(Lansing - January 24, 2018) - The Dickinson Iron Intermediate School district was one of 14 districts around the State to share in $5,000,000.00 grant program aimed at purchasing equipment to expand a mechatronics program. Planned purchases include FANUC robots. Students can pursue a certificate in mechatronics from Bay College, and will be able to earn college credit.

The Career and Technical Education (CTE) Innovation and Equipment Grants will allow districts to obtain equipment to expand career and technical education programs in manufacturing with an emphasis on mechatronics, computer numerical control machining, and welding.

“Schools need state-of-the-art equipment so students can get the training they need for great careers,” State Superintendent Brian Whiston said. “These grants will help schools modernize, with the guidance from local partners who know the skills – and equipment – needed to be successful today and moving forward. We appreciate the support from the Legislature to make this happen.”

Additional funding for career and technical education equipment was a recommendation from the Michigan Career Pathways Alliance, which was created by Gov. Rick Snyder and is headed by Whiston and Roger Curtis, director of the Michigan Department of Talent and Economic Development. The alliance includes more than 100 education, business, economic development and labor organizations from across the state.

Snyder reiterated his strong commitment to Michigan leading the world in the development of talent.

“A top priority I’ve had for years is career technical education,” Snyder said during his State of the State address Tuesday. “I’ve made it one of my missions. We need to do more to support them and get more young people interested in having these great, outstanding careers.”

The $5 million in competitive grants are part of an overall $12.5 million program, with $7 million distributed equally to Career Education Planning Districts across the state. MDE received 62 applications for the competitive grants, totaling $26.8 million in requested funds.

“We need to increase career and technical education classes so even more students can benefit from these opportunities,” Curtis said. “We also want to encourage partnerships with local employers. It is important for schools and employers to work closely together, which can lead to work-based learning for students; externships for teachers and counselors; and students graduating with skills that will help them find jobs and stay in their communities after graduation.”

Districts selected for the grants demonstrated that they could

identify local high-wage, high-skill, and high-demand job opportunities using state and regional business, workforce, and labor market information;

increase career option awareness of middle and high school students, adult learners, parents, teachers, and counselors;

partner with employers to increase work-based learning, apprenticeships, and teacher and counselor externships;

align high school, adult education, community college, and postsecondary curriculum to focus on attaining career goals;

expand availability of career and technical education training for remote and other geographically disadvantaged students; and

demonstrate a commitment of local or regional partners to assist in sustaining program beyond the initial grant funding.