High school students from Gladwin and Clare Counties will enjoy improved learning opportunities thanks to a recent grant awarded to the Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District.
The grant, awarded by the Michigan Department of Education and totaling $400,000, was recently announced as part of $5 million in grants statewide to local Career & Technical Education programs. The CTE Innovation and Equipment Competitive Grants allow districts to obtain equipment to expand programs in manufacturing, with an emphasis on mechatronics, computer numerical control machining and welding.
“This grant was the direct result of hard work by a whole host of stakeholders, including CGRESD, CTE, our five local districts, Mid Michigan Community College, the Central Michigan Manufacturers Association, Great Lakes Bay Regional Alliance and EMCOG,” said CGRESD Superintendent Sheryl Presler. “The only way a district our size can secure a grant this large is through true community collaboration, and when you have that, great things are possible for our CTE students, the community and the workforce.”
Presler said the grant money will be used to upgrade equipment in CTE’s Welding and Advanced Manufacturing classes. Those classes are held through a supported dual enrollment partnership with MMCC, and the new equipment will be housed on the Harrison campus, benefiting not only CTE students, but college students as well.
“Manufacturing is the largest employment sector in Gladwin County and the third-largest in Clare County,” she said. “Local manufacturers are anxiously seeking qualified entry-level employees, and we’re committed to doing everything we can to answer that demand.”
"This grant represents a new level of possibilities for CTE students in Clare and Gladwin Counties,” said Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Clare. “These are significant equipment improvements for our high school students studying welding and manufacturing, and the grant awarded to Clare-Gladwin RESD will also benefit adults attending those programs on Mid Michigan Community College's Harrison Campus. I applaud the collaborative spirit that went into securing these essential grant dollars.”
According to Presler, one of the biggest obstacles in meeting that demand is providing appropriate training through state-of-the-art equipment. Equipping these labs with industry-standard tools is an ongoing challenge that requires significant financial investment based on input from Advisory Committees comprised of local manufacturers and business owners.
“These upgrades are another step in helping us ensure that young people in our region enter the job force ready to work,” she added. “It’s our intention to have the grant-funded equipment purchased and installed by the end of June. That process will include working with all CTE and MMCC instructors to make the appropriate purchases for each class and developing standard operating procedures for each new piece of equipment.”