WARREN (WWJ) — Macomb Community College, on behalf of the Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing (M-CAM), has been awarded a $24.9 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to train workers for advanced manufacturing jobs.
The funding will support the efforts of eight Michigan community colleges to prepare workers for jobs in computer numerical control (CNC) machining, welding, fabrication and other manufacturing operations. Those targeted for training include displaced workers, employed workers who require skills upgrading and veterans.
Macomb will hold a news conference to discuss the grant at 1 p.m. Monday.
“Community colleges are vital to connecting education, training and students to workplace needs,” said James Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College. “This $24.9 million DOL grant is an important step forward for Michigan community colleges and employers in leveraging our historical strength in ‘making things’ while harnessing the promise of advanced manufacturing for the economic benefit of our residents, businesses and communities.”
Funding from the four-year grant will cover upgrades to the colleges’ manufacturing technology to current employer standards, development of new educational offerings and delivery methods, and the training of 2,738 individuals. In addition to Macomb, the other community colleges in the coalition are Bay De Noc in Escanaba, Grand Rapids, Kellogg in Battle Creek, Lake Michigan in Benton Harbor, Lansing, Mott in Flint and Schoolcraft College in Livonia).
College officials said the selection of the four job sectors was the result of market analysis, including direct employer input. The M-CAM approach features education and training that promotes job readiness skills, basic skill development, pathways to certificates and degrees, employer involvement, career services and multiple methods of course delivery, including online and hybrid courses.
Another goal of the coalition is to align the curriculum for these programs across all eight colleges, which will be a first in the State of Michigan. This will not only provide for mobility for students between community colleges but will also offer employers assurance of consistently trained job candidates.
Macomb Community College will provide leadership for the coalition. Macomb’s portion of the grant is $9.6 million, the largest competitive grant award the college has ever received. It will provide funding for equipment upgrades to its Michigan Technical Education Center in Warren that include robotic vision systems, a radio frequency identification tag reader conveyor, CNC robot loading and unloading equipment, an overhead monorail paint robot, robotic training stations and more.
Macomb will also be training more than 500 individuals in all four of the job sectors involved in the project. Macomb wrapped up a three-year, $4.9 million grant earlier this year, which focused on preparing displaced workers for advanced manufacturing jobs in the defense sector. The college trained 2,558 individuals, 145 percent of the grant’s goal, directly matching 1,279 to jobs.
The other members of the coalition and their portion of the award are Bay De Noc Community College, $1.5 million; Grand Rapids Community College, $4.1 million; Kellogg Community College, $2.7 million; Lake Michigan College, $1.2 million; Lansing Community College, $2.1 million; Mott Community College, $2.7 million; and Schoolcraft College, $1.1 million.
The award to the Macomb-led coalition was one of 57 grants totaling $474.5 million announced last week through the Trade Adjustment and Assistance Community College and Career Training grant program.
Macomb Community College provides classes and other services to nearly 48,000 students annually. Macomb nationally ranks in the top 2 percent in the number of associate degrees awarded by community colleges and as the largest grantor of associate degrees in Michigan. The college’s comprehensive educational programming includes pre-collegiate experiences, university transfer and career preparation programs, bachelor degree completion and graduate degree programs, workforce training, professional education and certification, and continuing education and enrichment opportunities.