MONROE — The DTE Energy Foundation has made a $1 million contribution to support the capital campaign for the new Career Technology Center at Monroe County Community College, and to also promote diversity at the college.
The announcement was made by Ron May, DTE Energy Senior vice president, major enterprise projects, at a luncheon Friday at the college sponsored by The Foundation at MCCC.
The $17-million, 60,000-square foot Career Technology Center, which is scheduled to open in the fall, will provide high-tech classrooms and lab space required to deliver instruction and skills necessary to secure high-growth, high-demand and high-paying jobs.
May noted a longtime relationship between DTE and the college, which has included training for technicians at DTE’s Fermi 2 Nuclear Power Plant in Monroe County and the coal-fired Monroe Power Plant.
MCCC board chairman William J. Bacarella Jr. added that the DTE Energy Foundation’s grant will further strengthen the community by supporting a college initiative to increase diversity. Bacarella said that the college is developing a program to provide more educational opportunities for young people in Southeastern Michigan, while helping to diversify the future work force of the state.
“Both the diversity initiative and the Career Technology Center will accomplish several objectives that are inherent in our mission — to fully prepare a cross-section of students for meaningful employment, partner strategically with business and industry, and to advance the economic prosperity of Monroe County,” Bacarella said.
The Career Technology Center will allow for the updating and expansion of existing programs now housed in the East and West Technology buildings, which are inadequate to meet modern technology needs.
These include program areas such as nuclear engineering, welding, construction, computer-aided drafting and manufacturing, electronics, mechanical engineering and automation, quality assurance, and automotive engineering and service with an emphasis on hybrid and battery technology.
In addition, the Career Technology Center will provide facilities and equipment necessary for the development of programs in the emerging areas of advanced manufacturing; renewable energies such as wind, solar and fuel cell technology, and sustainable and green technologies.
A combination of sustainable systems has been integrated into the design of the facility that will be incorporated into the curriculum. The building will serve as a learning laboratory for students in industrial technology fields.
The Career Technology Center is being built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Silver Standards and will feature state-of-the-art lab space, a geothermal system, Industrial Technology Division and faculty offices, a computer classroom and labs for all of the following areas: automation, automotive, construction, electronics, manufacturing, materials, mechanical design, metrology, renewable energy, nuclear energy and welding.
“This facility will invigorate the skill capacity in our region over the next decade to produce a workforce that will make businesses more competitive and profitable,” said MCCC president David Nixon. “The Career Technology Center is at its very core a means to spur regional growth and prosperity.”
The $1 million gift builds on a partnership between DTE Energy and Monroe County Community College that has fostered many successful projects of late, such as the development of the college’s nuclear engineering technology program and construction management technology certificate program with a specialization in heavy and industrial construction.
In addition, the company constructed a 500-killowat SolarCurrents installation on the MCCC campus in 2011 and made a $45,000 grant and additional in-kind donation of solar equipment in 2010 to MCCC in support of curriculum development to establish an alternative/renewable energy program.
The state of Michigan is financing half the cost of construction of the Career Technology Center.
The college has committed to fund the other half through existing funds and a capital campaign in support of the facility.
“The Foundation at MCCC is very excited about the newest gift to our capital campaign, and we send an enthusiastic invitation to all the folks of Monroe County and the State of Michigan to become part of it,” said Michael R. Meyer, chair of The Foundation at MCCC and a college trustee. “This truly is a facility that will enrich, inspire and educate for generations to come.”
More information on the Career Technology Center at MCCC, including ways to support the new building, is available www.monroeccc.edu/ctc.