BATTLE CREEK,Mich. — Kellogg Community College will receive $2.7 million from the U.S. Department of Labor to purchase manufacturing equipment and expand training programs as part of a nationwide effort to prepare unemployed workers for emerging jobs.
The three-year grant to KCC is part of an eight-college, $24.9 million effort in Michigan to support workforce preparation and employer needs in advanced manufacturing. KCC is a member of the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing, which sought the grant on behalf of eight community colleges around the state.
Statewide, an estimated 2,738 people will be trained through the colleges’ grant-funded programs. As a result of the funding, KCC expects approximately 400 additional people to participate in its workforce development programming, which includes industry- and job-specific training in the fields of welding, machining and other careers.
“We at KCC are dedicated to helping local workers get prepared or stay prepared for the new jobs being created in our communities,” said Dr. Dennis Bona, president of KCC. “This grant from the federal government is a major boost to our efforts and we are grateful to the Department of Labor for recognizing and funding the vital economic support that community colleges across the country provide.”
KCC intends to use its $2.7 million grant over the next three years to replace and upgrade equipment at its Regional Manufacturing Technology Center and pay for a variety of program expansions operated under the College’s Industrial Trades and Workforce Solutions programs which target the growing demand for manufacturing employees.
The grants are part of the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program, a multiyear, nearly $2 billion initiative to expand targeted training programs for unemployed workers, especially those impacted by foreign trade. Fifty-seven program grants were announced last week that will provide a total of $474.5 million to support 190 projects across the country.
The planned investment in expanding training and technology is vital to meet increasing employer demands for skilled workers in the region. In 2013, several new companies and existing employers have announced new productions or expansions that are expected to bring more than 1,000 new manufacturing employment opportunities to the area over the next two to three years. Manufacturing job opportunities – already in demand and expected to grow in Calhoun County and surrounding areas – include entry-level, skilled trades, technical, engineering, administration and management positions.