements – in the older, 40,000-square-foot portion of the RMTC. The state grant will be matched by $2.2 million from KCC’s dedicated capital millage, which local voters renewed in 2012.
“Because of the tremendous support from our partners in the private and public sectors, we are able to reset this facility and accommodate educational and employment needs for the next 26 years,” Longman said. “This grant ensures that we will be able to continue delivering top-notch manufacturing and trades education for years to come.”
O’Connell said the organizational and funding commitments at the RMTC reinforce KCC’s role as a leader in job readiness and workforce development, two priorities identified in the BC Vision initiative led by community members across the Battle Creek area.
As part of this renovation, the College will increase its focus on Workforce Solutions initiatives by working more closely with Ben Damerow, director of Michigan Works! Southwest, which is part of a statewide system devoted to providing employment and training services for employers and job-seekers.
“KCC’s goal will be to see how we can strengthen our partnership even more by better aligning and co-locating services of both organizations to focus on meeting the needs of our manufacturers in the Fort Custer Industrial Park,” O’Connell said.
“This is an exciting opportunity that builds upon our strong partnership with Kellogg Community College by providing enhanced services to our manufacturers in the industrial park,” Damerow said. “The space will help Michigan Works! Southwest continue to assist and encourage more job seekers to engage in technical training and apprenticeships.”
By design, the RMTC meets employee training needs for employers in the business and industry sectors across the region. RMTC training courses are offered at convenient times, including on a walk-in basis, which enables KCC to provide hands-on, skills-based training quickly and efficiently while working around employers’ production and service schedules. Additionally, many courses are customized for companies with precise training and certification requirements.
For more information about the RMTC, visit www.kellogg.edu/rmtc.
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