Nearly 6,000 students in the region, including those in the Clare-Gladwin Career & Technical Education program, will be among the first beneficiaries of the state’s Marshall Plan for Talent Innovation Grants. The Clare-Gladwin Regional Education Service District, which administers the CTE program serving high school students in Gladwin, Farwell, Harrison, Beaverton and Clare, led a local consortium that applied for the $1.254 million grant. On Monday, the state announced it as one of nine awarded consortia in the state.
Jim McBryde, President and CEO of the Middle Michigan Development Corporation, convened the group known technically as the Middle Michigan Professional Trades Talent Consortium. MMPTTC will use the grant to accomplish several objectives in CTE Automotive & Diesel Technology labs in Clare and Gladwin, assisting with the purchase of modern equipment and technology, as well as hiring Career Navigators to assist students and establishing an educator externship program. Through a partnership with Mid Michigan College, students in the Automotive program will have the opportunity to earn more industry-recognized certifications while still in high school.
“The work put into earning this grant was unlike anything any of us had seen,” said CGRESD Superintendent Sheryl Presler. “For four months, we’ve collaborated with nearly 30 local organizations – schools, businesses, colleges and universities, our state legislators, non-profits and many other entities. And it was worth every ounce of effort to be able to better prepare our local kids for careers they will love.”
The MMPTTC was one of just nine consortia awarded grants in the final phase after nearly 90 applied back in August. That number was pared down to 22 for the third and final round of applications in November before the final awardees were announced Monday at a ceremony in Lansing.
“This is a great win for our community, and especially for our kids,” McBryde said. “Every step we take is in the pursuit of developing our local talent to contribute to our local workforce, and this grant represents a significant leap in that direction.”
CTE Director Sandy Russell said the grant will benefit all local CTE students in some form or fashion.
“While it’s true that the grant money will help us equip our new Automotive and Diesel lab at the Magnus Center in Clare County, as well as provide for some much-needed upgrades in the lab at Gladwin High School, this is going to help us better serve every CTE student,” Russell said. “With the ability to hire Career Navigators to work with students at each school, we’ll be able to close the gap between kids, their potential careers and the local employers who need their talents.”
State Rep. Jason Wentworth praised the RESD for pulling together the right team to earn the grant. “This is where the Clare-Gladwin RESD excels in a way that nobody else can – convening the right players for the job, carrying out the execution and leading the charge on impactful projects,” he said. “This was a massive undertaking, and the payoff for our students and communities is huge.”
Presler was quick to credit the hard work of her CTE team and all the collaborative partners involved.
“One of the prime directives from the state for this grant was to pool resources, time and talent with as many partners as we could, for all the obvious reasons,” she said. “The good news is that we’re already well-versed in doing that, and so are our collaborators. Our gratitude extends to all who pitched in; their impact will be felt through our CTE programs for years to come.”